Bugout! California Part 152 – Gravel

Sid, Sam, Ed, Tyler, Ryan, and Garrett were moving slowly in the Jeep Unlimited with its top down, eyes peeled at the tracks coming from behind the ridge.

“Here it is,” Sid said. “Stop. I’m getting out.”

Sam nodded, parking the vehicle. Everybody got out, M60s or M4s in hand.

“There’s an old stagecoach route back here,” Garrett said. “This trail runs into it after a couple miles.”

“Is it drivable?” Ed asked.

Garrett thought for a moment. “It’s rutted as hell in spots, but any four-wheel-drive vehicle could handle it. A heavy-duty two-wheel drive could handle most of it.”

“Where does it go?” Tyler asked.

“Off our land,” Garrett said. “Across Mother Grundy Truck Trail Road, and on into Deerhorn Valley. It kinda links up with Honey Springs Road.”

“Kinda?” Sid asked, stopping.

“It doesn’t get all the way there, because of a seasonal creek. Used to go through, but every year it got washed out. They eventually moved the stagecoach route someplace else. I’d be surprised if that little van could hack it, frankly.”

“We should follow this all the way,” Sid said. “Are there any spurs off this before the stagecoach road?”

“Nothing but hiking trails,” Garrett said.

“Good, then let’s get in the Jeep,” Sid said.

Sam got behind the wheel again, Sid riding shotgun, the rest getting in back. They drove forward.

“How far to your property line?” Ed asked, looking at Garrett.

“Couple miles, give or take.”

“Hell of a spread,” Tyler said. “This is almost as big as our reservation.”

“Heard anything about your reservation?” Garrett asked. “I sure would like to go to your casino again.”

Ed’s expression was sad. “I hope we have enough left of the tribe to re-open it after this.”

“We will,” Ryan said. “Trust me.”

“I hope you’re right,” Ed said.

They road silently for a while, crossing over Mother Grundy Truck Trail Road, heading outside of Garrett’s land. The sun was higher in the sky, the heat beginning to hit them harder with the top off the Jeep.

“Should’ve brought a hat,” Sam said.

“You need one of these,” Garrett said, tipping his cowboy hat.

“Maybe so,” Sam replied.

“Slow down,” Sid said.

Sam took his foot off the accelerator. “You see something?”

Sid nodded. “What’s with the grayish white pebbles all of a sudden?”

“What grayish white pebbles?” Garrett asked.

“Stop the Jeep,” Sid said. Sam put on the brakes and Sid jumped out, walking to one of them. He picked it up and brought it over.

“Crap, that looks like it came from a gravel road,” Garrett said, eyes darting around.

“Maybe somebody filled that creek you were talking about with gravel, so they could drive across it,” Sid said.

“Son of a bitch,” Garrett said. “They’re building a road back here.”

“Who owns this land?” Sam asked.

“It’s BLM. Tried to petition to buy it, but the Feds wouldn’t have it. They tried to force us off our land at one point, to get us to back off.”

“Interesting,” Sid said. “Wonder why?”

“I thought it was because of the stagecoach road, and the ruins on our land. Knowing what I know about those cretins now, could’ve been anything.”

“Let’s keep going,” Sid said.

The men got back in the Jeep, seeing more and more of the rock as they rolled forward, the terrain turning from flat into rolling hills, the road rising and falling ahead of them.

***

Ivan’s meeting in the saloon was just ending, when his cellphone buzzed. He looked at it, then held up his hand. “Hold it a minute. This is from one of our contacts on the southern border. I’ll put it on speaker.”

Ivan answered and pushed the speaker button. “This is Ivan.”

“Ivan, how are you? This is Conrad.”

“How’s things down by Jacumba?”

“It’s turned into a city,” he said. “You heard we were using artillery on the enemy, right?”

“Yeah, we heard,” Ivan said. “What’s on your mind?”

“We heard that Highway 94 was open again, and wanted to suggest that you bring your battle wagons and off-roaders down that way. The enemy is fanning out wide due to the artillery. We see a pretty large group heading for the area south of Tierra Del Sol Road.”

“I know where that is,” Willard said.

“You sure we want to pull everything away from here, partner?” Tex asked. “We’ve got a lot of people and supplies to protect.”

“I wouldn’t bring them all,” Conrad said. “What do you have?”

Jules came closer. “We have forty-five off-roaders, and thirty-three battle wagons. How many men head to that spot?”

“Hard to tell exactly,” Conrad said. “Couple hundred thousand. It’s the extreme western tip of the enemy advance. We’re bringing people straight south from Ocotillo as well, to widen our presence on the border.”

“No more than half, no?” Jules said.

Ivan glanced over at him, then looked at the phone. “We need to discuss this. How far is the enemy from the border right now?”

“Thirty miles, and they’ve slowed down, now that we’ve scattered them with the artillery.”

Ted looked up from his phone. “Yeah, that’s what I’m seeing on the apps.

“Me too,” Sparky said. “The center section is a little ahead of the west and east tips.”

“That’s where we have our biggest concentration of men,” Conrad said. “I’ll let you go.”

“Talk to you soon,” Ivan said. He ended the call, then sat back down. “I guess we’re not done after all.”

“So it would appear,” Sparky said.

“We can’t make an agreement on this without Sam, Ed, Garrett, and Sid,” Erica said.

“I agree,” Jules said.

Tex nodded, taking off his hat and running a hand through his hair. “Yep.”

Ivan was silent for a moment, thinking.

“You think it’s okay to go ahead without them, partner?” Tex asked.

“No, no,” Ivan said, “I agree with the concerns. The entire leadership team must agree on this. I’m leaning against it, truth be told.”

“Why?”

“What we’ll face down there is a multitude of enemy fighters on foot, spread out in a wide area. They’ll dig in and make us come to them, and we’ll expend all our grenades trying to hit them. I’d rather hit what’s left of them on the road, when they’re more bunched together.”

“I agree, partner,” Tex said. “This is a better job for the citizen infantry. They’ll be more effective.”

“We can’t guarantee no hit here,” Jules said, rubbing his chin. “They try yesterday, no? They try again today or tomorrow.”

“That’s another thing,” Ivan said, “but we can’t take a request from our southern flank lightly either. We need to work this out in detail. When are the others due back?”

“Few hours,” Erica said. “Last text I got from Sam said they were following an old stagecoach road to the northeast. That’s where the van tracks led them.”

“Crap, that’s not good,” Willard said. “That road goes way out into BLM land, and ends up dangerously close to the highway.”

“What highway?” Tex asked.

“Honey Springs Road,” Willard said. “Which, by the way, is reachable from Julian. Go south on Highway 79, make a couple transitions, and you’re on that damn road.”

“How many hours is that?”

“Just a sec,” Erica said, looking at her phone. “Hell, under two hours.”

“Dammit,” Ivan said.

Jules’s phone dinged with a text. He read it, then hit a contact and put the phone to his ear, walking away.

“Wonder who that is?” Tex asked, “didn’t like his expression.”

Ivan shot a glance, his brow furrowed. Jules was back in a moment.

“I have Robbie on line. Seth and Kaitlyn’s program show problem. On speaker.” He set his phone down on the table and pushed the speaker button. “You hear, Robbie?”

“Loud and clear,” Robbie said. “Ben, Seth, Kaitlyn, and Morgan are here.”

“Tell what see,” Jules said.

“Yeah, partner, let us have it. We’ll add it to the pile of other good news.”

Sparky laughed, but then shut up when nobody else did.

“Go ahead, please,” Ivan said.

“We ran the history report late this morning,” Robbie said. “We noticed that roughly seven hundred icons disappeared.”

“Dammit,” Ted said. “When?”

“Early this morning.”

“From where?”

“Julian,” Seth said.

“You think they’re being moved in shielded vehicles?” Ted asked.

“Don’t know what else to think,” Seth said.

“What if they all took out their chips and burned them?” Erica asked.

“No way,” Kaitlyn said. “They disappeared in a window of about ten minutes.”

“I’m still not getting how they’d have the capacity to hide that many fighters,” Sparky said.

“That’s what we thought at first,” Robbie said, “but we did some quick research and found out how many people could be stuffed into semi-trailers.”

“Where’d you get that info?” Sparky asked.

“Article on smuggling illegal immigrants,” Kaitlyn said.

“Oh,” Ivan said. “Makes sense. You’re saying all they’d need is two semis to get them down here.”

“That’s still a lot of lead shielding,” Sparky said. “Where’d they get it?”

“That’s a question for another day,” Ivan said. “We have to assume that they’re coming here.”

“It’s likely that they’re already here, partner,” Tex said. “Getting pretty close to noon.”

“Let’s get Sam on line,” Ji-Ho said.

“Yeah, I think you right,” Jules said. “I patch into this call.” He fumbled with his phone for a moment, then set it back down. “You on, Sam?”

“Yeah,” Sam said. “Was just going to call you guys.”

“Robbie, still on?” Jules asked.

“Yes,” Robbie said.

“Uh oh, what’s going on?” Sid asked.

Ji-Ho got closer to the phone. “History program show seven hundred enemy fighters disappear from Julian early this morning.”

“Son of a bitch,” Garrett said. “We’re about to get hit.”

“Very possible,” Ivan said. “What were you guys going to tell us?”

“We’re on this stagecoach road,” Sid said. “All of a sudden we start seeing grayish white pebbles.”

“That the route the van come on?” Jules asked.

“Yes,” Sid said. “There’s a gravel road back here someplace.”

“They probably used it to get over that dry creek bed off Honey Springs Road,” Garrett said.

“I knew it,” Willard said, “as soon as that road got brought up.”

“Who brought it up?” Garrett asked.

Willard smiled. “I did, when Erica mentioned the old stagecoach road.”

“Okay, time to focus on next steps,” Ivan said. “Time isn’t on our side.”

“I agree,” Ted said. “We need to cover the back door and the front door. We know they’ve got at least two semis on the way.”

“We don’t know that for sure,” Sparky said.

“Okay, we have to assume it, though,” Ted said.

“Ted right,” Jules said.

“I’m texting my guys,” Garrett said. “We’ll get the cannons manned and loaded. They’re all pointing at the entrance roads on that side of the property. I’ll get the cavalry on alert as well.”

“We send off-roaders to where you are,” Jules said.

“All of them?” Ted asked.

“Yes,” Jules said, “off-roaders there, battle wagons here with infantry. We have many now. Enemy won’t win.”

“What kind of cannon do you guys have?” Ivan asked.

Seth chuckled. “Don’t ask.”

“Hey, don’t knock them,” Willard said. “They’ll split a semi wide open with one shot.”

Ivan’s eyes were still questioning. Willard laughed. “We’ve got civil war cannons, sir. With plenty of powder and cannon balls. Knocked the crap out of this enemy with those suckers more than once.”

“Okay, we’ll chat about that later,” Garrett said. “My men just got my text, and they’re getting into position. Let’s get those off-roaders coming this direction.”

“What do you guys have with you out there?” Erica asked.

“Not enough,” Ed said. “Four M60s and half a dozen M4s.”

“I got a crate of grenades and a mortar in the back,” Sam said. “Wish we had more.”

“The off-roaders will be there in hurry,” Jules said. “Don’t get killed. Run for it if need to. That order.”

“Heard you loud and clear,” Sam said. “We’re in a Jeep, and we’re all experienced fighters. Don’t worry about us. Just get those off-roaders out here.”

“Okay, we’re getting off the line,” Ivan said. “Good luck, all.”

Jules ended the call. “To battle wagons.”

“Get the women and children into the mine,” Ted said.

“Well, some of the women, anyway,” Erica said. “Some of us know how to fight.”

“You’re right about that,” Tex said.

“They hit front side first,” Ji-Ho said. “Try to ambush us with back people. We nail them.”

“Yes, that’s what I expect,” Ivan said.

The group hurried out of the saloon.

***

“Mommy, where are we going?” Mia asked, as Erica rushed her to the mine, Anna following with other women and children.

“You’ll take care of her?” Erica asked.

“Of course, but I wish you’d stay down here with us. We’ve got plenty of fighters.”

“I’m one of the best,” Erica said. “You know that.”

Anna sighed. “I know. You’ve got too much of your father in you.”

“Thank God for that,” Erica said. They entered the dark tunnel, rushing down to one of the larger caverns, where a number of women and children were already gathered.

Kaitlyn came out when she heard them. “Are you fighting?” she asked Erica.

“Yes, but you’re not,” she said.

“I’m as good as you are,” Kaitlyn said.

“You’re better,” Erica said, “only because you’re younger, but that doesn’t matter.”

“Why not?”

“I can’t right VB code. We need you down here. If not for that program you and Seth cooked up, we wouldn’t have a chance.”

“She’s right,” Seth said, head poked out of the door. “Get back in here. We’ve got work to do. There’s plenty of people out there to fight, believe me.”

Kaitlyn shrugged and shook her head. “He just doesn’t want me to get hurt.”

“You’re damn straight,” Seth said, “but the facts are the facts. We’re important. We’ve found our niche. Our place is with the data, so come on.”

She went back into the room, turning back to Erica. “You’d better not get hurt.”

“I’ll do my best,” she said. “At least I don’t have to be in one of those tin cans.”

“Mommy, I don’t want you to go,” Mia said, eyes brimming with tears.

“Don’t worry, honey, I’ll be fine,” Erica said, squatting down next to her. “You stay with Auntie Anna, understand?”

“I know,” she said, looking down. “I don’t want you or daddy to die.”

“I won’t die,” Erica said. “Neither will daddy. I promise.”

Anna took her hand. “Come on, Mia, let’s go help the others, okay? You can be a big girl, can’t you?”

She looked at Erica again, longing in her eyes, then turned to Anna and nodded yes. They disappeared into the big room, Erica looking at the empty opening for a moment, before turning and rushing outside. Her phone rang. She answered it.

“Erica?”

“Ed, what’s going on. See the enemy yet?”

“No,” he said. “Anna and Mia are someplace safe, right?”

“They’re in the mine,” she said. “I’m just leaving there now.”

“Gather up some of the warriors and guard the mine,” Ed said. “That’s the most important thing you can do.”

“I should be on the front lines,” Erica said.

“I figured you’d argue. Sam, your turn.”

“Hey,” Sam said. “Guard Mia. Please?”

She sighed. “You two are ganging up on me.”

“You’re damn straight,” Sam said. “It’s the best place you can be. Do like Ed suggested. Lead the warriors. Protect the women and children. What could be more important than that?”

“Okay, okay, I’ll do it,” she said. “I’ll go gather the warriors.”

Sam paused for a moment. “Ed already sent them texts. They’re on their way now.”

Erica looked up, and saw thirty warriors rushing over, armed with M60s, RPGs, and M4s. “They’re here. Talk to you later. Don’t get killed.”

“I won’t, honey,” Sam said. The call ended.

“Around the opening?” asked the first warrior.

Erica backed away from the mine, looking at the terrain and the buildings nearby. “Some on the rocks above. Some down the side street to the east. Some in that building across the road. Some in the mill on the west. Sound good?”

“Perfect,” the warrior said. The men moved into position, Erica taking a place just inside the opening of the mine, where she could see the street in both directions. She checked her AK-47, then settled in to watch.

***

“Sounds like they’re ready,” Sid said, eyes peeled out the front of the Jeep as they rolled along the stagecoach road.

“Where’s Yvonne?” Ed asked.

“She’s in the battle wagon with Clem and Sarah,” he said.

“Get off the road,” Garrett said sharply.

Sam reacted, turning off into the weeds, on the low side of one of the hills. “What?”

“I hear a vehicle coming,” he whispered as they parked.

“I hear it too,” Sid said. “Quiet everybody.”

“Think that’s the semi?” Ryan asked.

“No, that sounds like something else,” Ed said.

“The road ahead won’t take a semi without some work,” Garrett whispered. “There’s another creek bed down at the bottom of the next valley, just over this little hill.”

“We need to sneak up there and look,” Sid said. “Maybe you ought to stay here and let me sneak up there. I’m good at that.”

“So am I,” Tyler said, “I’ll join you.”

“Okay, but no more,” Sam said. “Don’t take anything shiny up there.”

Sid and Tyler both nodded, leaving the others, climbing the gentle slope of the hill, slowing when they neared the top, getting onto their bellies in the weeds.

“Glad the grass is high,” Tyler whispered. Sid nodded in agreement as they inched up further.

Sid peeked over the top. “I knew it.”

Tyler joined him, then both backed down.

Sam was coming up the hill to meet them on the way down. “What was it?”

“Gravel truck, filling in that creek bed,” Tyler whispered.

“There isn’t anywhere else that a semi can’t go, until real close to town,” Sid whispered. “We ought to wait here for them, blast them in the valley.”

“No,” Sam said. “Let’s backup, find some cover.”

“Why?” Sid asked.

Ed chuckled. “I know why. If we take out the rig back here before their front team is in place, they’ll take off, and live to fight another day with their shielded vehicle intact. We should wait until they’re both committed, and destroy them.”

To be continued…

 

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Bugout! California Part 151 – Underground

The artillery barrage continued, guns firing into the Mexican desert, the gunners watching the apps and adjusting on the fly.

Conrad walked over to Lieutenant Colonel Meyers. “You see what the enemy is doing?”

“Yeah,” Meyers said. “They’re fanning out wide.”

“Won’t that mean we lose our funnel? Our kill zone with the Claymore mines?”

Meyers shook his head no. “They’ll try to re-funnel once they get too close for our artillery to be effective,” he said. “This is the point closest to the road. They’ll try to steal vehicles if we’re defeated. Wish they were further away.”

“You’re saying we shouldn’t fan our men out wider?” Conrad asked.

Meyers thought silently for a moment. “Let’s look at the map. You have a good handle on where the citizens are?”

“Fairly good.”

Meyers walked to his tent with Conrad, reaching in to get his tablet. He pulled up the map program and they looked at it.

“What are you guys up to?” Doug asked, walking over with Jorge.

“Trying to figure out strategy now that the enemy is fanning out so wide,” Conrad said.

“You know where the backup in traffic is, right?” Meyers asked.

Doug shook his head yes. “Some of our people took their motorcycles up to the blockage points. It’s still Ocotillo to the east and Boulder Oaks to the west.”

They all gathered close, looking at the table, trying to block the glare of the sun.

“The enemy must have some intelligence on Highway 94,” Jorge said. “Look how many are going to that side.”

“Let me see that,” Meyers asked, taking Jorge’s phone. “Dammit, that isn’t good.”

“How close are we to having that route open?” Conrad asked.

“We have one of the motorcycle teams heading in that direction,” Doug said. “I’ll text them. Might be a while. Takes two hands to ride.”

“Please do,” Meyers said. “I better make some calls.”

“Wait, let’s chat a minute longer,” Conrad said.

“What’s on your mind?” Meyers asked.

“We don’t have enough room for everybody who’s coming, even if we didn’t have the traffic tie-up,” he said. “I say we get people coming down Buckman Springs Road and the other smaller roads going south from I-8. Get them to the border. If they need to come east to help us right here, they can do that easy enough, but if the enemy is going to try for Highway 94, they’ll be there to stop it.”

“Will they have the numbers and firepower to make any difference?” Jorge asked.

Conrad smiled. “Ivan’s forces arrived at Dodge City last night, along with all of those crazy battle wagons and off-roaders. I say we ask them to get on Highway 94 as soon as they can get through the pass.”

“We should do the same thing on the east side,” Jorge said. “Let’s start running them south from Ocotillo on the small roads through the Jacumba Wilderness. They won’t make it here in time anyway, and once they’re to the border, they can use the road along the fence to come in this direction if we need them.”

“I like it,” Meyers said. “It will keep the enemy from being able to encircle our position here.”

“We’re liable to lose a lot of civilians doing this,” Doug said.

“We’re gonna lose a lot of civilians no matter what we do,” Conrad said. “We knew the gig when we took it.”

“Some of the enemy fighters are gonna get through,” Jorge said.

“Yep, right into the multitude of citizens who are still on the way,” Conrad said.

“And they’ll have to contend with our air power then,” Meyers said. “Okay, I’m gonna make some calls. Conrad, you got some inroads with Ivan’s folks?”

“Yes sir,” Conrad said. “I’ll get them on the horn.”

Doug pulled his phone out, looking at it with a wide grin. “That pass on Highway 94 is open.”

***

Elmer led Robbie, Seth, Kaitlyn, and Ben into the mine, all of them with heavy backpacks on. It got cooler as they got deeper, the dim LED lights along the ceiling putting off an eerie glow.

“Find many artifacts down here?” Robbie asked, “other than the whiskey, that is?”

Elmer chuckled. “There’s stuff all over the place, but we’ve just left it.”

“You guys found whiskey down here?” Ben asked.

“Lots,” Elmer said. “We haven’t even brought all of it out yet.”

“It’s good stuff,” Seth said. “Real good.” Kaitlyn nodded in agreement.

“Those buildings aren’t old, are they?” Ben asked.

Elmer turned to him, slowing down. “When we bought this land, all that was here were ruins along main street, and the mine, which had been closed up with dynamite somewhere along the line.”

“So, you built the western town right on top of the ruins?” Ben asked.

“Pretty much,” Elmer said. “Here’s the place I had in mind.” They entered a room, carved out with a higher ceiling than the tunnel they’d come out of. There were metal folding tables along the wall, more in the center. Reloading presses and boxes of led bullets sat near the door. “Looks like Susanne still has some stuff to move, but it won’t get in our way.”

“Did you make the town look like the original?” Seth asked.

“I was wondering that too,” Kaitlyn said.

“We found a few old pictures, and used them as a guide,” Elmer said. “Parts of the original rebuild got torn down, though. Garrett and the others didn’t know anything about permits.’

Ben cracked up. “Dangerous thing in nanny-state California.”

“You got that right,” Elmer said. “That’s how I hooked up with these folks originally. Knew a few of them. I’m a contractor. I helped them fix what was fixable and build new structures where the original wasn’t salvageable.”

“Why did they build the town?” Ben asked.

“Originally? Reenactments, mainly. These folks are kinda like Civil War reenactors. That’s why they got so deep into the black powder guns and such.”

“Did they plan to live here originally?” Kaitlyn asked. “I remember reading about this place. There didn’t used to be many full-time residents.”

“No, that happened when things started to go sideways. Garrett lived here before we bought the rest of the land, on his ranch outside of town. That’s been in the family for over a hundred years. When the rest of the land came on the market, he got together his group and made a pitch to pool resources and buy it, but it was mainly for recreation. The land was cheap.”

“Who owned it?” Robbie asked.

“Mining company,” Elmer said, “actually, a holding company that received the land after the mining company went out of business. The family that owned the original company died off. Mines around here been played out for years, of course. There was some question if anybody from the twentieth century even knew the company held this land.”

“Interesting,” Robbie said. “Good fodder for a book.”

“You’re a writer, huh?” Ben asked.

“Yeah, but haven’t had much time for it lately.”

Ben laughed. “I’m a political writer. Haven’t been able to pursue that lately either.”

“We’ll get back to it,” Robbie said.

“What do you think, guys?” Elmer asked. “Can you work down here?”

“What about cellphone reception?” Ben asked.

“We put a repeater out there, so we could communicate with Susanne when she was running her operation down here. We might want to expand it a little bit. Got internet lines running down here already, too.”

“Why’d you do that?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Early on, we thought it better to have a place to hole up. Didn’t think we’d have the resources to fight back. Californians stepped up.”

“You haven’t been eight hundred people for long, then?” Seth asked.

“Nah. The core group was about a hundred and twenty. Hell, I wasn’t even a part of the original group.”

“Who was?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Garrett and his family, which includes Susanne, of course. Willard, and a bunch of reenacting weekend warriors, mainly. We have a group of theater folks here – that’s how we were able to do the shows.”

“Shows?” Ben asked.

“They had an old-west opera house going,” Kaitlyn said. “We sent business their way from our casino. I went once. It was fun.”

“Those people still here?” Robbie asked.

“Most of them, but we don’t encourage strangers to come here right now,” Elmer said. “No more shows for a while. I hope we get back to it. Susanne was big-time into that. I think she’s cranky because she can’t do it now.”

“You’ll get back to it someday,” Kaitlyn said, “and we’ll get our casino business back too.”

Elmer smiled. “Hope so, although Susanne used to skin me alive for dropping too much money at your place.”

There were footsteps approaching. Clem and Sarah appeared at the door way, Morgan with them, a backpack slung over one shoulder. She rushed over to Robbie’s side.

“Figured you guys might want some wiring done,” Clem said. “Need any help, Elmer?”

“Hell yeah,” Elmer said. “You know more about that than me, I suspect.”

“Who wired this place with the cell repeater and Wi-Fi originally?” Seth asked.

“Contractors from town,” Elmer said. “Murdered by the enemy during their first wave through here.”

“Bastards,” Clem said. “I’m ready to dig in any time.”

Sarah smiled. “Yeah, I’d rather have you doing this than stomping around in the back country with Sid and the others.”

Clem chuckled, shaking his head. “I knew why you suggested it, but I’m glad you did. I’m more good here anyway.”

“Oh, didn’t want him exposed to more snipers, eh?” Morgan said. “Good.”

“I saw you,” Ben said, looking at Morgan in the dim light. “On the TV, when you and the others testified about the UN captivity. Your courage impressed the hell out of me.”

Morgan shot him an embarrassed look.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

“It’s okay, Ben,” she said. “I’m glad I did it. Most of the others are here too.”

“Then we’re in good company,” Ben said.

“I saw the video of you too, Ben,” Robbie said. “The right thing at the right time. Very brave. I’m in awe.”

“Likewise,” Seth said.

“Well, I’d be dead if not for Ivan,” Ben said, “more than once.”

Seth took off his backpack, and started pulling computer equipment out, setting it on a table. “This okay?”

“Go for it,” Elmer said. “There’s enough power strips to get started.”

“You want to use Wi-Fi down here, or ethernet lines?” Clem asked, looking at the wiring coming in.

“Either would work for us,” Kaitlyn said.

“Whatever is faster,” Ben said. “We’re gonna have a lot of conversations going on. We’ll need to expand this team, too. You guys know that, right?”

“How many people are you thinking?” Elmer asked. “Matters for the electrical.”

“I’d like at least eight more,” Ben said.

“Okay, I’ll wire it for that,” Elmer said.

Susanne came in with a few ladies, picking up the remainder of the supplies. “How’s it going?”

“I think this will work,” Elmer said. “Sorry to displace you.”

“Ah, hell, you were right, you old bushwhacker,” she said. “We’re setting up shop in the mill instead of down here. Those ammo belts are too heavy to carry around, and we don’t have the explosion issues anymore.”

“I thought you wanted to be cool?” Elmer asked.

“The mill has those swamp coolers, remember?”

“Oh, yeah,” Elmer said. “That’ll help. I’ll be up there after this to make sure you got everything you need.”

“Thanks,” she said. “C’mon, girls, let’s go.” She paused, seeing Sarah standing next to Clem, and came over.

“Hi, Susanne,” Sarah said, looking nervous.

“I saw you moved,” she said softly. “Sorry about last night.”

“No worries. I actually like being closer to Clem, but don’t spread that around too much.”

“I had a feeling,” she said, a sly grin on her face. “Enjoy. No hard feelings.”

Sarah nodded, and Susanne turned and joined her group, picking up a box of shell casings.

“Glad that’s over with,” Sarah whispered. Clem nodded, touching her shoulder.

“Me too. Want to help me with this?”

“What can I do?” Sarah asked.

“Probably help me to pull wires. We might need to go into town.”

She giggled. “Oh, we’re going to Scooter’s again?”

Elmer laughed. “Oh, you met old Scooter, huh? He’s well stocked, but he talks your ear off. You ask him what time it is and he tells you how to build a watch.”

Clem laughed. “Yeah, I noticed. I need to pace this out to see how much cable I’ll need. Want to show me where the internet source is?”

“Sure,” Elmer said. “Let’s go.” The three left the room.

“Can you tell me about this history program of yours?” Ben asked, walking over to Seth.

“Yeah, I’m interested in that too.” Robbie said.

They pulled up chairs next to Seth’s table.

“I’ll show you,” Seth said. He opened the program.

“Better run it, honey,” Kaitlyn said. “We didn’t run an AM report today, with all the excitement.”

Seth nodded, clicking on the report button. “This will take a little while. We’ve got a pretty good dataset. Wish we had a strong desktop system to run this on.”

“That’s a gamer laptop, at least,” Robbie said, looking at it.

“It is, but it just doesn’t have the raw power.”

“What is your program doing?” Ben asked.

“It takes a snapshot of all of the enemy hits within the region every few minutes. We’re using outside servers to crunch and store the raw data.”

“Outside servers?” Robbie asked. “That safe?”

“Yeah,” Seth said. “It’s all encrypted, which is part of the computing power issue.”

“Why does it matter how powerful the local machine is, then?” Ben asked.

“Kaitlyn is an Excel expert,” Seth said. “She developed a reporting tool, which takes about sixty pages of VB code to run. That takes a while with this machine.”

“What’s this telling you that you can’t see by running the apps live?” Robbie asked.

“We originally developed this so we could watch for Islamists disappearing and reappearing,” Kaitlyn said.

“Why?” Ben asked.

“We got attacked by Islamists in lead-shielded vans,” Seth said. “It was two UN Peacekeepers driving, the back shielded part of the van full of Islamist fighters. Got the drop on us a couple times. We were afraid they’d expand that capability, and we wanted some warning. If a whole bunch of these cretins disappear all of a sudden, we know there’s something up.”

“I get it,” Morgan said. “They can’t just hide themselves. If they leave an area, you’ll see them. If they drop off the screen completely, you’ll know they’ve effectively hidden themselves.”

“Yep, and we’ll know what the numbers are, too,” Kaitlyn said.

“Genius, man,” Ben said.

“How big of an area do you cover?” Robbie asked.

“We’ve got it set to a thousand square miles,” Seth said. “That’s why it’s taking so long to run.”

“Wow,” Ben said, squinting at the screen as the computer chugged away at the data.

“Maybe we should talk about our strengths, so we can decide who does what,” Robbie said.

Ben smiled. “Good idea.”

“Agreed,” Kaitlyn said, looking at Seth, who shook his head yes, eyes glued to the laptop screen.

“I’m good at copy writing,” Robbie said. “I’d rather write fiction, but I made money on the side writing text that would draw people in, and it worked.”

“So, when we start recruitment, you’d be key to draw interest,” Ben said. “We had a person like that in the last team, and she was essential.”

“Did you lose her in the ambush?” Robbie asked.

Ben nodded yes, trying to keep the emotion from taking him.

“Seth and I are good with technical stuff,” Kaitlyn said. “Data gathering and analysis.”

“That’s obvious,” Ben said. “I know the internet community like the back of my hand. I know where to kick things off, who to enlist to help us get the word out, and so on. Got that ability as a campus radical.”

“You were a campus radical?” Robbie asked. “You mean like SDS?”

Ben laughed. “No, more like the Sons of Liberty.

The laptop beeped.

“It’s done, honey,” Kaitlyn said, turning to see him staring at the screen, already opening the report.

“Dammit,” he said. “We’ve got to talk to Garrett and the others.”

“You see something?” Robbie asked.

“Julian,” he said. “About seven hundred enemy fighters vanished overnight. Wish I would’ve run this before we went into the meeting.”

“They can’t hide that many people in shielded vehicles, can they?” Morgan asked.

Seth looked at her, brow furrowed. He went to his browser, typing in the search window. Robbie pulled his phone out and sent a text.

“Who are you texting to?” Ben asked.

“Jules,” Robbie said. “He’ll spread the word around.”

“Crap,” Seth said.

“What?” Kaitlyn asked, getting closer to him, looking at the laptop screen.

“What’s it say?” Ben asked.

“I searched on how many people fit in a semi-trailer.”

“Oh,” Ben said. “And?”

“In a two-trailer rig, the number is over five hundred,” he said, looking back at them. “This page is about illegal immigrant smugglers.”

“Son of a bitch,” Robbie said. “They could get that many folks here in two semi rigs.”

“How far is Julian from here?” Morgan asked.

Robbie pulled out his phone and loaded the GPS program. “Worst case, a couple hours. They’re probably already here.”

“No,” Kaitlyn said.

Robbie’s phone dinged with a text.

“Jules?” Morgan asked.

“Yeah, he’s mobilizing everybody,” Robbie said.

“Should we get out there?” Ben asked.

“No, they want us to keep watching this,” Robbie said. He kicked off the report again, adjusting the range down to two-hundred square miles. “It’ll run a lot faster at this setting.”

“I’m getting set up too,” Ben said, pulling the laptop out of his backpack.

“I’m doing the same,” Robbie said.

Morgan glanced at Kaitlyn. “Let’s go grab our guns, just in case.”

“You run your report,” Seth said, getting out of the chair. “I’ll go do that – I’ll grab your AK and my M60.”

“I’ll help,” Morgan said, looking at Robbie, who nodded yes.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 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 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! 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 – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!

 

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 150 – The Livery Stable

Jules woke up from a long sleep, the feeling of panic hitting him as he reached for Shelley on her empty side of the bed. He picked up his phone. It was already 10:00. The sound of laughing approached, and then he could hear Shelley, Dana, and Karen chatting happily as they approached. The door of the coach opened, Shelley walking to the bedroom.

“Meeting coming up, honey. Time to get up.”

“Yes, I know,” he said, getting out of bed and stretching. “Walking the grounds?”

“This place is a full-on riot. It’s like a movie set, except it’s all real.”

“I like. The saloon was fun.”

She watched as he got dressed. “Want a cup of coffee to take along?”

“Sure, in paper cup if we still have,” he said, sitting on the bed to tie his shoes.

“We still do.” She turned on the generator, then went into the kitchen as he finished.

“Who’s running meeting?” Jules asked, taking the warm paper cup from Shelley’s hands.

“Our host and somebody named Sam. They’re holding it in a barn at the end of main street.”

“Good,” Jules said, sipping the coffee. “Get enough sleep?”

“I did. You?”

“Yes. Glad I didn’t hang around the saloon too late last night.”

They headed for the door, Jules shutting down the generator before they left.

“We gonna get hookups?” Shelly asked.

“Not ask yet,” Jules said. “We talk about later. Might not happen until after battle. Coach fuel tank full, so generator is good fall back.”

They left the large pasture, rows of battle wagons on either side. Their friends were coming out, all heading for the main street, a block away to the north.

“I love this place,” Tex said, walking next to them with Karen, Sparky, and Dana.

Karen snickered. “He’s home.”

“Well, it’s not Texas, but it does have a certain charm,” he said.

“Most of the off-roaders got here early this morning,” Sparky said. “Woke me up. I need a little more sleep.”

“Anxious to see upgrades,” Jules said. “Did you look?”

“Not yet. What were they gonna do to them?” Sparky asked.

“Armor around driver and passenger, and new main gun.”

“New main gun?” Tex asked. “Those grenade launchers aren’t enough?”

“Ever hear of XM214 microgun?” Jules asked.

“I remember those,” Sparky said.

“My mind’s drawing a blank on that one, partner,” Tex said.

“They cancelled that program,” Sparky said.

“Is somebody gonna tell me what it is?” Tex asked. Karen laughed, rolling her eyes.

Jules chuckled. “Mini gun that fire .223 ammo.”

“Holy crap,” Tex said. “Seriously?”

“Yes, plans from GE’s original program. Ivan set up shop. Use 3-D printers for parts and mount. Attach to existing M19 grenade launcher.”

“I’m interested,” Tex said. “Suppose we get hand-held versions of those? Probably kick less than an M60 or a BAR. The rate of fire would make up for the lower-power round.”

“I request,” Jules said. “Ivan say no. Unit weigh 35 pounds. Also need power source. Too much to carry.”

Sparky laughed. “I’m not up to that. I’ll stick with my trusty M60. That’s heavy enough.”

They rounded the corner, getting onto the wooden sidewalk of the main street.

“I smell food,” Shelley said.

“Have more appetite now, huh?” Karen asked. Shelley shot her a sharp glare. Nobody else seemed to notice.

“I see barn,” Jules said. “Sign say Livery Stable. Where O.K. Corral?”

Tex chuckled. “Look, horses.” He nodded to several which were tied up in front of the saloon.

“Where are Ji-Ho’s battle wagons?” Sparky asked.

“We saw some others on the far end of town,” Shelley said, “where we walked this morning. They’ve got hookups over there, but it doesn’t look like there’s room for more coaches.”

“How many were there?” Tex asked.

“About twenty,” Karen said. “Some of them looked brand new.”

“Yes, Ivan send more,” Jules said.

“Listen,” Sparky said, slowing. “That sounds like a chopper.”

“Oh, crap, maybe we should have our guns with us,” Karen said.

“Probably Ivan,” Jules said. He whipped out his phone and sent a text. It dinged with a reply in seconds. “Yes, Ivan and Ben. Came from local airport.”

They watched as the chopper came down in the field behind the streets.

“You want to go meet them, honey?” Shelley asked.

“No, we see in barn.”

They walked past the rest of the street, getting onto a dirt path between the end of the wooden sidewalk and the barn. Sam was outside with Garrett, Clem, and Sid, welcoming the crowd as they came in.

“Good morning,” Jules said.

Sam smiled. “Great to see you guys. There’s food on the long tables just inside the door.”

“Thanks, partner,” Tex said.

They entered, got some food, and carried their paper plates to benches set up in front, the first row already occupied. Robbie and Morgan were there, sitting next to Justin and Katie.

Karen sat next to Shelley and made eye contact, then moved close to whisper. “Sorry.”

Shelley shrugged, whispering back. “Nobody noticed.”

Seth and Kaitlyn came in and sat behind them, Angel and Megan joining. Trevor and Kaylee showed up a moment later, Megan freezing when she saw Kaylee’s puffy eyes.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“I’ll tell you after this,” Kaylee said. Trevor glanced at Megan, hurt in his eyes, then put his arm around Kaylee’s shoulders and pulled her close.

Ed came in with Ryan and Tyler. Erica followed, but moved towards the front to be next to Sam instead of sitting with them. Anna showed up a moment later, going to Garrett.

The barn filled quickly, and then there was commotion at the door. Jules turned, his face breaking into a broad smile as he saw Ivan and Ben walking up the center isle with Garrett, Sam, and Ji-Ho. Ivan had on his usual pin-striped suit with fedora, looking well pressed.

The crowd hushed as Garrett got on the small platform, taking the podium. He tapped the microphone, which sounded throughout the large space. “Sounds like it’s on. Welcome, everybody. Glad you could make it. There’s plenty of food, so don’t be shy.”

“Thanks!” said somebody from the back. Others muttered agreement. The crowd got silent again.

“I’d like to introduce two of our friends. I know all of you have heard of them, maybe seen them on video too, but this is the first time most of you have seen them in person. Ivan and Ben. Come on up here, guys!”

Ivan came up, tipping his hat to the audience as the crowd roared, Ben following him, looking embarrassed at the attention.

“You all should be proud of yourselves,” Ivan began. “You’ve been the driving force in the victories we’ve had over the Islamists and the UN. Thanks to you, our state is well on the way to stamping out their operations completely. Together we’ll work to finish the job as quickly as possible, so we can all go back to our normal lives.”

The people cheered, Ivan waiting, looking at the crowd, then over at Garrett and the others. He spoke again when they were quiet.

“We have a great battle starting as we speak, to the south. We are facing some terrible odds, but we have more help than we have in the past. The US Navy and the Marines are joining us this time. Most of you know that there are three-quarters of a million enemy troops walking towards the border. Marine artillery is pounding them right now. They won’t have those numbers for long. That doesn’t mean the battle is won, though. Not by a long shot. Many of these invaders will manage to get through, and many people on both sides will be killed or wounded.”

He looked out over the quiet crowd for a moment.

“I believe we will win this battle, and win it big. The enemy will not get their new supply of troops to rescue those trapped here after their numerous defeats. We will halt the advance of the invaders, and then root out the remaining enemy fighters from all over the state.”

“Are we going down there to join the battle?” asked Cody from the middle of the crowd.

“That remains to be seen,” Ivan said. “We’re well dug in along the border, and very well armed. Along with the artillery we’re using there, the area between Old Highway 80 and the border is rigged with claymore mines, and we have hundreds of mortars set up. Trains have brought boxcar after boxcar of Marines into the area, as the multitude of citizens continue to arrive. Our biggest problem right now is that the major roads into the area are now clogged with incoming recruits.”

“What are we gonna do?” Angel asked. “If the roads are clogged, we won’t be able to get our battle wagons down there.”

“We’ll be doing cleanup of any enemy fighters who get through, and we’ll be a staging ground for the citizen recruits who are continuing to arrive. We’ll also be handling re-supply of ammo and weapons as long as the battle rages.”

“What’s the Navy going to do to help?” asked Tyler.

“Two main things,” Ivan said. “First, they’ll insure that no EU ships are able to land additional troops in this area. We know for a fact that the EU Navy is sending ships full of UN Peacekeepers, to re-take the parts of California they’ve lost. We’ll destroy them before they get close.”

“Who’s minding the store up north now that you’ve moved down here?” Ed asked.

“I didn’t bring my entire team down here,” Ivan said, “and we’ve still got the citizenry who did most of the heavy lifting. We’ll coordinate with them whenever we get news of a possible attack.”

“What’s the other thing the Navy is doing?” Trevor asked.

“Air support,” Ivan said. “Their jets and helicopters will pound the enemy once they’ve gotten across the border, assuming some of them will.”

The room broke into murmurs.

“Won’t they hit some of our people if they wait until the enemy crosses the border?” Susanne asked, standing next to Elmer and Willard in the back.

“Special care will be taken to prevent losses due to friendly fire,” Ivan said.

“They should’ve hit them south of the border,” Willard said.

“I agree with that,” Ivan said, “the Navy leadership is trying to prevent outside forces from joining the fight on the enemy side. They’d been warned against taking unilateral action outside of the United States.”

“Yeah, but we’re shelling the enemy while they’re in Mexico,” Seth said.

“True, and I must admit I was surprised about that,” Ivan said. “Might just come down to explicit warnings.”

Ed laughed. “This limited warfare crap is maddening. Reminds me of Nam. Is there anything we can do to change their minds?”

“I tried early on,” Ivan said. “Since I’ve heard that some of the brass is a little upset with the shelling, I decided to avoid further comment for now. The shelling might actually be more effective anyway.”

“We know there’s still around three-hundred thousand Islamist spread out over the state,” Seth said. “Our history program is showing their movements fairly well now. We can’t see the UN Peacekeepers. Is there a similar number?”

“Ah, you must be Seth,” Ivan said. “Heard good things about you and your partner Kaitlyn. Let’s talk after this meeting. I’d like to get you, Robbie, and Ben together. There can be some synergy there, I think.”

Seth smiled. “I’d love it. We’ve heard great things about both.”

“Great,” Ivan said. “Now, to your question. The UN’s forces have been hit hard, but as you know, they have not been destroyed. I heard about the attack just yesterday on this facility. The good news is that we have them on the run, and we estimate there are less than fifty thousand UN Peacekeepers left on California soil.”

“The way you said that, I’m expecting some bad news to counter it,” Ed said.

“The EU and the UN were having a spat over funding and personnel losses,” Ivan said. “That’s the main reason they were unable to re-supply their forces in the last couple weeks. They’ve set their differences aside for now. As I mentioned, there are troop transport ships cruising to the USA as we speak.”

“Just California?” Trevor asked.

“Our sources tell us they’re also attempting to bring forces and supplies to the Eastern seaboard, to shore up martial law in those states.”

“Our Navy will be spread thin,” Ed said.

“They will, but our Navy is many times larger than the EU Navy, and what’s left of the Royal Navy has joined us. We stand a good chance of being victorious. I won’t candy-coat this and say there’s no danger, though. We’re still in this war, and there are a lot of moving parts. The US Navy is one big one.”

“What about the US Airforce?” Cody asked. “And the US Army?”

“The US Army is tied up in Mexico, for the most part, but we expect that situation to come to an end soon. The US Airforce is beginning to get involved now, thanks to certain treasonous Pentagon leaders leaving the country over the last several days.”

“So, it sounds like our main job immediately is helping with staging and supply, and being ready to back up the forces to the south,” Tyler said.

“Yes,” Ivan said.

Garrett stood up. “We’ve got another concern, as most of you know.”

“Please, come take the mic,” Ivan said. “I’ve said what I wanted to say. I’ll be here if there are more questions.”

Garrett nodded and walked to the front. “Even though the UN Peacekeeper force has been weakened, they’re still around, and still causing us problems. Add to that the fact that they’ve tried to bring Islamists in lead-shielded vehicles once already, and that makes us somewhat vulnerable.”

Murmurs rose from the crowd.

“On the good side, we have a lot more fighters now, and we have a lot more firepower too,” Garrett said. “It would take an extremely large force to overrun us in a battle. A small number of enemy fighters could sneak in with mortars again and shell the town. We need to focus on that. I’m getting together with Sid after we’re done here, to use his excellent tracking ability yet again. We need to find out how the UN Peacekeepers got in here. Anybody who’d like to help would be welcome.”

Sam stood up and walked to the podium. “We have many upgraded off-roaders. I think we should add them to the patrols until we lock this down.”

“What kind of upgrades did they get?” Trevor asked.

Ji-Ho smiled and came up, joining the others around the mic. “XM214 microguns, mounted on top of existing M19s.”

Trevor laughed. “Those never made it to production. How’d we manage that?”

Ivan smiled and turned back to the mic. “We got GE’s original plans and used our 3D printing capability to create them, with a little help from our machine shop.”

“What’s an XM214?” Robbie asked.

“It’s a small mini gun which fires .223 ammo,” Sam said. “Nice little unit.”

“They work well,” shouted one of the off-roaders from the back. “I’d say they expanded our capability by more than a hundred percent.”

“Let’s get some of your team set up to start patrols, then, provided Garrett has no objection.”

Garrett smiled, walking back to the mic. “I think it’s a great idea, but we will keep the mounted patrols running as well, in areas where it’s difficult for off-roaders to operate.”

“Sounds great,” Ivan said. “Does anybody have any questions?”

Seth stood up. “We heard a rumor that Ben lost his team last night. Is that true?”

Ben nodded, walking up to the mic. “I’m afraid so. We had a plant in our ranks, and he led a UN commando team right to us, as we were getting ready to leave our Sacramento location.”

“You lost friends,” Seth said. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s hard, but we’re in a war,” Ben said. “We’ve got replacement equipment. How’d you like to help us set it up?”

“Love too,” Seth said. “Kaitlyn can help too. She’s good with that stuff as well.”

Jules made eye contact with Robbie, who stood up. “I’ll help out too, if you’d like. This is right up my alley as well.”

“Then let’s do it,” Ben said.

“I’ve got a good place, if this operation needs to be protected,” Elmer said.

“You aren’t thinking of giving them the reloading facility, are ya?” Susanne asked.

“Yes, as a matter of fact,” Elmer said.

“Susanne, we’re flush with guns and ammo now,” Willard said, “and we’ve still got massive reserves of black powder ammo in the storage room. There’s more important things you can do.”

“You guys are taking my job away,” Susanne said.

“We’ve got better job for you,” Ji-Ho said. “Load .223 rounds onto belts. Labor intensive. Perfect.”

“There’s a great idea,” Garrett said. “Just as important, and a far cry safer too. You won’t run the risk of blowing yourself up doing that.”

Several people in the audience cracked up.

“Oh, all right,” she said. “I think we ought to get all of the percussion caps and primers out of that facility, then. No use risking an explosion.”

“I’ll help you, honey,” Elmer said.

“Actually, we’ll probably need you to work on the electrical for the PCs, and some lighting,” Garrett said.

“Yes, I’ll have my ladies help me cart the primers away. There’s another room down there we can use to do the belt stuffing. We’ll need lights down there.”

“You could do it on the surface,” Elmer said.

“Cooler in the mine,” she said.

“Wait, you’re talking about us setting up underground?” Ben asked.

“Yep,” Willard said. “You ain’t claustrophobic, are ya?”

Ben laughed. “No, it’ll be fine, as long as it’s not too damp down there.”

“It’s not,” Susanne said. “Couldn’t have used it for black powder production if it was.”

“Okay, then I say we break into teams and get to work,” Garrett said.

“Let’s meet someplace for a while, gentlemen,” Ivan said, looking at Sam, Ji-Ho, Garrett, and the others in the leadership team.

“We can use the saloon,” Willard said. “I’ll open her up.”

“Perfect,” Sam said, looking at Ivan. “You’re gonna love this place.”

“I’m sure,” Ivan said.

The group finished up and left the barn.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 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 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! 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 – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!

 

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

Bug Out! California Part 147 – Pool Pickup

Ben ran out of the dark industrial area, heart pounding. His whole team, gone in an instant. He had to contact Ivan, but was afraid to stop. Sirens approached, probably coming to check out the gunfire and the burning truck. He ran towards the opening in back, which went into a vacant lot, hiding in trees about fifty yards out, then hit Ivan’s contact on his phone and put it to his hear.

“Ben, you left yet?” Ivan asked.

“They’re gone,” he said, trying to catch his breath. “All of them.”

“What happened?” Ivan asked.

“One of our new recruits was a plant,” he said. “I figured that out. Was questioning him in the office when UN commandos attacked the group outside.”

“Did they get the computers?” Ivan asked.

“I used the self-destruct. I’ll never doubt you again about that kind of thing. Sorry.”

“Don’t,” Ivan said. “You’re learning faster than anyone I’ve ever had on my team. You sure everybody’s dead?”

“Pretty sure. Nobody was returning fire before I blew the truck. Somebody might have survived, but now I hear sirens approaching. Want me to go back and check?”

“NO!” Ivan said. “Get away from there, find a good place to get picked up, and I’ll send Mr. White and Mr. Black. They’re nearby. Got it?”

“Yeah,” Ben said. “Sorry.”

“How’d you figure out the guy was a plant?”

“He was asking too many questions, and then said he knew somebody who knew you from school in Russia,”

“Morons,” Ivan said. “Protect yourself. We need you to rebuild the team. That recruitment is essential, with the forces we’ve got coming at us now.”

“I’ve got my phone, and we’re rolling big time with the recruitment. I think we did enough before we started packing up. These campaigns develop a life of their own once they really start going.”

“Good,” Ivan said. “We’ll get you on a plane to the south. I’ll have new facilities ready to go. Don’t get killed. Call me when you’re in a place you can be picked up.”

“I’ll do my best,” Ben said. He ended the call and crept further back in the vacant lot, heading for a housing tract that backed up to it, climbing a fence into a back yard and rushing for the front gate, the dog next door barking. He burst out of it just as lights came on in the house, his heart hammering in his chest, running full speed down the sidewalk towards a park at the end, getting into the shadows before anybody got outside. There was play equipment there, in an area with a rubber floor. He slipped into a play fort, hidden from the outside, and watched for a few minutes. The only sound was the sirens, and then the thumping of a chopper. Dammit.

The chopper came into view over the industrial area, circling, it’s spotlight shining, making a beam in the damp night air. The lights in the house he just ran past were on now, a man standing on the front lawn looking around, his cellphone to his ear. “He’s calling the police,” Ben whispered to himself, looking around for a better hiding place. The community pool was sixty yards away, with a club house and cabanas, sitting dark and un-occupied. Run.

He slipped away from the play equipment slowly, not getting up to run until he was out of sight of the man, who was still looking around, phone still to his ear. The ground between him and the pool complex seemed like a mile, but he crossed it in seconds, hopping the fence and getting into the shadows, under a patio roof with a towel cabinet and a row of lounge chairs. The pool was dark, wind putting gentle ripples on the surface, the large round spa also dark. Chlorine smell. There was a click, and the pump started, the flow of water in the pool barely audible.

The sound of a car approached, and a K-9 unit drove slowly up the street towards the house. He could hear car doors opening and closing, the police chopper going in wider circles now. On the edge of panic, he texted Ivan.

“I’m hiding at pool, in the housing track past lot behind office. K-9 unit and choppers approaching.”

An officer was walking towards the park, holding the leash of a big dog. The text ding startled him, and he frantically shut the ringer off and read, trying to block the light of the screen with his hands.

“In area, diversion in seconds, be ready, black sedan.”

Suddenly there was a huge explosion at their former office, a massive fireball rising. The officer ran back to his vehicle, pulling the dog, who was looking back at Ben most of the way. The chopper moved towards the blast, the police cruiser racing out of the tract, siren going on as they got to the main street. A few seconds later the black sedan pulled up. Ben got up, jumped the fence, and ran, getting into the back seat.

“Put on seat belt,” Mr. Black said, smiling back at him from the driver’s seat.

“Ben Dover, good to see,” Mr. White said as the car peeled out, heading out of the tract, going the opposite direction of the melee.

“How’d you guys get here so fast?” Ben asked, trying to catch his breath.

“Boss dispatched right away,” Mr. White said. “He know where office is, you know.”

“Oh, yeah,” Ben said. “Where are we going?”

“Franklin Field,” Mr. Black said as he turned onto the southbound I-5 onramp.

“Laptop on seat for you,” Mr. White said. “Work recruitment. Time short. Chartered plane pick up.”

“You guys going too?” Ben asked.

“No, boss leave us here to watch state government, make sure no slippage,” Mr. Black said.

***

Sarah slowed as she approached the saloon, heart beating a little faster than she liked. There was laughter coming from inside. The doors swung open, one almost smacking her as two people came out.

“Oh, sorry,” said one of them, tipping his cowboy hat.

“It’s okay,” Sarah said, feeling her face flush. She pushed through the swinging doors. The room was empty except for the bar. Willard saw her come in and smiled broadly.

“Howdy,” he said. “Want a drink? I’m buying.”

“Sarah,” Sam said, seeing her walk in. Ed and Garrett turned, nodding a greeting, Clem seeing her and smiling.

“This taken?” she asked, standing by the stool next to Clem.

“It is now,” Clem said, eyes light with booze, voice still clear as a bell.

“Want some of the good stuff?” Willard asked.

“What’s the good stuff?” she asked.

“Whiskey from the folks who mined here,” Garrett said. “It’s probably about a hundred years old.”

“Really?” she asked, settling onto the stool, her elbows going onto the bar. “This place isn’t that old, is it?”

“The saloon?” Willard asked. “Nah, we built this about eight years ago. The mine is another story, and there was a basement under this. Original bar sat here, I reckon.”

“We know it did,” Garrett said. “Surprised the place ain’t haunted.”

“Maybe it is,” Ed said, grinning at the others. “This is damn fine whiskey, but I think I’d better slow down.”

“You got to drive anyplace?” Clem asked.

Ed chuckled. “No, I guess not.”

“I’ll try some of the good stuff,” Sarah said demurely.

“On the rocks, or mixed with soda, or a shot?” Willard asked.

“Give me a shot,” she said. The others chuckled as Willard grabbed a shot glass from under the bar and picked up the ancient unlabeled bottle. He poured carefully and slid it over to her.

“It might be a little harsh,” Clem said, watching as she picked it up.

She smiled at him and then tossed it back, her body shuddering as it burned its way down. “Wow.”

“Told you,” Clem said. “I like it on the rocks. That way I can sip and enjoy the flavor.”

“I never liked the taste much,” she said, setting the shot glass down. “Wow, you feel this fast, right behind the forehead.”

“Another?” Willard asked.

“Oh, what the hell,” she said. He refilled her glass, the others watching.

“You drink much?” Garrett asked.

“Rarely,” she said, looking down at the shot glass. “John had a problem, and I didn’t want to encourage it, so I drank a lot less in the last fifteen years than I did in my youth.” She tossed the drink down, shuddering a little less than the first time, the light feeling in her head growing. “This is nice. I do like to drink. Usually something a little weaker, though.”

“We’ve got a full bar,” Willard said, “I don’t know much about those sweet drinks that women like, though. I’m more of a pourer than a mixer. We’ve got some white wine if you’re interested.”

“Never mix the grain with the grapes,” Sam quipped.

“I think that comment was meant for beer, not whiskey,” Garrett said.

“What’s whiskey made of?” Sarah asked, pushing her shot glass towards Willard.

“You sure, honey?” Willard asked.

She nodded yes, so he poured.

“Whiskey is made from corn,” Sam said. “That’s a grain, isn’t it?”

“Kinda sorta,” Ed said. “Corn squeezens.”

Garrett laughed. “Isn’t that what Granny Clampett called it?”

Sarah giggled. “Rheumatiz medicine.”

“Oh, yeah,” Clem said. “Loved that show.”

“Grits and gopher jowls,” Ed said, laughing. “Hell, I need another drink.”

“I’d better get back,” Sam said. “Erica’s gonna wonder what happened to me.”

“Text her,” Garrett said.

“Yeah, she’ll understand,” Ed said. “Have some fun with the boys.”

“Hey,” Sarah said. She laughed, then drank the next shot, not shuddering at all this time, savoring the warm feeling as it went down her throat. “I’m kinda liking this.”

“You’re gonna start slurring in a second, if you’re not careful,” Clem said. “This stuff hits women harder than it hits men.”

“That’s a fact,” Willard said.

“I’ve only had three,” she said.

“Well, I’ve had five, and I’m pretty tight,” Willard said. “Probably have more, though.”

There was yelling across the street. Willard and Garrett looked at each other and cracked up.

“What’s going on?” Sam asked.

“Elmer and Susanne again,” Willard said.

“He’s going to end up here, I suspect,” Clem said.

“Nah, they’ll just stay there and fight for a while,” Garrett said.

“Nothing violent, I hope,” Sarah said.

“Never,” Garrett said. “That’s why I told Clem to stay at the hotel instead of her boarding house.”

“Maybe you should’ve warned me too,” Sarah quipped.

“You already moved in before I had the chance,” Garrett said. “Don’t worry, they don’t do it every night.”

“It’s been fine until now,” Sarah said, sliding her shot glass back to Willard.

“You’re gonna be feeling no pain, you know,” Willard said as he poured.

“Good,” she said. “I could use a break. Letting loose a little isn’t bad every once in a while. It’s good for you, actually.” The last of the sentence was a little slurred. Willard eyed Clem, smiling. He shook his head.

“What?” Sarah asked.

“Nothing,” Willard said. “Bar etiquette.”

“What’s bar etiquette?” she asked.

“It’s where the bartender makes sure there’s somebody with a person to help them home.”

“Message received,” Clem said, “but who’s gonna help me home?”

Everybody laughed.

“I’m okay,” Sarah said. “Not like I have to get into the car and drive.”

“Yeah, you only have to cross a muddy, rutted street and brave three flights of stairs,” Garrett said.

“It’s not muddy,” Clem said.

“Just trying to be colorful,” Garrett said, smiling at him.

“How are you getting home, Garrett?” Sam asked. “Your place is a lot further.”

Garrett smiled. “Anna. She’ll come get me in the wagon.”

“She knows how to drive a team of horses?” Sarah asked.

Ed laughed. “Oh, yeah, she’s got that down.”

“She does,” Garrett said, “but this is just a carriage with one horse. She’ll probably be here soon. Maybe I can talk her into a drink or two.”

“That won’t be too difficult,” Ed said. “Trust me on that.”

More shouting drifted across the street.

“Geez,” Sarah said.

“Decent squall,” Willard said.

“Yeah, I was gonna say,” Sam said. “Hit me again.” He pushed his glass to Willard, who filled it with ice and whiskey.

“Maybe I ought to do it that way,” Sarah said.

“It’ll slow you down a tad,” Clem said. “Not a bad thing. I’m enjoying the company.”

She touched his arm, looking into his eyes for a long moment. “You’re so nice to me.”

“Oh, you know,” he said. “Old friends.”

“Yes, old friends,” she said. “Can I have one on the rocks, Willard?”

“Of course,” he said, fixing her one.

She took a sip of the cold whiskey, savoring it for a moment. “You know, this isn’t bad.”

“I’ll take another of those,” Clem said.

“Me too, Willard said, filling both glasses with ice and pouring.

“There they go again,” Sarah said as the voices drifted across the street. She looked at Clem and laughed. “Hope it’s worth it to them.”

“If they stop and Elmer doesn’t end up over here, it’s worth it,” Willard said.

Garrett laughed. “Hey, that’s my sister you’re talking about.”

“Elmer needs more protection than she does,” Willard said.

“That sounded kinda naughty,” Sarah said, slurring a little more.

Willard chuckled. “Actually, I’m kinda envious. Not of Susanne, mind you, but of the situation.”

Sam’s phone rang. “Uh oh, maybe I stayed too late.” He looked at it. “Ji-Ho.” He got off his stool and walked away, having a hushed conversation.

“Crap, I hope the party isn’t over,” Clem said. “I’m enjoying this.”

“Me too,” Sarah said.

Sam came back with a wide grin on his face. “We’re about to have company.”

“They’re here?” Garrett asked.

“Yep, just pulling in now,” Sam said. He typed out a text and sent it.

“What now?” Ed asked him.

“I just let Erica know not to wait up,” he said. “I haven’t seen these guys for a while.”

“Maybe I’d better go into the basement and grab a few more bottles of the good stuff,” Willard said.

“Yeah, do that,” Garrett said.

“How are you doing?” Clem asked Sarah.

“Fine. Glad I slowed down a little. I was on the edge of control there for a while. Feeling better now.”

“Good,” Clem said.

The swinging doors creaked, everybody turning to see Ji-Ho coming in, followed by Ted, Jules, Tex, and Sparky.

“Why are you always in a saloon, you old son of a bitch?” Ted asked, walking up to Sam. They embraced.

“Been way too long,” Sam said. “Tex, how the hell are you?”

“Never been better, partner,” he said. “This looks like my kind of place.”

“Hey, Sam,” Sparky said. “Long time no see. You remember Jules?”

“Sure,” Sam said. “How’s it going, Jules?”

“Very good, old friend. Great to finally be with you.”

Sam and Ji-Ho introduced everybody, while Willard lined up drinks for all.

“You okay, Ji-Ho?” Sam asked, eyeing him.

“Tired,” he said softly. “Illness is progressing a little, but I’ll be okay tomorrow if I get enough sleep. I leave soon.”

“We have development tonight, need to discuss for minute,” Jules said. “Mind?”

“No problem here,” Garrett said. “Maybe we ought to go sit at the round table over there. Easier to chat.”

“Yeah, do that, and I’ll bring a bottle over,” Willard said.

“That stuff is insane,” Tex said. “What kind is it?”

Willard told him as they walked over, holding the bottle up in front of him.

“Damn, this stuff is over a hundred years old?” Tex asked. “No wonder it’s so good.”

“You need me?” Clem asked.

“Not unless you’re interested,” Sam said. “I’ll fill you in later.”

“Great, thanks,” Clem said. Sarah looked at him and mouthed thank you.

“I hear from Ivan little while ago,” Jules said. “Ben Dover’s recruitment team got attacked when they were moving out of their offices in Sacramento.”

“No,” Ji-Ho said. “Did anybody survive?”

“Ben only,” Jules said. “He already picked up, getting on plane tonight. He come here, set up, if that okay.”

“Fine by me,” Garrett said, “but what about our situation? Wasn’t he the key to fielding a million citizens?”

“Yes,” Jules said, “luckily they got beyond hump, recruitment snowballing. We should be good, but he need to develop new team. Maybe you have people who can help. Your data man, no?”

“Seth,” Sam said. “Yeah, he’d be helpful, I’m sure, and his history program is running now. He’s got his woman helping him, and she’s very sharp. She can keep that going by herself while he works with Ben Dover.”

“Anything more?” Ji-Ho asked.

“That was the main thing,” Ted said. “You look way too tired. Go to bed. We’ll catch up in the morning.”

“Thanks,” Ji-Ho said. “Glad you all here. Great to see. Good night.” He got up and walked out the door.

“He’s in bad shape, partner,” Tex said.

“I’m with him every day, so I’m not seeing it as sharply as you are,” Sam said. “Hope he can hold it together.”

“Does the team know about his cancer?” Ted asked.

“Only a few of us,” Sam said. “He doesn’t want his niece to know, but it’s gonna come to a head pretty soon, I’m afraid.”

“Is Ivan really coming here?” Garrett asked.

Jules chuckled. “He’ll make an appearance, I’m sure, but he like ghost. All over the place. Hard to pin down. Hard to keep track.”

“I’d like to meet him,” Ed said. “Love his style.”

“He does have that,” Ted said. “He’s a little more docile than he used to be, from what I can tell.”

“Oh, I don’t know, partner,” Tex said. “The enemy might not agree.”

“That good point,” Jules said, a wicked grin on his face. “Well, I go. Have lovely woman waiting. See in morning.”

“Same here,” Tex said. “I’ll walk with you. Thanks for the fine whiskey, Willard.”

“It’s an honor to serve,” Willard said. “I’m sure we’ll toss a few back in the coming days.’

“I’ll stick around for a little while, I think,” Sparky said.

“Me too, if you don’t mind,” Ted said.

“Okay, guys, have fun,” Tex said, walking out with Jules.

“Another drink?” Willard asked the remaining men.

“I’m game,” Ted said.

The others nodded in agreement, so Willard poured.

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 146 – The Wire

Sid, Yvonne, and Clem rolled into the back parking area, a block outside of Dodge City’s main street.

“What now?” Yvonne asked.

“I could use a snort and some conversation about what just happened,” Clem said. “Going to the saloon.”

“Sounds kinda good to me,” Sid said.

“Mind if I go back to our rig?” Yvonne asked. “I’m tired.”

“Sure, no problem,” Sid said. “I’ll walk you there, change my clothes, and meet Clem back in town. That okay?”

“Sure, but don’t get too trashed. We’re seeing too much enemy activity around here.”

“I think we ought to have the battle wagons in siege mode,” Clem said.

“Me too,” Yvonne said. “You gonna take one of the new rigs we got?”

“Nope,” he said. “I kinda like living in the Dodge City Hotel. Reminds me of a vacation in Westworld.’

Sid chuckled. “Oh, really. Got any dance hall girls, I wonder?”

“Stop,” Yvonne said. “You’ve been spending a lot of time with Sarah, Clem.”

“Nothing romantic about that,” Clem said. “We’re old friends, that’s all.”

“You just do whatever makes you happy,” Yvonne said. She turned to Sid. “Let’s go, honey.”

He nodded, and they walked down a couple more blocks, to where there were widely-spaced rows of battle wagons, most already in siege mode, lights on in about half of them.

“I think Sarah wants to be more than just friends,” Yvonne whispered when they got out of earshot.

“I doubt it, frankly,” Sid said. “He’s older, you know. By more than a few years. He’s had problems, too.”

“Problems?”

“The usual older man problems,” Sid said. “Do I have to spell it out for you.”

“You look nervous mentioning that,” she said. “Worried? You still do fine.”

“I do, but I’m not looking forward to the time that I won’t anymore,” he said. “Clem’s twelve years older than me.”

“That just puts him at seventy-five,” she said. “That’s not that old. I actually thought he was older.”

Sid unlocked the coach and opened the door for Yvonne. After he followed, she turned and hugged him, giving him a kiss which grew passionate.

“Wow, maybe I ought to stay here,” he said.

“No, go and find out what you can, but just remember that I’ll be here waiting.”

Sid laughed. “You don’t want me to drink too much.”

“Yep, and I don’t want you to be out too late either. Might as well use the tools I’ve been given.”

“Oh, brother,” Sid said. “I’m being worked.”

She kissed him again, then whispered in his ear. “I want you. Be ready.”

He smiled as she broke the embrace and walked to the fridge, looking inside.

“You’re something,” he said, shaking his head. “I’ll be back sooner than you expect.”

She waved, and he walked out the door. The evening was cooling down fast, Sid taking his time as he strode back to Main Street. He could hear people. The population of the town had already swelled by a few hundred, most of the newcomers camped in tents to the east. The voices grew louder as he made it to the wooden sidewalk. Light flooded out of the saloon and the lobby of the hotel. Sid pushed through the swinging doors of the saloon. Clem was at the bar with Ed, Sam, and Garrett, Willard behind the bar.

“There he is,” Clem said, smiling as Sid sat on the stool next to him.

“What’ll you have?” Willard asked. “Some of that good stuff?”

“Sure, on the rocks,” Sid said, putting his elbows on the bar. He turned to look at the room, all the tables full. Seth and Kaitlyn were in the back, at the same table as always, staring into the laptop screen, Trevor and Kaylee sitting next to them.

“Jumpin place,” Clem said, taking a sip of his whiskey. Willard slid Sid’s to him.

“Thanks,” Sid said, putting the glass to his lips. “Damn fine liquor.”

“We’re flush, after that last bit that Elmer and I found,” Willard said. “It don’t come out for everybody.”

Garrett laughed. “I’d put it away if my crazy sister shows up.”

“I saw Elmer go over there half an hour ago,” Willard said. “She’s either down for the night, or she’ll stomp over here shortly, ready for a squall.”

Ed laughed, shaking his head. “And I thought the tribe was a soap opera.”

“Mine was,” Sid said. “Where’s Ji-Ho?”

“He wasn’t feeling well,” Sam said. “Hit the sack. I think he wants to be fresh when his friends arrive.”

“When are they due?” Sid asked.

“About four hours, if they don’t run into problems.”

“They’re coming all the way from Sacramento in one day, with the roads how they are now.”

“The roads aren’t bad further north,” Sam said. “Things have settled down nicely thanks to Ivan’s efforts up there.”

“And thanks to the citizens, let’s not forget,” Clem said. “Californians have exceeded my expectations.”

“True that,” Sid said. “Where’s Sarah?”

“Stop that,” Clem said, smiling. “There’s nothing there. Really. Besides, she’s still mourning. John hasn’t been gone for that long.”

“I miss that man so much,” Sam said, raising his glass. “Here’s to him.”

The others joined the toast.

“Clem told you guys what happened out there, right?” Sid asked.

“Yep,” Sam said.

“Sorry about your men,” Sid said to Garrett.

“Thanks,” he said. “That was tough. Wish we had a better way to track them. Maybe those cameras will help.”

“There’s a bunch of armed off-roaders coming with Jules,” Sam said. “We ought to enlist them to join the patrols.”

“How safe do you guys think we are here?” Sid asked.

“We’re getting thousands more people, and a lot of them are armed with military weapons,” Garrett said. “It’ll be an armed camp. I don’t think the enemy will continue to hit us. We’ll kill too many of them.”

“The enemy forces in Mexico are moving north again,” Seth said in a loud voice. “I think it’s because those forces from the south are almost with them.”

“Dammit, I knew that’s why they were waiting,” Sam said. “Thanks, Seth.”

“No problem,” he said. “We’re gonna hit the rack pretty soon. Want me to leave the laptop?”

“Nah, all of us have phones,” Sam said.

“Okay,” Seth said, unplugging his power supply. He got ready to leave with Kaitlyn, Trevor, and Kaylee.

“Seth’s a lucky kid,” Clem said. “His woman is a looker.”

“You got that right,” Willard said. “Makes me wish I was about sixty years younger.”

The men laughed.

“You guys hear any more about the forces in San Diego?” Sid asked. “The air support?”

Clem chuckled. “You’re here to find out the latest, then you’re going back home, aren’t you? Yvonne wants to get a report, I’ll bet.”

Sid snickered. “How’d you guess? We’re both interested.”

“I tried to talk Anna into coming over, but she decided to hang out at the ranch house instead,” Garrett said.

“Erica wanted to stay at home with Mia, of course, but she wants info too. We’re all in the same boat.”

Clem laughed. “Good reason to be single. I’ll have another drink, barkeep. Should I open a tab?”

“You guys can drink for free,” Willard said. “In fact, everybody can drink for free, as far as I’m concerned.”

Garrett eyed him. “I don’t want no drunken brawls in town, though, okay Willard? Take it easy with folks we don’t know.”

“Of course,” Willard said, sliding a fresh drink to Clem.

“Thank you kindly,” Clem said, a twinkle in his eye.

“In the morning we should go follow the tracks, and figure out where those UN Peacekeepers came in,” Sid said.

“I second that,” Garrett said. “Hell, I’ll probably go with you if Anna doesn’t have plans for me.”

“Plans?” Sam asked.

Ed chuckled. “Moving right in, is she?”

Garrett shrugged. “She’s the woman of the house already. What can I say. I wanted it.”

“What time tomorrow?” Sid asked, downing his drink.

“Not too early,” Garrett said. “I’m gonna drink a tad more. Things are gonna get way too busy around here when we get the large influx.”

“Sounds like you’re thinking more than a tad,” Willard said. “Think I’ll join you.”

“Yeah, until Susanne shows up,” Clem said.

“She can only pull that crap with Elmer,” Willard said.

“That’s a true statement,” Garrett said. “I love my sister and all, but I don’t understand how he can put up with that.”

“You probably don’t want to know,” Clem quipped. The others cracked up.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right about that,” Garrett said.

“How about nine?” Sid asked, getting off the stool.

“Nine thirty, okay?”

“Done,” Sid said. “See you guys in the morning.”

Sid left the bar, heading back out onto the wooden sidewalk, re-tracing his steps. He caught Sarah out of the corner of his eye. She rushed across the street from the boarding house.

“Clem in the saloon?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Sid said, stopping on the sidewalk, leaning against a hitching post. “Why? Problems?”

“I heard he almost got killed today,” she said.

“Now where’d you hear a thing like that?” Sid asked.

“Garrett told Susanne,” she said. “He’s too smart to lose. Was he doing something stupid?”

“No more than the rest of us,” Sid said. “Hell, Yvonne helped us a lot. Killed two of the snipers. Clem did well out there, too. He got those cameras placed. They’ll give us at least some view of that area.”

“I don’t think you guys should be taking him out there,” she said softly.

“He’s younger than he looks, you know.”

“How old is he?”

“He’s never told you that?” Sid asked.

“I know he’s older than you and John.”

“He’s only seventy-five,” Sid said.

“Really? I thought he was in his eighties.”

“I’ll tell him you said that,” Sid said with a wicked grin.

“Don’t you dare,” she said. “He’s still in there, huh?”

“He, Garrett, and Willard are gonna drink a little more. It’ll be too crazy to do that around here after all the additional people show up.”

“Thanks,” she said, turning towards the saloon.

“Where are you going?”

“Maybe I’d like a few drinks too,” she said. “Go home to Yvonne.”

Sid chuckled, and headed back to the coach. It was dark, except for the reading light in the bedroom.

“Sid?” Yvonne called from the back.

“It’s me,” he said, shuffling along in the dark. He bumped into the kitchen counter.

“Turn on a light, silly.”

“I’m coming straight there,” he said, walking to the back. She was under the covers with a book in her hand.

“Well, what do you have to report?”

“Lots more people arriving tomorrow. Sam and Ji-Ho’s buddies should be here.”

“They’re driving straight through?”

“Apparently,” he said, pulling off his shirt. “We’re going back out to follow the trails of the UN Peacekeepers tomorrow morning.”

“Who’s we?”

“Garrett’s interested. Not sure who else.”

“I’m going,” she said. “What else?”

“Seth said that the lower group of enemy fighters has caught up with the big group, and they started moving again.”

“Oh, God,” she said. “That all?”

Sid pulled off his pants and climbed into bed, laying on his back. “Yeah, that’s pretty much it. We teased Clem a little bit about Sarah, and teased Garrett a little bit about Anna.”

“It’s not nice to tease,” Yvonne said, rolling over the top of him and settling in.

“You’re naked.”

“So are you, I’ve noticed,” Yvonne said, kissing him gently. “I like it.” Their hands roamed on each other, the conversation slowing. Then Sid laughed.

“What?” Yvonne asked, stopping her movement for a moment.

“Sarah met me on the sidewalk while I was on my way here.”

“Oh, really,” Yvonne asked, looking him in the eyes. “Why?”

“She wanted to know where Clem was. Susanne told her what happened.”

Yvonne snickered, then went back to kissing Sid, on his mouth, then on his neck and chest. He was kissing her back now, focused on the nape of her neck.

“I’m liking this,” he whispered.

“Did she go home?” Yvonne asked, moving her head closer to his.

“Who?”

“Duh,” she said.

“Oh, Sarah,” he said. “You’re not helping my concentration.”

“So deal with it,” she said. “Tell me.”

He sighed. “She went to the saloon, said she was gonna drink with the others.”

Yvonne stopped, backing up to see his face. “No way.”

“I’m serious,” he said. “Get back down here.”

“You know what she wants, don’t you?” Yvonne whispered.

“She wants to tell him to be more careful, I expect.”

She shook her head, getting up higher, then sinking herself onto him, moaning. “She wants this.” Sid watched as she shuddered over him, moving faster, already out of control, crying out as the passion took them over.

***

The bobtail truck and several vans were lined up on the dark street in an industrial area, just south of Sacramento. A handful of college-aged men and women were loading the back with computer and audio equipment. Ben Dover walked out the door of the rented office suite, which stood between two larger spaces for manufacturing and storage.

“That everything?” Ben Dover asked, looking in the back of the truck at the equipment packed inside.

“Yes sir,” said a young man with dark shaggy hair and an olive complexion, having the look of a TV star. “Are we leaving now?”

“Yep,” Ben said.

“Where are we going?”

“I can’t say,” Ben said. “We can never stay in the same place for long. This is just routine. You know that.”

“So, we aren’t going to the southern base, then?”

Ben eyed him. “What’s your name again?”

“Eric,” he said. “Just joined you last week.”

“Uh huh,” Ben said. “You ask too many questions.”

He looked embarrassed. “Sorry. I’m still feeling my way around with this organization.”

“How did you find out about us?”

The young man shot him a worried glance. “Friend of Ivan’s.”

“What’s his name?” Ben asked, thinking about where his gun was.

The young man didn’t answer right away.

“I’m waiting,” Ben said.

“I can’t remember his name. It’s on the tip of my tongue. It’s one of those Russian names. Somebody who knew him in grade school, back in the old country.”

“Okay, never mind,” Ben said, walking away. When he was out of sight he sent a text to Ivan, telling him about the exchange.

“Oh, there you are,” Eric said, coming around the back of the truck. “Which vehicle do you want me in?”

“Third one from the back,” Ben said as his phone dinged with the text return. After Eric walked away, he looked at it. Kill him now.

Ben’s heart was in his throat. He’d killed since this started, more than once, but it always got to him.

“Hey, Eric,” Ben yelled. “Forgot about something. I need your help. Come over here.”

Sean, one of Ben’s other people, had watched what was going on. He got close to Ben and whispered. “I’ve got your back. Don’t trust this one.”

“Get by the door of the suite,” Ben whispered. Eric was back, trying to force a smile on his face as he approached.

“C’mon,” Ben said. “We’re going into the back-office. We need to dismantle the desk in there and take it. We’re short on those where we’re going.”

“Oh, that was what the text was about?”

“Text?” Ben asked, following the young man into the office suite.

“I heard one come to your phone.”

“Oh,” Ben said. “Yes.”

They got to the back office, Ben closing the door behind them. He pulled his weapon. Eric whirled around, his eyes getting big. His hand went behind his back.

“Freeze or I’ll shoot,” Ben said in a loud voice, knowing that Sean would hear it.

Eric raised his hands above his head. “Don’t shoot.”

The door opened, Sean rushing in with his pistol in a two-handed combat grip.

“He’s got a gun in his back waistband. Get it. I’ll cover.”

“My pleasure,” Sean said, reaching around and pulling the small pistol out. He stuck it into his pocket, then frisked Eric. “Clean.”

“Who are you working for?” Ben asked.

“I can’t say,” Eric said, starting to tremble. “They’ll kill me.”

“If you don’t say, I’ll kill you,” Ben said. “Make your choice.”

“How did you know?”

“You think Ivan grew up in Russia,” Ben said. “You weren’t prepared well by whoever sent you.”

Sean laughed, then got a serious expression on his face. “He might have friends around.”

“All they wanted me to do was tell them where you went,” Eric said.

“Yeah, so they could come kill us,” Sean said.

Ben shook his head. “They probably think we’re going to the same place Ivan is going. Like we’d do that.”

“Can you just let me go?” Eric asked. “Please? I won’t tell anybody.”

Ben ignored him, turning to Sean. “Get the others on all of our vehicles with the bug detectors.”

Sean nodded yes and left the office.

“Who are you working for?” Ben asked again.

“The UN,” he said softly.

Ben sighed. “I already knew that. If it were anybody else, you’d have an RFID chip. Who specifically are you working for?”

Gunfire erupted outside. Eric lost it, crying now, begging for his life.

“You have a frigging wire on or something,” Ben said, pointing the gun at his head and firing. He poked his head out of the office, watching as his small team was killed by a group of UN commandos. “Dammit.” Grabbing his gun, he bolted towards the back of the facility, slipping out the door and running into the shadows. The sound of gunfire went on for another minute or two. Then he pulled out his cellphone, loading the demolition app. He pushed the button, and a large explosion went off, pieces of bob-tail truck flying high enough into the air to be seen from behind the building. A quick text to Ivan, and then he disappeared into the night.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 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 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! 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 – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!

 

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 145 – Three Roads

Sid drove the Jeep towards the break in the fence, Clem next to him with the surveillance equipment.

“We’ll have to hurry,” Sid said. “It’ll be dark soon.”

“Yeah, I’d like to be out of here before then,” Yvonne said from the back seat, her rifle cradled in her lap. “I feel like our butts are hanging out on the line. There could be snipers on any of those ridges up there.”

“Garrett’s men are still patrolling,” Sid said.

“That’s what they’re saying, but have you seen one out here yet?” Yvonne asked.

“They’re probably on the other side of the ridges,” Sid said.

“Don’t worry,” Clem said. “This won’t take long. There’s the spot. Got here faster than I expected.”

“Helps to know where you can go fast,” Sid said, “and helps not to be worried about looking for tracks.”

“True, that slowed us way down the first time we came,” Yvonne said.

Sid parked the Jeep next to the fence, several feet to the left of the break, and hopped out, Clem following. Yvonne stayed in the back of the Jeep, putting the binoculars to her eyes and scanning the ridges.

“Something doesn’t feel right,” Sid said, slowing as he approached the fence break. “Hold it. Look at the ground there.”

Clem stopped, squinting as he looked. “What?”

“Somebody’s disturbed the dirt,” he whispered.

“Maybe it was Garrett’s patrol.”

“I don’t see any hoof prints. No foot prints either. Looks like that dirt has been brushed.”

“Maybe it was wild life,” Clem said, walking towards the break.

“Stop,” Sid said. “Stay back.” He crept up to the spot, looking down. He could see scrape marks on the dirt, fading due to the wind, but still visible.

“What do you think?” Clem asked.

“I think somebody put a land mine or two here.”

“Dammit. What should we do?”

“Get way back in the Jeep and have Yvonne fire at it with her rifle,” Sid said. “C’mon.”

They trotted back to the Jeep.

“Something’s wrong,” Yvonne said.

“Looks like there’s a mine placed in that break,” he said. “One of you text Garrett and make sure none of his men did it while I move us back.”

“I’m on it,” Clem said, taking out his phone. He sent a text as Sid started the jeep and drove back about sixty yards.

“What are we gonna do?” Yvonne asked.

“I want you to fire at the dirt once we’re back far enough, unless Garrett tells us that they set the mine there.”

“Sure it’s a mine?”

“Well, they buried something there,” Sid said. “Might take more than one shot to blow it.”

“Garrett just got back to me. It wasn’t them. I asked him why we aren’t seeing his patrols around here. He sounded real worried. There’s more folks on the way now.”

Sid stopped the Jeep. “This ought to do it. Start taking pot shots.”

“Turn around facing it so I can use the roll bar as a rest,” she said.

Sid nodded and turned the Jeep around. Yvonne rested her rifle on the roll bar and aimed, pulling the trigger. The bullet pelted the ground, but nothing happened.

“You sure it’s a mine?” Clem asked.

“Those things have a detonator button. Might take a few tries to hit it.”

“We might just break the assembly, and never touch it off,” Yvonne said. “I’ll try a few more shots. You guys keep your eyes on the ridges. There might be somebody up there.”

She fired several more times, hitting the spot, no explosion going off. Then there was the crack of a rifle shot, Yvonne dropping immediately as a bullet hit the roll bar.

“You hit?” Sid shouted.

“No,” she said. “Roll out of the Jeep. It came from the right.”

“I see where they came from,” Clem said, nodding towards his right. “They’re gonna get me before I can get behind something.”

“I see them,” Sid said, pulling out his rifle. Another shot rang out, hitting the side of the Jeep, then another, popping one of the tires. Sid fired several times, causing the snipers to get down.

“Now!” Sid said, scrambling behind the Jeep as Clem and Yvonne did the same, all of them with weapons in hand.

“Text Garrett again,” Sid said, reaching into the back of the Jeep as another shot rang out, hitting the front windshield.

Clem did that, as Yvonne watched the ridge where the snipers head was popping up every few seconds. She tried to time his rhythm, firing at the right time, splitting the sniper’s head. “Got the bastard.”

“Nice shot, baby,” Sid said, pulling his M60 in front of him. He aimed at the break in the gate and fired, the stream of bullets setting off several mines, one of them a few feet in front of the gate break.

“Whoa, I was almost on top of that one,” Clem said, looking over at Sid.

“You get Garrett?”

“Yeah, let him know what was going on. I told him we needed a ride.”

Another shot rang out, from behind them this time.

“Dammit,” Yvonne said, rushing for cover with the others, then aiming again, watching the ridge. “Come on out, slug.”

“This is why I love her,” Sid quipped.

“Focus, dammit,” Yvonne said, pulling the trigger, tagging the sniper in the neck.

“Wow,” Clem said, clutching his rifle.

“These are more UN folks,” Sid said. “We would’ve gotten buzzed by the apps if they weren’t.”

“Thought we’d nailed most of them,” Yvonne said.

“There might only be a few of them out here, and we’ve killed two already,” Clem said, eyes peeled. “It’s gonna be dark soon.”

Gunfire erupted from behind the ridge, a mixture of M60 automatic fire and black powder rounds, the smoke starting to drift into the air. It went on for several minutes, AK-47s returning fire for a few moments. Then there was silence.

“I’d say that was more than a few,” Yvonne said.

“Horses on the ridge,” Clem said, pointing.

Sid reached into the back of the Jeep for the binoculars and put them to his eyes, straining in the low light of dusk. “We just got an all-clear sign.”

“Thank God,” Yvonne said. “We still gonna place these damn cameras?”

“We should do it now, while we still have some light,” Clem said.

“We need to be careful over there,” Sid said. “Might be more mines.”

“Yeah,” Yvonne said.

“I’ll be fine,” Clem said, “but do me a favor. Stay here and fix the flat, so we can leave.”

“I think I ought to go,” Sid said.

“No,” Yvonne said. “Change the tire. “I’ll watch for both of you.”

Sid nodded and got to work, as Clem grabbed the box of surveillance cameras and hurried back to the fence. He watched the ground as he neared, his flashlight pointed at the ground.

“Good, he’s being careful,” Sid said as he put the jack under the Jeep.

“More horses on the ridge, over where the first shots came from.”

Their phones dinged. Sid pulled his and looked. “Garrett said three of his patrolmen were killed, and there were twelve UN Peacekeepers behind that ridge.”

“Dammit,” Yvonne said. “This sucks.”

Clem started placing the cameras, one on the tree facing the break, others on the fence posts themselves, on either side of the break. He looked at the crater between the fences. There was the edge of an unexploded mine visible on the other side of the gate. He texted Sid about it.

“What did he see?” Yvonne asked when she heard the ding.

“There’s an unexploded mine sticking part way in the dirt, beyond the fence.”

“Are we gonna fire at it?”

Sid sent another text to Garrett. “Let’s see what Garrett wants us to do.”

His phone dinged after a moment.

“Well?” Yvonne asked.

“He said to leave it,” Sid said, “in case they think they all got blown up. He’s going to spread the word to stay away from here.”

Clem rushed back to the Jeep as Sid was pulling the old tire off.

“How much longer?” he asked.

“Five minutes,” Sid said. “Might want to cancel our ride.”

“Don’t,” Yvonne said. “Just in case. They can escort us home.”

“Yeah, I agree,” Clem said.

Sid nodded and finished installing the spare. “Good thing I just put air in this.” He stowed the jack. “Let’s go.”

They got in and Sid drove them home, meeting several other Jeeps on the way, who turned and followed them.

***

“Stockton is always bigger than I remember,” Shelley said, in the passenger seat of the battle wagon. Jules was at the wheel, Sparky and Dana on the couch.

“I hope using I-5 to go south was the right idea,” Dana said. “Lots of people on this road. These battle wagons are easy to spot.”

“Most people don’t know,” Jules said. “Glad we fix Ted’s mini gun gimbal. With gun out, people tell, no?”

Sparky laughed. “Yeah, that’s for sure, although most people who see us are probably on our side.”

“One would hope,” Dana said. “We’re not taking this all the way down, are we?”

“The boss asked we get on I-15 before we get too far south,” Jules said. “Navy don’t want through coastal side of San Diego.”

Sparky chuckled. “Yeah, I could see that, I guess. Are we going into Dulzura using Highway 94?”

“That the plan,” Jules said. “Should work. Long drive. Wish we could spend a night on way.”

“We’ve got four drivers,” Shelley said. “We should keep going.”

Dana was looking at her phone. “Here’s how to go. Get on the 210 Freeway at Sylmar, then take that down to I-15.”

“That’s a good idea,” Sparky said. “Been that route before.”

Jules shrugged. “Okay, I do. How many hours?”

“Says eight hours and seventeen minutes from Stockton, which we just passed,” Dana said. “It’s not that bad, and all of our rigs have more than one driver.”

“Some of the off-roaders don’t,” Sparky said.

“They make detour anyway,” Jules said, “weapons upgrades being done in Santa Clarita.”

“At the same place we picked the battle wagons up?” Shelley asked.

“Yep,” Jules said.

“Are you sure that’s safe?” Dana asked.

“Enemy never found,” Jules said. “Should be good. They spend night, changes take time.”

“Hope we don’t lose a bunch of them,” Sparky said. “We’re gonna need them, I think.”

They settled into the drive, not speaking much for many miles, Dana finally laying on the couch and dozing, Sparky stretching out on the dinette bench and nodding off.

“You no sleep?” Jules asked, glancing at Shelley.

“Oh, I’m okay,” she said. “It really feels like we’ll get to the end of this soon.”

“Good chance, but dangers ahead. You know this.”

“Yes, I know,” she said. “Anxious to see your old friends?”

“Very much,” he said. “Ji-Ho and Sam are fun. You’ll like.”

She smiled at him. “Ji-Ho reminds me of a big kid.”

“Yes,” Jules said. “He got idea for battle wagons.”

“I heard, from that guy named George.”

Jules smiled. “Yes, George. Too bad he not with.”

“We should decide where to trade off drivers,” Shelley said, pulling her phone in front of her face.”

“Bakersfield?”

“Hmmm, that’s pretty far,” Shelley said, brow furrowed under her blonde hair. “How are you feeling?”

“I good for long time.”

“It’s almost another three hours away,” she said, “and the town would be Buttonwillow. Bakersfield is too far east.”

“We can run generator, use coffee maker and microwave,” Jules said.

“Yes, we should do that,” Shelley said, “unless you want to stop, and I think that would be a bad idea.”

“Agree. Maybe you should get shut-eye.”

“No, I’m gonna let Sparky drive the next round, and I’m the only person awake other than you right now. I’ll stay awake while you’re driving, if you don’t mind.”

“I don’t mind,” Jules said, glancing at her.

The miles ticked by, the coach silent inside except for muffled road noise and Sparky’s snoring. Shelley was thinking about the pregnancy, making plans for getting a test kit, going over her speech to Jules in her mind, the feelings warming her as they cruised in the mid-afternoon sun.

“You in heavy thought,” Jules said. “I see wheels turning.”

“I suppose you want to know what I’m thinking.”

“Your thoughts are your own,” Jules said. “Tell me if you want, no pressure, okay?”

“I’m just thinking about our lives after the war, that’s all,” she said.

“Good thoughts, I hope?”

“Of course, honey,” she said.

“USA be mess for months. I hope we can find safe quiet place to ride out.”

“Don’t you think we’ll be looked at as heroes when this is over?” Shelley asked.

“By many, yes. By all, no.”

“Who would want the enemy to have won?” Shelley asked.

“Leftists who want end to democratic society and nationalism,” Jules said. “Fight goes on. Trust me. I expect pressure to break USA into smaller chunks.”

“We can’t do that.”

Jules smiled. “We shouldn’t do that. Not same as can’t.”

“Do you want to stay in America? Or will we go back to Europe?”

“Partly depends on who survives conflict, who in power in governments,” Jules said, “but that’s minor, as far as I’m concerned.”

“Minor?”

“Yes, biggest issue is where we want to make life together. Joint decision. We both American citizens. We can stay here. Maybe vacation in Europe.”

“You’d be okay with that?”

Jules chuckled. “Nicer here. Better society. Less class garbage. Less intrusive government. More rights spelled out in Constitution.”

“But your business,” she said.

Jules laughed. “I could sell, money in bank more than enough for us and later generations.”

“Do you want to sell?”

“We need to think about,” he said. “Maybe. Don’t have to move there to run. Have to go more often, though. Might be fine. We’ll see.”

“If you sold it all, what would you do?” Shelley asked.

“Figure something out,” he said. “Not worry me.”

“What if you get bored?”

“Then I do something,” Jules said. “Opportunities abound. Trust me.”

Shelley was silent for a few minutes, thinking about what he said. “What if we just lived in this for a while? Traveled the countryside. People do that all the time here, you know.”

Jules smiled. “I like idea. Might have to remove armaments.”

“Wouldn’t that be weird? Not having to worry about Islamists or the UN trying to kill us all the time?”

“Life go back to normal in hurry,” he said. “Hope your captivity not too harmful over the years.”

“It’s just something bad that happened,” she said. “Look at all the Jews who were in concentration camps, but went on to normal lives after the war. People can be strong.”

“True, and you strong,” he said. “If ever bother you, we work. Professional help or whatever you need. Understand?”

“Of course, honey. It’s not bothering me now. Will it in the future? I don’t know. We’ll see.”

“Checked apps lately?”

Shelley shook her head no. “I’d better, been a while.” She picked her phone off the center console and loaded the app.

“Where are we?” Sparky asked, stretching in the dinette.

“We just passed Turk,” Shelley said. “We’re going to switch drivers when we get to Buttonwillow.”

“How long?”

“Hour and a half, give or take,” Shelley said. “We should get fuel there too.”

“Okay, I’m gonna try to doze a little longer, then.”

“Use bedroom if like,” Jules said.

“Nah, I can sleep okay here,” he said. “Thanks.”

“No enemy hits along our route at all,” Shelley said. “Still seeing a few to the east, but I think they’re going to link up with the group heading to Utah.”

“Where east?” Jules asked.

“They’re on Highway 395, heading for I-15,” she said.

“Where’s rest of enemy group?”

“The closest are already past Vegas,” she said. “The furthest are almost to St. George.”

“That Utah?” Jules asked.

“Yep,” Shelley said. “We’re looking good.”

“How about south?”

Shelley moved her fingers on the screen, getting to the border area. “There’s way more enemy fighters down there than I like to see.”

“How far from border?”

“Hard to tell with this app. Maybe forty miles.”

Jules glanced at her, looking worried. “They slow down. Waiting for more forces, perhaps. How many hits south of their position?”

Shelley looked. “Lots more. Thousands. Coming from Mazatlán, but they’re way south. They’re actually closer to the Texas border than they are to the California border.”

“But they not go that way, no?”

“Doesn’t look like it to me,” Shelley said. “They’re on Mexican Highway 18, which hugs the coast until it goes east into Hermosillo. The roads getting the rest of the way to the California border look pretty bad.”

“It Mexico,” Jules said. “They be on foot eventually. They plan to have vehicles ready for Old Highway 80. We aren’t going to make that easy for them.”

“Didn’t Ivan say they’d overrun our forces at the border?”

“Yes, but we have large buildup of forces at best spot,” Jules said. “We slow down while other forces are brought up, and then Naval Aviators show up. Blast to kingdom come.”

“There’s a lot that can go wrong with that plan.”

Jules nodded. “Tell me.”

“Well, if they get vehicles on Old Highway 80, they can go to I-8, then head either west into San Diego or east and up further into California. They could also take Old Highway 80 to Highway 94 and roll right up to where we’ll be.”

“You mention only three roads they can use,” Jules said. “Two are tiny and easy to attack. One is bigger but also easy to attack. Old Highway 80, Highway 94, and I-8.”

“There’s a lot more if they go east on I-8,” Shelley said.

“They only go that way if they flee to Arizona,” Jules said. “If they go further up into California, we whittle troops down to nothing. Only chance to make difference is San Diego. They will take out Naval Base or die trying. We make sure they die trying.”

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 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 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! 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 – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!

 

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 144 – Clackers

Tex woke up next to Karen before it was light, not able to sleep anymore. The plans they agreed to last night were spinning through his head like a North-Texas twister.

“Hey,” Karen said, turning to face him. “It’s early. You okay?”

“Nerves,” he said. “I’m fine, though. You can sleep some more. I’m getting up.”

“I’ve got a better idea,” she said, sitting up and pulling her short nightgown over her head. Tex smiled as she covered him. “My breath might be a little rotten.”

“I don’t care,” he said, his arms going around her. They made love quietly but passionately, ending up on their backs, Tex’s right hand intertwined with her left.

“What are we gonna do after the war?” Karen asked, turning her head towards his.

“I haven’t had time to give it much thought,” he said. “You have some ideas?”

“Do you think we’ll last together after it?”

Tex chuckled. “Still?”

“Still what?”

“You’re still doubting our relationship?” Tex asked.

“You said we’d be together as long as both of us wants it, remember?”

“And I’ve said different things since, remember?” Tex said.

She turned on her side, facing him. “I’m serious.”

“What do you want to happen?”

“I asked you first,” she said.

He turned on his side towards her, staring into her beautiful face, framed by her thick red hair. “You’re really going to make me say it right now?”

She rolled her eyes. “I can tell when you’re teasing me, you know.”

He smiled, reaching to brush her hair from her eyes. “You’re the love of my life. I hoped that would be the case when I was pursuing you. I’m pretty sure now.”

Pretty sure?”

He chuckled. “When I say pretty it means very. You know that. Why do women ask questions about things when they already know the answer?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Because we need to, I guess.”

“Are you gonna tell me what you want, then?” Tex asked.

She laughed. “You’re doing the same thing you just accused me of doing.”

“Answer the question,” he said, pretending he was serious.

“I just want to be with you. Whatever direction that takes us is fine with me. It’ll be an adventure.”

“That wasn’t the answer I expected,” he said.

“Oh, you think I’ve got this vision of what our life together will be?”

“We’ve been living our lives together for a while now,” he said.

“We’ve been on the run together. When this is over we won’t be on the run anymore.”

He sat up and scratched his head. “What makes you think we’re gonna settle down into some boring relationship?”

“Do you think that’s what I want?”

He laid back down. “No, that’s not what I think you want. I can’t tell if you want me to be serious or romantic or both.”

She laughed again. “You do know how that came out, right?”

“You’re not going to get mad, are you?”

She elbowed him, on the verge of laughter. “Living with you won’t be boring, I suspect. You’re right, I don’t want the little house with the picket fence, and at this point I’m not that interested in having a bunch of kids.”

“Why not?”

“Why not what?” she asked.

“Why not a bunch of kids?”

“We aren’t suited for it,” she said. “Maybe I’ll let you knock me up during a weak moment, but I doubt that will happen. We’ll have adventures together instead.”

“Travel the world, huh. Or walk the earth.

She rolled her eyes. “Stop with the Tarantino references. I had a boyfriend who worshiped him. Don’t be that guy.”

Tex laughed. “Who’s Tarantino?”

She elbowed him again. “Stop it. Do you want kids?”

“At this point in my life, I just want you. Fully and completely. If life leads us to having kids and we both want it, I’m down, but neither of us know if that’s going to happen.”

“What about the big M?”

“I told you I’d do that,” Tex said.

“You’re not sure about anything long term, but you’d marry me?”

“Yes,” he said, getting out of bed.

“Where are you going?”

“We’re leaving early, remember?”

She pulled the covers back, revealing herself to him, smiling at his reaction. “Sure you’re in such a hurry?”

“Yep, and you know we have to be,” he said. “You’re waiting for me to say something, but I’m not sure what that is.”

She shook her head, looking a little frustrated, and got out of bed.

“You’re really getting upset,” he said, walking to her. He took her into his arms. “You’re afraid that when the battle is over, I’ll lose interest in you. In us.”

“Sorry,” she said, looking up at him, her arms going around his waist.

“I’m not going anywhere. I want to be with you for the rest of my life. That’s not going to change. We’ll live out our lives doing the things that make us happy. For me, that’s going to include getting married.”

She held him tighter. “Why do you care about being married?”

“Maybe I want the exclusivity that it forces,” he said. “Maybe I want us to own each other. Or maybe I’m just a romantic Texan who has more traditional values than I care to admit.”

She turned her head, resting it on his chest, holding him tighter still.

“You okay?”

“I’m happy,” she said. “I’ve got the man I’ve always dreamed of.” She broke the hug. “Okay, you can get dressed now.”

She turned towards her dresser and got out clothes, as he watched her, shaking his head.

They had a quick cup of coffee, watching out the window as the off-roaders loaded backpacks onto their vehicles, getting ready to go.

“I’m gonna unhook the utilities,” Tex said, heading for the door.

“Okay, I’ll stow things,” Karen said, making eye contact. “Thank you.”

He tipped his hat and disappeared through the door. After a second there was a soft rap on the side of the coach.

“Yes?” Karen asked.

“It’s me,” Shelley said.

“Hey, come on up. I’m about done. You guys ready to go?”

“Yeah,” Shelly said, climbing the steps. She had on a tight-fitting t-shirt and jeans. “Tex had a smile as big as Texas.”

“We were chatting about after the war,” she said. “I can’t believe I resisted that man. He’s a jewel.”

“He is,” she said, sitting on the couch.

“Okay, what’s up?” Karen asked, eyeing her.

“You can’t tell anybody,” she whispered.

“I have an idea.”

“I think I’m pregnant,” Shelley said. “I just had to tell somebody.”

“You sure?”

“Pretty sure, but I’ll get one of those test kits when we get a chance.”

“Does Jules know?”

“No,” Shelley said, “and don’t tell him. I want to wait until I’m sure, but I’m just going crazy.”

“Your secret is safe with me,” Karen said.

“Hey, Shelley, you guys ready to go?” Tex asked as he came back into the coach.

“Yep, we’re ready,” Shelley said. “I’d better get back over there. Talk to you later, Karen.”

“Bye,” Karen said.

“See you, Tex,” Shelley said, shooting him a smile on the way out.

Tex got behind the wheel and started the engine. “What was that all about?”

“Oh, nothing, just girl talk,” Karen said.

“Uh huh,” Tex said, shooting her a sidelong glance. “The gate is opening. Time to go.”

Karen sat in the passenger seat, watching Tex as she put her seatbelt on. “I love you.”

“I love you too, little lady.”

***

Jacumba Hot Springs had become a mini-metropolis. Every flat spot in town was covered with parked cars, and the wilderness between the town and the fortified stretch of Old Highway 80 was covered with tents of every shape and size. Truckloads of weapons had been coming down the highway, and there were men with the trucks to teach citizens how to use them.

“Where’s all this stuff coming from?” Doug asked.

“Yeah, that’s what I’d like to know,” Jorge said.

Conrad smiled. “All over. We’ve got some Marines showing up in a few minutes.”

“They gonna fight with us?” Doug asked.

“Oh, they’ll be fighting, but I’m not sure if they’ll be here or not. This is a supply and training visit.”

“We’ve already been trained with the M60s, M19s, and a lot of other stuff,” Jorge said. “What else is there?”

“You ever heard of the M18A1 Claymore mine?” Conrad asked.

“We’re gonna mine the area?” Doug asked.

“Yeah, but these aren’t like your normal mines. They’re anti-personnel weapons. Good when you have a massive number of enemy fighters heading your way.”

“Maybe that’s them coming right now,” Jorge said, pointing to a military truck coming towards them from town. Conrad stepped forward and motioned to a parking place. Citizen fighters moved out of the way to let the truck pass. It parked, and the cab doors opened, two men getting out and walking over.

“Are you Conrad Kowalski?” asked the older of the two, a man in his thirties with a muscular build and a square jaw.

“I am,” Conrad said.

“Good. I’m Corporal Callahan, and this is Private First-Class Alito. We’re here to provide training for the M18A1 Claymore mine. Do you have men picked out to receive the training?”

“Haven’t gotten to that. How many men do you need?”

“For a deployment of this size, twelve would be optimum,” he said.

“I’m willing to be a trainee,” Doug said.

“Me too,” Jorge said.

“I’m good with that,” Conrad said. “Both of you learn fast. I have ten others in mind. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

He turned and left, coming back in less than five minutes with the other men.

Callahan was looking at the border fence through binoculars. “We’ll need to be on the other side of that. Does somebody here have the key?”

“Yes sir,” Conrad said. “I got it from the border patrol. Do we need a place to back that truck to? There’s a larger break in the K-rail line up about fifty yards from here.”

“That would be helpful,” Callahan said. “Let’s go. You can ride in the cab, the others can climb in the back, but don’t mess with the crates. Understand?”

“Yes,” Conrad said, looking at the others. “You heard the man.”

The men climbed into the back of the truck as Conrad followed the Marines to the cab. They backed out and went down the road, turning off between two K-rails, heading for the gate in the border fence and parking there. Everybody got out, and Conrad unlocked the gate. He pushed it open, the rusted hinges moaning.

“Thank you,” Callahan said. “First we’ll talk about the weapons. Let’s gather around the back of the truck. Alito, get in there and grab me one.”

“Yes sir,” Alito said, his wiry frame jumping into the back. He came back with a canvas bag, about the size of a large purse, sliding it to the edge of the truck.

“Normally we use this bandoleer to carry the weapon in the field,” Callahan said. He opened the flap on the top and pulled out a curved rectangular item, olive drab in color, with the embossed words Front Toward Enemy on the convex side. It had folding spikes on the bottom, two ports on the top, and a sight between the ports. “This is the mine. It’s C-4 plastic explosive behind ball bearings, which are set in epoxy. When the C-4 is detonated, the ball bearings fly forward in an expanding pattern, going out as far as 250 meters, but at that range it’s not optimum. We’ll place these to get the most effective range, which is about fifty meters.”

“Sounds like a shotgun,” Doug said.

“That’s about it,” Alito said.

“How many ball bearings?” one of Conrad’s men asked.

“About seven hundred,” Alito said.

Jorge stepped up to take a closer look. “It’s not very big, is it?”

“No, but it packs a good punch,” Alito said.

Callahan smirked, then pulled two more items from the bandoleer: a long wire, wrapped around a rectangular spool, and a metal item with an electrical plug on one in and a lever over a cylindrical button, which he held up next. “This is the M57 detonator. We call it the clacker. You plug one end of the wire into this port, and the other end of the wire to the blasting cap assembly, which is installed on the mine. Note the safety arm, which will go in place like this, to prevent the lever from pushing down on the detonator button.” He worked it in front of the men.

“Where’s the blasting cap?” Doug asked.

“Inside the spool for the wire,” Callahan said, picking it up and removing the blasting cap assembly from one end. “We’ll be using a daisy chain to connect the mines together in several rows.”

How long is that wire?” Jorge asked.

“One hundred feet,” Alito said.

“Yes, and that makes this a dangerous job,” Callahan said. “We’ll set these up in staggered rows, starting as close as we can get to those hills out there, and bringing them in about one hundred yards for each row. We should have enough to cover the entire area on the Mexican side of the fence, and at least one row on our side. The last of the detonations will be from behind that K-rail you have set up there. Nice job, by the way.”

“That’s it?” Jorge asked.

“That’s the gist,” Callahan said. “Alito, take the men out with forty mines and set them up about fifty meters this side of those hills.”

“Yes sir,” Alito said, climbing back into the truck. “Somebody come give me a hand.”

Several men got into the truck and helped him load the first forty bandoleers onto the back end of the truck, then the men picked up three or four each and followed Private Alito through the gate. Conrad stayed behind with Callahan.

“How far are the enemy fighters now?” Callahan asked.

Conrad pulled his phone out and fired up the app, focusing on it and then showing it to Callahan. “Forty-five miles. They’re moving slower than we expected.”

“That’s what I saw this morning,” Callahan said. “They’re slowing down because they’re waiting for something. That might not be good for us.”

“Did they give you guys the apps?”

Callahan chuckled. “They’re working on it. They need to buy a whole lot of smart phones. Damn military wouldn’t let us just use our own.”

“What’s to stop you from doing that anyway?”

Callahan pulled his phone out of his pocket. “Nothing, but I’ve been told not to encourage that. All my men have them, but if you tell my CO I’ll deny I knew about it.”

Conrad laughed. “Not much different than it was when I was in.”

“Marines?”

“No, Army,” Conrad said. “Should’ve stayed in longer. Oh well.”

“If they really throw a half-million men at this line, these mines will slow them down for a very short period of time. You know that, right?”

“Yeah, I know that,” Conrad said. “We’ll have thousands of men up here with M60s and M19s. We’re already making plans on how to proceed when we’re close to being overrun, though.”

“What are you going to do?”

Conrad smiled. “Have the cars arranged so we can get into them and live to fight another day,” he said. “Helps that the enemy is on foot. The mines will help some, but they also complicate matters. We’ll probably lose the first few men we have on the detonation line.”

“If they’re fast, they might survive,” Callahan said. “You’ll need to dig trenches for all of the detonation spots except the last one behind the K-rails. When these things go off they scare the crap out of everybody who isn’t killed outright, which should give our guys enough time to get through that gate and under cover before the next wave goes off. Know anything about the quality of the men we’re up against?”

“No, not really,” Conrad said. “They might be getting down to the dregs.”

“Or they might finally be putting their best into the fight,” Callahan said.

“Yeah,” Conrad said. “You think we’ll really get a million citizens recruited?”

“I was gonna ask you that.”

“I wish I knew,” Conrad said. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far. We’ve got some good folks.”

“We’ve been fighting with the brass for a while now about joining the fight with Ivan the Butcher.”

“Why wouldn’t they?” Conrad asked. “I get that question every ten minutes.”

Callahan shook his head in disgust. “Job one for the brass is to ensure that no more foreigners get involved, no matter what the damage to the civilian population.”

“Foreigners as in the EU or the UN?”

Callahan laughed. “You guys pretty much kicked the UN completely out of here. All they have left is stragglers, from what our sources are saying, and the EU stopped funding the UN. It’s unlikely we’ll get more.”

“Good, then we might be out of the woods soon.”

“There’s a lot more Islamists in the pipeline,” Callahan said. “Half of the fighters we’ve seen here came from other parts of the world they’ve infiltrated. Mostly the European countries. Refugees. Their leadership figured that experience would help them here.”

“That’s a big fail,” Conrad said. “This ain’t Europe. Our people are different.”

“You’d think they would know that. Anyway, there’s a fair number of enemy fighters coming from the middle east now. More than we’ve had before. Don’t know if that’s better or worse for us.”

“Why isn’t the Navy targeting their transport ships?”

“Same reason they wouldn’t let us help you guys,” Callahan said. “They’re afraid the EU is going to lead a foreign intervention.”

“We’ll mop the floor with those Eurotrash punks,” Conrad said.

“Good, keep that attitude. I think you’re right on the money, by the way. I’ve seen what the citizens have done. Here, in Texas, and all over the Southwest. Brings tears to my eyes, and that’s the truth.”

“I was impressed by the people in Oregon,” Conrad said. “Didn’t expect that.”

“I did. That’s where I’m from.”

“Well, they got the first row placed,” Conrad said, watching the men approach the truck for a new load. “What about air support?”

“The Navy brass doesn’t want to bomb Mexico. They’ll hold off until the enemy has crossed the border.”

“That’s not too bright,” Conrad said. “It’ll get a lot of these people killed.”

“Preaching to the choir,” Callahan said.

To be continued…

 

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Bugout! California Part 143 – Earth Movers

Jules backed into the covered space at the quarry yard. Robbie had already arrived, and a swarm of off-roaders and Jeeps were rolling in. He shut down the engine and got out of his seat, his legs aching from sitting for so long. Sparky got up and stretched.

“Enemy get past bridge?” Jules asked, walking to the dinette, where Shelley and Dana were sitting.

“Not so far,” Shelley said, eyes glued to the laptop screen. “I see a lot of them going east on foot.”

“We ruined their whole day,” Dana said.

“I’m a little worried about the people who live there,” Sparky said. “Looks like some of the enemy fighters are close to the escape road.”

Shelley nodded. “Our guys should be well beyond those spots.”

“I text them now,” Jules said, pulling out his phone.

“How many enemy fighters are moving?” Sparky asked.

“Well over half,” Shelley said. “From what I can tell. Some are wounded but not dead, of course.”

“You mean there’s over a hundred thousand enemy fighters roaming around up there?”

“Give or take,” Shelley said. “They’re in trouble, though. There’s not much nearby. They need a Dunkirk operation to get them out of harm’s way.”

“It’s cold at night now,” Sparky said. “If they don’t have shelter, they’re gonna have a hard night. Would’ve been easier for them a month ago.”

“Ted, Tex, and others out of area,” Jules said. “Some action on way out, Ted’s mini gun turret damaged. Several off-roaders killed on escape road.”

“Wonder how many off-roaders we lost?” Dana asked.

“Hope not many,” Jules said. “Sparky, you know terrain, weather patterns there?”

“Yeah, spent a lot of time there in my twenties,” Sparky said. “On fire crews, and on vacations. It gets cold at night, but some of them are from climates that get cold too. Afghanistan, for instance.”

“They’ll build fires,” Shelley said. “Try to keep alive. I think we ought to get Ivan to recruit up there. If they don’t have a good way out, they’ll mess with a lot of people as they try to walk away. We’ll see a lot of raids, and a lot of civilians killed.”

“I text Ivan,” Jules said. “Need to update him on operation anyway.”

“You know, if we have a whole bunch of people starting campfires there, we’ll have a dangerous situation,” Sparky said.

“Dangerous how?” Dana asked.

“We had a dry year. The place is gonna be like a tinder box. A forest fire could create a lot of havoc for them.”

“Ivan call in few minutes,” Jules said. “Busy at moment.”

“There’s Tex and Cody coming in,” Sparky said.

“Good,” Dana said. “Ted and Justin ought to be coming within fifteen minutes or so.”

“That right, based on text from Ted,” Jules said. His phone rang. He put it on speaker and set it on the dinette table, then slid onto the seat next to Shelley. “Ivan?”

“Hello, Jules,” he said. “We saw what you did on the satellite feed.”

“You have the feed back now?”

“Yes,” he said. “The Feds are losing control of everything. How’d you guys kill so many enemy fighters? Looks like you took out nearly half of them.”

“Cars and trucks fragile,” Jules said. “Grenades burn them fast. Cause chain reaction when they explode. Most dead probably never got out of vehicles.”

“What’s on your mind?”

“There over hundred thousand creeps wandering around there,” Jules said. “We need to warn nearby residents. Maybe recruit them to fight.”

Ivan chuckled. “Ben Dover started that before you guys got there. We can’t field anywhere near a hundred thousand citizens, but we’ll have a lot of snipers there. Good marksmen who know the terrain. I wouldn’t want to be an enemy fighter out there.”

“Seriously,” Dana said.

“Are all your people back?” Ivan asked.

“All except last group, and I text with them five minutes ago,” Jules said. “Should be here any minute. Ted’s coach has damaged mini gun turret.”

“How many off-roaders did we lose?”

“Don’t know yet, boss. Some. Not many.”

“Good,” Ivan said. “Rest overnight. We need you in the south. You leave in the morning.”

“Ji-Ho all right?” Jules asked.

“He’s fine, but there’s a huge number of enemy troops massing near the border, as we discussed earlier.”

“A few battle wagons aren’t going to make much difference,” Sparky said.

“Many thousands of recruits will arrive at Dodge City, where Ji-Ho’s team is now. They’ll need help to manage the situation, and work strategy.”

“Are there still seven hundred thousand coming?” Shelley asked.

“They’re moving five-hundred thousand to the border as we speak, and the two-hundred thousand from Northern California are taking the eastern route to link up with them. They’re by the Salton Sea right now.”

“How many recruits can we count on?” Sparky asked.

“We’re counting on a million,” Ivan said.

“What?” Sparky asked. “You’re high.”

Ivan chuckled. “We have a third of those committed already, and we’ve been given permission to recruit in western San Diego County.”

“Who gave that?” Jules asked.

“US Navy Base commander,” Ivan said.

“How far from the border are the enemy fighters?” Sparky asked.

“About sixty miles, but they’re on foot.”

“We won’t make it in time,” Sparky said.

“You’re right, you won’t make it there by the time the initial incursion starts,” Ivan said, “but there will be plenty for you to do. The battle isn’t to keep them from coming over the border. No way to stop that now. The battle will happen inside California. That gives us a lot more time to work with.”

“Hey, here comes Ted and Cody’s rigs!” Sparky said, watching them through the front windshield. “Right on time.”

“Excellent,” Ivan said. “I’ve got to go, but we’ll probably have a brief meeting a little later. Be ready to leave at first light tomorrow. Fantastic job. Please relay my praise to all.”

The call ended.

“Well, there we have it,” Sparky said.

“Let’s have quick meeting with others,” Jules said, standing up. “Then relax, rest. Tomorrow big day.”

***

Saladin was riding shotgun in a nondescript white van, on I-10 just past Banning, heading for the Mexican border. Twelve of his closest men were in the back, along with their weapons and ammo. His phone rang. He sighed when he saw Daan’s name, and put it to his ear.

“Hello.”

“You stupid son of a bitch,” Daan said, his fury coming over the line like lightning.

“Calm down,” Saladin said. “What’s wrong?”

“You sent men over the Sierras to attack Sacramento without consulting me first?”

“I still command my own men,” he said, sweat breaking out on his forehead.

“Yeah, well that wasn’t too bright,” Daan said. “How did that operation do?”

“I should be hearing from my commanders any time. They should be out of the mountains by now.”

Daan laughed sarcastically. “You don’t even know, do you?”

“What?”

“Almost half of your men are dead, and the rest are stuck in those mountains with no way out.”

“That’s impossible. There was no force around large enough to pull that off.”

“Didn’t take a large force,” Daan said. “Ivan’s team used a choke point. Blew a small bridge, then trapped your convoy when the leaders got there. Hit their ranks with automatic grenade fire.”

“It can’t be,” Saladin said.

“Those men were working the General Hogan campaign,” Daan said. “You’ve just given him a huge gift. It might be our undoing.”

“Nonsense,” Saladin said, loosening his collar. “It’s a minor setback at best. I’ll get some men up there to retrieve the survivors.”

“No you won’t,” Daan said. “They’ll all be dead by the time you get people there…and the citizens will be strong enough to take them on. You just closed one of the few back doors we have into California. Closed it tighter than a drum.”

“We’ll make up for it in the south,” Saladin said, “unless you think Ivan can come up with a million men.”

“He won’t need a million men,” Daan said. “The Federal Government is headed for trouble, and I’m sure the military knows it.”

“I heard that there’s another coup attempt in the works. No matter, the real power isn’t in the United States anyway.”

“That real power you refer to is beginning to fear the US Navy and Air Force using their full capability without fear of Washington,” Daan said. “We’re in a lot of trouble. The EU Leadership has ordered me to sideline you. You are to report to the base at Capital Reef.”

“And if I refuse?”

“I’ll have you killed,” Daan said.

“My forces will turn on you,” Saladin spat.

“I wouldn’t count on that.”

“I’m going south to run the operation. Everybody’s waiting for me.”

Daan chuckled. “Seriously, don’t do it. Go hide out in Capitol Reef. This will blow over after a while, and then we can attempt to pick up the pieces.”

“Who’s going to run the operation, then?”

“The lower-level commanders have already been notified, but we need you to verify it.”

“Why would I do that?” Saladin asked.

“Because you know that’s the only way you’ll survive, and be able to get back into this battle.”

“There’s nothing I can do at Capitol Reef that hasn’t already been done,” Saladin said.

“We’re getting intelligence reports about the Militia. There’s been overtures made to them by General Hogan’s forces. We need somebody there to hold our alliance together.”

Saladin closed his eyes, fighting his emotions back. “That is important. I can make the case to them. I was the one who brought them in originally. I’ll do as you ask.”

“Good,” Daan said. “Take the men you’re leading south.”

“They aren’t needed for the border operation? That’s nearly two hundred thousand men.”

“We have over seven hundred thousand converging on the border, and another couple hundred thousand on the way as we speak. The EU Navy is helping with that effort now.”

“You’re afraid we’re going to lose California,” Saladin said.

Daan was silent for a moment.

“You still there?”

“If we can keep the US Navy’s air power out of this, we’ll probably win. Yesterday morning I believed they weren’t going to be an issue. Now I’m not so sure.”

“That was part of the reason I wanted to keep up the pressure in Northern California,” Saladin said.

“Finally some honesty,” Daan said. “If we lose this, neither of us will survive. Even if we get out of the country. Our own side will kill us.”

“I’ll disappear into the woodwork. I’ve done that before.”

Daan laughed. “Good luck with that.”

“Where are you?”

“North of Arizona,” he said.

“Understood,” Saladin said. “Talk to you later.”

“Maybe,” Daan said. The call ended.

Saladin looked at his driver. “Turn around, and get on I-15. Go northeast.”

The driver looked at him nervously and nodded, as Saladin focused on his phone, sending texts.

***

The Saloon in Dodge City was filling up fast, the windows open again, letting in the heat of late afternoon. Ji-Ho was working the audio-visual with Clem, others gathered around chatting. Seth and Kaitlyn were in front of their laptop on a table against the back wall, Angel, Megan, Trevor, and Kaylee sitting with them, eyeing the growing crowd nervously.

“Wonder what’s up?” Trevor asked.

“My uncle looks nervous,” Kaylee said. “I don’t think he’s feeling all that well, either.

Garrett came in with Anna and several others, followed by Ed and Tyler. Sam brought in Mia, Erica arriving a few minutes later with Sarah, Yvonne, and Sid.

Ji-Ho stood before the crowd. “Thank you all for coming. We expect conference call with Ivan and others in five minutes. Just relax. Find seats. Make room for others.”

“The fire department wouldn’t like this,” Willard cracked from behind the bar, a grin on his face. “Too bad I’m not serving. Make a pretty penny.”

“Oh, shut up, you old goat,” Susanne said.

“Be nice, honey,” Elmer said.

“You shut up too,” she said, sitting next to him. “Like living with teenagers.”

“What’d you do now, guys?” Garrett whispered.

“I heard that,” Susanne said. “They found more booze down in the tunnel. Decided to mess with that instead of fixing my lights. Want me to use flames down there to work by?”

“We’ve got enough modern weapons now,” Elmer said. “We don’t need you to be breaking your back loading black powder rounds anymore.”

“Yeah, we’re good, until we run out,” she said. “I’m still gonna keep working.”

“Okay, we have people coming on now,” Ji-Ho said. The screen came up, split three ways. Ivan was on the left, Ben Dover in the center, and Jules, Ted, Sparky, and Tex crowding into the right.

“Well I’ll be damned,” Sam said, looking at his old friends. “How’s it going, guys?”

Ted smiled. “Figures. In a bar. Some things never change.”

“We’ll have some social time soon enough,” Ivan said. “We need to get this over with quickly. Everybody hear me okay?”

“No problem,” Ji-Ho said.

“Same here,” Jules said.

“We hear you,” Ben Dover said, a few members of his team popping their heads out behind him.

“Okay, here’s the situation. We all know that there’s three quarters of a million enemy troops massing south of the border, on foot. They’ve got about two days of walking to get to the California border.”

“Yeah, been watching them,” Ed said. Others agreed, in the Saloon and on the screen.

“We’ve also got a couple hundred thousand on the way south from Northern California,” Ivan said. “That’s the bad news.”

“There’s good news?” Sam asked.

“We’ve got nearly that many recruits on the way,” Ivan said, “but thanks to your handiwork early in the war, it’s not easy to get them from where they are to where we need them.”

“You’re talking about the pass we blew up,” Sid said.

“Precisely,” Ivan said. “We need that opened up, and have a convoy of earth movers and massive bull dozers on the way to the scene as we speak.”

“Got a month?” Sam asked.

“You don’t understand,” Ivan said. “We’ve got enough equipment coming to get rid of that stuff in a few days.”

“Where did you get it?” Sid asked. “I know what we’d need, and it’s a lot, trust me.”

“San Diego County had everything that we needed, including the crews who are experienced with this sort of problem.”

“Okay, so we take three days to clear that out,” Ed said. “That will be just in time for the enemy troops to use it as a gateway into San Diego.”

“You’re right, we won’t have that mess cleared before the enemy gets over the border,” Ivan said. “All that means is that we’ll be fighting them on our home turf, and we’ll have some help.”

“Help?” Ji-Ho asked.

“The US Navy’s aviators are going to join us,” Ivan said. “In large numbers. We’ll get help from the Marines as well.”

“How much do they have that’s not out on a carrier someplace?” Ted asked.

“A lot more than I expected,” Ivan said. “And there are two carriers on the way into the general area as we speak. The carriers might be a little late to the party, but we probably won’t need them.”

“What general area?” Ji-Ho asked.

“The Pacific,” Ivan said. “Don’t put that on the internet, please.”

There were murmurs in the room.

“So, what’s our role?” Sam asked.

“We’d like to set up Dodge City as a way station and supply depot for this operation,” Ivan said.

“That puts a big target on us,” Garrett said.

“That’s why we’re talking,” Ivan said. “It does, but you won’t be alone, and you’ll have capability that is vastly superior to what you have now. We are about to terrorize the enemy as we destroy them. This is the beginning of the end.”

“And where will you be during this?” Sam asked.

“There with you, if you’ll allow it,” Ivan said. “Jules and his team are also on the way to you.”

“Old home week,” Sam said.

“What does that mean, daddy?” Mia asked.

“It means some dear friends are going to join us, sweetie,” Sam said.

“You’ve got a daughter, partner?” Tex asked.

“Yep,” he said.

“Social later,” Ivan said. “I do not command you people. I’m running this by you all. Are there objections to the moves I’m suggesting?”

“I’m for it, as long as it work,” Ji-Ho said. “If help doesn’t really come through, we just opened back door to enemy. Millions of innocents are in danger.”

“If we don’t beat the enemy, they in danger anyway,” Jules said. “They just march to I-8.”

“He’s right,” Sam said. “Highway 94 isn’t even half the capacity of I-8, and there’s nothing to stop the enemy from getting on that and going full bore into San Diego.”

“I’m not hearing any objections,” Ivan said.

“Me neither,” Garrett said. “I’m for it. Let’s do this.”

“I agree,” Tex said.

“Me too,” Sam said.

“Okay, then let’s make some detailed plans,” Ivan said. “We don’t need to have the whole group together to do that.”

“Hey, everybody,” Seth said, raising his hand. “Something’s going on!”

“Who’s that?” Ivan asked.

“That’s Seth, our data guy,” Sam said.

“What do you see, partner?” Tex asked.

“Those two-hundred thousand enemy fighters from the north turned around. They’re going northeast. Most of them are on I-15 or heading in that direction.”

Ivan laughed.

“What’s so funny?” Sam asked.

“I think I know,” Jules said, a sly grin on his face.

“Well, are you gonna tell us?” Sam asked.

“My guess is that Saladin has been called back to the Utah base,” Ivan said. “He pulled a very stupid move last night, and it cost him a couple hundred thousand fighters.”

“What happened?” Sam asked.

“We happened, partner,” Tex said, a look of glee on his face.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 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 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! 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 – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!

 

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 142 – Jacumba Hot Springs

Doug Westin looked at the border fence from his trench, right behind Old Highway 80, west of Jacumba Hot Springs. It looked like a tall picket fence – vertical metal bars with sheet metal on the top quarter, making it harder to climb. He raised the binoculars to his eyes and stared, panning from west to east. He was a large middle-aged man with graying hair, receding from his forehead, and a goatee. Another man approached, a younger Hispanic with a medium build and jet-black hair, clean shaven. Doug looked over at him and smiled.

“Jorge, there you are,” Doug said.

“See anything?” He got down into the trench next to Doug and lifted his own binoculars, scanning the area.

“Nope,” Doug said. “Wish we had these apps. It would help. We could have a thousand enemy fighters right south of those hills.”

“Do those apps really exist?”

“People I trust said so,” Doug said. “That damn fence isn’t going to slow anybody down for long.”

Jorge chuckled. “At least we can see through it, man. Even if we had the big wall you wanted, they’d just blast through it, and we wouldn’t be able to see as well as we can now.”

Doug looked at him and smiled. “Funny how this worked out. We fought like cats and dogs over the border wall. Now look at us. Comrades in arms.”

“Keeping my people out is one thing,” Jorge said. “Keeping out enemy Islamists is something very different.”

“True, my friend,” Doug said. “We get any more people? I heard there’s been a bunch of recruitment happening on the internet.”

“Yeah, my kid brother said we have a lot of people coming from all over,”

“Hope they get here soon,” Doug said. “Our three hundred men won’t last long.”

“True that,” Jorge said. His phone dinged. He pulled it from his pocket and looked, eyes getting wide.

“What?”

“My kid brother Luis,” he said. “There’s twenty thousand citizens in Jacumba right now, armed to the teeth. A lot of them have military weapons.”

“Thank God,” Doug said. “We might just live through this. Where are they coming from?”

“Wow. All over…as far north as LA County. He said they were recruited by Ivan the Butcher.”

“It’s about time that guy noticed we’ve got a problem on the border,” Doug said. “Are they coming here?”

“Yep, they want to be in the spots where the border is closest to a road, and this stretch is one of the best.”

“When will they be here?” Doug asked.

“Any minute,” Jorge said, sending a reply. After a few seconds, his phone dinged with a reply. “Oh, God.”

“What?”

“Some of those guys have these apps, and they showed Luis. There’s half a million Islamists about sixty-five miles from the border.”

Doug’s forehead broke out in a sweat. “Say again?”

“You heard me, man,” Jorge said.

“We’re dead. Maybe we should take off, and live to fight another day.”

“Look, here comes a big line of vehicles,” Jorge said. “Let’s go meet them.”

Doug nodded and they climbed out of their trench, rushing to the road. The lead vehicle was a commercial bus. Doug and Jorge rushed towards the door just as it opened. A large middle-aged man in camo came down the steps, his hawkish eyes scanning the area, then walking towards them. He set down the weapons he carried-an M4 and an M60.

“You Doug and Jorge?” the man asked.

“You found us,” Jorge said. “You talked to Luis?”

“Yeah,” he said, shaking hands with them. “I’m head of the resistance in San Bernardino. Conrad Kowalski.”

“You were recruited by Ivan the Butcher?” Doug asked.

“His recruitment leader, Ben Dover,” he said, a smirk on his face.

“Oh, yeah, that guy,” Doug said. “Saw that video of him on the TV show. Love to shake his hand.”

“Me too,” Jorge said. “There really half a million enemy fighters out there?”

“Hey, Conrad, where do you want us?” shouted a man from the second vehicle – a stake truck with men jumping out of the bed. He was much younger, with the look of an army recruit.

“Let’s move the vehicles off the road, and bring up the K-rail tenders. Place them about five feet apart, all up and down the road as far as we can. Got it?”

“You don’t want them flush, so there’s no gaps?”

“We don’t have enough,” Conrad said. “Stake them down, too, but place them first, okay?”

“Yeah, okay,” the man said. “I’ll pass the word.”

Conrad waved the man off, then pulled his cellphone out, fired up the long-range app, and showed it to Jorge and Doug. “See all these icons here?”

“Yeah,” Jorge said. “Holy crap.”

“That’s one way to say it,” Conrad said, smiling. “I’d use a little stronger language.”

“How’d you get this?” Doug asked.

“Go on the recruiting site and sign up, and you can download it. Worth it. What’s your email addresses?”

They both told Conrad what they were, and he sent them emails with the link to the recruitment page.

“Thanks, man,” Jorge said.

“How many people we got coming?” Doug asked.

“Not enough yet,” Conrad said. “I know of about eighty-thousand on the way, but they might not make it here in time. Obviously, that’s not enough. The only way we’ll survive is to get a whole lot of people here from San Diego. They started recruiting there last night, and I hear the response is huge.”

“Good,” Doug said. “Ah, the app finished loading.”

“Mine too,” Jorge said. “I’m gonna forward this link to everybody on our team.”

“Yeah, you do that,” Doug said. “I’ve got the long-range app up now. There’s gonna be more than half a million. I see a long trail of icons stretching up from the south.”

“Yep, I’ve heard it could be as many as seven hundred thousand,” Conrad said. “Take a look to the north-east.”

“In Mexico?”

Conrad smiled. “I wish. California.”

Doug moved his fingers around, his brow furrowed. “Highway 78, almost to Salton Sea. How many is that?”

“They’re pretty stretched out, but I’ve heard about two-hundred thousand.”

“Hell, man, they’ve got almost a million men on the way,” Jorge said. “We can’t counter that.”

“There’s ten million people in LA County. Over three million in San Diego County, and almost that many in Orange County. Riverside and San Bernardino each have over two million. We can field over a million citizens, easy. Look at what was done in Texas, and Northern California, and Portland.”

“But in what amount of time?” Jorge asked.

“Well, I won’t kid you guys. We might be overrun and killed before this starts rolling, but these heathens aren’t going to win the war. No way, no how. We’ve already taken back Northern California, you know, and we own LA and Orange Counties.”

“Where the hell are the Marines?” Doug asked. “Camp Pendleton is nearby.”

“Maybe they’re still on the side of the Feds,” Jorge said.

“They’re not,” Conrad said. “I’ve heard they’re being used to make sure the Navy base doesn’t get overrun. I agree that they ought to be helping us down here. It’s in their interest, after all.”

“Some Navy planes could be helpful too,” Doug said. “There aren’t enough Marines here to hold off a force the size that we’re seeing.”

Cars were leaving the road now, backing up and heading for the large flat areas between their position and Jacumba. Then two huge tenders rolled past them, and crews used the built-on cranes to lift K-rails onto the right shoulder of the highway.

“This is gonna take too long,” Doug said.

Jorge chuckled. “See where the enemy is right now? There’s no roads there. These folks are on foot. It takes a long time to march sixty-five miles on foot, man.”

“Yep, that’s why we’re taking the time to do this,” Conrad said. “Here’s a good rule of thumb. Infantry can march about twenty-five miles per day. We’ve got two and a half days before the main enemy force gets here. Oh, and by the way, our recruits can drive here. It’s all about the recruiting at this point.”

Jorge’s phone dinged again. He looked at it. “Luis. Another twenty-thousand citizens just got to town.” He laughed. “The traffic is a frigging mess. Maybe we’ll be okay after all.”

“We’d better have them park around there and walk here,” Conrad said. “You know the right people to call about that?”

“Yeah,” Doug said, pulling out his phone.

“I got to go check on some stuff,” Conrad said. “Nice to meet you guys. I’m sure we’ll see each other a lot in the next few days.”

Jorge and Doug watched as he walked away with several of his men.

***

“This waiting is driving me nuts,” Shelly said. She was sitting at the dinette in their battle wagon, watching the high-res app on her laptop. “Hey, honey, we’d better run the generator for a while so I can charge this up.”

“No problem,” Jules said. He flipped the switch on the dash to start it. “How close are they?”

“The lead is right by Lake Putt,” she said. “The tail is just past Emigrant Gap.”

“How far apart are those two places?” Sparky asked.

“Just a sec,” Shelly said, typing on her laptop. “They’ve tightened up nicely. It’s only four and a half miles.”

“Perfect,” Sparky said. “The entire group will be in the kill zone before the first of them hit the busted bridge.”

“Yes, this almost too good to be true,” Jules said.

“That’s what worries me,” Dana said. “We’ve got a multitude of enemy fighters coming at a small number of folks.”

“We not stand and fight all,” Jules said. “Never plan. Stop them from coming to Sacramento. Kill a bunch, then get away clean. That’s objective.”

“I agree, but I share Dana’s concern,” Sparky said. “As soon as the first vehicles go over the side, you know messages are gonna be sent to the vehicles behind them, right?”

“We can attack the back end as soon as this starts,” Shelly said. “If we disable enough vehicles back there, it’ll be hard for them to escape.”

“That job of off-roaders by Baxter,” Jules said. “Place more there than at Crystal Springs road.”

“I think they’re speeding up,” Shelly said. “The leaders just passed Whitmore Road.”

“Won’t be long now,” Sparky said.

“We still gonna back up there?” Dana asked.

“Probably best way, so we can leave fast,” Sparky said. “How do you feel about driving there backwards, Jules?”

“Piece of cake,” he said. “New back end armor keep us safe until we can get into siege mode.”

“We shouldn’t go right to the edge,” Shelly said. “We’ve got the range to hit them from a larger distance.”

“True,” Jules said. “Off-roaders do a lot more damage. Send text to Robbie – only go far enough to see enemy, not all way to edge.”

“We’re doing too much on-the-fly in this operation,” Sparky said. “Ought to be by the numbers.”

“We by numbers where need,” Jules said. “We aren’t important group, now that bridges down. Baxter group important, and strategy worked out well there.”

“That’s where Ted is, right?” Sparky asked, a sly smile coming on his face. “Say no more.”

“Yes, he handle,” Jules said. “He always handle.”

***

Ted and Stacey sat at the dinette opposite Haley and Brianna.

“Where are they?” Ted asked.

Brianna pulled out her phone and clicked the Find My Friends app. “Still on the eastbound side of I-80,” she said.

“Well they’d better get to Kearsarge Mill Road in the next five minutes, or they’d better get off into the woods on the side of the road,” Haley said, watching the high-res app on her laptop. “The lead group of enemy vehicles is getting pretty damn close to there now.”

“There’s guard rail all along there,” Stacey said, “until they get to the off-ramp for Drum Forebay, and they’d better turn right and go down a ways, or they’ll be seen.”

“How do you know that?” Brianna asked.

“The map program,” Stacey said. “Street view.”

“Oh,” she said, “That’s smart.”

“Says the woman who came up with using Find my Friends to track our off-roaders,” Ted said, smiling at her. “So impressed. You made my job much easier.”

“Seriously,” Haley said.

“We all used that, before the war,” Brianna said, her babyface turning red. Stacey looked at her, the affection showing to everybody.

“This is gonna be close,” Haley said, refreshing her screen to see the new position of the enemy. “They’re three miles from Kearsarge right now.”

“And the off-roaders are a mile and a half, but they’re slower,” Brianna said. “Not that much slower, though.”

“Thank God for that,” Haley said. “This makes me nervous as hell.”

“Tell me about it,” Brianna said.

“Dammit, I wish we’d get past this part,” Stacey said. “They there yet?”

Brianna looked at her phone again. “They can probably see the sign for the off-ramp right now.”

“Enemy’s less than a mile away,” Haley said. “Geez.”

“We’re gonna make it,” Ted said. “There’s no traffic light at the top of that off-ramp, is there?”

“Stop sign,” Stacey said. “No traffic, either, so they’ll be able to get around that corner in a hurry.”

“The first of them made it up the ramp!” Brianna said.

“You can’t tell where the end is, can you?” Haley asked.

“Nope,” she said. “Should’ve talked to whoever was going to be last.”

“How close are the enemy fighters?” Ted asked.

“Less than half a mile,” Haley said.

“Arrrggg,” Stacey said. “C’mon, guys, make it!”

“Quarter mile,” Haley said.

Brianna’s phone dinged. “They’re all past the right turn.”

“Yes!” Stacey said, leaning back in his seat, taking a deep breath.

Haley smiled. “And there go the bad guys, racing past it.”

“So now we wait,” Ted said. “Is the enemy convoy still looking like about five miles long?”

“Four and a half,” Haley said. “How can this be going so well?”

“Don’t say that,” Ted said.

***

“They’re past Kearsarge,” Robbie said, watching his app.

“Did the off-roaders make it where they needed to be?” Morgan asked.

“I don’t know. Hope so.” Just at that moment, their phones dinged. Morgan got to hers first.

“Ted. Off-roaders got out of sight in time. Waiting for rest of the enemy convoy to get past that spot, then they’ll get on the westbound side of the road and head down.”

“That’s going to be very dangerous,” Robbie said. “Wouldn’t want to trade places. They have no armor.”

“I know, it’s scary as hell,” she said. “They’re fast, at least.”

“Doesn’t help that much when you have machine guns firing at you,” Robbie said. “The only thing that will protect them is the trees at the side of the westbound lanes. Thank God there’s no guard rails along there, so they can get into the forest before they have to engage the enemy.”

“Yeah, could you imagine if it was the eastbound side, and they were trapped on the highway? That would be a shooting gallery for the enemy.”

They just passed the Baxter overpass,” Robbie said.

“So Ted and Justin can probably see them.”

“I hope they can only hear them,” Robbie said. “These battle wagons are well known to the enemy now.”

“Good point. Where’s the tail end of the enemy convoy?”

“A good mile east of Kearsarge,” Robbie said. “They’ve compacted a lot, though. Good chance they’ll be completely inside the kill zone before we have the front end flying off the bridge here.”

“What could go wrong? What should we worry about?”

“Too many of them getting out of their vehicles and overpowering us,” Robbie said. “They have the numbers. The leaders just passed Crystal Springs Road.”

“Won’t be long now,” she said. “Glad we’re just going back far enough to get a clean shot at the road.”

“We’ll have to watch for RPGs,” Robbie said. “Hopefully we can hit the first few rows with enough grenade and mini-gun fire to shock them into submission.”

Morgan glanced over at him. “We won’t be able to use the rear machine guns as well from where we’ll be.”

“They’ve got plenty of range and a good targeting system,” Robbie said. “We’ll use them to good effect, trust me.”

“How close?”

“Any second now,” Robbie said.

Suddenly they heard the crash of vehicles flying off the road, hitting the broken cement below, and the squealing of tires as vehicles tried to stop in a panic.

Robbie and Morgan looked at each other. “Time to go!” Robbie said, getting behind the wheel. He fired up the engine and backed up quickly. “Tell me when you have a clear shot in that target reticle.”

“You got it,” Morgan said as she pulled out the tray and brought up the reticle. “Keep going, but slow down a little bit.”

“Jules is moving.”

“Watch the mirrors, not him,” Morgan said, “and be ready to angle like we did before.”

“Okay.”

“There, angle a little more towards the left.”

Robbie adjusted. How’s that?”

“Perfect. Get us into siege mode.”

Robbie nodded, stopping the coach and hitting the siege mode button. Morgan opened fire, hitting several of the front vehicles right through the windshields.

“That got their attention,” she said.

Jules’s coach fired the rear machine guns too, as Robbie waited for the M19 and mini-gun to rise into place. As soon as the grenade launcher was up he opened fire, shooting a half dozen of them into the stuck trucks in rapid succession, Jules doing the same. Men were leaving their vehicles, trying to run for cover, when the off-roaders fired from the side of the road, blowing up the next several rows of trucks, gas tanks going, spewing fire all over the place.

“It’s gonna be tough to hit much more with these rear guns,” Morgan said. “We’ve wasted just about everybody that I can see with the sight.”

“I’ve got a ways to go with the grenade launcher,” Robbie said, firing off another half dozen further back, the explosions taking longer to sound. Machine gun fire hit the rear of the coach.

“They’re finally shooting back,” Morgan said, getting back on the target reticle. “Stupid.” She fired, hitting several men who were lying between ruined vehicles close to the edge of the road. Several of them were hit, the others trying to crawl backwards as Jules landed two grenades right on top of them, body parts and blood flying into the air. Morgan leaned back from the target reticle. “That was gross.”

“Those off-roaders are still causing havoc, pretty far back there,” Robbie said. “Can’t see, but I can hear the grenades going off.”

“Most of those folks must be out of their vehicles by now, if they haven’t been hit. You haven’t even fired the mini-gun yet, have you?”

“Nope, and neither has Jules,” Robbie said. “Can’t see back far enough now.” He fired the grenade launcher several more times, aimed high so they’d fly far. “Hell, I hate using this thing without actually aiming at a target.”

“Those trucks are so close together that you’re hitting something with almost every shot,” she said. More bullets hit the back of the coach, and she fired again, hitting a group of three Islamists who were firing from prone position behind some of their own dead. Robbie saw them and landed grenades on them again. Then a text message came in.

“Who’s that?” Morgan asked, eyes glued to the target reticle.

“Ted. They’ve got the off-ramp completely blocked with broken trucks, and the off-roaders back there are almost out of ammo. He’s getting on the escape road.”

“Good,” Morgan said. There was another ding. “That Tex or Jules?”

“Tex, same thing as Ted, they’re leaving.”

“Maybe we’d better go too, before more of these folks start climbing out and get a lucky shot at our tires or something.”

“Text Jules,” Robbie said. “I’m going to light up the end with a bunch of grenade fire and get ready to go.”

“On it,” she said, sending a quick text to Jules. He replied right away. “They’re ready too. He says we should both be firing while we take down siege mode, until we get out of sight.”

“Yeah,” Robbie said. “Keep their heads down.” He flipped the switch for siege mode, lowering it as he fired up the mini-gun, sweeping lead across the front of the damaged road, firing a few grenades as well. Then he drove forward quickly, a few stray bullets hitting the back before they were around the bend, Jules right behind them.

“Wow,” Morgan said. “Think that did enough good?”

“We’ll find out,” Robbie said. They squeezed by the roadblock, which the CHP officers had already left behind.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 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 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! 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 – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!

 

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 141 – Towle Bridges

Morgan was driving the battle wagon, climbing into the Sierra foothills on I-80, the generator purring softly to keep a good charge on Robbie’s laptop. They’d been on the road for just over an hour. Robbie was sitting in the passenger seat, computer on his lap.

“Bingo!” he said. “I think I finally found a good place.”

“How far?” Morgan asked.

“Twenty minutes, assuming we can keep this speed. Towle, Alta and Baxter.”

“That’s three places,” she said.

“We’ll need to blow a bridge at Towle, and have a couple battle wagons at an off-ramp at Crystal Springs Road, and another couple at Baxter road.”

“Oh,” she said, glancing at him for a moment. “Sounds complicated.”

“I wish we had another three or four battle wagons, but in this situation the off-roaders might be better anyway. I need to get Jules on the phone. You can shut down the generator now. This thing has enough charge for the rest of the operation.”

“Okay,” Morgan said, reaching to shut it off. Robbie pulled out his cellphone and hit Jules’s contact, then put it on speaker.

“Robbie, what got for me?” Jules asked. “Sparky in coach too.”

“Hey, Robbie,” Sparky said.

“Hi, guys. I found a good place, but it’s gonna require that we handle three locations.”

“Uh oh,” Sparky said.

“No, I expect,” Jules said. “Where, kid?”

“We blow a bridge at Towle. It’s in a place they can’t get around, unless they’re before the off-ramps at Crystal Springs Road or Baxter Road.”

“I get,” Jules said. This be long caravan. We stop detour. I like.”

“Doesn’t that cut us a little thin?” Sparky said. “We only have six battle wagons.”

“We’ve got all the off-roaders,” Robbie said. “In this terrain, they’re probably better than having a bunch more battle wagons. We can roll down the side roads, blasting all their vehicles with the M19s from behind a fair amount of cover.”

“I like,” Jules said. “How long?”

“We’ll be there in about twenty minutes,” Robbie said.

“Pretty good plan, Robbie,” Sparky said. “Those three locations stretch out a little under two miles. It’s doable.”

“What about this off-ramp at Kearsarge Mill Road?” Dana asked.

“Look at where that leads,” Robbie said. “If you get off there, the alternate from the right side of I-80 just dumps you back onto westbound I-80 or back east, and if you go under the interstate and try to take the roads on the left side, they all dead end except one.”

“What about the one?” Jules asked.

Sparky laughed. “I see what he’s saying. That route leads you all over some pretty dicey roads for big vehicles, and when it dumps back to I-80, they’ll be blocked by the fallen bridge at Towle. Genius, kid.”

“Okay, relay info to the rest of the team,” Jules said. “Put together demolition team. We blow bridge as soon as we get to Towle. Where enemy?”

“Just about to Imlay, Nevada,” Dana said.

“When do they get to Towle?” Jules asked.

“Over three hours,” Dana said. “We’ll have two and a half hours to blow the bridge and get set up at the other off-ramps. It’ll be tight, but not too tight.”

“Perfect,” Jules said. “Thanks, Robbie. We spread word.”

The call ended. Morgan looked over at him. “Nice job, honey.”

“Thanks,” Robbie said. “Hope nothing goes wrong.”

They drove the next fifteen minutes with very little conversation, Robbie watching the high-res app. The enemy continued their relentless drive west, but their speed didn’t increase.

“You’re getting nervous,” Morgan said, glancing at him.

“Just trying to broaden my thinking,” he said. “The enemy force is still stretched out a long way.”

“You’re worried that when the first group gets to the ruined bridge in Towle, there will be forces far enough back to turn around before they get stuck.”

“Exactly,” he said. “We have geography in our favor, though. There’s a place they can turn around before Kearsarge Mill Road – Whitmore Road, but they can’t continue west from there. All they can do is switch over to the eastbound I-80.”

“How far back is that?”

Robbie looked at his computer screen for a moment. “About six miles.”

“And how far spread out are the enemy right now?”

“More like ten miles,” Robbie said. “It’s better than it was, though. Before it was about fifty miles, so they are tightening up.”

“Maybe we should send another team east to bottle up the road, then,” Morgan said. “To keep them from escaping. Doesn’t have to be something permanent. Just enough to hold them there while we destroy them.”

“I don’t know if we have enough ammo to do that. If they’re all stopped, we’ll have a couple hundred troops getting out of vehicles and shooting at our off-roaders.”

“Dammit,” she said. “So, we should just do what we can, and then get our people out of harm’s way?”

“That’s what I’m thinking. If we can nail a good part of their forces and stop them from using I-80, their job becomes much more difficult.”

“We’re almost there,” Morgan said. “You gonna bring this up with Jules?”

“Yeah,” Robbie said. “Get off at Morton Road, and we’ll take Casa Loma Road to the bridge.”

“Will do. What if half their force turns around and goes east on I-80. Is there another way they could come west?”

“I’m looking,” Robbie said, eyes glued to his screen. He chuckled. “No, they’re really screwed, since we control most of Northern California now. They could get on Highway 395 and go way north, then cross over to I-5 and head into Sacramento that way, but I don’t see them doing it.”

“Why not?”

“It’s way out of the way, and they’ll need to get fuel for their convoy, in areas that we control. We’ll blow them away.”

Robbie’s phone rang. “Jules,” he said, hitting the speaker button.

“Hey, Robbie, don’t take off-ramp. Pull to side of I-80 before bridge. We fire at enemy from there.”

“Oh, okay,” Robbie said. “Glad you got us. We were about to get off onto Casa Loma.”

“Dead ends, too low to fire at enemy on I-80.”

“Okay,” Robbie said. “I assume most of the battle wagons and off-roaders are going on. How are they getting home?”

“Dana work out. Baxter Road to Alta Bonnynook Road,” Jules said. “Long out of way. We be home before them, if plans go well.”

“What’s to keep the enemy from following that way?” Morgan asked.

“We ruin their vehicles on off-ramps at Crystal Springs and Baxter, plus stop up I-80 with broken trucks too. They eventually get through, but take long time, after many killed. I think they turn tail and go east again.”

“We’re coming up to it already,” Morgan said, pulling to the side of the road.

“Do K-turn and back up to bridge,” Jules said. We high-tail west when done, get onto westbound side when can. Got? Talk to you soon for other details.”

“Yeah, we got it,” Robbie said. The call ended. Morgan looked in her mirror. “Good thing there’s no traffic on this road. She turned on the wide highway, pulled over to the right shoulder, and backed up.”

“Here comes Jules,” Robbie said, watching him make the turn and back up on the left shoulder.

“We should angle these,” Morgan said, looking out the window. “Otherwise the mini-gun turret will block the grenade launcher turret.”

Robbie looked outside and nodded in agreement. “Do that. I’ll text Jules.”

He sent the text as Morgan adjusted the position of their coach, and then they both got outside. Jules angled his coach and joined them.

“Good point, kid,” Jules said.

“That was Morgan’s idea,” Robbie said.

“Really? Very impressive.”

“Thanks,” Morgan said. Shelly, Dana, and Sparky came out.

“We’d better get to one side or another so the rest of our rigs can get through,” Sparky said.

Jules nodded, and all of them came to the right shoulder next to Robbie and Morgan’s coach.

“Who’s going where?” Robbie asked.

“We stay here,” Jules said. “You too. Please keep eye on the laptop and let us know status as operation runs.”

“Will do,” Robbie said.

“Tex and Cody stay at Crystal Springs Road. Ted and Justin go on to Baxter Road. We distribute off-roaders between the three areas and on the roads in-between and past Baxter.”

“Here comes more of our folks,” Sparky said, pointing as two of the battle wagons and several dozen off-roaders raced by. Six off-roaders pulled up next to them.

“We ready to blow the bridges?” asked one of the men after lifting the face screen on his helmet. “We’ve got the explosives and stuff in our saddle bags.”

“Yes, do, westbound side first please,” Jules said.

“You heard the man,” the off-roader said. “Let’s go back to Casa Loma road.”

“Maybe we should blast this guard rail with a grenade or two,” said a second man. “We could get down there with ease. It’s not even steep.”

“No,” Jules said. “Save grenades for enemy. We have lots coming.”

“Roger that,” the lead man said. They turned their off-roaders and raced back, staying to the shoulder as more off-roaders and the last two battle wagons raced by in the left lane.

“Sure those guys know what they’re doing?” Sparky asked.

Jules smiled. “Yes, did jobs for Ivan before. Top notch.”

“Do we even need to blow the eastbound bridge?” Robbie said. “That center divider is pretty tough.”

“Yes, do,” Jules said. “They be in panic to get to other side. Ram with vehicles to knock over, or use explosives. We need both sides down.”

“Yeah, I agree,” Sparky said.

“I go get ready,” Jules said. “Get into siege mode. You should do same.”

Robbie nodded, and climbed into the coach behind Morgan, who went to the driver’s side and flipped the switch for siege mode.

“Should I raise the guns now?” she asked.

“Wait,” Robbie said, as he pulled out the machine gun tray in front of the passenger side. “Let’s see if we’re angled so we can hit the westbound side of the road with the rear guns.”

“Good idea,” she said, watching as he looked through the target reticle. “You know what, it’s about perfect where it is. We can hit the westbound and eastbound sides with it right now.” He pulled out his phone and sent a text to Jules, then picked up his laptop and opened the high-res app. Morgan set up siege mode and raised the weapons.

Robbie’s phone dinged. “Jules is doing the same thing.”

“Yeah, I see him jockeying around,” Morgan said, looking through the main sight. “Wonder if the enemy will drive all the way up here or stop dead in their tracks when they see our rigs?”

“Good question,” Robbie said. “Maybe we ought to be hidden instead of sticking out like a sore thumb over here.”

“We’d have to go down a ways to be out of sight, wouldn’t we?”

Robbie looked at his map program, zooming out. “There’s a nice curve not very far back there. Maybe we ought to go past it, and wait for a tip-off from the off-roaders.” He typed the message to Jules, who called after a moment.

“Robbie, that good idea,” Jules said. “Let’s come out of siege mode and do that. See how many enemy vehicles fly off end of road. I tell other coaches to get out of sight too. We pack them in tight.”

“Excellent,” Robbie said. “See you around the bend.”

Jules chuckled and ended the call.

“Okay, take us back out of siege mode,” Robbie said.

“Good.” Morgan flipped the switches to get them back into travel mode and they drove forward, Robbie watching through the sight. They went around the bend and up another fifty yards, Jules catching up with them after a couple minutes.

“Okay, this ought to do it,” Robbie said. He looked at the laptop again.

“Where are they?” Morgan asked.

“The first of them are getting into Sparks. It’s just east of Reno.”

“Wow, they’re making good time,” she said. “Oh crap.”

“What?” Robbie asked, looking up, seeing two CHP cruisers roll up next to Jules’s coach. “Uh oh.”

Two officers got out of each cruiser, walking up to meet Jules, who was walking towards them. They shook hands warmly. Robbie chuckled.

“I’ll bet he called them in to put a roadblock out here,” Morgan said.

“That’s what I’m thinking. We made some good friends at their headquarters after we helped them, I suspect.”

The officers got into their vehicles, rolled back to where the last off-ramp was, and set up a roadblock. Jules sent a text, which Robbie read.

“Now we won’t have unwelcome guest,” the text read. Robbie sent a quick reply and then went back to his laptop.

“I was a little worried about that,” Robbie said. “Kept forgetting to bring it up.”

“Yeah, I know, me too. I guess we just wait, now.”

There was a loud blast, vibrating the road beneath them, then another. They could hear chunks of cement falling. Robbie raced out the door and looked to the east. A grey cloud of dust was rising, and a few whoops and hollers could be heard.

“Wow,” Morgan said, coming up behind him to look. “That made a good rumble.”

Jules came out of his rig with a big grin on his face, followed by Shelly and Dana. “Nice show, no?”

“Damn straight, man,” Robbie shouted back.

“Where enemy?”

“Just east of Reno and coming fast,” Robbie said.

“Fire in the hole!” somebody yelled to the east, and there were two more massive explosions, raising more dust, the road under their feet vibrating.

“We should’ve waited for a few minutes before we moved,” Shelly said. Dana looked at her and laughed as Sparky came out to join them.

“I’m gonna go inside and get back on the laptop,” Robbie shouted. He and Morgan climbed into their coach.

“Well?” Morgan asked as he looked at the screen.

“They’re just past Reno now. Looks like they stretched out more, though. Some of them slowed down.”

“Maybe that’s bad,” Morgan said. “How far back are the last of them?”

He looked at the screen, then smiled. “Lockwood. They’re still only ten miles from start to finish. We’re gonna get most of them.”

***

Clem, Sarah, Sid, and Yvonne were coming home from Dulzura, after shopping all morning for electronic surveillance gear, food, and clothing.

“I’m surprised they had so much good surveillance stuff,” Clem said. “Should just open a tab with that place.”

Sid snickered. “What kind of guy names his electronics store Scooter’s?”

“Seriously,” Yvonne said. “Sounds like the name of a bar, not a geek store.”

“Hey, watch that,” Clem said. They all cracked up.

“Want to stop anywhere else?” Sid asked.

“We’re burning daylight,” Clem said. “We probably should spend the rest of the day getting the cameras set up by that fence break.”

“No rest for the weary,” Sid said.

“I can handle it if you’re tired,” Clem said.

“I’m joking,” Sid said, “and I’m not letting you go out there by yourself. Hell, I’m not letting anybody go out there by themselves. Remember what happened to Ed?”

“Ed,” Clem said. “Maybe we should see if he wants to take us in his hovercraft. Probably make better time.”

“Is it fixed?” Sarah asked. “Haven’t heard it for a while.”

“As far as I know,” Sid said. “We need to bring some heavier tools. I think the Jeep might be better.”

“Probably right,” Clem said. They made the turn onto Campbell Ranch road.

“Almost home,” Sid said. “Another ten miles to town.”

“Yeah, well don’t go too fast,” Yvonne said. “I heard somebody almost hit a cow the other day on this road.”

“You seem awful nervous, honey,” Sid said, glancing at her for a moment as the Jeep bounced along.

“We have seven hundred thousand bad guys on their way across the border,” Yvonne said, “and another couple hundred thousand on their way down from northern California. This is the makings of a clusterfuc…”

“Stop!” Sarah said quickly, putting her hand over her mouth. “Sorry.”

Sid and Yvonne laughed, Clem showing a sheepish grin.

“I guess I don’t need to use crude language all the time,” Yvonne said. “Sorry.”

“Oh, it’s just me,” Sarah said. “I used to do that to John. Surprised he put up with it all those years.”

They rode quietly for a while, seeing a couple of vehicles racing to the highway, and a few cows off to the right side of the road, pausing from their grazing to watch them go by.

“You really want to see if you can stay here, Clem?” Sarah asked.

“Here?” Yvonne asked. “Please.”

“I like it,” Clem said. “Nice folks, cool surroundings, lots to do. I could get used to it.”

“Where do you want to go after this is over?” Sarah asked Yvonne.

“Don’t know,” she said. “I don’t think I can go back to the Dulzura RV Park.”

“Me neither,” Sid said. “Maybe a reservation? Either my tribe or yours?”

“That’ll take some thought,” Yvonne said. “I left for a reason.”

Sid sighed. “I know, so did I. Maybe it’s time to get lost in an urban area again. Been a while.”

“We’re not going back to Hawaiian Gardens,” Yvonne said. “It’s got to be someplace nicer than that.”

“What?” Sid asked.

“How about Newport,” Clem quipped, which got a hearty laugh from Sid.

“Hell, like they’d let us in there.”

“If you had the money, I’m sure they would,” Yvonne said, “and therein lies the problem.”

Everyone’s phone dinged with a broadcast text.

“Uh oh,” Yvonne said, pulling her phone out of the glovebox. “Meeting again.”

“Saloon, I hope?” Sid asked. Yvonne elbowed him. “Hey, I’m driving here.”

“Yep, it is the Saloon,” Clem said. “Goody. I could use a beer. It’s not too early this time.”

“I think I know what this is about,” Sid said, looking at his rear-view mirror. “Look back there.”

They all looked, seeing a new battle wagon on the road about a hundred yards behind them, followed by two semi-trucks and a long line of additional battle wagons behind.

“Geez,” Clem said. “Where’s all this money coming from?”

“Ivan and Ji-Ho are both quite wealthy, apparently,” Sarah said, “but I’ll bet there are lots of interested parties who want to help this cause.”

“You got that right, honey,” Sid said.

“Here comes Sam’s Jeep and a couple of Ji-Ho’s,” Sid said, pointing. “They’re obviously going to meet them.” He slowed to a stop as the oncoming Jeeps did, Sid getting his window next to Sam’s.

“Get what you needed in town?” Sam asked. Mia waved to him from the back seat.

“Hi, darlin,” Sid said, waving back to Mia, then looking at Sam. “Yeah, there’s a great electronics joint there. Is the meeting about the delivery?” He nodded behind him.

“I wish,” Sam said. Erica looked over from the passenger seat, fear in her eyes.

“Oh, crap, what now?” Clem asked.

“Good news and bad news,” Sam said. “On the good side, the Islamists coming from the north did go east. They’re going to avoid us.”

“What’s the bad news?”

“Five hundred thousand Islamists are massing at the border, and we don’t have enough people there to stop them.”

“Oh, God,” Yvonne said. “This is what I was afraid of.”

“It might not be too bad,” Sam said. “Ivan contacted the US Armed forces in San Diego. Both the Navy and the Marines. There’s no agreement on them getting directly involved yet, but we have been allowed to recruit civilians in western San Diego County. That might be enough.”

“We’d better go, honey, so the caravan doesn’t get held up too much,” Erica said. “That meeting is soon. We need to be involved.”

“Got it,” Sam said. “See you guys in town.”

He drove off, and Sid started moving again.

“Well, this could be worse,” Clem said. Sarah glanced at him, then out the window as the Jeep got back to full speed.

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 139 – Southern Routes

Jules finished backing the battle wagon under the massive cover structure at their base. The other rigs were doing the same, and off-roaders rushed into the big quarry’s lot like a swarm of hornets.

Shelly looked over at him, eyes sleepy. “We don’t have a bunch of stuff to do, I hope? I’m so tired.”

“Me too,” Jules said as he shut down the engine. “I go do hook up. Get into bed, I’ll join soon.”

“Okay, honey,” she said, getting out of the passenger seat and walking to the back of the rig.

Jules went out to hook up the power and water. Tex was doing the same on his rig in the next space.

“Hey, partner, you been listening to the news?”

“No, Tex, what I miss?” Jules asked as he opened his utility compartment.

“Portland. The EU Navy ship steamed up there, ready to unload sixty thousand UN Peacekeepers. There was a huge battle, with a couple hundred thousand patriots flooding the dock area.”

“Oh, really?” Jules asked. He pulled out his power cable and plugged it into the mast, then flipped on the breaker. “Sounds like somebody was on social media.”

“Probably,” Tex said, pausing to connect his water. “It gets better. A US Navy ship was following it, and just as the EU ship was starting to use its weapons on the citizens, it got hit with three missiles. Blew up the ship and killed all of the UN Peacekeepers.”

“Gee, that too bad,” Jules said, shooting Tex a wicked grin. “Bet Daan isn’t happy right now.”

“Of course, the news media is portraying this whole thing as a frigging tragedy, but bottom line is that the enemy has lost Oregon.”

“That battle only, not war,” Jules said.

Tex chuckled. “The citizens went on a rampage. They rounded up all of the crooked political hacks who put martial law in and shot them.”

Jules froze. “Shot them? Maybe we do win there, then.”

“The radio announcer was expressing hope that the EU or the UN will come in and install order.”

“Yeah, we know what kind of order they talk, no?”

“Exactly,” Tex said. “If this event didn’t cause so much loss of life, they wouldn’t have covered it, partner.”

“They cover CHP hit?”

Tex laughed. “Nope. Thanks for making my point.”

Both men cracked up. Ted walked over with Sparky.

“You guys talking about the Portland thing?” Ted asked.

“Yes, Tex just fill me in,” Jules said.

“The worm has turned there,” Sparky said. “Hopefully Seattle will be next.”

“Bigger nut to crack,” Jules said.

Robbie came over. “You guys talking about what happened up north?”

“Yes,” Jules said. “You hear?”

“I had the radio on, caught the gist,” Robbie said. “No need to go back over it, unless you have some inside info from Ivan or something.”

“Nope,” Jules said.

“Something’s on your mind, partner,” Tex said.

“We got back a little before you guys did,” Robbie said. “I’ve been back on that new high-res app. I think we’re gonna get a flow of enemy fighters coming in from Nevada.”

“Where do you see?” Jules asked.

“There’s a well spread-out group coming from the Salt Lake City area, along I-80,” Robbie said. “They weren’t there before we left.”

“Wonder if they want to take Oregon back?” Sparky asked.

“No way,” Ted said. “If they were going to Oregon, they’d be going up I-84.”

“There aren’t enough people in Oregon for them to make that kind of move,” Robbie said. “Not after we’ve whacked them so bad in the northern half of California.”

“He smart,” Jules said. “They lost top third of California, along with LA and Orange counties in south. They do two things. Send big forces to open I-8, and try to take back Sacramento and Bay Area. They must do fast, too, or they have no chance.”

“What about the battle with General Hogan?” Sparky asked.

“General Hogan forces retreat from Utah,” Jules said. “Head for Kansas. Ivan told me. Maybe Saladin thinks enemy is on run.”

Tex took off his cowboy hat and scratched his head. “Something doesn’t add up here. You think the enemy leadership is starting to lose it?”

“Maybe the enemy leadership figured out what my dad has done, and now killing him isn’t the priority it once was,” Robbie said.

“That possible,” Jules said. “Still must defeat General Hogan forces to win war.”

“They already know they’re in trouble,” Ted said. “This could be a Hail-Mary for California. You know how many troops are on the way, kid?”

“A lot,” Robbie said. “They’ve spaced them out, like I said, but I’m seeing about two hundred thousand.”

“Crap,” Sparky said. “We need to get ready for this.”

“Robbie, keep tracking,” Jules said. “How far closest group?”

“None had passed the Utah border as of a few minutes ago,” he said.

“That’s good and bad,” Ted said.

“What mean?” Jules asked.

“It could mean that there are more than two hundred thousand on the way,” he said. “They might not have left the huge base in Salt Lake City.”

“Assuming no stop-overs to rest, that’s nine hours,” Tex said, looking at his phone.

“It’s actually ten hours,” Robbie said. “Remember the time-zone change.”

“Oh, yeah,” Tex said. “They aren’t gonna drive straight through, though.”

“Don’t be so sure, they probably have more than one driver per vehicle,” Ted said.

“I go call Ivan,” Jules said. “Talk later. Robbie, keep up good work.”

“Hey, partner, where’s the Islamists that are headed south?” Tex asked.

Robbie turned back to him as he was walking away. “Settled in for the night. The group who’s made it the furthest is in Warner Springs.”

“Crap, they’re going to link up with the big group in Julian, and go on a rampage,” Tex said.

“Keep eye on that too,” Jules said. “We won’t be able to help as soon as I thought.”

Jules left the others, climbing the steps into his rig.

“You coming to bed, honey?” Shelly asked from the bathroom.

“Soon, must call Ivan,” he said. “New development.”

“Good or bad development?”

“Not sure,” Jules said, sitting on the couch. He pulled out his phone and hit Ivan’s contact, then put it on speaker. It rang twice, and Ivan picked up.

“Jules, nice job at the CHP headquarters,” Ivan said.

“Thanks, boss. Robbie see something. We should talk.”

“Uh oh,” Ivan said. “What?”

“Large group of Islamists heading west on I-80,” Jules said. “Coming from Salt Lake City.”

“We’ve been watching,” Ivan said. “They haven’t left Utah yet.”

“Yes, that what Robbie say. What you think? Should we stick around up here?”

“I need more information,” Ivan said. “We’re working that now. We saw a mass of fighters rush into Salt Lake City; we thought they’d be heading to Oregon after what happened there.”

“Oregon not worth squat,” Jules said. “Only reason UN Peacekeepers go there is we shut down landing spot in Bay Area.”

Ivan was silent for a moment. “We’re starting to think the same thing. It’s not a good development. We need you guys in the south. Ji-Ho and Sam have a firestorm coming their way, and they haven’t the resources to handle it yet.”

“You work recruitment, no?”

“Ben Dover’s got a sub-team on it, but it’s just getting started, and we’ll have a harder time with weapons distribution than we have up north.”

“Why?” Jules asked.

“Can’t use San Diego. It’s controlled by the US Navy.”

“They’re on our side, no?”

“Yes, Jules, but they aren’t advertising it, and their attitude is that any increase in distribution of weapons down there is likely to bite them in the ass. And by the way, they’re right to worry. If Ji-Ho’s team is destroyed, the weapons will be used to attack eastern San Diego county, and they’ll work their way west quickly. Remember what the US Navy is dealing with now.”

“EU Navy,” Jules said. “Dammit.”

“Don’t worry, it’s not all bad,” Ivan said. “They’ve lost Oregon for good, provided they don’t win the larger war in Texas, the southwest, and California.”

“They have to win all three?” Jules asked.

“Yeah, and they’d have to get it done before the people in the mid-Atlantic, New England, and the upper Midwest throw off the yoke of martial law. The clock is running on that.”

Jules chuckled. “Okay, when you put like that, not so bad.”

“There’s one other issue going on,” Ivan said. “I’ve got only a sketchy account of this – I’m trying to get more info but we don’t have much intelligence on the EU.”

“You want me to put feelers out?”

“No, Jules, leave it alone for now. In a nutshell, the UN is pushing for more money to stay in the battle, in places like California, New England, and the Mid-Atlantic. The EU isn’t budging on funding – they’re already picking up the slack since the USA has had to pull back.”

“Daan is having a nightmare over this, I bet.”

“That’s what we think,” Ivan said. “We’ll see what happens.”

“Wish UN would pull back. No RFID makes them harder to deal with, even though they don’t fight as well as the Islamists.”

“One more thing, Jules, then I’ve got to go.”

“Go ahead, boss.”

Ji-Ho’s group got attacked by enemy troops using a shielded vehicle like you found in that parking garage next to the CHP headquarters.”

“Really? How many snuck in?”

“Very few, in only one van, with UN Peacekeepers driving in the unshielded part of the cabin. They have a person looking for lead dealers in California. We may want to have your data person chat with this kid. His name is Seth.”

“You want Robbie to chat with him? Okay, we can make that happen. I send message to Ji-Ho to set up.”

“You do that, Jules. Now rest a while, but have somebody watching the long-range app. Don’t let the Islamists from Utah catch you with your pants down.”

“Understand,” Jules said. “Good bye.”

The call ended. Shelly stuck her head out of the bathroom. “Interesting conversation.”

“I turn up loud so you can hear,” Jules said. “What doing in there so long?”

“Primping a little,” she said. “Can we go to bed now?”

“Why rush?”

“I’m still in my fertile period, remember?” she said, coming out of the bathroom wearing nothing but a smile.

“You don’t have to ask me twice,” Jules said, following her into the bedroom.

***

Sam stepped out of the tiny shower in the battle wagon, reaching for a towel. It was quiet in the coach. Erica tip-toed to the bathroom and put her finger to her lips.

“Mia’s asleep?” he whispered.

“Yes, and I don’t want to wake her up,” she said. “You want anything to eat from the fridge or the pantry?” I’ll grab something and bring it into the bedroom if you want.”

“Any of those Greek yogurts left?” he whispered.

“Yeah,” she said softly. “I’m going to grab what’s left of the pita chips too, and a couple of water bottles.”

“Perfect,” Sam said. She snuck away. He finished drying off and slipped quickly into the bedroom.

“Well, I’m glad she fell asleep,” Sam said. “That attack last night shattered her feeling of safety here. Hope she can get it back soon.”

Erica nodded, taking off her robe and sitting on the bed in her nightgown. “I think she’s gonna be fine. The times she’s had with us aren’t nearly as bad as the times she had before we got her.”

“You’re right about that. I’ll never forget her face when she was tied up in that grocery store. Hope those experiences won’t impact her life later on.”

“She’s got a lot of strength,” Erica said. “Do you think we’ll be able to stay here?”

“For the duration of the war? I doubt it.”

“You think it’ll be destroyed?”

He looked at the worry in her eyes. “No, but I don’t think we can finish the fight from this location. We need to stop the enemy from opening that new route from Mexico. We screwed up this area for them already, with our destruction of the pass on Highway 94.”

“Where will we have to be?”

“Look at the spots on the map where I-8 is very close to the border, and look at the area around Calexico. Those are going to be the battle zones…and perhaps across the border from Yuma.”

Erica picked up her phone and navigated her map program to those areas. “Okay, I see what you mean. You don’t think they’ll continue to hit us here just for revenge?”

“They’re in enough trouble that they can’t afford the luxury of revenge,” Sam said. “I don’t know this Daan Mertins, but I do know Saladin. He’s a strategic thinker. He’ll get pissed enough to throw a small number of men into a vendetta, but only if it won’t hurt the larger mission. He figures if he can attain his goal of getting another six or seven hundred thousand enemy fighters over the border, he’ll be able to take over this whole end of California, and be ready to attack the US Navy stronghold in San Diego.”

“And if he knocks the US Navy out of San Diego, he can use the port to bring in even more Islamist fighters.”

“Yeah,” Sam said while he pulled the foil top off his yogurt. “Moving men in by ship is a whole lot easier than moving them through the desert.”

“So how long do you think we’ll stay here, then?”

“We need to watch the apps,” Sam said. “Watch the area around Julian, for example. If they build up a lot of troops there, we’ll get hit here.”

“I thought you said he didn’t care about revenge.”

“If he can take us out, either by driving us north or killing us, he’ll have a free hand to set up his supply routes. If he doesn’t bring a bunch of his folks into Julian, it’ll be because he wants to avoid fighting us until he has a lot more men.”

“You know where his men are now?” Erica asked.

“Spread out over hundreds of miles, but the furthest I’ve seen is Warner Springs.”

“Crap, that’s really close to Julian,” Erica said.

“They’ve been there since this afternoon, sweetie. They might take Highway 78 east to Highway 86, which leads down to I-8 near El Centro. From there he could go east or west on I-8 to one of the two southern most spots, or go straight down to Calexico, as I just mentioned.”

“What would you do?” Erica asked.

“Tough call, but I’d probably take Highway 78 east and avoid fighting us for now.”

She grabbed the bag of pita chips and took out a few, then handed the bag to him. “I hope you’re right. I’d rather chase him down someplace else than have him attack here.”

Sam ate a few pita chips, then handed the bag back to her.

“Do you agree?” she asked.

“I want him to do whatever is most likely a mistake,” Sam said. “To me, that would be gathering everybody up in Julian and trying to hit us.”

“Dammit, I really don’t want to be on the run again, especially with Mia.”

“We might be able to fight them and win,” Sam said.

“Not if they have two hundred thousand fighters.”

Sam chuckled. “Ivan’s recruitment team is focused on our area now, after pulling off a genius play up north. Twice. No, actually three times, although he wasn’t solely responsible for the third.”

“Not sure I get it.”

“They recruited all those citizens for the battles in the Bay Area and Sacramento.”

“What was the third one?”

“Portland,” Sam said, “although there was a lot of local help in Oregon for that effort.”

“Heard Karen and Dana talking about Portland. Still, two hundred thousand people? Could we really get that many?”

“Oregon is less populated than California, and they were able to get nearly two hundred thousand to join in the battles there.”

“When will we know?” Erica asked.

“We’ll just have to keep watching the apps. See if they continue south or head east. It’s possible that they hang out for a while and do nothing, you know. Been watching the enemy troop movements in Mexico?”

“No, not much,” Erica said. “What’s going on?”

“About half of the original force has taken off, moving pretty quickly to the southeast. I think they’re headed for Texas.”

“That’s good, isn’t it?” Erica asked.

“For Texas, not so much. It was good for us.”

Was?

“Yeah, Seth talked to us a few minutes before we left the Saloon.”

“You didn’t say anything to me?”

“Mia was with you the whole time, remember?”

Oh, yeah,” Erica said. “So?”

“Seth and Kaitlyn expanded the range of that history program. There’s been new troops arriving at the port at Mazatlán. They appear to be heading north-west, towards the California border.”

“How close are they?”

“Not very, but they’re in a country where there’s nobody to stop them. They’ll be to the border in three or four days. I’m sure Saladin would like to lay out the welcome mat for them. It’s more important for him than dealing with Dodge City.”

She leaned back, laying her head on her pillow. “How am I supposed to sleep now?”

He looked into her eyes, rolling towards her, kissing her tenderly.

“Oh, God,” she whispered.

“Think you can be quiet?”

She nodded yes, her arms going around him.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 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 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! 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 – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!

 

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 137 – The Patriots of Bend

Tex was leading the small force to the apartment building across the street from the CHP headquarters in Sacramento. Jules, Ted, and Sparky followed, along with CHP Officers Teter and Goldberg. The building was pockmarked with bullets, a few residents coming out, more driving in to survey the damage, having left when the gunfire started.

“Who’s gonna clean this up?” Sparky asked. Tex shot him a smirk as they neared the door to the lobby.

“Where bodies?” Jules asked.

“Penthouse floor,” Goldberg said. “Middle of the building. Room 405.”

“Is it over?” asked an old woman, who was standing in the sidewalk with a cart full of belongings.

“Yes, but we’re going to check for any enemy fighters who might still be alive,” Officer Teter said. “Please stay out here until we’ve given the all clear.”

“Yes sir,” she said. “Thank you.”

The group went into the front door. “Want to check out their apartment first?” Goldberg asked.

“Might as well,” Ted said. “Stairs.”

“Yeah,” Sparky said. Teter lead them to the stairwell and they raced up, winded at the top.

“I need to be in better shape,” Jules said, huffing and puffing.

“You and me both, boss,” Sparky said.

They followed Teter down the walkway to the room, the door hanging open. “Watch yourselves. We killed these guys as the battle was raging. I’m assuming we got them all, but you never know.”

Jules nodded, and the group went into the building in two-by-two formation, aiming their M4s as they searched, getting to the living room which opened onto a balcony facing the CHP building. The bodies were there, lifeless, staring into space.

Tex and Sparky rushed over, kneeling next to them, checking their pockets.

“What are you guys looking for?” Goldberg asked.

“Car keys,” Tex said. “Bingo.” He stood up, key fob in his hand. Sparky was checking the last one.

“Nothing in the rest,” Sparky said. “Looks like that UN Peacekeeper was the driver.”

“What kind of key is that?” Goldberg asked.

“Mercedes,” Tex said, tossing the key fob to him.

“UN van,” Jules said. “Wonder if marked?”

“I suspect we’ll find out in a minute,” Ted said. “Let’s go to the parking garage.”

“Wonder where the residents of this apartment are?” Sparky asked. “Look at the décor. This was an old person, or maybe an old couple.”

“You’re right,” Goldberg said. “Looks like my grandma’s place.”

“You check the closets for bodies?” Tex asked.

“We checked them for hiding enemy fighters,” Teter said. “Would’ve seen bodies. Nada.”

“Okay, let’s go,” Ted said. The men left the building, Tex going slowly, falling behind as he looked at the floor of the walkway.

“C’mon, Tex, while we’re young,” Ted said.

“Hold it,” Tex said, looking at a small smudge of blood that turned into a thin trail, going into the next unit.

“What?” Jules asked, looking at the floor he was staring at. “Uh oh.”

“Yeah, uh oh,” Tex said, walking towards the door as the others gathered around. He stood to the side of it and knocked hard. No answer.

Teter and Goldberg glanced at each other, then approached, not standing in front of the door, but off to the side as Tex was doing. Goldberg pounded on the door.

“Highway Patrol,” he shouted. “Open up!”

Silence.

“Let’s kick it in,” Tex said.

Goldberg nodded. “Yeah, I think you’re right.”

“I’ve got it,” Teter said, his massive leg kicking the door, breaking it open with the first try. The men got back into formation and went inside, aiming their rifles as they went.

“Oh, God,” Teter said, lowering his weapon. The living room floor was covered with bodies – a mixture of elderly, middle aged, and children, all with their throats cut.

“They must’ve killed everybody on this floor,” Sparky said, turning away from the carnage.

“Well, this side of the building, anyway,” Goldberg said. “Those sick bastards.”

“Time for us to take out the trash,” Teter said, fire in his eyes. “Can’t wait to kill more of these thugs.”

“Let’s check garage,” Jules said. “Afterwards send CHP officers to search entire building. This might not be only dead people.”

Goldberg nodded in agreement, and the men went to the stairwell, taking it all the way down to the underground garage.

“We’d better be careful when we go in here,” Sparky said.

“Yeah, back into formation, guys,” Ted said.

The men got their guns to their shoulders, and Teter opened the door, holding it as the others hurried through. He followed them. Goldberg took out the key fob and pushed the unlock button. There was a click, and headlights went on, around the corner from where they were.

“Over there,” Tex said. They rushed around the corner, staying in formation, their footsteps echoing in the cavernous garage.

“There,” Sparky said. “UN van without the insignia.”

“Just what I expect,” Jules said. The men trotted to it, guns still up.

Teter led the way, getting next to the side sliding door. “Get ready.” He grabbed the door handle and opened it. Everybody’s short range app went off, and a gunshot sounded. Jules opened fire, killing the lone Islamist before he could hit anybody.

“Son of a bitch, look at the inside of this sucker,” Tex said, sticking his head in. “Lead, lining the entire inside.”

“So, UN creeps drive, others in shielded back compartment,” Jules said. “This bad development, no?”

“How many could they have?” Ted asked. “Lead in this amount is hard to come by, and they could only shoehorn about eight fighters in here, max. They’d need hundreds of semi-trailers like this to field a usable force.”

“I call Ivan,” Jules said. “We might not be only team that see this.”

“Yeah, partner, you do that,” Tex said.

***

Jonathan was driving his battered pickup truck east on Oregon Boulevard, the traffic sparse for a late afternoon. Courtney was in the passenger seat, looking at her phone. She looked up.

“Why are we going this way? We hitting Jared’s place?”

Jonathan glanced at her, worry on his face. “I want to make sure he’s leaving. He didn’t answer my last text.”

“Maybe we better split. They might be looking for us right now.”

“They might,” Jonathan said. “Wish we had one of the long guns up here.”

“They’ll throw us in jail if they catch us with a gun up here.”

“They’ll throw us in jail if they catch us, period,” Jonathan said, “once we get out of Bend, anyway.”

“You don’t think the local cops would bust us?”

“No,” Jonathan said. “I know all of them. They’re on our side. They know what’s happening with the EU ship full of UN Peacekeepers. I think some of them will join us.”

They rounded the bend, getting onto Hawthorne Avenue.

“Look, roadblock, just past Hill Street,” Courtney said.

“Oregon State Police,” Jonathan said. “Dammit.”

“They’re not on our side?”

“Nope,” Jonathan said, slowing to a stop and parking on the curb, half a block from Hill Street.

“They’re gonna see us,” Courtney said, getting lower in her seat.

“No they aren’t. They’re all watching Jared’s house. They’ve got assault rifles out.”

“We need to go,” Courtney said.

“In a minute,” Jonathan said, pulling his phone out. He sent a text.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m letting Officer Peterson know that there’s three State Police cars at Jared’s house,” Jonathan said. His phone dinged with a reply.

“Well?”

“They’re already on the way,” Jonathan said, “with most of the force.”

Courtney looked shocked. “They’re going to fight the State Police?”

“They don’t want to be replaced by the UN,” Jonathan said. “They understand what’s going on.”

Suddenly four Bend Police cruisers raced by them, crashing through the barricades, as several more raced up the street from the other direction. Armed officers leapt out of their vehicles.

“Oh, crap,” Cortney said. Jonathan watched, his heart racing. “This is gonna be bad.”

One of the State Police officers came out with a bull horn. “Stop right there. This is out of your jurisdiction.”

“Stand down now!” yelled one of the Bend Police officers.

“We aren’t going to tell you again,” the man with the bull horn said. “We’re here under the authority of the Governor of Oregon.”

“Screw you,” the police officer shouted back. “We won’t allow the UN to come in here. No way in hell. Stand down or be fired upon.”

Several State Police officers pointed their guns at the Bend Police, all of whom pulled their weapons.

“Hold your fire,” the State Police officer said.

“Stand down immediately,” the Bend Officer shouted again.

Suddenly one of the State Police officers fired, hitting the Bend Officer. The first State officer dropped his bullhorn and looked at the dead man in terror, then turned to yell at the officer who fired. It was too late. Gunfire erupted from the Bend police, all the State Police officers in sight dropping, most of them dead.

“Son of a bitch,” Jonathan shouted.

“No!” Courtney said. They watched as Bend officers rushed into the duplex. Gunfire could be heard from inside, then silence.

“Geez,” Jonathan said. He watched as the Bend officers came out the front door, followed by Jared and several of his friends.

“Well, they’re still alive,” Courtney said. “They’re rounding up the State Police officers that are still alive.”

Jonathan sent another text. They could see an officer pull his phone and look at it. He turned towards their truck and motioned them over.

“C’mon,” Jonathan said, opening his door.

“You sure? What if more state cops show up?”

“There’s enough of our guys here to blast them,” he said, going to the truck bed. He opened the camper shell and grabbed his Mini-14.

“What are you doing?” Courtney asked.

“Officer Jenkins said to bring it.”

“Why, so they could take it away from you?” Courtney asked.

“Don’t worry about it,” Jonathan said. “C’mon.”

The two trotted over to the group of officers.

“Hey, Jonathan,” said Officer Jenkins, a man no older than him. “Thanks for giving us the heads up.”

“No problem,” Jonathan said. “Jared!”

Jared looked over and smiled, his right eye blackened, scrapes on his cheeks. “Hey, dude.”

“What happened to you?” Courtney asked, staring at his battered face.

“The Oregon State Gestapo,” Jared said, shrugging. “I didn’t get out fast enough.”

The radio in Jenkin’s car blipped. He rushed over and got it, then came back just as quickly. “They’re at your place now. You can’t go back there.”

“That means they’ll be here any minute,” Courtney said.

“You guys going with us to Portland?” Jared asked.

“We were,” Jenkins said. “Now we’re gonna set up roadblocks to keep the State Police away. We could use volunteers. Want to be deputized? I think a hundred thousand patriots in Portland is enough.”

“Deputize us?” Jared asked. “What is this, the old west?”

Jenkins laughed. “We can still do it…and this is at least the Wild West now. Gonna get worse before it gets better.”

“Wait a minute,” said an older man with a lieutenant’s uniform on, walking over. “You sure these guys are okay?”

“I’ll vouch for them, sir,” Jenkins said. “Known them all my life.”

“I was kinda looking forward to taking on the UN and the EU Navy,” Jared said.

The lieutenant studied him for a moment, then shook his head, shooting a side-long glance at Jenkins. “You’re sure?”

“Yes sir,” Jenkins said. “I know others too. In my gun club, for instance.”

“Okay, go ahead and recruit them,” he said, turning to Jared. “Look, son, there’s a difference to be made here. I suspect if you tried to go to Portland, you’d be shot on the way in.”

“We can’t let the UN Peacekeepers get a foothold,” Jared said.

“And they won’t,” the Lieutenant said. “My brother and sister are both in Portland. There’s more people getting involved than you know. It’s more like two hundred thousand now, and most of the city officials who put martial law in place have gone into hiding. All they have left now is the State Police, and not all of them are towing the line. We’re gonna take this state back, but we need to protect our family and our home. You’re here now and can make a difference. Stay and help us.”

“You guys can work recruitment for us,” Jenkins said. “You’ve proven yourselves to be pretty good at that, you know.”

The lieutenant nodded in agreement. One of the other officers rushed over and whispered in his ear. He picked up the bull horn from next to the dead State Police officer and put it to his lips. “Find some cover and get ready. State Police and some of their friends are on their way here right now.”

“Friends?” Jonathan asked. The lieutenant ignored the question and rushed off to attend to some others.

“C’mon,” Jenkins said. “They’ll head in here on Bend Parkway again.”

“I’d be ready for them to show up from any direction,” Jared said. “Gotta go get my weapon.” He ran off to the rear of his building.

“What should I do?” Courtney asked.

“Get in the basement of Jared’s duplex,” Jonathan said.

“No way, I’m gonna fight,” she said, “so get used to that. I saw what those women said on the video.”

“This is why I love you,” Jonathan said.

Her eyes grew wide. “You love me? You’ve never said that before. Hell, I’ve never said that before.”

He smiled, pulling her in for a kiss, then pulling back and looking at her. “I’m not the greatest communicator. You know that. Let’s go to the truck. You can use the 20-gauge pump. I’ve got about four boxes of shells for that sucker, and it doesn’t kick too hard.”

“I’ve shot it before, remember?”

“Yeah, you were better than me at the skeet range, as I remember,” Jonathan said, taking her by the hand and running to the truck. They grabbed the shotgun and shells, and more ammo for the mini-14. When they got back, Jared was there with a couple more friends, all of them holding M4 variants. They took up positions along the end of Hawthorne Street where it met Hill street, but there weren’t enough good spots.

“Hey, how about those box cars over there?” Jonathan asked, pointing at them on the tracks across Hill Street.

“Perfect, but make sure you don’t get seen from the back side,” Jenkins said.

Jonathan, Courtney, Jared, and several others rushed over there, getting behind the cars and underneath them, guns aimed up and down the street. State Police squad cars and white vans came into view.

“Look, that’s about twenty vehicles,” Jared said. “What’s with the vans? Never seen them before.”

“Look at the sides,” Courtney said, squinting to read. “Says UN in blue letters.”

“Crap, they’re in Bend already?” Jonathan asked.

“They must’ve been infiltrating us for a while,” Jared said. “Here they come. Lock and load.”

“Don’t try to hit them with the shotgun until they’re real close,” Jonathan said. “Better yet, save it for when they get out of their vehicles and start running.”

“I know,” Courtney said, as she fed shells into the gun’s loading gate.

Gunfire erupted from the other side of the street, hitting the first of the State Police cruisers, stopping them in their tracks. The other vehicles stopped in a panic, trying to get out as a hail of lead came at them.

“Get those vans!” Jonathan shouted. “It’s the UN!”

Now everybody was firing, the fronts of all the vehicles getting hit. The side doors of the UN vans opened, men running out towards them. Courtney smiled at Jonathan, then turned and started firing, hitting running men one after another until they figured out they’d better take cover.

“C’mon, let’s go towards them from behind the box cars,” Jared said. “Maybe we can get behind them.”

“Good idea,” Jonathan said. They ran behind the boxcars in a crouch, getting all the way to Irving Avenue.

“This is good,” Jared whispered. “See them over there?”

The three got down on their bellies and opened fire, the UN Peacekeepers and State Police officers looking for cover in a panic, not even trying to return fire. Courtney fired her shotgun with deadly accuracy, dropping several more. The remaining UN Peacekeepers bolted and ran, Jonathan and Jared picking them off before they got twenty yards.”

“I think it’s over,” Jonathan whispered, eyes scanning the area. Courtney was doing the same, taking a moment to top up her magazine with shells. Jenkins and several other Bend officers were coming down the street now, rushing from one bit of cover to the next, checking the vehicles.

“Is it all clear?” Jared shouted.

“Stay under cover,” one of the officers yelled as he moved forward. A shot rang out, and he dived behind a car, the fire returned from all the cops in the street along with Jonathan and the others by the tracks. Courtney saw several men get up to run, so she bolted forward, firing her shotgun as she ran, dropping several more, Jonathan after her, looking in all directions for more enemy fighters. There was silence for a few moments. Courtney got out of the crouch she was in and walked back towards Jonathan, a smile on her face. Then another shot rang out, and her expression changed. She crumpled to the street. Jonathan saw the UN Peacekeeper who shot her and fired, hitting him square in the chest, then rushing over to Courtney.

Her eyes were still open, a faint smile coming over her face as she saw him above her. “I got a little of our own back,” she said softly. “I nailed seven of them.”

“Don’t talk,” Jonathan said, his tears dropping onto her face as he watched her.

“I love you too,” Courtney whispered. Her body spasmed, and she exhaled, dying as he watched.

“Oh, no!” Jonathan cried, kissing her forehead, cradling her body as his friends looked on.

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 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 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! 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 – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!

 

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”

 

To be continued…

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 136 – Roads and Passes

The battle near the CHP Headquarters in Sacramento continued to rage.

In the battle wagon, Robbie looked at Morgan, who’d just said that her rear machine guns displayed an overheat warning. “Hold off on the rear guns for a moment, then. I’ll watch with the mini-gun, you keep an eye across the river and use the front machine guns.”

There was still a high volume of fire coming from the CHP building, but it was almost all M60 fire, judging by how rapid the rate was. That tapered off after a couple of minutes. Robbie didn’t see any more enemy trucks coming at them from Tenth Street, and the north bank of the American River was covered with cruising off-roaders.

“I think we won,” Morgan said.

“Yeah,” Robbie said, scanning with his gun sight. “No movement.”

“Checking the apps,” Morgan said, looking at her phone. “Lots of hits. Can’t tell if their alive or dead.”

“What about the road in. Any more coming?”

“There’s three truck loads heading northeast as fast as they can go,” she said, looking over at him.

“Maybe we should chase them,” Robbie said.

“We should send a message to Ben Dover’s site,” Morgan said. “Warn people they’re coming. Maybe they can take them out.”

“Oh, you’ve been on that site, huh?”

“Yeah,” Morgan said.

“The enemy can monitor that too, you know.”

“There are private encrypted messages you can use,” Morgan said. “Just came on line this morning. You should check it out.”

“I will,” he said as she typed on her phone.

“Sent a message to Jules about that. Suggested that we send messages to Auburn and other towns along I-80.”

Robbie laughed. “He’ll ask you to do it.”

“I’m good with that.” Her phone dinged with a reply. She read it and laughed.

“I knew it,” Robbie said, watching her type messages on her phone. “Let’s get with the others and see what to do next.” He shut down siege mode and fired up the engine, then turned left, heading towards the CHP building. Other battle wagons and a lot of off-roaders were already there. As he pulled up, Tex parked next to him. The CHP Brass was just coming out of the building. Jules, Ted, Sparky, and Tex walked up to meet them, shaking hands. Robbie and Morgan followed, joined by Justin and Katie.

“I can’t thank you guys enough,” said a tall man in a CHP officer’s uniform, fifty-something with a dark complexion and bushy eyebrows. “I’m Kent Sherman, acting head of the CHP.”

“Hello,” Jules said. “I’m Jules.” He introduced the others, and Sherman introduced the CHP brass.

“You guys have the apps, no?” Jules asked.

“Yes, and we saw the problem coming. The three that were across the street weren’t visible to us until this morning. I’m wondering how the hell they got there.”

“Did you kill them, partner?” Tex asked.

Sherman nodded yes. “We killed them before their friends got here. There were three Islamists and two of those UN creeps. We found them, using that high-resolution PC version of the long-range app.”

“We need to search that building,” Ted said. “Something’s not right. You can’t make RFID chips disappear and re-appear.”

“Yeah, I agree,” Robbie said. “Something doesn’t smell right.”

Sherman glanced at him, then saw Morgan standing there, recognizing her from the video. He bowed at her. “It’s an honor to be in your presence.”

Morgan looked at him, not sure he was talking to her. He smiled. “Sorry. That video testimony really got to me. The whole state is proud of you and the others for what you did. It took courage.”

Morgan smiled, face turning red. “Thank you.”

“Let’s get over there and check this out,” Ted said.

“Maybe we ought to handle that,” Sherman said. “Might be dangerous. There might be stragglers alive.”

“Ted, Sparky, and Tex are former Special Forces,” Jules said. “I former Merc. We can handle. If you have such men, send with us.”

“Oh, sorry,” Sherman said. “We have a couple.” He pulled out his radio. “Teter and Goldberg, get down here. We need folks with Special Forces Training.”

“Roger that,” scratched a voice over the radio speaker. The two men showed up after less than a minute, both carrying M4s. Teter was a six-foot black man with a bald head and huge arms. Goldberg was just as tall, but thinner, with hawkish eyes and salt and pepper hair.

We going into that apartment building?” Goldberg asked.

“Yeah, we need to figure out how they snuck in there without touching off the apps,” Ted said. The men introduced themselves, checked their weapons, and took off towards the apartment building.

***

Clem rode shotgun with Sid in his old Jeep, Yvonne in the back with her rifle.

“Good idea to find the tracks,” Clem said. “That’ll help us focus our surveillance.”

“We also need to look for other likely places that they haven’t used yet,” Yvonne said.

“Yes,” Sid said. They cruised up the loose dirt rising above the pasture behind Garrett’s ranch house.

“It’s a shame those bastards damaged the barn,” Clem said. “Hope he didn’t lose much livestock.”

“He lost two milk cows,” Sid said. “Bastards.”

“That’s too bad,” Clem said. “There’s the tracks there. See them, behind where the mortars were set up?”

“Yeah,” Sid said, “but we need to get out and walk it a bit. There were k-turns and stuff here. I want to find where that thins out to one set of tracks.”

He pulled the Jeep over, and the three of them got out, walking towards the hills.

“I’m losing it,” Clem said, searching the ground in front of them as they walked.

“There it is,” Sid said, pointing ahead of them about twenty yards. “See. It looks like the vehicles came through that pass there, about three hundred yards out.” He pointed.

“Well I’ll be damned,” Clem said, shaking his head. “Injuns,”

Sid flashed him a sheepish grin. “Be nice.”

“I’m in awe,” Clem said, “and that’s the truth.”

“Let’s get back in the Jeep and follow it through the pass,” Yvonne said.

Sid and Clem nodded, and they went back to their Jeep and drove slowly, Sid’s eyes straining out the windshield.

“This pass is narrow,” Yvonne said. “Maybe we ought to bring some dynamite over here and blow it.”

“We’d have to get permission from Garrett,” Clem said. “This pass could be useful for grazing. Look at that pasture land over there. He might not want to cut that off.”

They were through the skinny pass and driving down off the hillside, still on un-grated dirt, rocks hitting the bottom of the Jeep as Sid sped up.

“Look, we’re getting to a fire road,” Sid said, nodding ahead.

“See it,” Clem said. “Wonder where that goes? Hope we can still see the tracks.”

“We will, if it’s not packed too tight,” Sid said. He slowed as they approached it, both sides of the road marked by a loose mound of dirt from the bulldozers that created it. He stopped and jumped out of the Jeep to take a closer look, the others following him.

“Coming from the right side,” Yvonne said.

“Yep, good tracks too,” Sid said. He turned and looked back towards where they came. “Look, you can see the pass from here.”

“I’ll be damned,” Clem said as he looked. “I see more horse tracks than tire tracks on the road.”

“That’s no problem,” Sid said. “Get in. Let’s follow this. We’ll be able to see where they came in.” They got in, and he drove over the hump of dirt on the side of the fire road.

“Wonder if Garrett made these roads?” Clem asked.

“They’re at least a few years old,” Sid said. “Don’t remember when I first heard of this place.”

“It’s been at least five years,” Yvonne said. “Maybe longer.”

Sid sped up.

“Can you see going this fast?” Clem asked.

“We’ll see if they got off the road,” Sid said. “The dirt on the side of the road will be crushed.”

“Oh, I get it,” Clem said.

“This road goes pretty far,” Yvonne said, squinting from the back into the sunny landscape.

“There’s trees up ahead about five hundred yards,” Sid said. “Wonder if there’s a creek there?”

“Looks like it,” Clem said. “Maybe there’s fish.”

Yvonne laughed. “Still a fisherman, eh?”

“Always a fisherman,” Clem said, turning his head back to grin at her. “Seems like a waste of time now, though.”

“Nothing left the road up to that next ridge,” Sid said after they crossed the five hundred yards of flat land. “I’m gonna get out and look.” He stopped on the road and jumped out, rushing in front of the Jeep and kneeling. The others stayed in the Jeep. He stood, looking around, then got back into the driver’s seat.

“Still there?” Yvonne asked.

“Yeah, but this incline had caused some water runoff, so it’s slightly rutted and packed a little better. The tracks are still there, but they might not be in a week.”

“Too shallow?” Clem asked.

“Exactly,” Sid said, putting the Jeep back into gear. They climbed the grade, the road going between clumps of boulders at the summit, then coming down, steeper than the other side.

“I’ll bet somebody had to dynamite boulders out of the way to build this stretch,” Clem said.

“Probably,” Sid said as he dropped the Jeep into a lower gear. “This drive wasn’t much fun at night, I’ll bet.”

“We must be close to the boundary of the property,” Yvonne said. “There’s barb wire ahead, to the left.”

“Garrett might own the land on either side,” Clem said. “I heard him say that they bought up several places over the years to give them what they have now.”

“I’d love to have this much land,” Sid said.

“Land ties you down,” Yvonne said.

Sid shot her a grin. “That’s what my dad used to say.”

“Look, the dirt on the left side of the road is crushed ahead,” Clem said.

“Good eye,” Sid said, slowing as they approached it. “There it is. Somebody took down part of the fence. See?”

“Son of a bitch,” Clem said. “We gonna keep following the tracks?”

“Hell yeah,” Sid said, turning the Jeep in that direction. “Tracks are pretty visible here.”

“Yeah, even a paleface like me can see them,” Clem said, his shoulders shaking as he chuckled. Yvonne rolled her eyes.

Sid slowed as he drove through the broken part of the fence. “Tracks are still strong.”

“What’s that, shining by the side of the road?” Yvonne asked.

“Good question,” Sid said, stopping the Jeep. He got out and trotted over to the reflection, coming back with a can in his hand. “Red Bull.” He tossed the can into the back, behind Yvonne.

“I can’t drink that stuff,” Clem said. “I get the shakes bad.”

“That drink is for the young,” Yvonne said.

Sid kept driving, the tracks still deep enough to see. The terrain was starting to descend slightly, as a small ridge rose out on the right side. They rounded it, and ran into an asphalt road.

“There we go,” Clem said.

“Stay in the Jeep,” Sid said to Clem as he got out, getting down on his hands and knees to look at the tracks near the road, and the asphalt. He got back behind the wheel. “They came in from the right-hand side.”

“You can tell that?” Clem asked.

“Yep,” he said as they started driving. “This is a private road. It’s not maintained very well. Look at the weeds coming up here and there.”

“Yeah, and the edges of the road are breaking up, too,” Clem said.

They road on the rough asphalt for about four miles, no structures in sight, and then the asphalt ended, the road turning to dirt. Sid stopped again and got out, kneeling again.

“Tracks?” Clem asked from his seat.

“Still here,” Sid said. “Nowhere else they could’ve gone, from what I can tell.”

“They must have looked at some good satellite photos to figure out their way in,” Yvonne said.

“That’s what I’m thinking,” Sid said as he got back behind the wheel. They went another several miles when his phone rang. He fished it out of his pocket, slowing down for a moment. “Ed.” He put it on speaker.

“Hey, Ed, what’s up?”

“You guys okay?”

“Of course,” Sid said. “Believe it or not, we’re still following the way the enemy came in last night. It was quite a trek.”

“Okay, then I won’t bother you,” Ed said. “I worry more in my old age, and I can’t afford to lose any more friends.”

“Got you,” Sid said. “We’re fine and we’re armed. It’ll take a while to get back, I suspect, unless this hits a highway that we can use to come back in the front way.”

“Clem with you guys?”

“Yeah, and Yvonne,” he said. “Clem was hoping to find a good place to put some surveillance equipment.”

“Oh, that makes sense. I’ll let you go.”

“Thanks for checking, Ed. See you later.”

Sid ended the call, then looked over at Clem. “You didn’t tell anybody you were coming with us?”

“Sam and Garrett,” Clem said. “Those two are probably wearing out their women.” He and Sid laughed.

“Oh, brother,” Yvonne said. “Minds in the gutter, as usual. Sam and Erica are probably spending quality time with Mia while we have a break.”

“I know, honey,” Sid said. “We’re just joking around.”

“How long does this road go, anyway?” Clem asked.

“There’s the highway up ahead,” Yvonne said.

“Your eyes are so much better than mine,” Sid said.

“Only for distance,” she said. “I can’t track like you. Never could, even when I was young.”

“That’s ten percent eyesight and ninety percent experience,” Sid said. “Do you guys recognize that road?”

“I don’t,” Clem said. “Unless there’s a stream around here, I probably never bothered.”

Sid slowed down as they reached the road, getting out again to look at the ground. He turned towards the Jeep. “Left turn. This looks familiar to me. I’ve been on this road before.”

“We need to find a sign,” Yvonne said.

“I know,” Sid said as he walked back over. He drove onto the road and sped up. After about ten minutes they found a road going off to the right, with a street sign.

“Honey Springs Road,” Clem said, squinting to read it. “Hell, I’ve been on this road a lot of times, just never this far back.”

“Damn,” Sid said. “This leads back to Highway 94, but it’s a long way. We’ll get home faster going back the way we came. Kinda makes sense, though.”

“Makes sense?” Yvonne asked.

“That the enemy would go this way. The junction with Highway 94 is close to Otay Lakes Road.”

“Wow, that is a long way,” Clem said.

“I get it,” Yvonne said. “It’s a long way northwest of Dulzura. They stood a good chance of sneaking in without being seen.”

“Yep,” Sid said. “Shall we go home?”

“Might as well,” Clem said.

Sid turned the Jeep around and they headed back up the highway towards the dirt road.

“Have any ideas on surveillance?” Yvonne asked.

Clem looked back at her and smiled. “Yeah, a couple ideas.”

“Let’s hear them,” Sid said.

“Step one – put some small motion sensor cameras in the area by the break in the fence. The kind with radio transmitters.”

“Okay,” Sid said. “What else?”

“Repair the fence, and put some of those landmines on the far side.”

“Far side?” Yvonne asked. “Why bother to repair the fence? Wouldn’t it be better to leave the break in the fence there, and use that to funnel the enemy over the mines?”

Clem laughed. “We’d have cattle going through there.”

“Oh, crap, you’re right,” Yvonne said. “Kaboom.”

Sid chuckled. “Not a bad idea, but we ought to look along that fence for other good places they might try.”

“I agree,” Clem said. “Those motion sensor cameras are cheap. We could buy about forty and stick them all over the place around there.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Sid said.

***

Jonathan was at his laptop, working the message board for Central Oregon on Ben Dover’s site.

“Hey, babe, should I cook a pizza?” Courtney asked.

“I guess it is dinner time,” Jonathan said, looking at her. She’d cleaned the kitchen and been very interested and helpful, after watching the video testimony of the California women.

“How’s the recruitment going?” she asked, sitting next to him, her arm going on his shoulder. He turned and kissed her, then looked back at the screen.

“I haven’t checked for a while. Been discussing it on the message board that Jared set up here. Lots of people seem interested. Let’s see if they put their money where their mouths are.” He clicked on the metrics link, and his eyes got wide. “Oh my God.”

“What?” Courtney asked, leaning in closer to the screen. “Does that say eighty thousand?”

“Yeah, and look at it ticking up. At this rate, it’ll be over a hundred thousand in the next ten minutes.”

“Wow,” she said.

“I’ve got to call Jared,” he said, picking up his phone. He hit the contact and put it on speaker when it clicked.

“Hey, Jonathan, how goes it?”

“Are you watching the metrics page?”

“Not for a while. We had six hundred people last time I checked.”

Jonathan chuckled. “Look at it now.”

There was silence on the line for a moment, and then a few expletives. Jonathan and Courtney laughed.

“No way,” Jared said. “I expected a decent turnout. This is insane.”

“Guess people are more pissed off than we thought,” Jonathan said.

“I’m cutting it by area code.”

“Good idea,” Jonathan said.

“It’s mostly 970 and 503. Crap, that’s Portland. Who did you contact out there?”

Jonathan chuckled. “All those death metal bands that I do sound for. Most of them promised to put links on their fan websites.”

“It’s gone viral,” Courtney said. “Wonder if we’ll get anywhere near this many folks?”

“That’s the real question,” Jared said. “Maybe we ought to leave earlier so we can help them organize.”

“Maybe we ought to get out of here before the authorities figure out who’s doing this,” Jonathan said. Courtney shot him a worried glance.

“Don’t worry about that, dude. The way this site is set up, all the info on the posters is encrypted. They aren’t gonna find out.”

“They might mess with some of the bands, though, since the info is on their websites.”

“Good point,” Jared said. “You’d better call them.”

“I’ll do that,” Jonathan said. “What time you want to leave?”

“Get some shuteye, and let’s leave at midnight,” Jared said.

“Okay with you, honey?” Jonathan asked, looking at Courtney.

“Yeah,” she said, still looking worried.

“Okay, Jared, I’ll talk with you later.” He ended the call, and then Jonathan tried to call one of the bands. He listened to it ring. No answer.

“Dammit,” Courtney said when he set his phone down.

“Don’t get too upset yet,” he said, turning to his laptop. He clicked on the link to the first band’s website. “Dammit, it’s gone.”

“You just called their phone,” Courtney said. “If the police have that phone, they now have your number.”

“Son of a bitch,” he said. “Throw some stuff in a bag. We’re leaving for Portland now.” He shut down his laptop.

She nodded and got up, running into the bedroom for their clothes. “Call Jared.”

“Yeah,” Jonathan said, hitting the contact. It rang twice, and Jared picked up.

“Leave now.”

“What are you talking about?” Jared asked.

“Can’t raise the first band, and the website is gone. Now they have my number because I tried to call.”

“Slow down,” Jared said.

“No, we’re leaving now. If they know who I am, they’ll figure out about you and the rest of our buds soon enough. Warn them and let’s blow this joint.”

“Crap,” Jared said. “You’re right. Are you taking guns?”

“What do you think?”

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 135 – Northern Recruitment

Jonathan sat in his Bend, Oregon apartment, next to his girlfriend Courtney. He was a well-built young man in his late twenties, wearing a t-shirt and board shorts, with tattoos on his arms and a shaved head. She was small and blonde, both ears covered with rings on the ends, tattoos on her upper arms and neck, with a hint of more beneath her ragged sweatshirt.

“Let’s go someplace,” Courtney said. “I’m bored.”

“In a while,” Jonathan said. “I want to see if they say more about those EU Navy ships.”

She stared at him for a moment, her eyes intense below her nearly invisible blonde eyebrows. “Looking to get arrested again?”

He looked at her and chuckled. “Yeah, maybe.”

“Well count me out, and don’t expect me to use my savings bailing you out again.”

He chuckled. “You like what you see going on in California? I don’t. Those EU ships are bringing over UN Peacekeepers.”

“They aren’t bothering us here.”

“As long as we keep our mouths shut and let them continue to castrate our society,” Jonathan said. His phone rang. “Jared.” He hit the speaker button. “Hey, dude, what’s up?”

“You see the reports of the globalist invasion?” he asked in a thin voice. People in the background chuckled.

“Who’s with you?” Jonathan asked.

“I’m gonna get something to eat,” Courtney said, getting off the couch and going into the dingy kitchen section of the room. She moved dirty dishes around the sink, clanking them as loud as possible, Jonathan shooting her a disgusted look.

“Well?” Jonathan asked.

“Cory, Noah, and Devin,” he said. “Okay?”

“Yeah,” he said. “You know we’re being watched, right?”

“Of course. Screw them. You see what I’m talking about?”

“I heard that there were some EU Navy ships planning to come up the river to Portland Harbor. They ought to get on well there.”

Jared snickered. “They’re being chased by the US Navy.”

“Bull crap,” Jonathan said, shooting a glance at Courtney as she sat down with a yogurt, rolling her eyes at the phone.

“No, really, man,” Jared said. “Did you see those videos of San Francisco and Oakland? The patriots won.”

“Funny, the news hasn’t said anything about it,” Jonathan said sarcastically. That brought another eye roll from Courtney.

“Yeah, it’s funny all right. The videos go up on YouTube, then come down, then get re-posted. I’ve got copies of all of them on my blog. Go take a look, man. It’s awesome.”

“What are you hearing about the ships?” Jonathan asked.

“I heard they were heading to San Francisco with sixty-thousand UN Peacekeepers, to replace folks that Ivan the Butcher has been taking out.”

Jonathan glanced at Courtney as she grabbed the remote and turned on MTV. “We need somebody like that here, or the whole damn state is gonna end up like Portland.”

“They laid Portland out in grids and have checkpoints set up, just like they tried in California,” Jared said. “They won’t call it martial law, of course. At least they’re being manned by the Portland PD instead of the UN.”

“Until now,” Jonathan said. Courtney raised the volume way up on the TV. Jonathan ripped the remote out of her hands, shut the TV off, and tossed the remote onto the battered chair by the opposite wall.

“Hey, dammit, I was watching that,” she said.

“Leave,” Jonathan said. “I’ve had enough.”

“Fine,” she said, stomping into the bedroom.

“Trouble in paradise?” Jared asked.

“She left the room. Mission accomplished.”

“When are you gonna kick her to the curb?”

“I don’t know,” Jonathan said. “Back to the ships. You believe they’re bringing the UN Peacekeepers here?”

“To administer Portland’s martial law? Doubtful. There are plenty of fascists running Portland already – and there’re plenty of their lackeys to keep a compliant population under control.”

“What, then?” Jonathan asked.

“I think they’re getting chased in here, like I was saying. It’ll be interesting to see if the US Navy follows them in.”

Jonathan’s phone dinged with an email receipt. “What’s that?”

“I just sent you a link to the recruitment page from California.”

“Recruitment page?” Jonathan asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “Ben Dover. Remember him?”

Jonathan snickered. “Love the name. That guy’s killer. What about him? They recruiting for California? We’ve got just as bad problems here.”

“Not really,” Jared said. “Not yet, anyway. We don’t have UN thugs pushing the population around. You see that video with the women? Talking about the UN rape operations?”

“Was that for real? The media says it’s fake.”

Jared laughed. “It’s real, trust me. That’s why I’m bothered by a boatload of UN punks showing up here.”

“Does Ben Dover say something about it?”

“He warned of them looking for a safe haven from the US Navy,” Jared said. “If they can’t go elsewhere, they might set up shop here – and I suspect they’ll be going to the places where there are still patriots in control.”

“Like here,” Jonathan said, his heart starting to pound. “What do you suggest we do?”

“Ben Dover’s site can help us. There’s an easy procedure to set up affiliates for recruitment in other states. I say you and I and our buds set up a central Oregon affiliate.”

“Why would we want to do that?” Jonathan asked. “We’ve still got control here.”

“I think we ought to organize a proper welcome for our friendly UN Peacekeepers.”

“If we go in there, we’re liable to get shot or thrown into prison.”

“Don’t be a wuss, Jonathan. With our low population, sixty thousand UN Peacekeepers could get martial law going in Central and Eastern Oregon. You know that.”

“Our local law enforcement might have something to say about that.”

“You know what they did in California. They sidelined the local authorities. Want that to happen here?”

Jonathan sighed. “No. You know I don’t. What do you suggest?”

“Use the link. I’m setting up an affiliate page right now. There will be a link on Ben Dover’s page in about five minutes.”

“What do you want me to do, exactly?” Jonathan asked.

“Spread the link around to all of the message boards you know about. We’re doing the same thing. Flood the internet with it. I’ll have one of my articles on the top explaining what’s going on with the EU Navy ships and the UN – I’ll also link the videos of the women in California and battle video from San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento.”

“Sacramento has been liberated?” Jonathan asked.

“Almost,” Jared said. “Understand?”

“When do we expect the EU Navy ships to show up?”

“Late tonight or early tomorrow morning. The snowflakes are planning a massive welcoming demonstration for tomorrow morning at ten. State sanctioned, of course.” There were chuckles in the background.

“How are we gonna get up there in time?” Jonathan asked.

“It’s only three and a half hours,” Jared said. “I say we get on the road no later than six tomorrow morning. We ought to have a huge crowd rolling towards there by then.”

“We aren’t going to get enough people from this part of the state,” Jonathan said. “We’re going to have to recruit a lot of the sane people in Portland.”

“I understand,” Jared said. “You have some inroads in that community. Use them.”

“Okay, I’ll get started right away,” Jonathan said. “Talk to you later.”

“Later, dude,” Jared said. The call ended, and Jonathan rushed to the kitchen table to fire up his laptop. He stared for a moment at the closed door of his bedroom, then logged on, getting to Ben Dover’s recruitment site in seconds. The Oregon link was already up, so he clicked on it, then chuckled at the cheesy graphics that Jared placed on the front page. The links to the videos were there. He clicked on the video of California women’s testimony and watched it in silence, his eyes tearing up, his fists balled tight. He wiped his eyes when it was over, then looked at that closed bedroom door.

“Hey, Courtney, get your ass out here. You have to see this.”

After a moment the door opened slowly, and she came out, brushing her long blonde hair away from her face. “What now?”

“Sit,” he said, getting out of the way. He clicked the link for the video, and watched as Courtney’s eyes got wider and wider.

***

Robbie sat at his laptop in the dinette of the battle wagon, watching the high-res long-range app. He was making notes on a pad of paper next to it. Morgan, Dana, and Karen came in, still chatting.

“Hey, honey, they put out some beer at the building over there, if you’re interested,” Morgan said. He looked up at her for a moment and smiled, then looked back down at his laptop.

“What’s he doing?” Dana asked in a hushed tone.

“I’m using this new high-res app,” he said, looking up at them again. “There’s some movement we ought to be keeping track of.”

“Uh oh,” Morgan said, walking to the dinette. “What?”

“See this?” he asked, pointing to a thin line of icons heading east on Interstate 80. “They’re trying to hide their numbers. See how they’re all spread out?”

“I thought the Islamists were all heading south,” Karen asked, walking over to look.

Dana followed her reluctantly, fear creeping over her face. “I thought we were gonna get a break for a while.”

“Do you think they’re coming here?” Morgan asked.

“No,” Robbie said. “If they were coming for us, they would’ve gotten on Highway 49 in Auburn. See?” He pointed at the screen.

“Not all of them have passed Auburn,” she said.

“True, but it’s not a huge group. I see just under a hundred.”

“Where’d they come from?” Karen asked.

“Nevada,” Robbie said. “The tail end was still on that part of the road when I noticed. They’re moving fast.”

“They’re going to Sacramento,” Dana said after looking at the map for a moment. “Maybe they’re going to attack the Capitol again. They’ve got to be pissed about losing it.”

“That’s not enough people for an assault on the Capitol,” Robbie said, “it’s still crawling with our people.”

“What, then?” Morgan asked.

“I don’t know,” Robbie said, “but the fact that they’re trying to hide themselves tells me they have an operation going. Maybe a kidnapping, or a hit on a small strategic target.”

“Zoom in on Sacramento,” Morgan said. Robbie nodded and did that. “Look. Three hits. Right there. See them? They’re faint. Maybe the people are underground.” He zoomed in.

“Crap,” Karen said, looking closely at the screen. “See what those hits are near?”

“Uh oh,” Robbie said. “The CHP headquarters. They’re going to hit that. I’ll bet what’s left of the leadership is there right now, because of the orders from Governor Hause.”

“He’s the speaker,” Dana said.

“Until we elect a new governor, he’s the governor,” Robbie said, pulling his phone out. “Jules needs to see this.” He texted Jules and asked him to come over.

“I’ll send a message to Tex too,” Karen said.

“Sparky was with them, so they’ll all be here in a sec,” Dana said.

Robbie got off the dinette bench and turned the laptop so it was pointing out into the salon. “Now we can all see it.” He sat back down on the other side of the dinette and grabbed the mouse, zooming out to show the stream of fighters coming in.

“We here,” Jules said, climbing up the steps, Tex and Sparky following him. “What happen?”

“There’s a stream of Islamists coming southwest on I-80,” Robbie said, “and a few hits near the CHP headquarters.”

Jules and Tex shot each other a glance.

“Dammit,” Sparky said. “The CHP is just starting to get back together. The leadership is probably all there right now.”

“I call Ivan,” Jules said. “We might need to show up.” He walked out of the coach with the phone to his ear.

“Glad I didn’t drink much of that beer,” Tex said.

“Seriously,” Karen said.

Jules rushed back inside. “Ivan said go. Get ready.”

“We’ve only got five battle wagons left,” Sparky said.

“We take off-roaders. Let’s go. Chop chop.”

The team was at the gate within minutes, Robbie and Morgan second in the line of coaches, the off-roaders all around them. Tex was in the lead.

“Wish we had more battle wagons,” Morgan said. “A hundred Islamists is a lot.”

“We’ve got a lot of firepower,” Robbie said as he drove forward. “It’ll be enough.”

Their phones dinged with a text message. Morgan brought it up. “There’s sixty CHP officers at the headquarters, and they’ve all got M60s and M4s. They’re setting up an ambush.”

“Excellent,” Robbie said as he drove. “We might not beat them there, you know.”

“I think we’ll be there before the battle starts,” Morgan said. “Assuming they won’t start the attack until the entire force gets there. Some of them are still as far back as Colfax.”

“Good,” Robbie said as they blasted west on Highway 50. It was late afternoon. More people were out than they were used to, now that the enemy had lost control of the area.

“The first of them just made the transition to Highway 160,” Morgan said.

“Does it still look like the CHP headquarters is the target?”

“Oh, yeah,” Morgan said. “That’s the way to get there, unless they want to run through a bunch of surface streets in Sacramento.”

They rode silently for a few minutes, both worried about the battle to come.

“Look, there’s Rancho Cordoba already,” Robbie said. “We’re making good time. Where should I get off?”

She didn’t answer right away. He glanced at her, staring at her screen.

“I think they’re setting up mortars or something,” Morgan said. “The first group stopped before the bridge. They’re on the far side of the American River.”

“Text the others, in case nobody noticed,” Robbie said.

Morgan nodded and did that, getting returns right away. “They see it. Jules plans to send off-roaders into that area.”

“Where should I get off Highway 50?”

“Still working on that,” Morgan said, her fingers pinching out on the screen to zoom in. “This sucks. Any way we go, it’s a slog through surface streets for some ways. I suggest getting off on Sixteenth Street. That would put us into position to fire on enemy vehicles as they come over the bridge.”

“Give me some warning when we get close, okay?”

“Of course,” Morgan said. “The second group just crossed the bridge.”

“Is the first one still across the river?”

“Yep, at about the closest point from which to lob shells,” Morgan said. “Second group just got on Vine street.”

“Where will that put them?”

“If they stay on it, northeast of the CHP building,” she said. “Here comes a third group.”

“On Vine?”

“Just getting onto the bridge,” she said.

“Oh,” Robbie said. “Our street is only two and a half miles away now.”

“Great, we’ll be there at a good time. These slugs have no idea what kind of hornets’ nest they’re about to hit.” She grinned at him.

“I’m worried about those mortars,” Robbie said.

“The third group is on Richard’s Boulevard. That’ll give them a force to the south of the CHP building.”

“Where are the original hits?”

“Same place they’ve been,” Morgan said. “Looks like an apartment building off Seventh Street, right across from the CHP headquarters.”

“Lovely. They’ve probably got weapons stored there, all ready to go.”

“They haven’t been there long,” Morgan said. “We would’ve seen them before.”

“True, they probably didn’t expect the legislature to re-start the CHP.”

“Exactly,” she said. “Another two groups heading over the bridge.”

“There’s our off-ramp,” Robbie said, watching off-roaders and Tex’s coach taking it. “Guess they figured out the way too.”

“Oh, no, it came out in that last message.”

“Maybe we ought to get on Seventh instead. That would put us to the west. Might come in handy.”

“We can get to the bridge before the rest of the force shows up,” Morgan said. “I think we ought to take this like they asked, because we can limit the attack by taking out the stragglers.”

“How many stragglers are we talking about?”

“A third of the force,” Morgan said. “Maybe straggler isn’t the best word.”

“Okay, I’m convinced,” he said, smiling at her as he took the off-ramp.

“The last of them are right by the Haggin Oaks golf course,” Morgan said. “This is gonna be close.”

They flew down the street above the speed limit, past residential neighborhoods and commercial areas.

“It’s pretty in here,” Robbie said.

“You’ll know we’re getting close when it gets more industrial,” Morgan said, eyes glued to the screen.

“Here it comes,” Robbie said, pointing to a factory building, then noticing the tunnel coming up, under the railroad tracks. “Crap, I hope that tunnel is tall enough.”

“It is,” Morgan said, “barely.”

Robbie held his breath as they rolled into it, but they passed through without any contact, coming out into a full-on industrial area. “Okay, where are the bad guys on this side of the river now?”

“Surrounding the CHP Headquarters on all four sides,” Morgan said. “Gonna be hard for them to use the mortars and not hit their own fighters.”

“Look, off-roaders and Jeeps going over the bridge.”

“Good,” Morgan said. “Tex just made a left onto Richards. See him?”

“Yep. He’s turning right into that Diesel shop parking lot.”

“We should go there too,” Morgan said. “Nothing will get past that bridge if we plant ourselves there.”

Robbie nodded and made the left, then a quick right. The next three battle wagons kept going, one moving over to Vine Street, the other two continuing on Richards. A horde of off-roaders followed, going up several of the surrounding streets.

There was a loud blast on the bridge, a truck exploding from Tex’s M19.

“It’s on,” Robbie shouted as they pulled up, seeing another pickup truck with men in the back racing over the bridge. He opened fire with his mini-gun, hitting the truck, knocking it right off the road. There were explosions to the north.

“Off roaders,” Morgan said. “The Islamists on the road just turned before they got to the bridge.” She laughed while she watched her screen.

“What?”

“They are taking the on-ramp off the freeway. One of them just crashed head-on into a semi-truck. That’s gotta hurt.”

“Any others still coming over the river?” Robbie asked.

“Nope,” she said.

“Good, then let’s go that way.” He pointed down Vine street, which they could reach by crossing the parking lot of the tire dealership next door.

Morgan’s fingers typed on her phone. A ding followed. “Go, they’re okay with it,” she said. “Tex will stay here and guard the back door.”

Robbie nodded and backed up the big coach, turning it and crossing an access road onto the tire dealer parking lot to the northwest, then making a right turn onto Vine street. There was still gunfire across the river, and then a mortar round flew, hitting their side of the bank.

“Dammit,” Morgan said. “Get those guys!”

“Are they getting help from the enemy fighters who didn’t make it across the bridge?”

“You guessed it,” Morgan said. “Make a right turn on Tenth Street. That will put you in position to fire on the enemy over there. I’d go into siege mode, though.”

Robbie nodded, making the turn and driving past the last block before the river. He flipped the switches for siege mode, firing several grenades at the mortar team before the shields were all the way up, one of them hitting home.

“Nice shooting,” Morgan said as she pulled the console out and looked at the front and rear machine gun target reticle. “I think I can hit them from here.”

“Do it, but don’t hit our off-roaders.”

“I won’t,” she said, opening fire, sweeping it back and forth, taking out most of the mortar team. Machine gun fire hit the back of the coach, so she switched to the rear machine guns, nailing a truck that was roaring towards them.

Robbie laughed, looking through is sight. “They didn’t expect that.”

“Look, more men running up with mortars,” Morgan yelled. “Try to hit their ammo with a grenade.”

Robbie nodded, firing several grenades, one of them hitting the first ammo box on the left, blowing it up, men running away on fire.

“They’ve got willie pete,” Morgan said, firing at more enemy fighters who were rushing the back of the vehicle. Then there was thunder coming from M60s to the west.

“The CHP officers are on the roof!” Robbie shouted.

“Get those guys bringing up that new mortar,” Morgan shouted. “I have to stay on our rear.”

“Got it,” Robbie said, firing more grenades, then hitting them with several blips from the mini-gun. As soon as that mortar team was dead, another took its place. Then several off-roaders roared over the rolling hills, firing as they went, taking the next mortar team out and then going north to hit the trucks where the rest of the mortar teams were, blowing up their vehicles and chasing down the survivors.

“Yes,” Morgan said, taking a quick glimpse of them, then getting back to the rear sight and firing as yet another truckload of Islamists roared forward.

“Hey, honey, hit them with a grenade. Maybe we can bust it in the road and cut off their access. We’re getting more action than we can handle.”

“I’ll try,” Robbie said, swinging the M19 in that direction and firing, the cab exploding. He hit it again, the gas tank going up as Islamists in the back tried to escape, Morgan peppering them with machine gun fire.

“I’m getting a heat warning on the back guns,” Morgan said.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 3 – Rebellion has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2016

Bugout! California Part 134 – Acting Governor

People on the main street of Dodge City hurried about to their jobs in the early morning light, as the leadership converged on the saloon for a meeting.

“We all know what happened last night,” Garrett said, “and we all know that there are nearly two hundred thousand Islamists heading this way.”

“Yep,” Trevor said. “They’re halfway between Mohave and Highway 395 at the moment. They’ll take that south, probably.”

Sam looked at his phone. “They might take the far eastern route. Head for I-40, then take Highway 95 south. If I were them I’d be afraid of having to go through San Bernardino. Lots of patriots there.”

“Good point,” Trevor said.

“We need to get on social media and round up a whole lot of citizens, if they’re really sending two hundred thousand fighters our way,” Sid said.

“Ivan working,” Ji-Ho said. “Just got text message. He knows what go on.”

“How are we gonna protect ourselves here?” Justin asked.

“Yeah, this area is big,” Ed said. “Too many square miles to cover.”

“Maybe we try to find their shielded vehicles and destroy them,” Trevor said. A few people chuckled.

“How are we gonna do that?” Garrett asked.

“Trevor has something there,” Sid said. “The amount of lead they need to mount a large attack isn’t that easy to come by. If they’re really tooling up to do this, I’ll bet we can find out where they got it.”

Sam grinned. “And when we find that out, we can find them.

“Exactly,” Sid said.

“But how we gonna find that out?” Garrett asked.

“Put Seth on it,” Justin said.

“Yeah, good idea,” Trevor said. “He’s great on the internet. He can figure it out. It’s not like we have a thousand sources. It’s probably more like ten.”

“Where is Seth, anyway?” Sam asked.

“He was up all night working that tracking program,” Kaitlyn said. “I let him sleep.”

“That’s going to help us too, you know,” Sid said. “When we see these slugs disappear, we’ll know what’s about to happen. Seth’s doing important work.”

“That’s a great point,” Justin said.

“You guys talking about me?” Seth asked as he walked in.

“You’re up already?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Yeah, once I woke up I couldn’t sleep anymore. I got that program finished last night.”

“Wow, really?” Kaitlyn asked.

“What does it do, exactly?” Garrett asked.

“I’m running the PC version of the app on my server,” Seth said. “It’s going to take a snapshot of the icons in the entire Southern California area every five minutes and save it to a database, so we can see movements and disappearing – reappearing hits.”

“That will tell us if they’re mounting an attack using shielded vehicles,” Sam said.

“If we aren’t too late gathering the data,” Seth said. “I can’t get history. I can only compile what’s happening since I turned this thing on.”

“If we couple that capability with the lead shielding investigation and our social media operation, it might solve most of our problems,” Sid said.

“What lead shielding investigation?” Seth asked.

“Funny you should ask,” Sam said. He took a few minutes to explain it to Seth. “Think you can help us with that?”

Seth smiled. “Yep, that’s right up my ally. When do you want me to start?”

“As soon as possible,” Garrett said. “Meanwhile we’ve got to figure out a band-aid for this place.”

“Hey, Clem, you got any ideas?” Sam asked. “You did pretty well at my RV Park.”

“Not well enough to save the folks,” Clem said, “but yeah, I’ve got some ideas.”

“Good, then start drawing up some plans,” Sam said, “and I’ll help however I can.”

“Let me know what supplies needed,” Ji-Ho said. “I get from Ivan. Also getting more battle wagons and more ammo and guns. Already on way.”

“More battle wagons?” Justin asked. “Seriously?”

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “And off-roaders based on Texas design. Help patrol area and use in attacks.”

“You guys are gonna make my cavalry obsolete,” Garrett said.

“No way,” Sam said. “I’d rather see your men with M4s or AKs than those Winchesters, but the cavalry is very effective in this type of terrain. You guys have saved us more than once. I’m impressed.”

Garrett smiled. “Thank you kindly,” he said. “Maybe we can get enough ammo from Ivan to switch our guns out. I’d be okay with that. I’ll kinda miss the smoke and the smell, though.”

Trevor laughed. “Hell, I think those cannons are awesome.”

A few people in the room chuckled.

“I’m gonna go get busy, if you guys don’t need me here,” Seth said.

“I’ll stick around and tell you what happened,” Kaitlyn said. Seth kissed her and left the room.

“We need to protect that kid,” Sam said. “He’s got skills.”

Kaitlyn smiled proudly. “He does, doesn’t he?”

“Maybe I should start working some surveillance plans,” Clem said.

“I think this meeting is about over,” Garrett said. “I’m going to keep the patrols going at a higher level until we get other things in place. Talk to you folks later.”

Everybody except Willard left the saloon.

***

Mr. White sat in the front of the bus, M60 across his lap, the back a mix of armed commandos and state elected officials. Machine gun fire and explosions could be heard as they approached the State Capitol area. He pulled out his phone and hit a contact.

“Ivan, others in place?”

“Yes,” Ivan said. “Seventy-thousand armed citizens are coming in to help the other commando team. The enemy is holding the Capitol grounds between Ninth Street and Thirteenth Street. They’re well-armed, but the commandos are wearing them down.”

“Still protecting capitol building, right?”

“Yes, they’re trying not to blow that building up. Are the other three buses still behind you guys?”

“Yes sir,” Mr. White said. “And hoard of off-roaders on way too. We really have seventy thousand civilians?”

“Yep, and there’s more behind them. Ben Dover is getting really good at this.”

“True, but people smell blood in water, which help him. People had enough. Rampage coming.”

“Yes, my friend,” Ivan said. “We’re gonna take the top half of the state back. Then the problem will be the south.”

“True that two-hundred thousand Islamists are on way?”

“True, and so far we’ve only been able to raise about a hundred thousand there with the social media blitz.”

“How long was effort?”

Ivan chuckled. “About half the time we spent working the Sacramento area, and that had a smaller population to work with, so I still have hope.”

“Good,” Mr. White said.

“Where are you?”

“Off freeway, just passed Sutter’s Fort on L Street.”

“Perfect,” Ivan said. “I’ll let you go.”

“Talk later, boss.” Mr. White put the phone back in his pocket. The white-haired man sitting behind him poked him on the shoulder.

“Sir, do we get to fight?”

“You elected official?” Mr. White asked.

“I was Speaker of the Assembly,” the man said. “Garrison Hause.”

“Too important to get shot,” Mr. White said.

“I’m pissed at these guys,” Speaker Hause said.

“Then be smart when back in office. Stop bad guys. Don’t help them.”

He sat for a moment, tears forming in his eyes. “I guess I deserve that.”

“Yes, do, but not over. Become great man. You can.”

“Mind if we move around, talk?” Speaker Hause asked.

“Be my guest,” Mr. White said. “You free man again. Do job.”

He nodded at Mr. White, then turned around. “Members of the legislature, let’s meet. Switch seats, come up here.”

Half the people on the bus got up and moved forward, the commandos moving to the rear.

“Thanks,” Speaker Hause said, sitting sideways in the seat so he could look at those behind him. “We need to discuss what we do when we get back on the job. I believe job one is to restore the bureaucracy and re-take control of all state offices.

The tall black man towards the back of the group laughed out loud.

“Senator Wilson, do you have something to say?” Hause asked.

“Are you ready to admit that we need borders, and that we have a right to keep illegal aliens and phony refugees out of our nation? Because if you aren’t ready to admit that and move forward against that policy, we might as well just shoot ourselves.”

“I think that’s a little extreme,” said a small Hispanic man towards the front.

“Yeah, I figured you’d say that, Assemblyman Lopez,” Wilson said.

Mr. White shook his head, his expression one of disgust. “You have everything, deserve nothing.”

“Yeah, he’s right,” Wilson said. “We’ve got a war going. We’ve got citizens being attacked and killed. The first thing we need to do is capture or kill every damn UN Peacekeeper in the state. That is job one. Then we need to capture or kill each and every Islamist thug. After that’s done, we can go back to bickering about sanctuary cities and Islamophobic speech.

“That’s not a very enlightened attitude,” Lopez said.

“Are you serious?” asked another man, a pasty-looking red-haired man with a face that didn’t fit the color.

“Yeah, Senator Reilly, the idiot is serious,” Wilson said.

“Stop the bickering,” Hause said. “It’s not helpful. We aren’t going to target Muslims in this state. I’m all for deporting the UN Peacekeepers. We asked them to come in and they failed. Now we can ask them to leave.”

Mr. White doubled over laughing. “That rich.”

“What do you mean?” Hause asked.

“UN occupying force, not helpers for time of need,” Mr. White said. “Islamists worse. Kill like the dogs they are.”

“There aren’t even many Islamists here,” Hause said. This time both Mr. White and Wilson laughed hard.

“You want to see size of Islamist problem?” Mr. White asked. He pulled out his phone and fired up the long-range app, then showed him the Islamic fighters on the way south. “You see this?”

“What is that?” Hause asked, as others got closer to take a look, flooding the aisle in the bus.

“Each icon is one Islamic fighter. They have RFID chips. You people need to catch up fast. Lot happened while you were locked up.”

“My God, how many men is that?” Lopez asked.

“Roughly two hundred thousand,” Mr. White said.

“What?” Hause asked, his eyes wide. “Where are they going?”

“They go south to re-open I-8 and other roads down south, so they can help seven hundred thousand Islamic fighters come into California from Mexico.”

Wilson chuckled. “So now can we get serious?”

“I’m almost afraid to ask,” Reilly said. “How many UN Peacekeepers are still here?”

“We not sure,” Mr. White said. “UN Peacekeepers no have RFID, so we can’t see. Less than Islamists. Citizens been doing jobs for you slugs. Retake San Francisco and Oakland already, kill many thousand Peacekeepers. Almost have Sacramento back. Final battle goes on at Capitol.”

“So, we really have no idea?” Lopez asked.

“Boss said EU Navy ships coming with another sixty thousand,” Mr. White said. “Was coming to Bay Area. Now going up north because Bay Area lost. We should sink boat.”

Hause showed an expression of disbelief. “The EU is in on this?”

“Why is that a surprise?” Wilson asked. “They want a global government with themselves at the top. Why don’t you get that?”

“Who else is against us?” Hause asked.

“Saladin and the Caliphate,” Mr. White said. “Funny. EU think they subjugate people together and live happily ever after. Islamists bide time, take over everything, impose sharia, kill infidel in mass numbers. EU very foolish.”

“What’s still left?” Hause asked.

“What mean?” Mr. White asked.

“National guard? Police organizations?”

“Disbanded or killed, mostly,” Mr. White said. “Some can be brought back. Citizens probably win before you get all back, but should try. That my advice. Call up National guard, and get police departments and CHP back to work. Give them real weapons, not pea-shooter. Understand?”

“Where did you get that phone?” Reilly asked.

“Normal phone with special apps from General Hogan’s team. Ivan have one for each of you. You get when we arrive. Oh, and by the way, look.” He moved the app to Washington DC and the Mid-Atlantic, showing a sea of icons.

“My God,” Wilson said. “You liberals have killed us all.”

“Stop,” Mr. White said. “You understand, so stop bicker and start work. Past arguments not matter. Survival. Liberty. All that matter now. Lay blame and argue later if must, but not today.”

“He’s right,” Lopez said. “I’m ashamed. We all should be. We need to redeem ourselves. We need to work for the people.”

“Now you think correctly,” Mr. White said. “Get ready. We close to hot zone. We pull on side street, building is set up. Phone banks, weapons, your cellphones, also documentation to get you up to speed, since you in stir so long.”

“We can thank Ivan for all of this?” Hause asked.

“Ivan and others,” Mr. White said. “Many patriots still out there. Give us fighting chance.”

The buses made a right turn on 17th Street and pulled to a stop next to a large building. Mr. White stood up. “Come, hurry, run into parking structure, we enter building from there, under cover.”

The buses emptied out, the elected officials and commandos rushing into the building as the gunfire continued, just two blocks away.

***

Jules, Tex, Sparky, and Ted sat in folding chairs under the corrugated metal stall between two battle wagons. Jules had a bandage around his forehead, which the doctor had put on half an hour ago.

“Hot today,” Tex said, wiping sweat off his forehead. “Wish we could have a few beers.”

“Yeah, that’d be nice,” Ted said.

“Probably could have one or two,” Jules said. “Ivan text. Sacramento fell. Legislature back in place…what left of, anyway.”

“How many survived?” Sparky asked.

“One third, give or take,” Jules said. “Some maybe escaped, will join later. Many died in prison or during capture.”

“Well, I hope they’ve learned something,” Tex said. “We ought to have a part time legislature here, like we’ve got in Texas. Keeps them under control a little better.”

“What’s our next objective?” Ted asked.

“Still wait for Ivan,” Jules said. “May be able to leave north half of state soon. Big trouble brewing in south. Ji-Ho and Sam need us.”

“What’s left up here to liberate?” Sparky asked.

“Bay area under our control from San Jose to Santa Rosa. Sacramento now. Boss say boatload of UN Peacekeepers on way north. US Navy chasing now.”

“How many Peacekeepers they talking about, partner?”

“Sixty grand,” Jules said. “Much smaller problem than Islamists now.”

“I’ve been watching the Islamists move south,” Ted said. “The first group is almost to Yucca Valley.”

“Dammit,” Sparky said, pulling out his phone. He looked silently for a moment, his teeth grinding. “It’s pretty obvious what they’re doing.”

“What’s that, partner?” Tex asked.

“They can take Highway 62 to Highway 95. That leads right down to the part of I-8 that’s closest to the border.”

“Wait, they’re that close?” Ted asked. “Do we need to airlift forces over to stop them?”

Sparky shook his head no, not looking up from his phone. “They’re really well spread out. The furthest I see them now is Landers, but it’s a small number so far. Some of them are still up north as far as Bakersfield. Some of them haven’t moved for several hours. Almost looks like they’re digging in, waiting for something.”

“Is it still a couple hundred thousand?” Tex asked. Sparky shook his head yes.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Ted said.

“You not kidding,” Jules said. “Look at numbers of Islamists over border, though. Changing last time I looked.”

“When was the last time you looked?” Sparky asked, as he moved the view south of the border.

“Before doctor get here,” Jules said. “Three hour.”

“Whoa,” Sparky said.

“What you see?” Jules asked.

“Looks like about half of them are moving southeast,” Sparky said, looking over at Tex.

“Crap,” Tex said, pulling his phone out to look.

“Governor Nelson see them,” Jules said, “got apps before us. They ready, trust me.”

“Hope you’re right,” Tex said.

“Hey, Jules, you might want to watch this,” Shelly said from the door of Tex’s coach.

“What?” Jules asked, getting up.

“Press conference starting in a few minutes,” Karen said, standing next to her. “California legislature.”

The four men got up and went into the coach, finding seats with their women. The camera was already on in the room, pointing at a podium with the California State Seal on the front.

“Wonder who’s speaking?” Ted asked.

“They haven’t said,” Haley whispered to him.

“It’s the Speaker,” Sparky said, watching Speaker Hause take the podium. Eight other members of the legislature came on the stage and stood behind him, a mixture of both parties.

“Hello, fellow Californians,” he began. “We have been in Folsom Prison since before Martial Law was declared, and are deeply sorry for the actions of the UN Peacekeepers and others who have been illegally oppressing California citizens during our confinement.”

He paused for a moment, on the verge of tears, composing himself to go on.

“I am currently the acting governor of our great state, because the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the President Pro Tem of the Senate were all killed by the enemy. The job now falls to the Speaker of the Assembly. I ask for your support as we bring California back under the control of the people.”

“A lot of this is his fault,” Ted said.

“Give him a chance, honey,” Haley said.

“Our first actions will be to bring the criminal UN and the Islamist Army to justice. I am ordering that all California Law Enforcement Officers return to their jobs for further instructions, and I am activating the National Guard as well. This will not be enough to beat the enemy, but we have a robust citizenry who have already taken up the fight, and are, in fact, responsible for our rescue. We will work together with them to bring the state back under control, and to defeat the enemy on all fronts.”

Is this going to be too little, too late?” Shelly asked.

“The citizens must join,” Jules said, his brow furrowed. “They must trust. It might not be easy, but we already in fight.”

“This is a good development,” Sparky said. “At least I hope it is.”

“Look, he’s done already,” Karen said, watching the men leave the stage.

“Do you want to watch the talking heads?” Dana asked. “I think I’ll go outside.”

“They partly responsible for problem,” Jules said, standing. “I go call Ivan.”

He left the coach, Shelly following him. They both froze as the gate of the compound opened.

“What’s that?” Shelly asked. Their battle wagon rolled through the gate.

“They fix!” Jules said. “We got home back!” They watched as the massive rig was driven in, making a K-turn and backing into an empty space at the north end of the row.

 

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 3 – Rebellion has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 133 – Folsom Blues

Seth was hunched over his laptop, sitting at the battle wagon’s dinette when Kaitlyn came in. It was late in the evening.

“Hey, honey,” Seth said, looking up from his screen for a moment, then going right back to it.

“What are you doing?”

“Acting on a suggestion in the meeting at the saloon,” Seth said, eyes glued to the screen.

“Am I going to have to keep asking you questions?”

Seth looked up at her and smiled, then leaned back in his seat. “Sorry.”

She came over to the dinette. “Move over.” He did, and she slid in next to him. “Okay, what?”

“We need a historical look at the RFID hits,” he said. “I was working on a program to record the hits every five minutes.”

“And how are you gonna do that?”

“It’s a little hinky, actually. I set up a macro on the tablet to run the long-range app on Southern California and send the results in files to my blog server account. Then I’ll create an excel model to display the data and do analysis.”

“I’m an expert in Excel, you know,” Kaitlyn said. “I can probably help with that part.”

“That’s right, you’re an accounting major,” Seth said. “That would be cool.”

“How late are you going to work tonight?”

“Not much longer,” he said, looking at her.

“Good. Watching you work is getting to me.”

“Oh, really?” Seth asked, looking into her beautiful face, her dark eyes dilated.

“Smart men turn me on,” she said, moving closer, kissing him.

“Quitting time,” Seth said breathlessly, closing his laptop. She giggled. Then Seth’s phone rang. “Uh oh, it’s Ji-Ho. I’ll put it on speaker.”

He set the phone on the table, answered the call, and hit the speaker button.

“Seth? Sorry to call late. It Ji-Ho.”

“No problem,” Seth said. “What’s going on?”

“I remember something Ivan told me about apps,” he said. “There is PC version. Much higher resolution than iOS or Android version. I talked to Ivan, he get permission from General Hogan to give to you. I send link. What email?”

Seth read it out to him, and a couple seconds later, the mail app on his laptop dinged. He opened it.

“Got it,” Seth said. “This will be helpful. I can set it up to run on my blog server.”

“It secure?” Ji-Ho asked.

“Yep, it’s very secure,” Seth said.

“Okay, I leave you to it,” Ji-Ho said. “Have fun. See later.” The call ended.

“Now this won’t be hinky anymore,” Seth said as he uploaded the software package to his blog server.

“Where is this server?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Outfit in Montana. I contract with them.”

“Why does this make things less hinky?”

“I can turn this thing on and schedule the running and information compilation,” Seth said. “It will run no matter where we are…actually it’ll keep going even if something happens to me, but I’ll need to give the rest of the team access.”

“You’re going to be up for a while, aren’t you?” she asked.

“Mind?”

“No, do your thing. Wake me up when you get to bed, if you’re still in the mood.”

“There’s always the morning,” Seth said.

“True,” she said, getting out of the booth. She went into the bedroom, and Seth got back to work.

***

Jules was behind the wheel of the battle wagon, the lead vehicle in the caravan, flying west on Highway 50 towards Folsom. Shelly was riding shotgun, Sparky and Dana sitting on the couch.

“This facility isn’t that easy to get into,” Shelly said, brow furrowed as she looked at the GPS map on her phone. “There’s a couple roads in. There is a lot of dirt, though, to the north. Also looks like an abandoned quarry makes up the south boundary, but it’s mostly inside prison walls.”

Sparky laughed. “Maybe that’s where they made the big rocks into the little rocks, back in the old days.”

Dana chuckled and elbowed him.

“That funny,” Jules said. “What’s to west?”

“The American River,” Shelly said. “Natural boundary. I think these coaches will have to go up Folsom Prison Road. We should send the off-roaders in from the north.”

“Are there gun towers?” Sparky asked. “Those off-roaders aren’t armored.”

“It’s a little hard to tell,” she said. “Wait, yes, there is one, on the southeast corner of the wall, right by the main gate as you drive up on Folsom Prison Road. There’s also one north of that, and one in-between the main part of the prison and that quarry-looking place.”

“So we pull up and shoot the first tower with M19,” Jules said. “Then continue down, hit the other one.”

“This is a huge facility,” Shelly said. “Do we know where the state officials are being held? There’s a ton of buildings.”

“Ivan say east facing cell blocks,” Jules said.

“Mr. Black and Mr. White are going in first, right?” Sparky asked.

“They’re going inside first, but we’re needed to poke holes in walls, take out towers.”

“This makes me nervous as hell,” Dana said.

“We aren’t driving inside this dump, are we?” Sparky asked.

“Not if I can help it,” Jules said. “That just where Saladin want us, no?”

Sparky chuckled. “Yeah, you’ve got a point. I doubt if that cretin is even around now. Been following the attacks in San Francisco and Oakland, and they’re spreading fast. They’re on the way to losing Palo Alto now, too.”

“Good, we shut down cash cow,” Jules said.

“We’re going to get off at East Bidwell Street,” Shelly said. “Take that to Wales Drive. Then follow that around and get onto East Natoma. Prison Road is off that street. You’ll make a left.”

“What then?” Sparky asked.

“It’s an access road. Don’t see any gates or anything. We’ll take that past a huge parking lot, and then the first tower with the old gate is right there.”

“There’s sign for Bidwell,” Jules said. “Two miles.”

“I’d take the guns out as soon as we get on Prison Drive,” Sparky said, looking at his phone.”

“Yes, I agree,” Shelly said. “That tower is gonna come up fast. They might have some big guns.”

“We should go in with our lights off,” Sparky said. “Take out the tower before you cross Ryan Parkway.”

“Why?” Jules asked.

“It’ll be tough for them to see us from there, but we should have a clear shot to the tower.”

“We should send the off-roaders in a different way,” Sparky said. “So they can come in from the north.”

“I wouldn’t bother,” Shelly said. “There’s no easy way to avoid Prison Road, but it looks like there’s a lot of ways for them to get on the south side of the prison grounds, and to sneak around to the north side as well. That north wall has some buildings that don’t look like cell blocks to me, and we’d have to go through those.”

“Don’t worry, off-roaders think on fly,” Jules said. “They’re there for diversion like us, to help Mr. White and Mr. Black come in with commando team.”

“There’s your turn, honey,” Shelly said. Jules nodded and took it, following Bidwell as it snaked through shopping areas and residential tracts.

“Nice area,” Jules said.

“Too hot,” Dana said. “I’ve been here in the summer before. Not great.”

“Yeah, it can get a little warm here,” Sparky said. “See anybody around?”

“Nope, dead so far,” Jules said.

“I’ll tell you when to turn your lights off,” Shelly said.

“There’s some moon out there,” Sparky said. “I think we should shut them down now. Otherwise anybody in that parking lot will see us coming.”

Jules reached for the headlight switch and turned them off. “No problem, I can drive. Plenty light, no?”

“I’ll text the others,” Shelly said.

The rumble of distant artillery floated to them, just as everybody’s phones dinged with a broadcast text.

“Sutter’s Mill battle?” Jules asked.

“Yep,” Sparky said, looking at his phone. “It’s on.”

“There’s the parking lot,” Shelly said. “Might want to slow down, and raise the weapons.”

“I do,” Jules said, flipping the switches. The sight came down in front of him. He pushed it to one side as he drove next to the parking lot. There were lights coming from the prison gate, barely in view. “There tower, see?”

Machine gun fire hit the coach, scratching the bullet-proof glass on the front windshield.

“Now I got you,” Jules said, pulling the sight over. He let several grenades fly, all of them hitting the dower, reducing it to rubble and stopping the gunfire.

“Blast the gates and the wall!” Sparky shouted, as he got up and grabbed his M60.

Shelly pulled the console tray out and manned the forward machine guns. “Look, cretins coming out the gate!” She opened fire, mowing them down as they continued past the main gate, heading for the second tower. Jules fired at that, missing with the first shot but hitting with the second and third, blowing the top of the tower right off the wall. Then he aimed at the wall and started firing at one spot, blowing a hole in short order, then moving down further and doing the same in other spots. By now, the other battle wagons were in place, firing their grenade launchers at the walls, breaking it in several spots. The off-roaders rolled in at high speed, spewing grenades and machine gun fire, chasing down several UN vans who were attempting to leave the area.

“Okay, we go into siege mode here,” Jules said, getting to the far northeast corner of the wall, where the tower had been. He turned on siege mode, the armor plates coming down, covering the windshield and the wheels, as small arms fire pelted them from the east.

“Enemy fighters over there in that huge warehouse,” Sparky yelled, moving to the passenger-side gun slits and firing at them with his M60. Jules fired with his mini gun, slicing holes in the corrugated metal walls, then firing grenades inside one after the other, men fleeing the building, right into Sparky’s M60, most of them hit before they got under cover. More rushed out, and other coaches opened fire on the men and the buildings. A couple small secondary explosions went off inside the warehouse.

“Hey, there’s munitions in warehouse,” Jules shouted. “Text others. Let’s hit with salvo of grenades.” He aimed and started firing the M19, sending grenade after grenade into the building, two other coaches behind him doing the same. Then there was a massive explosion, hitting the side of the coach, knocking it on the driver’s side and slamming it into the prison wall. Jules felt his head hit the side of the coach, then blacked out.

***

“We go,” Mr. White said, glancing at Mr. Black, who nodded back at him. They rushed through the broken main gate, diving for cover as machine gun fire erupted from one of the out buildings. Several off-roaders roared through the gate, firing grenades, blowing that building up as the commando team rushed to the front door of the cell block.

“Blow door,” Mr. Black said. One of his commandos rushed toward it, staggering as he was hit by gunfire from one of the windows above. Mr. White opened fire, hitting the Peacekeeper as a second commando rushed forward and picked up the plastic explosive. He got the charge set as the rest of the team covered him, then blew it, the door blowing off its hinges. They rushed inside, small arms fire coming at them, the team diving for cover and returning fire, knocking out several Peacekeepers who were by the stairs.

“You know where are,” Mr. White said. They hurried to the cell block, killing several more Peacekeepers who were guarding the door.

“Blow door,” Mr. Black said. A commando ran over and placed the charge, and they all got back. The door blew open and they rushed in with guns at the ready.

“Who are you?” asked one of the prisoners, and old gentleman with white hair.

“We here to rescue you,” Mr. Black said.

“Which side are you on?” asked another, a tall black man.

“People of California,” Mr. Black said. “Ivan’s men.”

“Who’s Ivan?” a third asked.

Mr. White and Mr. Black looked at each other and smiled.

“You get no news here, eh?” Mr. Black asked. “We resistance. We taking state back from UN and Islamists. Come. We leave.”

There was a massive explosion outside, shaking the building.

“Uh oh, no like sound of that,” Mr. Black said.

“C’mon, let’s get prisoners out of cells,” Mr. White said, looking at the group of commandos.

“Where are you taking us?” the tall black man asked.

“Back to your jobs,” Mr. White said.

***

“Jules!” Shelly cried, shaking him, trying to get his seatbelt off. Sparky and Dana climbed over, walking on the wall to the front of the coach.

“We need to get out of here before the gas tank gets hit with something.

“It shielded,” Jules said, eyes fluttering open. “All okay?”

“This thing is built like a frigging tank,” Sparky said. “C’mon, let’s get that door open.”

“What happen to gunfire?” Jules asked.

“It was done a few minutes ago,” Sparky said. “Just before you woke up.”

There was hammering on the door. Sparky climbed over and unlocked it, helping to push it open. Tex stuck his head in.

“Howdy, Partner. Ever considered getting into the rodeo?”

Jules snickered. “Funny ha ha. Help us out.” He looked over at Shelly, who was on the verge of tears. “I okay, honey, really. Bump on head. Not bad.”

Shelly eyed him. “We need to get you looked at right away.”

“It’s okay,” Jules said.

“She’s right, partner,” Tex said. “C’mon. The commando team already got the prisoners out of here.”

“How?” Jules asked.

“Prison buses,” Sparky said. “There were several in the back parking lot.”

“How many men freed?”

“About forty,” Tex said, “according to the text I got a few minutes ago.”

“That’s not very many,” Shelly said.

“Lots were killed, from the sound of it,” Dana said. “C’mon.”

“Yeah, we’ll take you home in our rig,” Tex said. “Let’s get all the guns, though, and the ammo for the mini gun and the M19.”

They were out of the broken coach with the ammo and guns after a few minutes. Karen was pacing next to her rig, her eyes lighting up when she saw Tex walking over.

“Nobody got hurt?” she asked, looking at the four passengers walking up.

“Jules got knocked out for a few minutes,” Tex said. “C’mon, let’s get inside before some sniper takes a pot shot.”

“Where other coaches?” Jules asked.

“Already on their way home,” Karen said. “There’s still off-roaders around to escort us, just in case.”

“That good, let’s go,” Jules said, helping Shelly up. Soon they were on their way, going south on Prison Road.

***

Garrett and Anna woke up to a loud explosion.

“Oh, crap,” Garrett said, jumping out of bed. “Check the app on your phone.” He looked out the window. A barn was on fire, and another mortar round came down in the pasture, about half way between there and the house. He could see his men running with their weapons towards the west side of the property. Machine gun fire erupted.

“There’s nobody showing up on the apps,” Anna shouted. “Maybe it’s the UN.”

“Crap, how many of those jerks are around here?” Garrett yelled as he headed for the door, his long rifle in hand. “Get down in the basement.”

She nodded and followed him down the stairs. He went out the front door as she went into the basement. Another mortar round fell, closer to the house.

Sid, Yvonne, and Tyler rolled up in a Jeep, jumping out with weapons.

“They’re gonna hit the house if we don’t stop them fast,” Yvonne yelled.

“I see them,” Sid said, running forward as machine gun fire started up from their position. He dropped to the dirt and aimed his M60, spraying lead at the mortar team, killing most of them, one sprinting away, only to be dropped by Yvonne with her sniper rifle.

“Look at that old van,” Tyler said, aiming the M60 at it. He fired, cutting into the side. Suddenly all their phones buzzed. “Holy crap, there’s Islamists with chips back there.”

“Keep the pressure on,” Garrett yelled, firing his plains rifle as fast as he could load it, the massive .50 cal bullets smashing through the sides of the van. The Islamists were trying to escape out the side, but Sid was waiting, in a better position, killing them as they tried to run to the nearby oak trees for cover. After a moment there were no more gunshots. Sam and Erica drove up to the house, Erica rushing into it with Mia. Sam ran over to Garrett and the others.

“Where’s Mia?” Yvonne asked.

“Anna texted Erica to bring her to the basement,” Sam said. “Looks like you got them. Let’s go see how they hid themselves.”

“Looks to me like you were right,” Tyler said to Sid. “They’ve figured out how to shield their vehicles.”

The group moved cautiously towards the van, passing the ruined mortar and the men lying around it.

“Those are UN Peacekeepers,” Sam said, pointing to the bodies.

“I’ll check them,” Tyler said, rushing over. There was a single gunshot, startling everybody. Tyler rejoined the group. “One was still breathing.”

“Should have used a knife,” Garrett said as he led them to the van.

Sid snuck to the side door and looked inside. “They’re all dead. Look at this. They lined the inside of the van with lead.”

“The UN Peacekeepers were in the driver and passenger seat, since they don’t have chips,” Yvonne said. “And they brought the Islamists in the back. Why only these few? There might be more around.”

“My guys are on patrol again,” Garrett said, slipping his phone back in his pocket. “This is kinda peculiar.”

“This was a test,” Sam said. “We can expect a larger attack now, using this method. We need to have a meeting and figure out what we can do to protect ourselves.”

“I think I understand why you wouldn’t agree to killing the living off the road option,” Sid said.

To be continued…
 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 132 – Bay Area Rampage

San Francisco was a battle zone. A battered Ford Excursion raced towards the pier.

“What are we doing on the Embarcadero?” Sanchez asked, worry on his black-bearded face. “It’s not a trap like last time, right? I’ve seen five UN vans since we left the restaurant.”

“Relax,” Joosten said. His hands were on the wheel of the SUV, his long gray hair shaggy, blowing in the wind of the open window. “We’re going to Pier 35. You really ought to be keeping track of the message boards. Hell, I’m old. You’re supposed to be more up on this crap than I am.”

“Why’d I have to come, anyway?”

“We’ve got a bunch of stuff to load into the back. Stan and Terry are following us, a couple blocks back, with their pick-up.”

“You believe this stuff too much,” Sanchez said. Joosten stared at him for a moment.

“Why are you with us?”

Sanchez was quiet for a moment. “Stan talked me into it.”

“If you don’t believe in this, don’t risk your life.”

“I’m in love with him,” Sanchez said.

“Duh. Why aren’t you riding with him, then?”

“He’s not as committed to the relationship as I am,” Sanchez said, eyes starting to tear up. “Why are you here? You’re too old to be running around with guns now.”

“I did just fine this morning,” Joosten said. “I haven’t given back enough. This country is worth fighting for.”

“This country has treated us badly,” Sanchez said.

“No, actually they haven’t. The Islamists who have been helping these globalist UN jerks like to throw us off buildings when they get control. Why do so many of us not see that as a problem? If we lose, they’ll be staying in our population, and growing in power. That’s death to people like us.”

A siren started up behind them. Sanchez turned around to look. “Police car. I thought they were all locked up.”

Joosten grinned. “Look, he’s chasing down that UN van. See it?”

“The guy in the passenger seat has his shotgun out,” Sanchez said. “Crap!”

The back door of the UN van opened, a man with an AK-47 aiming at the police cruiser. The Peacekeeper pulled the trigger, shooting the man in the passenger seat just as he fired, both men hit and killed. The vehicles swerved, the van hitting the curb and rolling into a building, the police cruiser slamming into the back of it.

“Whoa!” Joosten said, slamming on the brakes.

“What are you doing?” Sanchez yelled.

“I’m going to help,” he said, picking up his pistol from the center console. He rushed out in a crouch.

“Stay back,” the officer yelled, holding one arm. “The men in the front aren’t dead.”

“I’m armed, officer,” Joosten said as he rushed over. Sanchez got out and was heading for the area like nothing happened. Machine gun fire erupted, hitting Sanchez in the face and neck, killing him instantly.

“Dammit,” the officer said, looking back at Joosten, who had his pistol in a two-handed grip. He fired four times, hitting the UN Peacekeeper with the machine gun.

“Got the son of a bitch,” Joosten said.

“Nice,” the officer said. “Better get out of here.”

“Why?”

“Somebody tipped the UN off about the shipment. The vans are converging on the pier.”

“They going to Pier 35?”

The officer looked at him, shocked. “You’re in this.”

“Of course I’m in it,” Joosten said.

“Good,” the officer said. “Watch it. That guy’s running.”

Joosten got up, sprinting towards the police cruiser, grabbing the shot gun, and running forward. He fired twice, hitting the fleeing UN Peacekeeper before he could get behind cover.

“That can’t be all the folks in the van,” Joosten said.

“They’re cut real thin,” the officer said. “Help me to your vehicle. We need to get down to the pier.”

Joosten nodded, rushing over, helping him to his feet. The officer was six foot two, dark hair and dark eyes, pockmarked complexion.

“I’m Officer Barnett,” he said, as they rushed to the SUV, Joosten helping him into the passenger seat.

“Just a sec,” Joosten said, rushing over to the man he’d shot. He picked up his AK-47, and found two magazines in his pocket. He rushed back to the car with them, getting into the driver’s seat and setting them on Barnett’s lap. “You know how to fire these?”

“Yep,” Barnett said. “What’s your name?”

“Sorry – it’s Joosten.” He drove back onto Embarcadero, joining the traffic that was getting heavier by the minute.

“Holy crap, it’s working,” Barnett said.

“The social media campaign?”

“Yeah,” Barnett said. “That’s why you’re here, right?”

“Hell yeah. Think the shipment will really be there?”

“Ivan’s been right about everything so far,” Barnett said. “Hope the ship is there. I’ve heard that EU Destroyers were seen off the coast.”

“Really,” Joosten said, shooting him a worried glance. “If a lot of people get packed into that space and there’s no guns, we’re in trouble.”

“Tell me about it, man,” Barnett said.

“You have other officers coming?”

“Oh, yeah, pretty much the entire force has had it with the UN. There’s no elected officials in charge anywhere. The Police Commissioner has been in bed with them the entire time. Hope I get to shoot that son of a bitch.”

“What happened to your shoulder. Get shot?”

“No, that damn UN van in front of us stopped too quick, and I had my eyes on my partner for too long. Jammed myself into the steering wheel.”

“Oh,” Joosten said. “That ought to heal quick, at least.”

“Hell, chances are good neither of us will survive the night.”

Joosten glanced at him again, and shook his head in agreement.

“There’s the pier,” Barnett said. “The ship’s already there. Haul ass.”

“What, you want me to break the speed limit, officer?”

Barnett cracked up. “Damn straight.”

Joosten was already going as fast as he could, given the traffic. The area leading to the dock was clogged with cars, and people were already running away with armfuls of weapons and ammo, stuffing them into their cars and trucks, then going back for more. It was a crazy scene, people running back and forth, an occasional gun shot in the distance, then a blip of rat-a-tat-tat machine gun fire, echoing from between the buildings on Beach and North Point streets.

“What were you doing out here?” Joosten asked as they parked.

“Hunting UN vans. Hope the rest of the guys did better than we did, or this party is gonna be a blood bath.”

“Holy crap, what’s that thing?” Joosten asked, pointing at a large gun with an ammo belt hanging off it.

“Yes! They’re giving us M60s.”

“What’s that?” Joosten asked.

“Machine gun. Hell of a weapon.”

“Oh,” Joosten said. “I don’t think we can drive further. We need to get out. I got a wagon in the back.”

“Sounds good.”

“You need help out?”

“I already feel better,” Barnett said. “I’m shaking this off. We got some UN Peacekeepers to kill. I haven’t heard enough machine gun fire back there. That tells me that a lot of the UN vans got through.”

Suddenly there was a loud noise, and part of the pier 35 exploded.

“Dammit,” Barnett shouted. “C’mon.”

“You want to run towards that?”

“Yeah, before they destroy what’s left of the weapons,” Barnett said. “Look, it’s a EU Destroyer. It’s going to fire again.”

They both watched in horror as the cannons of the ship pointed towards the pier again, men on the cargo ship firing machine guns at them. The cannons fired, hitting the bridge of the ship, knocking it against the pier hard, as pieces of metal and men flew through the air.

“Dammit,” Barnett said. “Hurry. We’ve only got a couple minutes to grab weapons and hide. The UN vans will be here with reinforcements any second. This is why they weren’t here yet.”

“Hey, what’s that?” Joosten yelled, pointing at the water southeast of Pier 35. “Coming from Alameda. Is that the US Navy?”

“Wonder who’s side they’re on?” Barnett asked. Then the navy ship fired off several missiles, all of them hitting the EU ship in a split second, the boat blowing up in three places, thick black smoke coming off it as secondary explosions started.

“YES!” Joosten yelled. “They’re on our side.”

“Let’s get a couple of those M60s,” Barnett shouted, breaking into a run as the remaining crew of the cargo ship was tossing crates of weapons to the dock below, some of the boxes breaking open when they hit, others rolling and hitting the men waiting below. The scene was pandemonium. Somebody shouted “UN vans” at the top of his lungs, and suddenly there were a score of M60s pointed down the Embarcadero, firing at the UN vans and Peacekeepers on foot, causing them to flee for cover. The blood of the crowd was up, and nearly a hundred men ran down the street, ducking behind cover as the Peacekeepers fired, then returning much more fire, the M60s blowing right through cars the enemy troops were hiding behind.

“Let’s go get us some,” Barnett shouted, running as fast as he could now, M60 in both hands, AK-47 on a sling over his shoulder.

Joosten tried to keep up, then glanced down Bay Street to the right. “Officer, look, more UN vans coming down this street. Let’s nail ‘em.”

“I see them,” Barnett shouted. They both got into position and opened fire, lead smashing into the front windshields of the vans, men trying to get out and save themselves. Others from the pier saw what was going on and joined in, running down the street, firing M60s, M4s, and other weapons. Somebody tossed a grenade at several vans flying down the street towards them, catching the first two, the last hit by fire from half a dozen guns.

“Nailed their asses,” Joosten said. “This is almost fun.”

Barnett looked at him and smiled, then buckled to the ground as he was hit by fire from a window above.

“NO!!” shouted Joosten, rolling out of the way and aiming the heavy machine gun, firing through the window, others joining in, Peacekeepers falling from the windows.

Joosten rushed to Barnett’s side. “Where’re you hit?”

“All over,” Barnett whispered. “Go. Fight well. Show them what we’re made of.”

“Oh, no,” Joosten said, petting his forehead as he lost consciousness.

“Look, more coming north on Kearney Street,” somebody shouted.

Joosten kissed Barnett’s forehead, then took his ammo belt and the AK-47 and ran towards Kearney Street, his anger and passion taking him as he rejoined the battle, not stopping until the people had destroyed the enemy.

***

The phone dinged. Jules woke up startled, next to Shelly, their bodies sweaty against each other.

“What time is it?” Shelly asked as Jules looked at his phone.

“Nine thirty,” he said. “Text from Ivan. He says big action in San Francisco and Oakland. Enemy resources moving from Folsom to shore up Sacramento and Bay Area. He wants to hit prison in two hours.”

“Then we’d better get our butts moving,” Shelly said, reaching for her phone. “I’ll send out the text.”

“Do that,” Jules said. He replied to Ivan, then asked for more details. Ivan called him.

“Yes, boss?” Jules said. “On speaker.”

“Thought this would be faster than texting it,” Ivan said. “I trust you found the accommodations suitable.”

“They’re great,” Jules said. “We coming back here after?”

“Yes, probably, unless somebody gets followed there. We’ve had a wild evening.”

“What happened?”

“Ben Dover got the social media team up and running. We coordinated a shipment of weapons to Pier 35 in San Francisco, and a similar shipment into Oakland. People were already fighting in both places, but with inferior weapons.”

“How’d you get ship in there?”

Ivan chuckled. “We hijacked cargo ships. The EU Navy got wise, and followed. They attacked Pier 35, almost sunk the cargo ship at the dock. Lots of patriots died, I’m afraid.”

“But weapons transfer worked?”

“We had unexpected help,” Ivan said.

“Who?”

“US Navy ship from Alameda. Fired missiles, sank the EU Navy cruiser. They’re now guarding the area as our people attack. San Francisco is going to fall in a hurry. We’ve already taken north of I-80 and east of Fillmore Street.”

“That’s a quarter of the town,” Shelly said.

Ivan chuckled. “Yes. You know San Francisco, Milk Maid?”

“I do,” Shelly said, shooting a smirk at Jules, who shrugged back at her.

“It’s not quite a quarter, but we got the Financial District and City Hall. Large bunkers under City Hall held enemy offices. We could tell that it was vacated in a hurry. They didn’t expect an attack of this size.”

“But they did expect an attack?” Shelly asked.

“They sent a bunch of UN vans and a fair number of Peacekeepers on foot into the pier area, but they’d been fighting a smaller uprising between the Castro and Mission Districts. Their forces were tired and nearly out of ammo, and many had been shot in the earlier battle.”

“You think Daan’s headquarters were under City Hall?” Jules asked.

Ivan laughed. “We can’t tell yet. If so, that means he was only about five blocks from where I was.”

Jules cracked up. “That rich, boss.”

“Oh yeah, it is,” Ivan said. “But hey, back to business. We start some low-level trouble in Sacramento to draw forces from Folsom. We’re assembling a huge force near Sutter’s Landing along the American River, thanks to Ben Dover’s team again. Last number I saw was forty thousand citizens. We managed to get a large number of weapons into the area. Our forces should be getting them any minute now. We’ll start a small skirmish with part of the group in Midtown, just to make sure the slugs send a lot of Peacekeepers there.”

“You give nasty surprise, no?”

“You got it,” Ivan said. “We’ve had people watching Highway 50. There are forces already leaving the Folsom area. Since we took San Francisco City Hall and are storming Oakland City Hall as we speak, they’ll see any activity near the State Capitol area as an imminent threat. We expect them to send most of their forces from Folsom to help out.”

“We got anyone inside?” Shelly asked.

“Yeah, some guards, who’ve been reduced to working in the kitchen and outside the prison since the UN Peacekeepers took over. Those they didn’t kill, of course.”

“Bastards,” Jules said.

“Yes,” Ivan said. “Do you anticipate any problems with leaving in the next half hour?”

“Get responses back?” Jules asked Shelly.

“Yep, all the principals replied, and a whole lot of the off-roader team. Are we bringing all of them?”

“Might as well,” Ivan said. “Use the M19s to break into the building, on the off-roaders and the battle wagons.”

“We be assault team at prison too?” Jules asked.

“Part of it,” Ivan said. “Mr. White and Mr. Black will be there with their commandos.”

“Excellent,” Jules said. “I admire their work. Anything else?”

“If you can’t make it there within two hours for any reason, text me right away. Got it?”

“I got, chief,” Jules said. “Talk soon.”

The call ended.

“We’d better get dressed,” Shelly said.

“Yes,” Jules said. They could hear people outside rushing about. “You tell what Ivan said in text?”

“Enough of it to get them going,” Shelly said, as she pulled on her shirt.

***

Saladin woke up to workmen rushing around outside of his chambers. He got up and checked the time, on the way out into Daan’s living space. It was just after midnight.

“What’s going on?” Saladin asked one of the workers, who was boxing up the bar.

“Boss said we leave,” the man said in a Belgian accent. “He says tell you to pack stuff.”

“Why?”

“He didn’t say. In next room. Be back in moment.”

Saladin paced the room, then ducked into his chambers and put his few personal items into a carry-on suitcase. Daan was back when he rolled it out.

“What’s happening?” Saladin asked.

“We’re in the process of losing San Francisco, and Oakland is under a massive attack. It’s starting to spread into Berkley to the north and Hayward to the south.”

“Who? Ivan’s people?” Saladin asked.

“Citizens,” Daan said.

“You giving up? Because I’m not. I’ll crush the infidel. We’ve got a lot of capability. We’ll have I-8 open again soon.”

“I’m not giving up,” Daan said, “but I know when it’s time to regroup and re-prioritize.”

“Where’s all these UN Peacekeepers who were supposed to show up?”

“There’s three ships on the way, but it’s only sixty thousand men. Not enough compared to the number of citizens who are in the fight now.”

“That’s a good number. I could do a lot with that many men. I could control this puny peninsula, for example.”

Daan chuckled. “You don’t get it. There are more than half a million armed citizens in the Bay Area battle. We’re not landing the UN Peacekeepers here. We’re taking them further north.”

Saladin laughed. “These folks just have hunting guns, don’t they? You can’t take them on with military weapons and tactics?”

“Somebody is flooding the area with real weapons. M60s and M4 variants. RPGs. Grenade launchers. Hell, even TOW Missiles.”

“Ivan?” Saladin asked.

“Well, if it’s Ivan, he’s got a hell of a lot of rich friends,” Daan said.

“We’ve got two hundred thousand Islamic Fighters heading south right now. Want me to recall them?”

“No, I want you to get I-8 and the other roads down there opened up, so the seven hundred thousand fighters in Mexico can come in and help. That’s your task. Think you can handle it?”

“Yes, Daan, I can handle it,” Saladin said. “What about Capitol Reef? What about General Hogan’s forces?”

“Later. We can’t write off California. Not yet, anyway.”

Daan picked up a packet of papers and headed for the door. “My people will get you out of here. There’s a chopper coming. You’ll get onto the building next door – roof pickup.”

“Are you going that way too?”

“No, I’m getting onto a ship, taking it up to Oregon. Then I’ll be meeting with the EU leadership, so I’ll be out of the country for a while.”

“You’re going back to Belgium?”

“Just for the meeting,” Daan said. “The UN wants to pull out of California and still retain EU funding. I’m going there to make sure it doesn’t happen.”

Saladin laughed. “Then your job is probably more difficult than mine. Good luck to you. Thanks for the hospitality.”

Daan nodded and rushed out the door. Saladin sat down and pulled his cellphone out. Where are my forces now? He checked his command and control app. They were just south of Fresno, heading south on Highway 99.

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 131 – Treasure

Jules and Shelly came out of their rig, helping their passengers. Then they joined the others, who were milling around in front of the row of six battle wagons. The armed off-roaders and Jeeps were still coming in, parking where they could find spaces.

“Is this a short-term base or a long-term base?” Sparky asked, coming out of the rig with Dana.

“Depend on what you mean by short term and long term,” Jules said.

“Anything more than a few days is long term now,” Dana said.

Where’s everybody going to sleep?” Shelly asked.

“See building over to far right?” Jules asked. “Ivan bring in cots, food, other stuff.”

Looks like the flow of off-roaders is about done,” Sparky said.

“There a few around outside the facility,” Jules said. “Just in case. Early warning.”

“I can’t believe they don’t know where we are,” Shelly said under her breath.

“Video viral on internet,” Jules said.

“The TV show?” Shelly asked.

“Yes,” Jules said. “Heard from Ivan. People begin to self-organize. Anxious to browse net and look. He thinks game changes now.”

“Well, I hope he’s right,” Sparky said. “When’s the next attack?”

“We have meeting later tonight,” Jules said. “Soon.”

“Are we coming back here afterwards?” Shelly asked.

“If possible, yes,” Jules said. “Depend on outcome and what citizens do. Alternate site available, as good as this.”

“What are we expecting from the citizens?” Sparky asked.

“Ben Dover’s started social media blitz right after TV broadcast. Ivan say response greater than expected. Much greater.”

“Well, maybe we should get the sleeping area ready,” Dana said. “The hostages have got to be tired. They could use showers, too. Are there facilities for that here?”

“Should be,” Jules said. He looked at Shelly. “Should we go help?”

“No,” Shelly said. “I want to talk to you about something. In the coach, okay?”

“No problem,” Sparky said. “I’ll go with Dana. We can get things set up.”

“Thanks,” Jules said. He watched Sparky and Dana walk away hand in hand, then followed Shelly into their coach.

“Shut the door, sweetie, and lock it.”

“Lock?” Jules asked.

“Yes,” she said from the back.

“Okay,” Jules said. “Where you go?”

“Back here.” He walked back there, pausing to take off his shoes, his feet hot and tired from the action and the drive. He froze when he got into the bedroom. Shelly was sitting on the bed naked, watching him with serious eyes.

“Oh,” he said. “You need?”

“I’m scared,” she said. “Get your clothes off.”

He nodded, not sure if he should be happy or worried, his heart beating hard in his chest.

“Good, it’s not just me,” she said, looking at his lack of the usual condition.

“You worry me,” he said. “Not worry, desire still strong. You?”

“Telling my story,” she said, starting to cry. “I didn’t think it would get to me. Listening to the others was even harder. We don’t discuss it together. That was the first time most of us spoke about it since you saved us.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t. Let’s just cuddle for a while. Rest and comfort each other.”

“No, I want you to take me hard. Make me feel it. Break through this. I can’t let it sit. It’ll become a thing.

“You sure?”

“Yes. I need to feel that I’m yours, and that you cherish me above everything.” She stood, taking him into her arms. The feeling was enough to get Jules excited.

“Finally,” he whispered to himself.

“I feel it,” she said, backing away to look at him. “I meant it. Hard. Take your woman.”

He picked her up and set her on the bed, taking his time with her as she writhed below him.

“Now,” she said. “C’mon.”

“No, I take the way I want, woman,” he said, keeping up the slow, tantalizing foreplay with her. By the time they joined she was fever hot, screaming with passion as he let himself go, moving her from one position to another, but not getting enough of her. Eye contact was what he craved, and he rolled on top of her, his face inches from hers as he moved, watching her eyes as she gave in totally, as passionate as he’d ever seen her.

“Jules,” she whispered.

“Yes,” he panted.

“This is a bad time.”

“What mean?” he asked, still on the ragged edge of self-control, slowing slightly.

“Baby,” she whispered.

“Oh, then I be careful,” he said, speeding up again.

“Jules?”

He looked at her, almost at his peak, feeling the control leaving him.

“Be careful,” she whispered, looking at him, her eyes a mixture of fear and… naughtiness, which drove him over the top. He tried to pull away, but her legs locked him against her, keeping him there as the passion consumed both of them.

“Uh oh,” Jules whispered, looking at her, worry in his eyes. She pushed him up so she could look at his whole face.

“You probably just got me pregnant,” she said, half a smile on her face.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

“It’s what I wanted.”

“We talk about, you said no,” Jules said, searching her eyes.

“You’re my man, and I needed what I needed,” she said. “I didn’t want to discuss it. Now get off me and grab one of those pillows.”

He looked at her for a moment, eyes questioning, then got up. She grabbed her legs, pulling them up against her torso, elevating her lower body.

“What you do?” he asked as he got a pillow out from under the bedspread.

“Put it under my butt,” she said. “I want to help things along.”

Jules smiled, doing as she requested, then lying on the bed next to her. “This not expected.”

“War and terror aren’t the important things in life,” she said, turning her head towards him. “This is. I’ll never leave you. I want at least three children. You gonna be able to handle that?”

He chuckled. “I wanted to start later, but if you need now, you need.” He looked at her, and a mischievous grin came over his face.

“What?” she asked.

“Who say only three?”

***

Sam was sitting on the coach in his battle wagon. Erica walked out from the back.

“She asleep?”

Erica nodded yes. “I think she feels safer here.”

“How could she know?”

Erica sat next to him. “She’s very sensitive. She probably picks up on our feelings.”

“Oh,” Sam said. “That makes sense. How are you doing?”

“I’m having a hard time coming down from that last battle,” she said, leaning against him. “When I saw those UN Peacekeepers all over the clearing in front of the house, I just about went crazy.”

“You did,” Sam said, putting his arm on her shoulders and pulling her closer. “I had the same thing going on inside.”

“I know,” she whispered. “If anything happened to Mia I’d never recover.”

“Yes, you would,” Sam said. “Look what she went through before we got her. Americans have been lucky. There hasn’t been a situation like this since the Civil War. I used to wonder how the citizens would be if we were thrust into a wartime situation, like the Europeans were during the world wars. Our people are strong, with a tradition of liberty that’s ingrained. This is horrible to live through, but we’ll win.”

“That wasn’t your attitude a few days ago,” Erica said. “What changed your mind? Can’t be that last battle. We almost lost that.”

“Garrett and I had a talk while I was driving. It was when you and Anna were talking with the others in back.”

“What’d he say?”

Sam chuckled. “He reminded me that we have over forty million people in this state, and most of them are on our side. Our people will never be subjugated, but there will be awful battles ahead.”

“Oh,” Erica said. “I get it. That’s big-picture, though. We’re in the thick of things, being hunted because of the damage we’ve done. The people might never lose the state, but we might not be around to see the victory.”

“That’s true,” Sam said, “but we’re pretty fast on our feet, and we’ve got good leadership. Our people are brave, and we stick together. Most of us will probably survive this.”

“I hope you’re right,” Erica said.

There was a knock at the door.

“I got it,” Sam said, getting up. Garrett and Ed were standing outside with Tyler, Seth, and Angel.

“Hey, guys,” Sam said, standing aside.

“Why don’t you guys go talk elsewhere,” Erica said. “Mia needs a good night’s sleep.”

“Then you can’t listen,” Sam said

“No problem, you’ll tell me all about it later. Go. Plan well. I’ll keep guard over our little girl.”

Sam nodded, coming over to kiss her forehead, then grabbing his gun and coming out. He closed the door quietly. “Well, where too?”

“Saloon,” Garrett said. “Ryan and Sid are gonna show up, and a few others.”

“The saloon it is,” Sam said. “They got any whiskey left?”

“Yeah,” Garrett said. “We’ve actually been making our own. Never mentioned that. It’s not exactly legal.”

“We aren’t drinking much, though, right?” Sid asked.

“Oh, a slug or two won’t hurt,” Garrett said. “There’s still some of that old stuff left.”

The men walked towards the western street, getting onto the wood sidewalk.

“This is something,” Tyler said.

“Oh, it’s silliness, but we like it,” Garrett said. “We’ve been trying to immerse ourselves in more romantic times.”

Ed chuckled. “We’re in romantic times now.”

“Historic,” Seth said.

Ji-Ho saw them coming. He was leaning against the front of the Saloon, smiling at them. Ryan was next to him, and Trevor. Clem walked over after a minute.

“Where are all the women?” Sam asked. “Is this boy’s night out?”

“They’re getting the grand tour of the place from Garrett’s sister,” Trevor said.

“Good,” Garrett said. “Knowing Susanne, they’ll all get jobs.”

“That should go for us men-folk as well,” Ed said.

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “We all do part.”

“Some of those women are scary good warriors,” Seth said. “Mine, for example, and Erica too.”

“Megan’s probably better than I am,” Angel said, “at least at some things.”

They filed into the saloon, the swinging doors flapping as they walked in. Crusty old Willard saw them and grinned ear to ear. He looked down at the floor behind the bar and spit, the wet plug of tobacco hitting the spittoon there with a splat.

“Howdy,” he said, smoothing his beard. “What can I do you for?”

“We still got some of the good stuff?” Garrett asked.

“Hell yeah,” Willard said. “Okay if I join you?”

“Wouldn’t have it any other way,” Garrett said. The men picked a large round table, pulling out chairs and sitting. Willard brought over glasses and a couple bottles of whiskey, so old that the labels were disintegrating.

“You were waiting for us,” Sam said to Ji-Ho.

“Yes,” he said, smiling as he watched Willard pour whiskey into his glass. He tossed it back, looking around the western saloon with its 19th century artwork, the ornate shelving behind the bar, and the spittoons every few feet. “This great. Need cowboy hat.”

Garrett laughed. “That can be arranged.”

“You heard from Ivan,” Ed said.

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said, sliding his empty glass towards Willard. “Hit me again, partner.”

Willard and Garrett burst out laughing, the others looking on with smiles. Ji-Ho grinned as Willard poured, and knocked back the drink.

“Video of captive women testimony go viral,” Ji-Ho said. “Ivan hit with recruitment effort at same time, using technique from Texas group. Street battle in San Francisco and Oakland on now. Authorities losing.”

“Which authorities?” Sid asked. “The police?”

Seth chuckled. “No, the police are on our side.”

“You know?” Ji-Ho asked.

“I’ve been on social media for the past few hours. Finally had to plug in my tablet. Ran it out of juice.”

“You didn’t say right off?” Ji-Ho asked.

“Figured I’d let you talk,” Seth said. “I’m seeing something the whole damn population has access to. You, on the other hand, have a direct line into command central.”

“Is Ivan still with Jules, Sparky, and Ted?” Sam asked.

“They split up,” Ji-Ho said. “Next mission coming soon, will put California elected officials back in power.”

“For better or for worse,” Clem said.

“Maybe some learn lesson,” Ji-Ho said. “Biggest liberal in state of Texas now best friends with Governor Nelson, who’s far to conservative side. We bury the hatchet and fight together.”

Sam snickered. “Yep, and when the fight is over, we’ll go right back to arguing with each other.”

“But with memory of this,” Ji-Ho said. “Wrong on both sides. Wrong to place foreigners above home country. Done by both sides. Chamber of commerce want cheap labor. Left want future voters.”

“We’re gonna have war in Europe again,” Trevor said. “I’m going to sit it out.”

“The kid’s probably right about that,” Sam said. “Ivan’s been sowing the seeds of revolution via social media to his counterparts.”

“Counterparts?” Angel asked.

“Resistance in EU,” Ji-Ho said. “Against globalists.”

“They’ve got problems on a scale that we aren’t even near,” Sam said. “Most of those countries have more foreigners than natives now.”

“From what I’ve been reading, their radical Islam problem has gotten better,” Seth said.

“It has?” Sid asked.

Ji-Ho chuckled. “You know why. They send many Islamist fighters here, and more than half come from Europe, not Middle East.”

“They thought Europeans and Americans are a lot alike,” Garrett said, leaning back in his chair with a grin. “I doubt many of them think that now.”

“Where are they actually winning, anyway?” Trevor asked.

“New England and the Mid-Atlantic, according to the message boards,” Seth said. “There’s still martial law there that’s being enforced. There’s some rebellion, but nothing on the scale we’re seeing here.”

“I expected martial law to be more successful here,” Garrett said. “The citizens of California have been surprising, and in a good way.”

“You got that right,” Sam said.

“What are we doing next?” Angel asked. “Are we gonna focus on fortification of this place, or are we gonna stage another attack?”

“Both,” Ji-Ho said, “but details still need to be worked out on next attack. There’s been movement.”

“I was just going to bring that up,” Garrett said. “I’m still seeing a flow of Islamists coming down from Julian.”

“Does it look like they’re coming here yet?” Angel asked.

“They haven’t gone south of Descanso yet,” Garrett said. “Some of them seem to be disappearing. Maybe they’ve built some underground facilities.”

“Or maybe they’re using something natural,” Sam said, “caves, like Saladin’s main forces are doing in Capitol Reef.”

“That may be diversion,” Ji-Ho said. “General Hogan working.”

Trevor’s face changed, and he brought his phone to his face, looking at the screen.

“What, man?” Seth asked.

“Maybe they figured out that we can see them,” Trevor said. “Actually, how could they not know? Think about it.”

“What made you bring up?” Ji-Ho asked, “and why you study apps?”

“I’m not studying the apps, I’m looking at the web, to see if there are any good-sized caves or mines around Descanso or Julian.”

“You don’t think they’re taking the chips out, do you?” Tyler asked.

“Dammit,” Sam said under his breath.

“Wait,” Sid said. “Think they could figure out a way to shield themselves?”

“What do you mean?” Sam asked.

“Say they could line their vans with something that would stop the signal of the RFID chips.”

“That good question,” Ji-Ho said.

“This reminds me of something we were talking about earlier,” Sam said. “Seth, think you could develop some metrics based on the RFID hits over time?”

“Yeah, we were talking about that when we were driving here,” Garrett said.

Seth thought about it for a moment. “Yeah, I could do that, but it would only show us data going forward. It’ll take a while for it to do us much good.”

“I like,” Ji-Ho said. “If they shield and move, we catch them with historic data. We see chips disappear and re-appear.”

“I’ll start working it tonight,” Seth said.

“You’ve had a long day,” Sam said. “Maybe you ought to start in the morning.”

“I’ve got ideas,” Seth said. “I won’t be able to sleep until I work them. You guys need me for anything? If not, I’m going back to my rig to get on the laptop.”

“Go ahead,” Ji-Ho said. “Figure out. Very important.”

“Yeah, dude, I’ll fill you in on what happened here,” Angel said.

Seth got up, nodded to the group, and left.

“Those apps are gonna go wide pretty soon no matter what, right?” Sam asked.

“Yes, will,” Ji-Ho said. “Soon.”

“Soon like tomorrow?” Garrett asked.

“Soon like this month,” Ji-Ho said.

“Geez,” Ryan said. “This isn’t great. We already know the UN is out there with no tracking devices, and now the Islamists might be able to hide themselves too? Didn’t we just say we were winning?”

“Yes, we still winning,” Ji-Ho said. “Enemy lost war for hearts and minds. No way to recover.”

“You don’t think we’re out of the woods yet, though, do you?” Sam asked, eyeing him.

“Bad problems in Arizona, Utah, Colorado. Texas have massive cleanup job, nearly million fighters there. New England and Mid Atlantic not liberated. All hard. Citizens key to win battle, but other danger.”

“What other danger?” Ed asked.

“Government at all levels infested. Elected and un-elected enemy actors. Chip app release with names get many. Others who not on insider level survive, make trouble. Deep State. Very bad.”

“I thought they were already targeting people using the name capability,” Sam said.

“Still be battle,” Ji-Ho said. “Hide, destroy documents, make up stories, kill witnesses. Turmoil on level never seen. Bumpy ride.”

“You guys aren’t getting hammered, are you?” Susanne asked in her raspy voice, coming into the saloon with Kaylee, Megan, Kaitlyn, Yvonne, and others. She turned to them. “See, told you they’d be in the saloon.”

Several of the women snickered.

“Looks like the party’s over,” Ed said, trying to keep a straight face.

“Hey, sis, come on over and have a drink,” Garrett said, holding up the bottle.

“Land sakes, you guys are drinking up the best stuff. We’re gonna run out soon.” She walked over and watched as Willard poured her one, drinking it down without a shudder. “Damn that’s good. You girls want some of this? Get it while it’s still here.”

“I’d rather just go back to our rig,” Kaitlyn said, looking around the room. “Hey, where’s Seth?”

“He’s on special assignment,” Angel quipped.

“Dangerous?” she asked.

“No, computer work,” Sam said. “Don’t worry.”

“I’m going over there, then,” Kaitlyn said, walking out the door.

“You coming?” Kaylee asked Trevor. He shook his head yes and joined her, the other men joining their women too.

“I tired, retire,” Ji-Ho said. “Don’t get discouraged. We win. Trust me.”

“I know,” Garrett said. Ji-Ho walked out the door.

“More old goats, just what we need,” Susanne muttered under her breath.

“C’mon, Sis, don’t you have a date with Elmer?” Garrett asked.

“That old fool,” she asked. “I kicked him to the curb again last night.”

“Why?”

“He wouldn’t leave me alone,” she said. “Thinks I’m scared or something.”

“That’ll last another twenty minutes,” Garrett cracked.

“Shut up,” she said, turning to leave. “Don’t stay up too late, and don’t drink up all of the good stuff.”

The remaining men watched her walk out. As soon as she was out of sight, Willard grinned.

“What now?” Garrett asked him. “I’ve seen that look before.”

“Found something when I was trying to rig up new lights in the mine,” he said.

“What’s that?” Sam asked.

He nodded to the back of the bar, and started walking in that direction, the others following. They went into the storage room, Willard unlocking a padlock on a door to the right. He pushed the door open and pulled the chain to turn the light on.

“Is that what I think it is?” Garrett asked, going inside to look at five wooden crates.

“It’s mostly not whiskey,” Willard said. “Brandy, gin, and rum.”

“This crate says whiskey,” Garrett said.

“Oh, yeah, there’s probably more whiskey than we had before, or pretty damn close,” Willard said. “Most of it’s still in the mine.”

“Damn, brother, how much did you find down there?” Garrett asked.

“Fifty-two cases like this, and some loose bottles,” he said. “Also some mixers and some champagne, but that’s all bad now.”

“Geez,” Sam said.

“Maybe we shouldn’t tell Susanne about it,” Willard said. “She’ll start rationing.”

“You tell Elmer yet?” Garrett asked.

“Yeah, he helped me carry it out here.”

Garrett shook his head. “She’ll know about it by morning.”

“I thought they broke up?” Ed asked.

Garrett chuckled. “Yeah, for the umpteenth time. They’ll wake up next to each other. Trust me.”

The door behind them opened. “Hey, what’s going on?”

“Hey, Elmer, just talking about you,” Willard said. “You still on the outs with Susanne?”

“No, but she thinks we are,” he said, grinning. “She wasn’t at her house a while ago. Seen her?”

“She left here five minutes ago,” Garrett said. “Willard just gave her a snort. You might want to go take advantage.”

“Okay, I’d best be going,” he said, turning towards the door.

“Elmer,” Willard called out.

“Yeah,” he said, turning back.

“You know all this booze probably got hid from somebody like Susanne, right?”

He snickered. “You always think I tell her everything. Good night.”

“She’ll know by morning,” Garrett said, big grin on his face.

“Yeah, you know it’s true,” Willard said.

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 130 – Travel Night

Tex drove the rig, following Jules, the rest of the rigs behind him. Karen was in the passenger seat.

“Jules is getting off here,” Karen said.

“Yeah, North Shingle Road,” Tex said. “We’ll have to go over the freeway to get on it.”

“Wonder how safe this place is gonna be?” Karen asked.

“We’ll see,” Tex said.  “Ivan and Jules say it’s safe. They’re usually right.”

“Except at the communications installation that we hit,” Karen said.

“What happened there?” asked Samantha, walking to the front of the coach.

“Hold on, little lady,” Tex said, “making a turn and it’s sharp.” He took the off ramp, following the curves and getting onto the bridge over Highway 50. Samantha held onto the backs of the two seats.

“There’s your road, honey,” Karen said, pointing.

“Right turn,” Tex said. “Hold on again. Then it should be better for a while.”

Samantha nodded, her blonde hair swaying as she braced herself. Tex made the turn and slowly sped up on North Shingle.

“There we go,” Karen said. “This goes up into the hills, huh?”

“Looks that way,” Tex said.

“What were you talking about again?” Samantha asked. “The communications system?”

“That was an earlier mission,” Karen said. “We went into a remote area to take out an enemy communications center.”

“It went badly?”

“We lost a couple people there due to some tanks we didn’t know about,” Tex said. “It was a tough day.”

“Oh,” Samantha said. “You mostly survived, though, from the look of it.”

“Yeah, we were able to knock out the tanks with TOW missiles,” Tex said. “We were lucky.”

“Ivan didn’t know the tanks were there, did he?” Samantha asked.

“Nope,” Tex said, “but I wouldn’t be too hard on him for that. The tanks had been placed there a couple months before we knew about the target, and they were well hidden. We didn’t have good enough assets on the ground to find them.”

“What about this place we’re going to?” Samantha asked. “Should we be worried.”

“This is war, so we always have to be worried,” Tex said, “but this is a different situation entirely.”

“Different how?”

Karen looked back at Samantha. “We’re going to a rebel base, not an enemy base, for one thing.”

“Oh,” she said. “Okay, but what if the enemy knows about this place?”

“We’ll fight them,” Tex said. “We hurt them badly over the last twenty-four hours, though. They don’t have the resources to find us easily, without a real lucky break.”

“These rigs and all those armed off-roaders are gonna be seen. It’s almost light.”

“Yeah, but we’d have to be seen by people who are siding with the UN and the Islamists, and there aren’t many of those.”

“Wait till our TV show gets on air,” Karen said.

“It was broadcast late last night,” Tex said.

“It was?” Samantha asked.

“Yeah, that’s why Ivan went to a different spot,” Tex said. “We’ve got these creeps on the run.”

Karen picked up her phone and checked the internet. “Wow, it’s viral.”

“Really?” Samantha asked.

“Ivan’s got a pretty big following, plus he always busts onto all channels when he first does these,” Karen said.

Tex watched the dark terrain ahead of the coach. “Gets remote on this road pretty fast.”

“Lots of roads going off on either side, though,” Karen said. “I’ll bet there’s lots of rich people living around here. Lots of compounds.”

“That’s where we’re going, I suspect,” Tex said.

“You haven’t been told exactly where yet?” Samantha asked.

“Loose lips sink ships,” Tex said. “If somebody breaks down or gets captured, we don’t want them to know our next destination.”

“Oh, I get it,” Samantha said.

Tex and Karen’s phones dinged.

“What’s that?” Samantha asked. “Text messages?”

“Probably a broadcast, little lady. Next turn, or even destination.”

Karen read the message. “From Shelly. Shingle Springs road turns into Green Valley at a curve to the right. Keep on it. Then there’s a slight curve to the left, and Green Valley makes a sharp right turn. Don’t take that right turn. Keep going straight. The road turns into Lotus Road. We’ll take Lotus to Lisa Lane, which is to the right.”

“That’s the destination?” Tex asked.

“Sounds like it,” she said, bringing up her map app. “Hmmm. Large compound in front of a massive rock quarry.”

“Interesting,” Tex said. “I don’t think we’ll be there long. Sounds like Ivan wants to hit Folsom while the iron is hot.”

“Yeah,” Karen said.

“When do I find out if I can join up?” Samantha asked.

“That’ll be up to Jules, I suspect,” Tex said.

“Did all the women who were rescued from the Torrance location join?”

Karen looked back at her. “No, but most did. I was surprised.”

“How many didn’t?” Samantha asked.

“Shoot, I’ll have to think about that a little,” Karen said. “Seems like eons ago.”

“We got the under-age girls back to their relatives,” Tex said.

“There were under-age girls at your detention center?” Samantha asked, shooting a shocked look at Karen.

“These people are pigs,” Karen said, “but you already knew that. There weren’t under-aged captives where you were?”

“They just grabbed me about two weeks ago. I was with a group of six women that got nabbed from a shopping center.”

“You were shopping there?” Tex asked.

“No, I was a clerk in the anchor department store. They lined us all up. Took the pretty women. Left the rest. Killed the men working there.”

“I’m surprised they didn’t kill the women they left behind too,” Tex said.

“The men were killed because they tried to protect us,” Samantha said as she fought back tears. “One of them was my boyfriend.”

“I’m so sorry,” Karen said softly.

“You went through worse,” she said. “They killed your parents in front of you.”

“We’ve all been through bad stuff,” Karen said. “Focus on survival and victory. That’s what keeps me going. That and this big lug in the driver’s seat.”

“You’ve been together for a while?”

Karen chuckled. “I played hard to get. Didn’t last long.”

“Oh, it lasted a while,” Tex said.

“You were persistent,” Karen said. “You won me over.’

“Most of the women are paired up,” Samantha said. “That’s kinda weird.”

“Not really, when you think about it,” Karen said.

“The war?” Samantha asked.

“Yeah, that’s part of it,” Karen said. “I wouldn’t have spent enough time with Tex for him to win me over if we weren’t kinda forced together.”

Tex chuckled. “Don’t underestimate me. I would have been after you no matter the situation.”

“Oh, you’re probably right, I guess,” Karen said. “You are my type, but I didn’t recognize it at first. I thought you were nuts when I first met you.”

“I am a little nuts,” Tex said, shooting her a grin.

“Yeah, but in a good way,” Karen said.

“Wonder how many of these wartime romances will last after the war’s over?” Samantha asked.

“Who knows,” Karen said. “I think Tex and I will be together forever, but people usually think that. I’m hopeful. I’m very much in love with him.”

“Likewise, honey,” Tex said.

“Nobody’s broken up since you’ve been a team?” Samantha asked.

“Nope,” Tex said. “Two of the couples just recently got together.”

“Two? I thought it was only Ted and Haley. Everybody else has been together for a while.”

“Sparky and Dana,” Tex said. “Sparky resisted. Dana was clingy, and he wasn’t sure if she was really in love with him or not. They worked through that, about the same time that Ted and Haley got together.”

“I don’t look at it that way exactly,” Karen said, “after talking to Dana a lot. She’s got problems, though.”

“Problems?” Samantha asked.

“PTSD,” Karen said, “night terrors.”

“Oh. Surprised all of you don’t have that.”

“How about you?” Karen asked Samantha. “Having problems?”

“I have no idea,” she said. “Remember that I just got out of captivity. My mind is still focused on survival. My mind keeps telling me I’ll be dragged back there any second.”

“I went through that for a while,” Karen said. “These are strong people, though. I had to get myself out of the victim mindset. It was hard, but I’m mostly past it now.”

“Mostly?” Tex asked. “You’re strong. I’ve been so proud of you.”

“I know, sweetie, but I’ll be sitting here and suddenly I’m being raped by those monsters again. It’s like flashbacks. I come out of them fast, and it’s less and less often. You’re helping a lot with that.”

“I’m glad,” Tex said. “Here’s Green Valley Road.”

“How are the others that were with you?” Karen asked.

“Most are strong like me,” Samantha said. “A few had a really hard time, and I’m worried about them. The smallest of us has me worried the most. Her name is Kendall. She looks underage, but she’s not.”

“What happened to her?”

“She couldn’t control her body,” Samantha said. “She responded, even though she didn’t want to. The animals liked it so they used her more often, which made things even worse for her.”

“Oh, God,” Karen said, tears coming fast. “Lily.”

“Lily?”

“Don’t torture yourself, sweetie,” Tex said.

“What about Lily?” Samantha asked.

“Let’s just drop that one,” Tex said, shooting a worried glance at Karen. She made eye contact with him.

“It’s okay, Tex,” she said. “It’s better if I talk about it, frankly.” She turned to Samantha. “Lily responded like that, and got the same result from the captors. She shot herself as soon as she was alone with access to a gun.”

“Oh, no,” Samantha said. “I’m so sorry. Was she a close friend?”

“No, not really,” Karen said. “None of us knew each other, except for Morgan and Katie. We’re all thick as thieves now, of course.”

“All of us knew each other,” Samantha said. “That made it even worse in some ways.”

“Here comes Lotus road,” Tex said, looking relieved. “We’re almost there.”

“This conversation is bothering you, isn’t it?” Samantha asked.

“I have this huge problem with women being abused,” Tex said. “It makes my blood boil. I wish we were gonna kill some more of that trash tonight.”

Karen and Samantha shot each other a glance.

“You’re lucky to have him,” Samantha whispered. Karen looked her in the eye and shook her head yes.

“There’s our turn,” Tex said, watching Jules make the sharp right turn. “Hold on, little lady.”

Samantha grabbed the backs of the seats again as they turned.

“Wow, this looks like a quarry, doesn’t it?” Karen asked. “Or a mine.”

“Is that a big wall over there?” Samantha asked.

“Looks like an equipment compound,” Tex said. They slowed to a stop behind Jules’s rig as a massive gate slid to one side. “That wall is about fifteen feet tall.”

Jules drove forward slowly, Tex and the other coaches following, along with the first batch of off-roaders.

“Look, there’s spaces towards the back,” Karen said, watching Jules do a K-turn and back into the first one. “There’s a roof over them?”

Tex laughed. “Beautiful. We aren’t visible from the air here.” He followed Jules’s lead and made the K-turn, backing into the space next to Jules.

“Want me to get out and guide you?” Karen asked.

“Nah, little lady. The rear camera will do the job for me.”

“There’s hookups,” Karen said.

“Why would this be here?” Samantha asked.

“Probably to keep that earth-moving equipment over there out of the elements,” Tex said. He shut down the engine and got out of the driver’s seat, stretching his legs and extending a hand to Karen, who took it. He pulled her into an embrace. “I’ve been waiting to do that.”

“We’re here?” asked one of the three women in the back.

“Yes, Traci, we’re here,” Samantha said.

***

“We almost ready to go?” Garrett asked as he stepped through the front door of the house.

“We’re ready for the first trip,” Sam said. “We’ll need one more, but probably only with half as many vehicles.”

“What was the final tally that we lost?” Tyler asked.

Garrett looked at him, trying to hold back tears. “Forty-three.”

“Oh God,” Erica said.

“On the good side, we killed more than three hundred of them,” Garrett said.

“You still thinking about booby trapping this place?” Sam asked.

“Yeah, but not till we’re all safe and sound at Dodge City,” Garrett said. “I’ve got some guys working on the plan. It’ll probably happen at about two am tomorrow.”

“Okay, let’s saddle up,” Sam said in a loud voice.

“I’m sending a broadcast text,” Erica said.

Everybody rushed to their vehicles, which had been parked in a line on the way out the front gate, two of the battle wagons still outside of the gate to guard against problems.

“You riding with us, Garrett?” Sam asked.

“Yeah, with Anna, if you don’t mind.”

“I’d love it,” Erica said.

“It’s not a long trip, at least,” Sam said. “Let’s go.”

They left the house, walking across the veranda and getting into Sam’s rig, which was still parked right in front of the house. They loaded up – Sam, Mia, and Erica, Garrett and Anna, and six more tribe’s people. Sam fired up the engine and pulled away from the house, getting in line behind the other vehicles, more queueing up behind them. The caravan started moving.

“Here, you ride shotgun,” Erica said, looking at Garrett. “I’ll sit with Anna and the others.”

Garrett tipped his hat and got into the passenger seat.

“Sorry you lost so many folks,” Sam said, glancing at him as they moved towards Highway 94.

“The tribe lost five,” Garrett said. “From a percentage standpoint, that’s worse than what we suffered.”

“We need to recruit more people.”

“Yep, been thinking about that,” Garrett said. “There’s a lot of people still living out in the boonies here. Maybe we can bring them in.”

“We don’t even have to make space for them to live with us,” Sam said. “We just have to get them to show up at battles. That’s what the social media team has been doing in Texas. Ji-Ho told me about it earlier.”

“That’s what it’s gonna take,” Garrett said. “You believe what Ji-Ho was saying about the ratio of UN to Islamists heading more in favor of the Islamists?”

Sam thought silently for a moment. “I believe that’s what they were considering, but I think the damage we’ve inflicted, both here and up north, might either slow that down or stop it. I believe we do have them on the run. That’s why it’s so vital to shut down their remaining routes north from the Mexican border. If they can replenish men and equipment like they were doing before, we’ll have a hard time.”

“We’ll still win,” Garrett said. “You know that, right?”

“Why do you think that?”

“There are over forty million people in this state,” Garrett said. “Most of those people are on our side.”

“You think so?”

Garrett smiled. “I was listening to some of the younger guys while we were cleaning the scene. Social media is ablaze with talk of chasing the UN out of the state, and nobody wanted the Islamists here in the first place. The tide will turn, my friend, but we need to limit the game by blocking the enemy down here.”

“You sure most are on our side? I mean, look at the idiots that have held elective office here since the late 1970s.”

“Exposing the globalists as bringing in Islamists to bully the population has taken a lot of that support away,” Garrett said. “Add to that the video that Ivan did, with all of the women testifying about their experiences on the rape farms. Trust me, most people think that’s bad, regardless of if they’re on the right or on the left.”

They got to the Highway and sped up. “Checked the apps lately?” Sam asked.

Garrett lifted his cell phone up to his face. “I’ll do it now.”

They rode along silently for a few minutes, the road on either side becoming denser with structures as they neared Dulzura.

“Nobody close by,” Garrett said. “Still bad in Julian. Wonder where the slugs that hit us came from?”

“Probably Julian,” Sam said. “Wish we had some historical data we could look at.”

“Historical data?”

“Yeah, like enemy troop counts by area and by date,” Sam said.

“Oh,” Garrett said. “That would be a good thing. Maybe we ought to put some of the kids on it. Didn’t Seth have some experience with that sort of thing?”

“Yeah, come to think of it. I’ll talk to him when we get to Dodge City. After that last batch gets there, of course.”

“That will be faster than you think,” Garrett said. “One of my guys had a good idea. Rent trucks, and take them down there. We cleaned out the two rental places we have nearby. We ought to be seeing trucks go by any minute.”

“What about escorts?”

“We’re still using the 75 vehicles we have,” Garrett said. “They’ll drop off their load of souls and high-tail it back there. Look! There’s some of the rental trucks.”

Several large bobtail trucks raced by, honking their horns. Many of the caravan honked back at them.

“How about the cavalry? When will they make it back?”

“They should be getting close as we speak,” Garrett said. “I let them go a little earlier, and they’re riding as the crow flies. Makes some difference.”

“Good,” Sam said.

“Here’s the town,” Garrett said. “Still deadsville.”

“At least it didn’t get overrun like Julian and Descanso.”

“Don’t say that too loud,” Sam said. “Mia gets scared when Descanso is even mentioned.”

“Oh, sorry,” Garrett said. “I’ll keep that in mind. She’s a nice little girl.”

“She is,” Sam said.

“You guys want a soft drink or anything?” Erica asked.

“Not here,” Sam said. “Thanks.”

“We’ll be on the dirt road into Dodge City in less than ten minutes,” Garrett said. “It’ll get a little bouncy to drink soda.”

“Oh, didn’t think about that,” Erica said. “I’ll hold off.”

Garrett watched her walk back into the salon, then turned to Sam. “You two are gonna get hitched pretty soon, right?”

“I’m pushing for it,” Sam said. “Mia is helping my argument.”

“Erica doesn’t want that?”

“She does now, I think,” Sam said. “How about you?”

Garrett chuckled. “I’m pretty fond of Anna. Doubt I’ll be able to talk her into it, though. At least not near term. It’s too early in our relationship.”

Sam chuckled. “Yeah, I’ve known Erica a couple weeks longer than you’ve known Anna.”

Both men cracked up.

“What a crazy world we’re living in,” Garrett said. He lifted his phone back up and checked the apps.

“You see something?” Sam asked, watching Garrett’s expression change.

“Some hits coming south from Julian,” Garrett said.

“A lot of hits?”

“Thirty or so,” Garrett said. “Well spaced out. On Highway 79.”

“We’ll have to watch them,” Sam said. “Dammit. Hope we get time to prepare before we’re in the thick of it again.”

“They’re a long way away.”

“I know, Garrett, but we can’t see the UN guys.”

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 129 – Deadly Battle

Sam followed the caravan, heading back to the Williams place. They could hear gunfire as they made the left onto Dutchman Canyon Road.

“This is bad,” Erica said. “Hear all that?”

“Yeah,” Sam said. “The driveway’s blocked. Broken Gaz Tigrs. We’ll have to push them out of the way.”

“Somebody better stay here to blast any more that come down the road,” Clem said.

“I’m texting Angel,” Yvonne said. “They’re the last. They should pull up next to the driveway and go into siege mode.”

“Do that,” Sam said as he made the final turn into the driveway, watching Seth’s rig raise the front armor plate and move forward.

“He’s gonna do what we did at the winery,” Erica said, watching as the massive rig pushed the first Gaz Tigr out of the way. Sam squeezed their rig past and pushed the second one out of the way, then opened fire right away.

“Geez, look at all those UN Peacekeepers,” Sam said.

“Son of a bitch, we got here just in time,” Garrett said, texting to the 75 cars full of cowboys, who had gone around the gate and were rolling in from both sides of the property.

“Move up, dammit,” Sam said as he pulled forward. He heard a mini gun go off behind them, turning his sight to see Angel’s coach firing at a Gaz Tigr on Highway 94. Another was behind it. Sam swung his guns around and fired with Angel, both Tigrs exploding into flames. “Dammit, maybe we’d better stay here.”

“Our little girl is in there,” she said. “Get this beast in, then I’m going into the house.”

“Okay,” Sam said, driving forward through the gate, going past Seth and Trevor’s rigs as they fired at the fleeing UN Peacekeepers. Cowboys rushed in on foot and fired at them too.

“Make a sweeping turn and pull into the veranda,” Erica shouted. “I want the door facing the house.”

“Way ahead of you, sweetie,” Sam said calmly, turning the vehicle and parking, blocking the veranda, then going into siege mode. Garrett opened the slit on the driver’s side and stuck an M60 through, mowing down a group of UN Peacekeepers who were hiding behind some cover firing at the cowboys.

“Nice shooting,” Clem said, getting next to him. Sid and Yvonne had their guns out and headed towards the door.

“You sure you want to be doing that?” Sam asked.

“Let them go,” Garrett said. “Our women and children are in there. We need some M60s in the house.”

“Okay, but somebody stay here to reload and man the slits,” Sam said.

“I’ll stay,” Clem said. “I’m too slow to run around anyway.”

“I’ll stay here too,” Sid said, glancing at Yvonne.

“Okay, honey, I’m going with Erica,” she said.

“I’m going too,” Garett said. “Mind if I take this M60?”

“Go,” Sam said. “We’ve got plenty, plus the BAR is in the back too.”

Garrett nodded and followed the others out, rushing over the veranda, pockmarked with bullet holes, bursting through the door. Anna was at the stairs up from the basement with her Winchester, relieved when she saw Garrett and Erica rushing there.

“Where’s Mia?” Erica asked as the gunfire surged.

“In the basement with the other women and children,” she said. “Glad you guys made it. We were on our way to losing.”

“Yeah, well it ain’t over yet,” Garrett shouted, tipping his hat to Anna and then rushing to a window on the front corner of the house. He opened the window and fired at a group of Islamists trying to sneak towards the house, killing most of them and alerting some of the cavalry, who rushed over and killed the rest before they could retreat.

“Somebody get in the back of the house,” Garrett shouted. “We’re liable to be attacked from there.”

“About twenty of the cars your guys came in are back there now,” Anna shouted.

Back in the rig, Sam was wailing away with the grenade launcher at yet another group of Islamists and UN Peacekeepers, who were rushing towards Seth’s rig. Then a group of the cowboys got on the cannons, turning them, loading in a panic as Sid and Clem opened up with M60s. The ear-shattering boom of the cannons went off, one after the other, shattering three Gaz Tigrs which had tried to come in from the west side of the property.

Sam laughed. “The trees were too dense for them to get out of there, and they couldn’t get turned around quick enough.”

“Damn straight, baby,” Clem shouted. “There’s two more behind them, but they’re going towards the driveway, see?”

“The cannon team sees them too,” Sid said, watching them load new cannon balls and ram them in. They fired, hitting both Tigrs, one of them rolling over, the other stopping, men trying to get out. Clem and Sid saw them and opened fire along with several of the cowboys.

“They had a whole lot more fighters than I expected,” Sam said, looking from one point to another, firing short blips with the mini gun and firing grenades. “Hope this is all.”

“They have to get past those two battle wagons in the driveway,” Clem said. “Look, the cannons are being moved again, in the other direction!”

“Dammit,” Sam shouted as a volley of machine gun fire killed several of the cannon crew. He spun the mini gun around and opened fire, hitting fleeing Islamists as more cowboys rushed up to take over at the cannons, loading and firing again, spewing fire and smoke.

“This stuff is burning my eyes,” Clem shouted, turning to smile at Sam.

“It’s slowing down,” Sid said. “Finally.”

The cavalry showed themselves again, riding from place to place, swords out, slashing survivors as the gunfire ended.

Garrett was on the veranda now, looking around. Anna ran out and hugged him, and they went back into the house.

“I think it’s over,” Sam said, looking at his phone. “I don’t see anybody else coming. At least no Islamists.”

“That was a hell of a battle,” Sid said. “Look at all the bodies. My God.”

“Clean up on aisle nine,” Clem said.

“Somebody man the main sight, while I go inside,” Sam said. “I want to make sure Erica and Mia are okay.”

“I’ll take the sight,” Sid said. “Getting pretty good with these things.”

“Better reload the mini gun,” Sam said as he left, stepping out of the coach. He rushed to the open door, covered with bullet holes. “Erica!”

“Down here,” he heard Erica shout back, muffled from the basement. He sprinted to the stairs, nodding to Anna and Garrett as they were embraced in the kitchen.

“Daddy!” Mia shouted, rushing from Erica’s arms to his.

***

Ed sighed, leaning back in the passenger seat, pushing the main sight away. Ryan backed away from the side windows, pulling his M60 out of the gun slit and leaning it against the wall.

“Should we go out?” Ryan asked.

“Let’s load up the guns again first,” Ed said, getting out of his seat. They got to the task, Ryan doing the mini gun, Ed the M19.

“We almost got overrun, didn’t we?” Ryan asked as he walked back into the salon.

Ed closed and latched the M19 compartment, then looked at him. “We did. This place has too many entrance points. We’ve either got to fortify it more or get the hell out of here.”

“Ji-Ho is getting out,” Ryan said, looking out the window. Shall we?”

“Might as well,” he said. “Take a weapon.”

“You think they’ll be back?”

“No, but I didn’t think they’d throw more at us than we can handle, either,” he said.

Ryan shrugged and grabbed one of the M-16s, handing it to Ed, then picking up one for himself. “I don’t want to haul an M60 around. Arm’s still bothering me.”

“This will be okay,” Ed said. They left the coach and walked over to Ji-Ho, who was about to climb the veranda steps with Sarah. He turned towards them.

“We lucky,” Ji-Ho said, lines in his face making him look tired and old.

“I believe the same,” Ed said. “We need to discuss.”

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said.

“I’m gonna go find Yvonne,” Sarah said, moving quickly up the stairs.

“Sarah,” Ji-Ho said. She stopped and looked back at him. “You were good.”

She smiled. “Yeah, I was, wasn’t I? You weren’t half bad yourself.”

Ji-Ho chuckled. “Yes, for old guy.”

“Sam out of his coach?” Ed asked, looking at it parked next to the veranda steps. The door opened, Sid poking his head out.

“Okay to come out now, I take it.” He came down the steps.

“I’ll stick around and man the guns, just in case,” Clem said from inside.

“Okay,” Sid said. “I’m gonna find Yvonne.”

The men walked up the steps, just as Sam was coming out the front door.

“Oh, good, there you are,” Ed said. “We need to chat.”

“Yes, we do,” Sam said. “That was bad. We barely won.”

“Yes, we barely win, but we do win,” Ji-Ho said. “Don’t get discouraged, but we must learn and adjust.”

Garrett came out of the kitchen with Anna. “Gentlemen, you all made it unharmed.” His expression was grim.

“Lost a fair number of your men,” Ed said.

“I know,” Garrett said. “We need to chat. We can’t afford another day like today.’

“No, we can’t,” Sam said. “Living room?”

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. They walked into the large room to the left of the door and found seats on the couches.

“How many warriors did we lose?” Ryan asked, “and where’s Tyler?”

“I’m here,” Tyler said as he approached from the door. “I was in the coach with Seth and Kaitlyn.”

“They still in there?” Sam asked.

“Yeah,” Tyler said. “Angel and Megan are still in their’s, and Trevor and Kaylee too.”

“Good,” Sam said. “They know to stay and keep watch for a while?”

“Yes, we chatted before I left,” Tyler said. “That was a cluster..”

“Stop!” Erica said as she brought Mia over.

“Sorry,” Tyler said.

“What we’re gonna discuss might scare Mia,” Anna said.

“No!” Mia said quickly. “I want to stay with daddy.”

“We can handle it in a good way, if everybody’s careful,” Erica said. “If it gets bad, I’ll take her elsewhere.”

“Okay, back too it,” Ryan said. “Do we know how many warriors we lost?”

“Your people?” Garrett asked.

Ryan smiled. “No, all groups. I consider all of us warriors.”

“I’ll drink to that,” Sam said.

Garrett pulled out his phone and sent a text. “I just asked my men to start working that. They’ve got to pick up the battlefield anyway.”

“Are we sure that Dodge City is okay?” Ed asked.

Garrett hit send on the text and then looked up at him. “It’s easier to defend, and I’ve got mounted patrols going 24/7. They’re okay so far. I’ve been in contact almost constantly. Even considered bringing some more cavalry over here. Would’ve if the tide didn’t turn.”

“Okay, let’s cut to the chase,” Sam said. “The way I see it, we have three choices. Fortify this place, move everybody to Dodge City, or leave the city and fight from the road.”

“We have too many young and old to fight from the road,” Ryan said.

“Our people did that for centuries,” Ed said, “but war was different then.”

“Frankly, there’s too many young and old at Dodge City to do that, too, and supply lines to feed everybody would be a problem. We have livestock and even some farming at Dodge City.”

“Sounds like fighting from the road can be eliminated,” Ryan said. Several others nodded in agreement, but Sam held up his hands.

“Nothing gets eliminated yet,” he said. “I had a similar choice when we were still in the RV park. Had I chosen to stay and fortify, we’d be dead now.”

“That was smaller and harder to defend,” Sid said.

“That’s true,” Sam said. “How did the enemy force get into Dodge City last night?”

“Four-wheel drive vehicles and on foot,” Garrett said, “best that we could tell, anyway. They did it slowly. Probably were hanging out there when we were at the winery.”

“That was diversion only,” Ji-Ho said.

“Yes, I tend to agree with that,” Garrett said.

“Why?” Sam asked.

“We only found thirty dead UN Peacekeepers,” Garrett said.

“Think some might have escaped after they were losing the battle?” Sid asked.

“No,” Garrett said. “They would’ve left tracks. We’ve been all over it today. We got them all.”

“So, the plan was always to hit us here?” Ryan asked.

“As a first step, yes,” Tyler said. “They’ve scoped out both. I’m sure they thought this was a target they could take out.”

“Yes, weakening us in the process,” Erica said. “Then they would’ve hit us in Dodge City again with larger numbers.”

“They still might,” Sam said. “We don’t know how many UN Peacekeepers there are around here.”

“We don’t know that, but we know something else,” Ed said.

“What’s that?” Sam asked.

“We know that we’re a huge priority for them.”

“Revenge?” Ryan asked.

“No,” Ji-Ho said. “They need routes back. I-8, mostly. We can stop that, and they know. Not personal.”

“Oh, there may be some personal,” Sam said. “I know Saladin and I’ve read a lot about Daan Mertins. We’re on their last nerve. Trust me.”

“Yeah, I think you’re right about that,” Sid said.

“Me too,” Ed said. “Is there a way to fortify this location?”

“No,” Tyler said.

“Why not?” Sid asked.

“It’s not miles away from the highway like Dodge City. It’s a couple hundred yards. They could line up mortars on Highway 94 and destroy this place before we could stop them.”

“What about the battle wagons?” Ryan asked.

“If they fire mortars from road, we can stop. If they go out into desert floor a few hundred yards, they can still hit, and we can’t follow with these massive rigs.”

“The grenade launchers and the mini guns have some range,” Ryan said.

“We’ll run out of ammo,” Sam said. “Before we can get re-stocked. Hell, there’s only two belts of .50 cal left in my rig, and I didn’t use my mini gun as much as some of the others.”

“Sounds to me like our choice is obvious,” Garrett said.

Everybody sat silently for a few moments. Erica was watching Sam, his brow furrowed, hand rubbing his chin. “Spit it out, honey.”

He looked up at her and sighed, pausing to caress Mia’s hair for a moment. “All it’s gonna take is some artillery or a few tanks and we’ll be at a large disadvantage.”

“That’s why you don’t want to give up being on the road as an option?” Erica asked.

“Yeah,” Sam said, “and I didn’t mean that we stay on the road – what I meant is that we move around from one place to another instead of settling down and digging in. I’ll go with what the group decides, but I think we should be ready to skedaddle in a hurry regardless of where our base is or how well we think it’s fortified.”

“Are there back ways out of Dodge City?” Ed asked. “Realistic routes that we could all escape on?”

Garrett thought about it for a moment. “Yes, there are, in several directions, but they all lead into very many miles of wilderness. Tough wilderness, with no water for long stretches.”

“So maybe we use what we’ve learned over the years,” Tyler said. “Prepare ahead of time. Stash water, food, and even ammo at various points.”

“Clem can do a lot with sensors and cameras, too,” Sid said.

“Yeah, he’s right about that,” Sam said. “We’ve got quite a few claymore mines left over from a couple previous battles. They could help us on the roads into Dodge City.”

Garrett laughed. “Well, if you want to make booby traps, we’ve got a lot of dynamite too, and we can manufacture a lot more. We could make that place a terror to enter, that’s for sure.”

“As long as we don’t blow ourselves up in the process of protecting ourselves,” Sid said.

“Is there anyone who thinks we should stay here and fortify?” Erica asked.

Nobody raised their hands.

“Are we really ready to make the decision so fast?” Anna asked.

“It’s going to be dark in a few hours,” Erica said. “Do we want to spend the night here?”

“She have point,” Ji-Ho said. “The longer we sit around and chat, the more time enemy has to take advantage.”

“Could we even get everybody over there tonight?” Erica asked. “Do we have enough vehicles?”

“It’ll take more than one trip,” Ed said. “Probably as many as three, and that’s with loading the battle wagons to the gills.”

“Remember we’re down one of those, too,” Sid said. “Lost one at the winery, remember?”

Garrett smiled. “No, towed it to Dodge City. We’ll have a new transaxle in a couple of days. The rest of it is fine.”

“Nice,” Sid said, smiling.

“We also get resupply, just so you know,” Ji-Ho said. “I already send request to Ivan.”

“He’s got more stuff?” Erica asked.

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “Including new toys used up north. See.” He held up his phone, showing a picture of an off-roader with a turret on top.

Sam burst out laughing. “That’s a grenade launcher, same model as we’re using on the battle wagons.”

“Yes, but look at gimbal and sight mechanism.”

“Where does he get this stuff?” Sam asked.

“Team in Texas developed off-roaders,” Ji-Ho said. “Your old friend gave him the idea for the battle wagons.”

“My old friend?”

“George Franklin,” Ji-Ho said. “Remember Red Dagger’s family?”

Sam chuckled. “I’m almost afraid to hear about this.”

“Careful, Mia’s right here,” Erica said.

“Not graphic tale,” Ji-Ho said. “Red family developed vehicle, teamed briefly with George and Malcom, take out Sailor Boy with help of prototype.”

“Who’s Red Dagger?” Tyler asked.

“Later,” Sam said.

“Okay, let’s start working logistics on the move,” Garrett said.

“What about the bodies?” Anna whispered to him.

“Our fallen go with us. The rest can rot here, as far as I’m concerned.”

“Lots of them have chips,” Sid said. “That’ll be a draw. Maybe we ought to booby trap the joint on the way out.”

Garrett chuckled, then pulled out his phone and sent a text.

“What’d you do?” Sid asked.

“We’ll have about a hundred pounds of TNT here by nightfall.”

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

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…

 

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 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…

 

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 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…

 

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Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!

 

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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…

 

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 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…

 

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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…

 

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 120 – Meeting at Minus 4

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

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

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

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

“Not road-worthy?” Tex asked.

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

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

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

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

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

“Okay,” Allison said.

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

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

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

“Where’s Robbie?”

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

“Were they all old friends?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yeah, before the battle started.”

They heard diesels starting up.

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

“Want to go find them?” Allison asked.

“Okay…wait, here they come.”

“Good,” Allison said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You want Cody to drive?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Hope not,” Allison said.

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

“Let’s get out of here,” he said.

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

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

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

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

“Tell me about it,” Allison said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yeah,” Robbie said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

Daan’s guards looked back at him silently.

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

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

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

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

“Nice rabbit hole,” Saladin said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Those aren’t secure,” Saladin said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh, really? How?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That’s not possible,” Saladin said.

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

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

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

“We killed Walker, remember?” Saladin asked.

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

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

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

“What?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Okay, what are they?”

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

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

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

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

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

“What’s that?” Saladin asked.

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

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

“That would be my suggestion,” Daan said.

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

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

“Go ahead.”

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

“From whom? Is this just another rumor?”

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

“Well, are you going to tell me?”

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

Saladin froze. “What?”

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

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

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

“What crazy friend?”

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

“No,” Saladin said.

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

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

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

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

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

“Glad you like it,” Daan said.

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

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

“How are you so sure?” Saladin asked.

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

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

“Yes,” Daan said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What is it, Stephan?” Daan asked.

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

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

To be continued…

 

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

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 119 – Black Smoke

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

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

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

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

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

“How’s that shoulder?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Shit, they followed me,” Ryan shouted.

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

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

One of Garrett’s men chuckled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hey, that’s our Jeep!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Me too,” Brianna said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Getting close,” Stacey said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How many people are here?” Haley asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haley snickered.

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

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

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

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

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

“You don’t think they heard the rig?”

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

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

“There they are,” Haley said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You’re worried,” she said softly.

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

“What could they have?” Haley asked.

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

Another text message came through.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Get down,” Jules said.

After a few seconds Sparky and Ted came back.

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

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

“No,” Haley said. “No no no.”

“What happened with other coach?” Jules asked.

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

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

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

“What right?” Jules asked.

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

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

“I fine,” Jules said.

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

The others nodded.

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes, we leave. Cody rig drivable?”

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

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

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

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

 

To be continued…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!

 

Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!

 

Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!

 

Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store

 

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

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 118 – Mechanic

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

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

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

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

Posse on the way. Stay put.

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

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

Ryan typed Yes and went back to work.

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

“What? How?”

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

“He texted you about this?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was a knock on the door.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How?” Garrett asked.

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

“Okay,” Garrett said.

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

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

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

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

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

“Thanks,” Ed said. “Good luck.”

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

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

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

“Those two will marry,” Ed said quietly.

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

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

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

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

***

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

“Where do we turn?” Sparky asked.

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

“This fun,” Jules said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The Gaz Tigrs see us,” Dana said.

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

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

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

Jules laughed. “Look! They run.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“This is scary as hell,” Dana said.

“It be okay,” Jules said.

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

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

“You see? I say, no?” Jules said.

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

“Stop! Tack strips,” Dana shouted.

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

“Me too,” Sparky said.

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

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

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

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

“Jules, let’s go now!” Shelly cried.

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

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

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

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

She nodded, looking scared but happy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What’s the target?” Shelly asked.

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

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

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

To be continued…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!

 

Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!

 

Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!

 

Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store

 

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

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 117 – Foster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Starting to get hot,” Bradley said.

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

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

“I’ll help,” Ryan said.

They worked for a couple minutes.

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

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

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

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

“Hold it,” Bradley said.

Zac shut down the engine and joined the others.

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

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

The three men struggled to get the hovercraft propped up.

“That’s stable enough,” Zac said.

“You guys need me here?” Ryan asked.

“No, not really,” Zac said. “Why?”

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

“Good idea,” Bradley said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Dammit,” Zac said under his breath.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

“Good morning,” she said sleepily.

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

“Me?”

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

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

“Do you really care?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Disappointed?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Good, me too,” Garrett said.

“Somebody already going after Ryan?”

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

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

“Yeah, boss?”

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

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

“They have any luck?”

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

“Something wrong?” she asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We done?” Sam asked.

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

“Sam!” Mia said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No,” Sam said. “Not a chance.”

“So, we can call it settled?”

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

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

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

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

“What about the battles?”

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

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

“Yes,” Erica said.

“I’m hungry,” Mia said.

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

“Yes,” Mia said.

“Say please.”

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

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

“Please?” she asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Okay,” she said.

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

***

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

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

“Not all bunched up, I hope.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why?”

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

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

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

“Sometimes you do,” Robbie said.

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

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

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

“She did,” Robbie said.

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

“She told you that?”

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

“Who told you that?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Then what?”

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

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

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

Both of their phones dinged.

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

“Okay,” Robbie said.

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

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

To be continued…

 

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

 

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

 

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!

 

Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!

 

Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!

 

Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store

 

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

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 116 – Red Resistance

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

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

“What’s going on?” Haley asked.

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh, crap,” Brianna said.

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

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

“Who else is coming?” Brianna asked.

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

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

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

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

“Well?” Brianna asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Who are you?” Kerry asked.

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

“It takes .223,” Kerry said.

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

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

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

“He a friendly?” Ted asked.

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

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

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

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

“What girls?” Kerry asked.

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

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

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

“There were more coming?” Kerry asked.

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

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

“Want company?” Kerry asked.

“Are you military?” Ted asked.

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

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

“Crap, look out,” Kerry yelled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yeah,” the man said. “I’m Red.”

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

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

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

Sparky and Jules rushed in the door.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We’re gonna win,” Kerry said.

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

His men gathered around him.

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What now?” Sparky asked.

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

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

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

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

“Okay, texts away,” Jules said.

“How about Ted and Stacey?” Shelly asked.

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

“There’s the on-ramp,” Shelly said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hope helps,” Jules said.

“How was the resistance there?”

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

“You told them you were with my organization?”

“Yes,” Jules said.

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

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

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

“What about the other rescues?” Jules asked.

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

“The women?”

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

“Okay, Ivan. Anything else?”

“Yes,” he said. “Good work.”

To be continued…

 

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

 

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

 

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!

 

Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!

 

Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!

 

Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store

 

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

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 115 – Country Club

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

“Gotta love Ivan,” Tex said.

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

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

“Uh oh,” Karen said.

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

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

“Yep,” Tex said. “Nervous?”

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

“And then what?”

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

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

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

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

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

“I could eat,” Tex said, getting up.

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

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

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

“Crap,” Tex said.

“What?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why the RV Park here?”

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

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

“What? There are fairs in Southern California?”

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

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

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

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

“Of course,” Karen said. “Let’s go.”

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

She snickered. “Will this rig be safe?”

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

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

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

“You folks taking off?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“She’s nice,” Karen said.

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

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

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

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

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

“Stop it, that scares me.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Neither do I,” the young man whispered.

“Do anything about it?” Tex asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Tex…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Here it comes,” Tex whispered.

“Here what comes?” Karen asked.

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

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

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

The young man behind the counter looked nervous as hell.

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

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

Tex chuckled. “Is the food any good?”

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

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

“You don’t have to…”

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

“The enemy?” the cook asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The cook didn’t believe it.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I think he had no choice,” Tex said.

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

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

“Bad neighborhood?”

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

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

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

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

“Sorry, sweetie,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Dammit,” Tex said.

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

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

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

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

“On it,” she said, keeping one eye on the target reticle, pointed towards the rear.

“Here they come,” Tex said, nodding up ahead. “Four UN Vans, coming this way. He flipped the switches for the minigun and grenade launcher.

“You sure that’s a good idea?” Karen asked.

“We have any choice?” Tex asked. He fired the minigun, splattering the first two vans. The two behind them tried to turn around, but he hit both with grenades, blowing them up as he raced by.

“Get on 680 north,” Karen said. “We’re joining Jules up in Dublin. It’s right ahead.”

They headed for the on-ramp as the sound of sirens approached from both sides, making it up on the freeway before they were in sight.

“Stay on that weapons console, little lady,” Tex said as they got up to speed.

***

Ted and Stacey sat in the salon, watching the news reports, which were covering the Mertins Plant attack and Ivan’s TV show. The reports were being heavily censored, with whole phrases being beeped out and pictures covered over. Ted got up and went to the window, peering out.

“You worried, boss?” Stacey asked. “We can go get the girls if you are.”

“I’m worried, but let’s give them a little while longer. This compound is pretty well guarded.”

“The Diablo Country Club,” Stacey said. “Now I get to see how the other half lived.”

“Hell, a lot of the other half still lives this way. They’re colluding with the enemy to do it, and it will be the death of them.”

“So how are we allowed to be here, and why is it empty?”

Ted chuckled. “This was shut down by the local authorities. They have to make it look like the rich and powerful have nothing better than the rest of the population. The joke is that they’re probably someplace better as we speak.”

“Some of them might be dead,” Stacey said.

“Don’t bet on it,” Ted said. “We’re still getting all of the basics of American life. You know…food deliveries to markets, water, gas. That sort of thing. You can’t keep that kind of stuff flowing without private enterprise. The Chinese finally figured that out. That’s why they dumped communism.”

“They still call themselves communist, though, don’t they?”

“Yeah, but what they really are is a form of totalitarian capitalism,” Ted said, turning to look out the window again. “Good, here they come.”

“Two blondes,” Stacey said. “Look how much their hair shows up even in this light.”

The door opened, Haley and Brianna coming inside, both carrying food bags.

“We were lucky,” Brianna said. “They were almost out of food, and deliveries to this place are no longer a priority, according to the chef. He’s trying to decide if he should split or hunker down here.”

“He said the UN has been here doing inspections a couple of times,” Haley said as she put her bag of food on the counter.

“Wonder why they keep it open?” Stacey asked. “Why not just padlock the place, or open it to the public?”

“The chef said they were holding this place in reserve,” Brianna said, “for when the area is completely stable. Foreign dignitaries will stay here, since it’s so easy to secure.”

“How does the chef feel about that?” asked Ted.

“That’s why he’s considering whether to stay or go,” Haley said.

“Maybe we should recruit him,” Stacey said.

“This guy is about fifty and weighs about four-hundred pounds,” Brianna said. “I don’t think that’s happening.” She helped Haley put the food onto four plates and set them on the dinette table. “Anything interesting on the news?”

“Propaganda, but the video tells a decent story,” Ted said. “When they think they can get away with it, they’ll black these kinds of stories out completely.” His phone dinged. “Dammit.”

“What?” Haley asked.

“Tex and Karen had to shoot their way out of the location they were in,” he said.

“No,” Brianna said. “Are we safe here? Maybe they’ve kept track of where all of these RVs went.”

“We won’t be safe until this damn war is over,” Ted said.

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” Haley said. “This smells great.”

“It does,” Stacey said, sliding onto the rear bench in front of a plate. Brianna slid in next to him. Ted and Haley took the other side.

“Too bad there’s no wine,” Haley said.

“I wouldn’t drink anything anyway,” Ted said. “If they found Tex, they might find others.”

“Good point,” Haley said. “This is tasty. We still having a meeting soon?”

“Yeah,” Ted said, “although the mess Tex and Karen ran into might throw a monkey wrench, since they’re going up to where Jules is.”

They ate silently until the food was gone. Then Ted got up and looked out the window again.

“Anybody?”

“Nope, quiet as a church,” Ted said. “I don’t like being behind these big walls like this, though.”

“Why not?” Brianna asked. “Doesn’t that make us safer?”

“We could be surrounded by UN Vans and have no idea,” Ted said.

“Should we go out and look?” Stacey asked.

“Yeah,” Ted said. “Quietly. Hand guns only.”

“I’m game,” Brianna said.

“No, you and Haley stay here,” Ted said. “We might need you two on the battle stations.”

“Crap, you think there’s somebody out there, don’t you?” Haley asked, fear in her eyes.

“Oh, probably not,” Ted said, “but I’m too antsy not to take a look.”

“It’s pretty dark out there now, so watch your step,” Brianna said. “Most of the lights are off.”

“Let’s get it over with,” Stacey said. The two men grabbed their pistols and slipped out, walking into the lush greenery of the area, between the massive clubhouse and one end of the golf course.

“It’s quiet, at least,” Ted said. They rushed towards the nearest wall.

“Do we have to climb up?” Stacey asked.

“Not right here,” Ted said. “See that gate over there?”

“Oh,” Stacey said, looking at the tall double-wide gate, covered with olive drab canvas. “Look. They’re still mowing the grass. See the fresh clippings?”

“That might mean there’s some VIPs coming,” Ted whispered. “No talking now. Watch the ground. Don’t step on anything that will make noise.”

They inched forward, to the crack between the fence and the left side of the gate, both peering out.

Ted gave a thumb up, then they hurried away.

“Well, that side is clear at least,” Stacey whispered. “Nobody around.”

“That would’ve been the best place to attack from, too,” Ted said.

They were almost back to the coach when they heard explosions.

“Dammit, what the hell was that?” Stacey asked. “Didn’t sound that far away.”

Another explosion went off, a little closer.

Ted’s phone dinged. They rushed to the door of the rig.

“You aren’t going to check the message?” Stacey asked.

“When we’re inside.” Ted opened the door and held it for Stacey, then followed him and shut it. “Set up siege mode.”

Haley and Brianna froze, looking around in a panic.

To be continued…

 

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The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 114 – Starvation

Garrett ran out to the body in a crouch, startled when it rolled towards him.

“Hey, boss,” the ranch hand said. “Can’t get up.” He was an old man, looking too frail for his dress.

“What happened, Tommy?” He rushed over and helped him sit up.

“Some cretins showed up to steal cattle,” he said. “Cracked me over the head with a rifle butt.”

“Dammit,” Garrett said. “Think you can walk?”

“With help,” he said.

“How long ago did this happen?”

“Few hours,” Tommy said. “The other hands went on that hunting party.”

“They should’ve left somebody here with you,” Garrett said, shaking his head.

“They did. Casey’s around here someplace. We’d better find him. He might be hurt.”

“Did you see who it was? It wasn’t Islamists, was it?”

“Nope,” Tommy said. “Hungry Mexicans. I heard them talking. We would’ve gotten buzzed by the app if it was the enemy. I have one of the phones.”

Anna came out of the truck and rushed over. “So glad he’s not dead.”

“Anna, this is Tommy.”

“Pretty lady,” Tommy said. “Nice to meet you.”

“Likewise. You’ve got a pretty good bump on your noggin. Maybe I’d better look at it. I’m a nurse.”

“He might have a concussion,” Garrett said.

“He might,” Anna said. “It wasn’t the bad guys, was it?”

“Mexicans,” Garrett said. “Heard they’re starving down there. They came to steal cattle. Hell, I’d give them some if they’d ask.”

“You’re nicer than I am,” Tommy said. “We’d better find Casey.”

“Casey?” Anna asked.

“The other ranch hand that was here,” Garrett said. “Most went on that hunt.”

“Oh,” Anna said.

“Let’s get to the truck­­,” Garrett said, helping Tommy to his feet. He wobbled a little, but got steadier as they went.

“Where was Casey last time you saw him?” Anna asked.

“In the barn,” Tommy said. Garrett and Anna helped him into the cab of the truck, then drove down the long driveway, past the two-story house with a wrap-around porch.

“That house is beautiful,” Anna said.

“Thanks,” Garrett said. “There’s the barn.” It was an old-fashioned wood barn, painted red, a yard around it sectioned off, goats and chickens wandering in their areas. Garrett parked the truck and they all got out.

“Casey!” Garrett yelled.

“I hope he’s not hurt bad,” Tommy said. They walked into the barn. “There he is!”

There was a younger man tied up, leaning against the wall on some hay. His mouth was covered with duct tape, his wrists and ankles tied together. His eyes showed relief, peeking out under his longish blonde hair.

“This is gonna hurt a little,” Garrett said, ripping the duct tape off his mouth.

“Garrett,” Casey said. “Sorry I let them get the drop on me. Where you been, Tommy?”

“They brained me out in the front pasture,” Tommy said. “You hurt?”

“Nah, they just held a gun on me,” he said as Garrett and Anna untied him. “Damn Mexicans.”

“What’d they take?” Garrett asked.

“I couldn’t see everything they did. I could hear the chickens going nuts, so I’m sure they took some of those. They took one of the milk cows too, and I heard them talking about taking some cattle. They didn’t know I speak Spanish.”

“I’m just glad it wasn’t Islamists,” Anna said.

“I was a little nervous, since Tommy had the phone,” Casey said. “You okay, old man? That’s a pretty good knot on your head.”

“I’ll be okay,” he said. “I just feel like an idiot.”

“You gonna go after them, boss?” Casey asked.

“This time, no,” Garrett said. “I’ll send a warning. I know some folks.”

“Luis?” Tommy asked. “You don’t think he did this?”

“No, but he might know who it was,” Garrett said.

“This happen often?” Anna asked.

“Nah,” Garrett said. “The Mexican Government has fallen apart. We had a similar incident a month ago.”

“Yeah, you old softy,” Casey said.

“Softy?” Anna asked.

“After he caught them, he gave them a couple of animals and sent them on their way. This is the thanks he gets.”

“Don’t be so sure it was the same folks,” Garrett said. “I told them I’d help them if their families got into trouble. This war is hurting them even worse than it’s hurting us.”

“We’re getting kinda low on food ourselves,” Casey said. “That’s why the others went hunting.”

“I know,” Garrett said. “Don’t worry about it. We’ll be fine.”

“We should put some ice on Tommy’s head,” Anna said.

“I can do that back at the bunk house,” he said. “I’ll be fine. Really.”

“I’ll watch him,” Casey said.

“Okay, but don’t take this lightly,” Anna said. “You got knocked out. That’s not good. I’d try to stay awake for a while.”

Tommy nodded. They got into the truck, Casey climbing into the bed, and Garrett drove them to the bunkhouse, about a hundred yards behind the barn. A dog rushed out to meet them as Garrett parked. It was a large German Shepard.

“A lot of help you were,” Casey said as he jumped out of the truck bed.

“Yeah, he’s no guard dog,” Tommy said. Anna got out of the truck, letting the big dog sniff her, then petting him on the head. Tommy got out, and the dog rushed to him, nuzzling his side. “Hey, Blackjack.”

“He’s probably hungry,” Casey said. “Don’t worry, boss, I’ll take it from here.”

Garrett nodded, and headed back to the cab with Anna.

“If he passes out or starts acting funny, call,” she said. “I mean it. Even if he doesn’t want you to.”

“Damn, you know him already, don’t ya?” Casey asked, a sly grin on his face. “Don’t worry, I’m a good babysitter.”

Tommy shot him a sidelong glance. “Keep talking, junior.”

Garrett chuckled and helped Anna into the truck. “See you guys later.”

He drove them to the big house and parked outside.

“You keep surprising me,” Anna said, “and always in a good way.”

He smiled as he helped her out of the cab. “These are tough times. I’ve done business with our friends south of the border over the years. They’re good people, who are badly served by their government and their society. They’ve always dealt fairly with me.”

“Except when they steal from you,” Anna said. They climbed the steps onto the veranda. “This is a nice place to have a few drinks.”

“It is, he said, unlocking the front door. “If these folks were really criminals, they would’ve broken into the house. I’ve got all kinds of valuable stuff in here.” He held the door open for Anna and she walked in, looking around at the front parlor.

“Very nice,” she said, turning to him. She got on her tiptoes and put her arms around his neck, pulling him in for a kiss. They kept it going for more than a minute. “I was so anxious to do that.”

“Me too,” Garrett said, looking at her face, his hands on her matronly waist. “I’ll give you the tour.”

They walked through the ground floor of the house, checking out the kitchen, his office, and a couple of guest bedrooms.

“Very nice,” Anna said. “I expected this to be a lot more rustic. It’s quite elegant.”

“Thanks,” Garrett said. “I hired somebody to set this up.”

“What’s upstairs?”

“We’ll go check it out,” he said, leading her up the stairs. There were two more small bedrooms, one of them being used as a hobby room, the other as another guest room.

“That the master?” Anna asked, looking at the double doors.

“Yep,” Garrett said, pushing the doors open.

“Lovely,” she said, looking around the large room, with the king-sized bed and the sitting room to the right, in front of the windows. “What a great view.”

“Yeah, it’s nice,” Garrett said. “The master bath is pretty outrageous. I balked, but my designer said it always pays off.”

They walked in, looking at the huge jetted tub with windows behind it, and the large shower on the opposite side. A dual basin sink was on the right, and then a large walk-in closet.

“Wow,” she said. “Now run along while I freshen up, okay?”

“Want me to whip us up something to eat?”

“Have any white wine?”

“Sure, I’ll bring some up,” he said, his heart beating quicker.

“Mind if I rinse off in the shower?”

“Not at all,” he said, pausing at the door for a moment, then heading down the stairs. He went to the wine cooler and picked out a bottle, then got a bucket, set the bottle inside, and filled it with ice. His hands fumbled. “What am I, a high school boy?” he asked himself. He could hear the water running upstairs and decided to give Anna a few minutes. The water stopped running, so he started up the stairs with the bucket. The water started again, and he paused at the door.

“You up here?” she called out.

“Yes,” he said. “Are you decent?”

“Decent enough,” she said. “Come in. Hope you brought the wine up.”

“Shoot, forgot glasses.” He set the bucket on the floor and raced downstairs, almost tripping, returning in a flash. He froze as he entered the bathroom, staring at Anna’s naked round curves as she stood in the big tub, water running from the faucet.

“Get your clothes off and get in here,” she said.

“Yes mam,” he said, rushing to her.

***

Ed was lying in a bed at the Williams house, crying as the doctor hooked up the iv. Tyler had just told him about James and John.

“You’re lucky,” the doctor said. “Dehydration was well on its way to killing you. Why didn’t you carry more water?”

“My main bottle rolled down the hill before I could grab it,” Ed said. “I’ll have to strap it down next time.” He turned to Tyler. “The families know, right?”

“Yeah,” Tyler said. “The town is a mess.”

“Descanso?”

“Yeah,” Tyler said. “The enemy fled after they figured out how many people we had, but along with the boobytrap that killed John, they also boobytrapped the grocery store. Bastards left a little girl in there as bait.”

“That’s not good,” Ed said. “Did the little girl get rescued?”

“She’s with Sam and Erica. No luck finding any next of kin.”

“Geez,” Ed said.

“Anna says they’re going to raise her,” Tyler said with a twinkle in his eye.

That brought a smile to Ed’s face. “She’s always right, you know.”

“Seems like it,” Tyler said. “We’ve decided against hitting Julian for now.”

“Why?”

“They’re dug in,” Tyler said. “We could beat them, but it’d be too expensive.”

“Oh. Won’t they just end up attacking us?”

“Eventually they will, but it would be easier to defend against them than to mount an attack against their fortifications in Julian.”

“Why are they even there?” Ed asked.

“I-8, we think,” Tyler said. “We have a new target.”

“What?”

“Big UN base being set up in Jamul,” Tyler said. “We want to hit it hard before they get it fully populated.”

“I’m going to leave you two,” the doctor said. “Bed rest for forty-eight hours. Get me?”

“Yes sir,” Ed said.

“Oh, and use those other bags of saline, okay? Have Anna swap them for you.”

“Anna’s not here,” Tyler said.

“Uh oh,” the doctor said. “Then I’ll show you how. It’s simple.” He showed Tyler, then left.

“Where’s Anna?” Ed asked. “Garrett’s place?”

“How’d you guess?”

Ed chuckled. “Good for them. How are we gonna get my hovercraft back here?”

“Don’t worry about that now,” Tyler said. “Sure you want that thing back?”

“It didn’t break down on me,” Ed said. “I had to do a quick maneuver to get out of sight, and turned it down a hill, right onto a rock. Broke the junction box for the bottom fan.”

Tyler sat down next to the bed. “You saw Black Crow?”

“Yes, and he saw me,” Ed said.

“That’s not what he said.”

Ed chuckled. “And that surprises you because…?”

“You’re right,” Tyler said.

“I assume you guys killed him.”

“Yeah,” Tyler said. “We tried to get some info out of him, but he wasn’t very forthcoming.”

“Figures,” Ed said. “When are we gonna hit that UN base?”

“I don’t know,” Tyler said. “Ji-Ho is waiting for more intelligence from Ivan. Probably within the next few days.”

“Good,” Ed said. “Now let me sleep for a while, okay?”

“Will do,” Tyler said. “You got the parts around to fix your hovercraft?”

“Yes,” he said. “Zac and Bradley know how to fix it. Take them out there when you have time.”

“Will do, Chief,” Tyler said. He left the room.

Ed stared at the ceiling, tears starting to come back. James’s face was in his mind’s eye as he drifted off.

***

Jules and Sparky climbed the steps of the rig, after hooking up the coach to the power and water.

“You guys done?” Shelley asked. She was sitting at the dinette facing Dana.

“Yes, we done,” Jules said. “Getting warm. Need air conditioner soon.”

“Anybody nearby on the apps?” Sparky asked, sitting next to Dana.

“There’s a facility about four miles from here,” Dana said. “About twenty hits. East of where we are, on 580.”

“Maybe we should go pay them a visit, no?” Jules asked.

“No,” Sparky said. “We can only see the Islamists, not the UN folks, remember? We might walk into a hornet’s nest.”

“I kid,” Jules said. “We need to keep focus, prepare for rescue missions.”

“Everybody else report in?” Sparky asked.

“Yep,” Shelley said. “Everybody is placed. Robbie and Morgan got pulled over by a cop in Livermore, though.”

“That’s not a concern?” Sparky asked.

Dana looked over at him. “The cop knew who he was, and said he wished he could’ve been part of the Mertins Plant attack.”

Sparky and Jules laughed.

“That rich,” Jules said.

“I wouldn’t get over-confident,” Dana said. “We don’t know for sure if this cop was being straight with Robbie.”

“He call if there problem,” Jules said.

“Wait, you aren’t worried because of the connection to the father?” Sparky asked.

“No, too late to stop now,” Jules said. “Tools almost finished. Nothing enemy can do now.”

“Is this almost over?” Dana asked.

“No,” Shelley said. “I was just looking around the country with the apps. There’s nearly a million enemy operatives in country. Even when we can openly hunt them down, it’s going to be tough going. Lots of good people will die before we root them all out, and there will probably be terror attacks going forward for years.”

“Marvelous,” Sparky said.

“Hey, turn on the TV,” Jules said. “Ivan on soon.”

“Why does he bother?” Sparky asked. “It’s already all over the news.”

“It is, but he bring special guest,” Jules said.

Shelley picked up the TV remote and turned it on. “Which station?”

“Any,” Jules said.

Sparky cracked up. “How the hell does he do that?”

“Ivan’s connections legion, and his tech staff great,” Jules said. “You know this.”

Sparky nodded. “Yes, I know.”

The screen went black for a moment.

“Here it comes,” Dana said.

Ivan appeared, sitting behind his massive desk, wearing his pin-striped suit with fedora.

“Hello, Northern California. I’m Ivan the Butcher.”

The screen changed to video of the firefight at the Mertins Plant.

“As you can see, we have made an attack. The news media is telling you that this was a crime. It was not. It was an act of war against the foreigners who have put the state under martial law, and are currently having their way with the population. Here are the people we killed in this attack.”

The screen switched to a graphic, showing twenty-five faces with captions under them.

“I’m sure you recognize many of these people. They’ve been on the news talking their globalist lies while chastising each and every one of you for resisting the invaders. They are all dead. We will hunt down the other criminals in this land who are still working for Global Governance and the Caliphate.”

The screen came back to Ivan, who stood up and walked around to the front of his desk, face filling the picture.

“I call upon all of you to resist. We will help. We will soften the targets and kill many of the invaders. You must do your part. Ignore the rules of martial law. Kill UN Peacekeepers. Kill Islamists. Destroy their bases. Have no mercy, because they have no mercy.”

Ivan got back behind his desk. “We have a special guest this evening. Before I introduce him, please look at this exchange which aired on the local PBS station a week ago.”

The screen changed to video of the panel discussion about martial law and its benefits, ending with the beating of Ben Dover.

The screen came back to Ivan’s desk. He stood and motioned to Ben, who came into the frame next to Ivan. Both of them leaned against the front of Ivan’s desk, facing the camera.

“This is Ben Dover, patriot of Northern California, and student at UC Santa Cruz. As you can see, his head is almost healed up after the beating he took, but he will have some of the scars for the rest of his life.”

“Hello, fellow citizens,” Ben said. “Our institutions of higher learning have been infiltrated by the enemy. Your sons and daughters are at risk. They are being lied to, and recruited to use as muscle in demonstrations. They are being taught to bully and injure those who demonstrate against martial law and the globalists who have infested our state and national governments. Pull your kids out of school now. Cut funding. Round up the University staff who are helping the enemy.”

The screen changed to video in the dim cell, where two live professors and one dead one were propped up against the wall.

“These men hosted the invaders, allowing Islamists and UN Thugs to train your sons and daughters at UC Santa Cruz,” Ben Dover said. “They have been brought to justice by our freedom fighters. There are many more like them. Shun them. Arrest them. Kill them. Save yourselves. Save Western Civilization. Stand with us.”

Ivan’s face was back on the screen. “In the coming days, we will provide proof of the treachery of our government officials and the foreign invaders. In the meantime, you know what to do. You know who to target. Take back your state. Take back your country. It is not too late.”

The screen went black.

“Wow,” Dana said.

“He does have his way about him, doesn’t he?” Sparky asked.

Jules smiled, looking at his phone.

“What?” Shelley asked.

“Text, points to site with details on rescue mission. Ivan wants meeting with team in two hours.”

To be continued…

 

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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 113 – Boarding House

“He’s gonna pull us over,” Robbie said, looking in his rear-view mirror at the cop cruiser behind him, it’s red light shining. The siren blipped.

“Are you gonna pull over, or should I waste him with the rear guns?” Morgan asked.

“I’m gonna pull over,” he said. “We’re bulletproof.”

“Our tires aren’t,” Morgan whispered as Robbie slowed, pulling to the side of the road.

“So if he doesn’t shoot those right away, we’re probably fine,” Robbie said. “Put your piece out of sight.”

“Yeah,” Morgan said.

Robbie pulled over, and slid the heavy plate glass side window forward so he could talk to the officer, who was leaving his car.

“He’s alone, isn’t he?” Morgan asked.

“Yep. Might have called for backup or something.”

The officer walked up, looking around.

“Good day,” he said when he got to the window.

“Hello, officer,” Robbie said politely. “Did I do something wrong?”

“You’re not staying in town, are you?” the officer asked, searching his eyes.

“No, we’ve got a place outside of town,” Robbie said.

“How about your friends? They’re not coming here, are they?”

“Friends?” Robbie said.

The officer chuckled. “I saw what happened at the Mertins plant on TV.”

“Oh,” Robbie said, sensing the officer was a friendly. “You don’t have a problem with that?”

“Would’ve joined in had I known,” the officer said. “I’ll deny I said that.”

Robbie laughed. “Don’t blame you there. Are we gonna be okay?”

“I’m not going to mess with you, and I won’t tell anybody you’re here,” the officer said. “I just wanted to find out if there was going to be a battle here, that’s all. There are people I’d want to move away from town if that’s the case. People I love.”

“Gotcha,” Robbie said. “We aren’t planning anything here that I’ve heard about.”

“I think we understand each other,” the officer said. He pulled out his ticket book and scribbled something, then handed it up to Robbie. “Have a nice day. If you have issues or problems, feel free.”

“Thank you, officer,” Robbie said, looking at the phone number on the ticket. “Nice to know there are other patriots around.”

He nodded and went back to his car.

“Whoa,” Morgan said. “That was interesting.”

“I’ll say,” Robbie said, starting his engine. He pulled away slowly. “Smooth how he used his ticket book. If anybody was watching, it looked like a normal traffic stop.”

“I noticed,” Morgan said. “Maybe we’re gonna be okay.”

“We’ll be fine while we’re here, I suspect,” Robbie said. “Any hits around?”

Morgan picked Robbie’s phone off the center console and checked the apps. “Nobody in this town or near it. The closest large concentration is in Oakland.”

“Figures,” Robbie said. “There’s probably stragglers all over the place, though, right?”

“Oh, yeah,” Morgan said. “Lots of hits in San Jose, Palo Alto, and San Mateo. Also some in Berkley and Concord.”

“None in San Francisco?”

“Just a few here and there,” Morgan said.

“Interesting,” Robbie said. “Where do I turn?”

“Concannon Boulevard,” she said. “Take that to South Livermore Avenue, then get on Tesla Road. Follow that all the way out of town and into the hills. The name changes to Corral Hollow Road when we’re getting close to the RV Park.”

Robbie nodded. “There’s that street up ahead already.”

“We’ll have some twisty roads once we get out of town,” Morgan said. “You’ll be tired by the time we get to our destination.”

“No problem,” Robbie said. Morgan’s phone dinged. “Gil?”

Morgan looked up, smiling. “Yep, he got the apps too.”

“Excellent. Can’t wait till we get to the park.”

“Me too,” she said. “The fire’s still burning a little from the battle.”

“We have to get set up first, you know,” Robbie said.

“We’ll work together.” She shot him a sexy grin.

Robbie made the turn onto Concannon, curving towards the left after a mile, then making a tight right turn onto Livermore.

“That wasn’t fun,” Robbie said. “We aren’t on this one for very long, are we?”

“Nope,” Morgan said, watching her phone screen. “After this curves to the left, you’ll be making a right on Tesla, and then you’ll be out of town in a hurry.”

They were into the hills in minutes, cruising at a good clip on the empty road.

“This isn’t that tight,” Robbie said. “The curves are pretty gentle.”

“Give it time. It looks worse when you zoom out. This is a good road, though. By the way, the place we’re going is for the off-road park nearby.”

“Really?” Robbie said. “Used to love those. Bummer that we don’t have our jeep anymore.”

“Probably won’t have time to do off-roading anyway,” Morgan said. “Hard to believe we just left the city. Feels remote out here.”

“Part of it is the lack of cars,” Robbie said.

“I’m surprised the RV Park is open.”

“Hell, it might not be,” Robbie said. “Might just be some special deal that Jules and Ivan set up.”

They followed the road through the hills, clumps of trees showing up every so often.

“Look there,” Morgan said, pointing at blackened ground and trees. “Must have been a brush fire recently.”

“Welcome to California.” Robbie glanced at her, smiling.

“That’s right, you’re a native,” she said, looking out the windshield. “I could get used to it here, if the government wasn’t so crazy.”

“Here’s a big curve,” Robbie said, turning the coach hard, applying the brakes.

“Wow. Careful.”

“Time to slow down a little bit,” Robbie said. “Sorry.”

“You’re doing fine,” Morgan said.

“More curves coming. Spoke too soon. Some of these are pretty tight.”

“Take your time, honey,” Morgan said. “We’re not in a hurry.”

“I know,” Robbie said, hands gripping the wheel. They rolled along for nearly a half hour before they saw the signs for the RV Park and the OHV facilities.

“We’re getting close,” Morgan said, looking at her phone. “Wonder if we’re gonna have to pay?”

“I’ve got cash if we need to,” Robbie said. “Hope there’s a camp store there.”

Morgan chuckled. “There it is. See it? Looks almost empty. Sparse. Not many trees.”

“Geez,” Robbie said, looking at it as they approached.

“There’s the driveway, to the right,” Morgan said, pointing. Robbie took it, slowing to a crawl as they neared the office building.

“They have a small store,” Robbie said. “Looks like only about five coaches here. The whole damn place is visible from the road.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that. There’s nobody on this damn road.”

“Good point,” Robbie said as they pulled into the check-in lane. He shut down the engine, and they left the coach, walking down the steps into the warm, dry air.

“Wow, there’re dirt race-tracks on either side of this place,” Morgan said as they walked.

“I’ll bet it’s noisy as hell here when they’re busy,” Robbie said. “This was my dream place when I was in Junior High.”

“I’ll bet,” Morgan said. “Back home we just drove off the road a little. There were off-roading places everywhere.”

“Country girl,” Robbie said, shaking his head.

“At least you didn’t call me a hick,” she said, smiling as Robbie pushed open the door and held it for her. They entered, walking up to the counter. There was a middle-aged woman sitting behind the register, eating a popsicle.

“Howdy,” she said, standing up, wiping her mouth. She set the popsicle down on a paper towel. “You Robbie?”

“Yep,” he said. “This is Morgan.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Jill.”

“Not many people here,” Morgan said.

“Damn war killed our business. We just have a few locals living here. The rest of the trade hasn’t been around for more than a month.”

“You got something that’s a little away from the road?” Morgan asked.

“We’ve got you set up in thirty-six,” Jill said. “Oh, and your Jeep was dropped off this morning.”

“It was?” Robbie asked.

“Glad they did it in time,” Morgan said, eyeing Robbie. “We didn’t expect it until tomorrow.”

“How much do we owe you?”

“Paid in full,” Jill said. She got out a map and drew on it with a felt-tipped pen. “We’re here. Just follow the line. It’s a pull-through, 50 amp.”

“You got a store?” Robbie asked. “We could use some food.”

“Yes, but I’ll have to open up for you. Can you wait until tomorrow morning?”

“Sure,” Robbie said. “Thanks.”

The couple walked back to the rig with the map and pamphlet in hand.

“Well that was easy,” Morgan said.

“Glad they brought the Jeep. They had this whole thing planned to a T.”

“Indeed,” Morgan said, waiting as Robbie unlocked the coach door, then climbing up. “I’m so glad we’re here.”

“Yep,” Robbie said, getting behind the wheel. He fired up the rig and drove it down the long access road, finding their spot quickly.

“We can see the road from here,” Morgan said.

“Hell, you can see the road from every single space I’ve seen here,” Robbie said, shooting her a grin. “This place is solely focused on the off-road park. I’ll bet this is filled with drunk off roaders on Friday and Saturday nights.”

“During normal times,” Morgan said.

“Normal times,” Robbie said as he drove into their space. “At least the front of the coach isn’t facing the highway.”

“There’s more coaches here than I expected,” Morgan said.

Robbie shut down the engine, then started the auto-level program. Morgan got up. “Can I walk around while this is going?”

“May want to give it a minute,” Robbie said.

She nodded and sat back down until the coach settled.

“There we go,” she said, getting up again. “Hungry?”

“Yep,” Robbie said.

“Good, I’ll see what I can come up with while you get us hooked.”

Robbie pulled her into his arms and kissed her, then left the coach to do the hookups, leaving her looking at the door.

***

“Wow, this is something,” Anna said as Garrett drove her into Dodge City. It was a long western street, with buildings on either side, looking like a movie set. He parked and got out to open Anna’s door. She took his hand and stepped out. “Wow, realistic down to the mud in the streets.”

He chuckled, holding her hand as they went to the wooden sidewalk, his boots clomping on them as they walked towards the saloon.

“What, the first place we’re going is the bar?” Anna asked, shooting him a sly grin.

“That’s where my friends will be,” he said, helping her through the door.

“Garrett, you old son of a gun,” said a short, skinny old man behind the bar. “This the woman I’ve been hearing about?”

“Sure is, Willard. Her name’s Anna. Anna, this is Willard.”

“Nice to meet you,” she said. “You two related?”

“He’s my cousin,” Garrett said.

“Yep, can’t you tell the resemblance?” Willard asked, laughing.

Garrett shook his head. “Willard here was the black sheep of the family.”

“You tell her,” Willard said. “You drinking?”

“One,” Garrett said. “People staying on the wagon for the most part?”

“Yeah, pretty much,” Willard said. “Rumor has it we’re not going into Julian.”

“Those rumors are true, and I agree,” Garrett said.

“What’s we gonna hit instead?”

“New UN headquarters,” Garrett said. “That’s all I’ll say right now.”

“You want a drink, Ms. Anna?” Willard asked.

“Maybe just half a shot,” she said.

Willard poured a full shot glass and a half one, then poured one for himself. He held it up. “Here’s to new friends and old.”

“I’ll drink to that,” Garrett said.

They tossed them back.

“Where’s everybody else?” Garrett asked.

“Home, for the most part,” Willard said. “Jess and Frankie went hunting with a few other folks. Probably won’t be back until tomorrow morning.”

“Figured we’d need to do that,” Garrett said.

“How’s the game holding up around here?” Anna asked. “Tyler said it was getting a little sparse around the Williams place.”

“Damn drought really knocked the herd for a loop,” Willard said. “We need a few wet years, like we had back in 2016.”’

Garrett chuckled. “Yeah, a lot of things were better back then.”

“Damn straight, brother, but things aren’t all bad now,” Willard said. “Now we get to shoot back. Saw this mess coming all the way back in 2016.”

“Preaching to the choir,” Garrett said. “I’m gonna go visit my sis. See you later. Pass the word around that I’m in town for a day or two.”

“Will do,” Willard said.

“This really is cool,” Anna said as they walked out of the saloon. She looked at a horse-drawn wagon coming slowly up the street. “No cars on this street?”

“We discourage driving through the middle of town, but just about everybody has some kind of motor vehicle,” Garrett said as they walked, past a hotel and the sheriff’s office and a bank. “Our pride and joy is the opera house, but we don’t have any talent to run it now. Before the war we were bringing people in and putting on shows. Drew a lot of the locals out here.”

“I remember reading about that,” she said. “Always wanted to come.”

“You should have,” Garrett said.

“My husband didn’t like that sort of thing,” she said.

“Well I do,” Garrett said. “Sis lives up there.” He pointed to a two-story boarding house across the street. “Hey sis!” he yelled.

After a moment one of the second story windows opened, and a gray-haired woman stuck her head out.

“What are you yelling about, you old goat?”

Garrett chuckled. “She’s a little salty.”

Anna smiled. They went across the street, avoiding the mud and road apples.

By the time they got to the wooden sidewalk, the gray-haired woman was waiting for them, a grin on her face. She rushed up and hugged Garrett. “Glad you survived that last battle. Heard bad things.”

“We lost people,” Garrett said. “This is Anna. Anna, this is Susanne, my big sister.”

“Great to meet you,” Susanne said. “Heard this old fool got himself a girlfriend.”

Anna smiled, watching Garrett get embarrassed. Both women laughed.

“All right, all right,” Garrett said.

“Come on in. Want some coffee?”

“Sounds great,” Anna said. They walked into the door ahead of Garrett.

“Hey, Garrett, you want something stronger than coffee?” asked an old bald man in the back of the parlor. He was large with an imposing demeanor.

“Don’t you dare, Elmer,” Susanne said.

Elmer laughed, rushing over to shake hands with Garrett.

“This is Anna,” Garrett said.

“Heard you took a woman from the nations,” he said, a sly grin on his face, his scraggly beard making him look goofy.

“Took a woman?” Susanne asked, shaking her head. “Sorry, Anna. Elmer engages his mouth before his brain kicks in.”

“It’s a stream of consciousness thing,” Elmer said, following the comment with a snicker. “You’re lovely, Anna. Hope you float Garrett’s boat as well as Susanne floats mine.”

“Oh, please,” Susanne said, face turning red. “You’re just a gentleman friend. Nothing more.”

“What about last night?” Elmer asked, sending a wink to Anna, who chuckled.

“Shut up about that,” Susanne said. “It was a weak moment.”

“Been a lot of those lately,” Elmer said. “Maybe I should just move in.”

Susanne rolled her eyes. “Ignore him. I’ll go get the coffee.”

Anna followed Susanne into the kitchen. Garrett sat on one of the antique loveseats. He shot a grin at Elmer and put his booted feet up on the table in front of it.

“You’re a brave man,” Elmer said. “How’d you get hooked up with Anna? She’s cute, by the way.”

“We’re just friends, really,” Garrett said. “I like to talk with her.”

“Uh huh,” Elmer said. “I know that look she’s giving you.”

“There are some sparks,” Garrett said. “I’m not discouraging them.”

“Here they come,” Elmer whispered. Garrett pulled his feet off the table and sat up, straight and formal.

“Got your feet off my table pretty quickly,” Susanne said, walking back into the room with Anna. Susanne turned to her. “He looks housebroken, but he’s as much of a beast as Elmer is.”

Anna chuckled.

“You two gonna shack up?” Elmer asked.

“Dammit, Elmer, stop that,” Susanne said. “It’s not polite.”

“I’m just kidding. Don’t get your bustle in a bunch.”

Garrett laughed, patting the space next to him. Anna came over and sat there.

“I think your sister is lovely,” Anna said.

“She’s that, but she’s also ornery as all get out,” Garrett said. “Without her operation, we’d be toast.”

“Operation?” Anna asked.

“I run the ammo factory,” she said with pride. “Dangerous work because of the black powder, but we’ve got it down. We need some more brass, though. You got any ideas, Garrett?”

“I’ve asked my guys to save what brass they can,” Garrett said, “and we’ve been picking it up off the ground after battles. We still need a better source, though, now that the routes into Arizona are shut down.”

There was sputtering from the kitchen. Susanne got up and rushed back there, Anna joining her.

“They’re conspiring against us,” Elmer whispered, a grin on his face.

Garrett shook his head. “When are you gonna make an honest woman out of her?”

“Like Susanne would go for that. I’ve already tried. I’ll just take what I can get at this point.”

Garrett chuckled. “Well, whatever makes you two happy.”

“You’re taking Anna to your spread?”

“Yeah, I’ll take her out there,” Garrett said. “Might bring her back here tonight, though, so she can have a room in the hotel.”

“Don’t count on that,” he whispered. “Here they come.”

The women were back, each with two coffee cups in their hands.

“Good,” Garrett said after his first sip.

“When do our men get back?” Susanne asked. “The large group.”

“They’re probably already at the Williams place,” Garrett said. “I’ll leave some of them there to help protect it.”

“Why don’t you just move everybody here?” Elmer asked.

“Might come to that,” Garrett said. “We’ve got room, that’s for sure.”

“Then why not?” Anna asked.

“Don’t want all of our eggs in one basket,” Garrett said. “Being split between the two locations makes an assault twice as hard for the enemy.”

“Yeah, but they have to go against a force that’s double the size,” Susanne said.

“These folks have access to advanced weapons like artillery,” Garrett said. “That can water down our numbers quick, and then we’re done.”

Anna nodded in agreement. “It helps to have your forces in more than one place. Our tribe would be gone now had we all stayed together.”

“Yep,” Garrett said. “We could get bottled up in here, too. Not something we couldn’t put down, but how many people would we lose? They could lob shells in here and blow the hell out of our little town, too. Better to have them worried about their backsides.”

“Hope you two are right,” Susanne said.

“You worried, honey?” Elmer asked, moving closer to her on the couch.

“Stop it,” she said.

Garrett’s phone rang. He answered it, his face showing a smile.

“What?” Anna asked.

“Thanks, man,” Garrett said into the phone before he ended the call. “Ed’s been found.”

“Alive?” Anna asked. “Obviously that’s a yes, with that grin.”

“Yes, he’s alive, but we almost didn’t find him in time. His hovercraft broke down in a bad spot.”

“Never trusted that damn thing,” Anna said.

“Well, this is great news,” Elmer said. “It calls for a drink.”

“You don’t drink anymore,” Susanne said.

“I know, but it still calls for it. I don’t have to answer the call.”

Anna laughed. “You two are a riot.”

“I’m a riot,” Susanne said. “He’s a stupid old coot.”

“Yeah, but you love me,” Elmer said.

Susanne rolled her eyes.

“I think we’ll get going,” Garrett said. “I want to show the homestead to Anna while it’s still plenty light.”

“Yes, I’d love that,” Anna said.

“Look at the love birds,” Elmer quipped.

“Oh, leave them alone,” Susanne said. “I think it’s sweet.”

They said their goodbyes, and Garrett walked Anna outside.

“I love them,” Anna said, “and I’m so relieved about Ed.”

“Me too,” he said. “We’ll need to go get the truck. I’m a few miles outside of town.” He walked with her back to the parking spot, and they got into the truck, Garrett taking it on a back road to the far end of town, then onto a well-worn dirt road.

“They think we’re a couple,” Anna said as they drove along. “Did you tell them that?”

“No, that’s their idea, although you’re the first woman I’ve brought out to meet them.”

“I see,” Anna said. “We going to an old-west shack, or is it a modern house with a bathroom?”

“Don’t worry, we’re on septic. No outhouse.” He looked at her and chuckled. “There’s plenty of horses and cattle. I’ve got hands living in a bunkhouse on the edge of the property.”

“I hope this place has a bathtub big enough for the both of us,” she said.

“Oh, really now?”

“You have a problem with that?” she asked.

“Not even a little bit,” Garrett said, rolling down the road.

“It’s so pretty out here,” Anna said.

“Something’s wrong,” Garrett said, looking at the gate as they approached. “The gate’s open. Shouldn’t be.”

Anna looked at him, fear in her eyes. “We’ve got guns, right?”

Garrett pulled over, getting out and rushing to the truck bed, pulling back the tarp and grabbing two lever action rifles. He brought them up to the cab, then drove forward.

“These easy to shoot?” Anna asked.

“They’re just like modern Winchesters, except they kick less and let off some smoke,” he said, going through the gate, staring around the area.

“Is that a body over there?” Anna asked, pointing.

“Dammit,” he said. “Wait here, and keep the gun in your lap, okay?” I’m leaving the keys in the truck and the motor running. If something happens to me, high-tail it.”

Anna nodded yes as Garrett got out, grabbed one of the rifles, and trotted into the pasture.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 112 – Captives

The choppers on the roof of the Mertins Administration building started their engines as gunfire raged around them, explosions going off on the floor below them. One of the choppers leaned as the roof over the big conference room started to collapse, the chopper sliding sideways down into the building, exploding with a huge fireball. The other two choppers tried to lift off. Commandos approached from the far side of the roof, unsteady as the building shook, trying to get a bead on the closest chopper with their RPG. Then machinegun fire erupted from the third chopper, cutting down the team, the RPG falling to the composite roofing.

“Back off!” shouted the voice over the headsets. The commandos running to take the place of the first team dived behind cover as more machinegun fire came at them.

“Don’t worry about the choppers,” the voice on the headset cried. “Nobody from the building was able to get on. This is just the chopper crews trying to save themselves. Concentrate on officials running around. The routes to the roof have all been destroyed.”

“Roger that,” said the leader of the second team, who peered over the edge of the roof. “Van trying to escape below. You see it?”

“We’re heading towards it, but still a lot of snipers. Take out if you can.”

“You got it,” the Commando said, getting up, sprinting towards the RPG, picking it up. Blood dripped off it as he ran to the side of the roof. Machinegun fire started again from the chopper, the commando bobbing and weaving through what little cover there was while the other commandos fired their M-16s at the chopper, killing the pilot and copilot. The chopper went out of control, slamming into the third chopper, both of them exploding.

“Shoot that van,” shouted the man on the headset.

The commando aimed the RPG and fired, hitting the van, exploding it in front of the gate.

“Nice, that blocked their exit,” the voice over the headsets shouted.

“Glad to be of service,” the commando said. “Crap, get ready. There’s a line of vans headed our way.”

“Where they come from?” Jules asked over the headset.

“Alpha One, good to hear your voice. Nice job on those enemy choppers.”

“Where they come from,” Jules repeated.

“Oh, sorry sir. Coming on Route 17, good clip. I see about twenty of them.”

“Vans only, or military vehicles?” Jules asked.

“Vans…no, wait. I see two Gaz Tigrs.”

“Okay, we attack,” Jules said. “Everybody hear?”

“I got you, partner,” Tex said.

“Yeah, we heard you,” Robbie said. “On our way. You want us up on the freeway?”

“Yes, going wrong way,” Jules said. “I be there quick.”

“Be careful, chief,” the commando said. “We’re almost done here. Killed all of the leadership.”

“Oh, crap, more choppers,” the commando on the roof said. “Scratch that. Those are TV choppers. They’re filming.”

“Leave them be,” Jules said. “Ivan need footage for show.”

Several people on the radio chuckled.

***

Daan sat in the passenger seat of the van, at the back of the caravan, his first lieutenant driving, headset on, brow furrowed.

“We shouldn’t go in there so fast, boss,” the lieutenant said. “In fact, you shouldn’t even be here. It’s too dangerous.”

“Shut up, Hanson,” Daan said. “That’s my place.”

 

Hanson’s eyes squinted as he listened to a message coming in. Daan noticed.

“What?”

“I got intel from the lead,” Hanson said. “The entire leadership bought it.”

“What about the choppers?”

“The ones on the roof? Destroyed, but the leadership had no chance to get up there anyway.”

“And the two I sent to help?” Daan asked.

“Destroyed before they got there. Crap.”

“What?” Daan asked.

“The new UN base got destroyed,” he said. “Overwhelming force of citizen fighters aided by MERCs. The ammo storage blew. I told you we shouldn’t put it inside, even temporarily.”

“This is Ivan,” Daan said. “I’m going to skin him alive.”

Hanson looked forward, afraid to say anything, then his eyes grew wide. “What the hell is that?”

“What?” Daan asked, looking up from his cellphone screen. He froze, sweat breaking out on his forehead. “They’re coming the wrong way on the freeway? What are those things? They look like buses.”

“That one has a minigun on the roof,” Hanson cried. They both watched in horror as the two Gaz Tigrs exploded in a hail of lead.

“Dammit, all of those things have miniguns,” Daan said. “I thought that was only a prototype.”

“What? You knew about these things?”

“We nailed one in central California, remember? And that damn Ji-Ho had one in the south. Almost wasted it, but he limped away.”

“Oh, the battle in Julian,” Hanson said. “Sir, we’d better turn around now.”

“Yes, do it,” Daan said. “Go to the alternate location.”

Hanson slowed quickly as several vans in front of them blew up, then made a sweeping u-turn as machinegun fire ripped into the roof of the van, going through the driver’s seat, guts and brains slamming into the front windshield as Daan looked on, horrified. He held on tight as the van went out of control, rolling onto the driver’s side and sliding to a stop against the center divider.

“Hanson!” Daan shouted, struggling to climb out. The door was jammed. He grabbed Hanson’s rifle and shot through the passenger side window, then scrambled out and ran off the freeway as the other vans were blown to bits with minigun fire and grenades.

***

“That got them,” Robbie said, watching the UN Vans burn on the road ahead. “Should we go check them out?”

“That’s a negative,” Ted said over the headphones.

“Yes, Ted right,” Jules said. “Retract weapons. Turn around, head north on this road. I send text with GPS coordinates for each coach. All separate RV parks. We reconnect before rescue operation. Nice work, everybody. Turn off headsets when text come.”

“Wow, that was a rush,” Morgan said, her face flushed. “I could get used to this.”

Robbie glanced at her, smiling. “Yep, gets your blood up, that’s for sure.” He got the rig turned around, and retracted the weapons systems.

“I wish we could pull over right now,” Morgan said.

“Why?”

“Guess,” she said, shooting him a sexy grin.

“Oh,” he said sheepishly. “Yeah, I could really get into that now, but it’ll have to wait.” Both of their phones dinged.

“Watch the road,” Morgan said. “I’ll look up where our GPS coordinates take us and guide us there.”

“Hope we don’t run into trouble on the way.”

“Just drive casual,” Morgan said as she looked at her screen. “Ah, there we go.”

“Where?”

“Way east,” she said. “Take the 280 to the 680. I’ll guide you after that.”

“What’s it near?”

“It’s southeast of Livermore,” she said. “Looks like a pretty rustic place.”

“How long will it take?”

“Just over an hour, if we don’t run into any problems,” she said.

“I doubt we will, from what we heard about the attack on the UN Headquarters.”

Morgan snickered. “Yeah, why would those morons put so much ammo in their headquarters? Seems pretty stupid.”

“I suspect it was temporary, and we lucked out. Where’s everybody else going?”

“All over the damn place,” Morgan said. “We’re a good sixty miles from the nearest of our friends.”

“Who’s closest?”

“Cody and Allison,” she said. “Ted’s about eighty miles.”

“Where’s Jules?”

She looked at her screen for a couple minutes. “Someplace called Dublin. You aren’t still worried about him, are you?”

“No,” Robbie said. “How’s he going to handle the folks that don’t have the apps?”

“Every coach has a laptop with the new app, remember?” It’s got the normal long-range app on it too.”

“But not the short-range app,” Robbie said. “That one might be the most important, since it doesn’t require LTE.”

“I’m looking at that matrix of coaches and people that Shelly put together. There’s only two coaches that don’t have leadership people in them.”

“I know, Justin and Gil,” Robbie said. “Text one of them and see if they’ve been sent the apps. If not, I need to get on the horn with Jules.”

She nodded, moving her fingers on the screen, sending a text. “I sent a broadcast to the two of them.”

“Good,” Robbie said, hands gripping the wheel. “Here comes the 280.”

“It just turns into the 680, by the way.” Her phone dinged. “Text from Justin.” She smiled. “He got the apps.”

“Gil?”

“Not back yet,” she said. “Give it time.”

“Okay.” He made the transition to the 280. “This road is deserted.”

“Not surprising,” Morgan said. “Wonder if we’ll see any checkpoints?”

“Not on the freeway. Do we have much in the way of surface streets to deal with?”

“We go from the 680 to a much smaller road. Route 84. Looks like it goes through the residential part of Livermore.”

“Freeway or highway with stops?” Robbie asked.

“Looking.” She focused on her phone for a moment. “Crap. Big street, but there are stop signs and such.”

“Are there other ways there?”

She looked closer. “Not better than this way. There’s mountains we have to go around after we leave Livermore. No shortcut to there that I can see, at least with a road vehicle. We should trust Jules, though. I’m sure they thought through these spots.”

“Hope so,” Robbie said.

They rode silently for a while, the freeway transitioning from 280 to 680, then going into rugged terrain.

“Really deserted out here,” Morgan said.

“Yep. Wish we still were towing the Jeep. We’ll probably need to get some food.”

“There’s quite a bit of stuff in the freezer,” Morgan said. “I checked before we took off this morning. Quite a bit of food in the pantry too, but some of it might be bad now. Wouldn’t trust the loaf of bread that’s in there.”

“At least we can tell by looking.”

“It won’t be long before we hit the beginnings of Livermore,” Morgan said, looking at her phone again. “What do we do if there’s a checkpoint?”

“Fight our way through, I guess,” Robbie said. “We’re sure as hell not letting them search us.”

“We’re probably dead if it comes to that,” Morgan said. “How can we outrun anybody in this thing?”

“We have a lot of firepower,” Robbie said, “but you’re right. It’ll be tough. You know it’s possible that we’re being tracked via satellite right now. All of us.”

“I don’t think so,” Morgan said.

“Why not?”

“They would’ve found us at that winery,” she said. “Think about it.”

“Good point,” Robbie said. “Thanks, that makes me feel a little better. We’re getting into town.” He slowed as the road went from freeway to highway. The side streets were nearly empty, with only an occasional car or truck. There was a semi rig ahead of them and a couple of cars behind them. Robbie’s eyes kept darting between his mirrors and windshield, as Morgan looked nervously out the passenger side window.

“So far so good,” she muttered under her breath.

“Traffic light ahead,” Robbie said, rolling to a stop.

“Look, there used to be a checkpoint here,” Morgan whispered. “See the barricades over there?”

“So why is it not running now, I wonder?”

“Maybe because of that big shindig that we messed up in San Jose,” Morgan said.

They cruised along, going through several lights, and then Robbie’s eyes lingered more on the rearview mirror.

“What?” Morgan asked.

“We’re being followed by a cop.”

“Oh no,” Morgan said.

“Don’t get upset yet,” Robbie said. “There’s a big difference between a cop and the UN.”

***

“No luck?” Erica asked. Sam put his cellphone and the address book down on the coffee table in front of the couch. He shook his head no. Mia was sleeping next to them on the couch, her head on Sam’s lap. Most of the people had left the house after the meeting, and it was quiet.

“Should we take her home?” Sam asked.

“Home?”

“Our coach,” Sam whispered.

“Oh, let her sleep,” Erica said. “She’s still recovering from the trauma. You okay to sit there for a while?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he whispered, petting Mia’s head tenderly. “Poor girl.”

“Want a cup of coffee?” Erica asked.

“Sure, thanks,” Sam said. Erica got up carefully and walked into the kitchen. Garrett and Anna were in the kitchen with Clem and Sarah, all of them looking exhausted.

“Hey,” Erica said as she went to the coffee pot.

“It’s a little stale,” Sarah said. “There’s a smaller coffee pot in the cupboard next to the dishwasher.”

“Okay, thanks,” Erica said, retrieving it. “Any of you interested?”

“Sure, I could drink a cup,” Clem said.

“Me too, come to think of it,” Sarah said. “Thanks.”

“How are you holding up?” Erica asked her.

“I’m numb,” she said. “I can’t even cry now. It’s weird.”

“I’m so sorry,” Erica said.

“How’s Sam doing with Mia?” Anna asked.

“He’s in love with that little girl,” Erica said. “Should have known that would happen. He’s a good man. Even better than I thought when I first met him.”

“Yep, he’s good people,” Garrett said.

“So are you,” Erica said, glancing at him. Anna smiled and nuzzled up against him.

“I’ll say,” she said. “How do you feel about Mia?”

“I know what you’re gonna say,” Erica said. “You sure?”

“Yeah,” Anna said. “You couldn’t raise any of the family, could you?”

Erica stopped spooning coffee into the drip basket and looked at her, shaking her head no.

“Do you want her?” Anna asked.

Erica looked at her, starting to tremble a little, tears running down her cheeks. She nodded yes, looking embarrassed.

“What’s the matter?” Sarah asked.

“I’m afraid I can’t be a good enough mother,” she said.

“Rubbish,” Clem said. “You’ll make a fine mother.”

“And you’ll have Sam to help you,” Garrett said. “I saw how he looked at her.”

“He didn’t have any kids with is first wife,” Erica said.

“First wife?” Sarah asked. “He’s only been married once.”

“He’s married to Erica now,” Anna said. “Or as good as married.”

Erica continued making coffee, feeling a welling of pride within her. She turned and smiled. “This is weird.”

“What?” Anna asked.

“I wanted to have kids with Sam,” she said. “It struck me so fast after we met. I thought I was going nuts. It kept up, too.”

“That’s not weird,” Sarah said.

“No,” Erica said. “Now it’s not urgent anymore. Now I want Mia. I can’t explain that.”

“Biology works in strange ways,” Clem said.

“It does,” Anna said. “Have you two talked about this yet?”

Erica turned on the coffee maker and turned back towards Anna. “No, not in so many words, but we’ve definitely had some non-verbal communication about it.”

Anna chuckled. “Hell, even I picked up on that, and I barely know Sam.”

The coffee maker pulsed, coffee dripping into the pot, the room filling with the aroma. Anna looked up at Garrett. “Maybe we should be off.”

“Where are you two going?” Clem asked. “Upstairs?”

“Clem!” Sarah said. Anna laughed.

“No, he’s taking me to Dodge City, to meet his sister and some other people,” Anna said.

“Oh,” Sarah said. “Is it safe to go there?”

“Sure,” Garrett said. “Probably safer there than it is here.”

“I meant the drive,” Sarah said.

“Oh. Yeah, we’ll be fine. A few others are going with us. Most are staying here, though, at least until the cavalry gets back. They should be here in a half hour or so.”

“Okay,” Sarah said. “Just be careful? Please?”

“We will,” Anna said, getting off the stool. She walked towards the archway into the living room and stopped, turning towards Erica. “You’ve got to see this.”

Erica walked over to her and looked. Sam and Mia were both asleep, looking as peaceful as can be.

“Oh geez,” Erica said. “Guess he’ll have coffee later.”

“They won’t sleep long,” Garrett said. “Those horses will wake them up.”

“Let’s go out the back door so we don’t wake them yet,” Anna whispered. Garrett nodded, and they went through the kitchen slider into the backyard, pulling it closed behind them.

The coffee pot sputtered as it finished. Erica poured three cups, sliding one to Clem and one to Sarah, then taking a sip of hers.

“Thanks,” Clem said, taking a sip. “Wish we could have a little booze in this.”

“We have some,” Sarah said.

“I know, but I’m not comfortable,” Clem said. “I know we’re supposed to be safe and all, but I still want to be alert.”

“Good policy,” Erica said.

“You know, our marriage was having real problems before this craziness started,” Sarah said. “John had a real drinking problem.”

“I remember,” Clem said, watching her start to tear up.

“The old goat had to become such a good man,” she said. “Right before I lost him.” She broke down, Clem and Erica both rushing to hug her.

***

Dean Lambert sat in the cement room next to Hodges and Davis, their hands still bound, their mouths uncovered.

There was a clanking sound, and the heavy metal door creaked open.

“Shit, what now,” Dean Lambert muttered under his breath. Hodges looked over at him, pure hatred in his eyes.

“What are you gonna tell them this time, traitor?” he said, sweat glistening on his bald head.

“Shut the hell up,” Davis said. “Both of you. He scratched his kinky black hair on the wall behind his head.

“Gentlemen, how are you?” Ivan asked, walking in with Mr. White and Mr. Black. “Somebody wanted to see that you were really here. Come on in, Ben.”

Ben Dover walked into the room slowly, his face still battered, his head bandaged. “Hey, no fair, these creeps aren’t beat up as bad as I am.”

“Your name is Kent Garland,” Davis said. “You were in one of my classes. What are you doing with these reactionaries?”

“You don’t know what this little cretin did, do you?” Hodges asked. He spat at Ben, who leapt back to avoid it.

“We don’t need Mr. Hodges anymore,” Ivan said. Mr. Black nodded and walked towards him as his eyes grew wider, grabbing his head with both hands and twisting, a sickening crack reverberating in the cement room. Davis and Lambert both cried out, trying to scoot away from Hodges as he fell, ending up across Davis’s lap. He began to cry.

“There, there,” Ivan said. “You don’t have to suffer the same fate as your friend here. All you have to do is cooperate as well as Dean Lambert has.”

“They’ll kill me,” Davis said.

Ivan chuckled. “Your leadership is the least of your worries. Trust me on that. They’re in more danger from us than you are from them, I guarantee you.”

“What do you want?” Dean Lambert asked. “I’ve already told you everything I know.”

“If that’s the case, you won’t last much longer,” Ivan said. He turned to Ben Dover. “You might want to leave the room. This is liable to get a little intense.”

“I’d rather stay, if you don’t mind,” Ben said.

“You didn’t ask me to call you Kent again,” Ivan said.

“I think I’d rather go by Ben,” he said. “Sounds like a good name for a revolutionary. I might be able to help you steer the questioning. I know a lot of details that you might not.”

“Capitol idea,” Ivan said. “Hey, Mr. White, close t