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.

 

To be continued…

 

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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…
 

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!

 

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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!

 

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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!

 

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Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!

 

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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 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…

 

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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…

 

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 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…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 126 – Rescue

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

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

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

“Don’t worry, sweetie,” Anna said.

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

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

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

“Garrett said they were moving up north.”

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

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

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

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

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

“I hope so,” Anna said.

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

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

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

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

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

“Me too,” Anna said.

“Is Garrett coming too?” Ed asked.

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

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

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

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

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

“Come. Uncle Ji-Ho get for you.”

The two walked into the kitchen together.

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

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

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

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

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

“Go home?”

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

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

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

“Yes,” Anna said. “I do feel it.”

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Three in the morning,” Robbie said.

“You been sleeping?”

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

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

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

“No worry there,” Ivan said.

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

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

“Where’s Tex?” Sparky asked.

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

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

“All done,” Robbie said.

“Me too,” Justin said.

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

“Anything happen yet?” Tex asked.

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

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

***

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

“What happening?” he asked.

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

“Two men are enough?”

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

“Who had that idea?” Mr. White asked.

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

“Good. We go.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Ivan, we finish. Ready for you.”

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

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

“Barricaded?” Ivan asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Lost?” the blonde asked.

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m Samantha,” the blonde said.

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

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

“She’s with him?” Kelly asked.

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

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

Karen looked at her and smiled.

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

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

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

“How many?” Robbie asked.

Four women raised their hands, including Kelly and Samantha.

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

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

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

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

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

“Looking good, boss,” Ben said.

“Damn straight, partner,” Tex said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another pause for editing.

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

Another pause.

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

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

She nodded as he left the screen.

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

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

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

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

To be continued…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!

 

Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!

 

Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!

 

Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store

 

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

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 125 – Night Arrival

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

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

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

Garrett laughed. “Good point.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oops,” Garrett said.

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

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

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

“You got that right,” Clem said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That’s for sure,” Yvonne said.

The coach got hit with gunfire.

“They’ve seen us,” Sam said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yep,” Garrett said.

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

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

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

“I don’t hear gunfire,” Yvonne said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Who’s behind us?” Erica asked.

“Trevor and Kaylee,” Sam said.

“Where’s Tyler?” she asked.

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

Sam shut down and put the coach into siege mode.

***

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

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

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

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

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

“You got that right,” Ted said.

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

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

“That’s for sure,” Haley said.

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

“Where’s Tex and Karen?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Where is it?”

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

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

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

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

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

“The women there yet?” Morgan asked.

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

“You’re all smiles,” Ted said.

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

“He pulled off that attack on the winery?”

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

“They lose anybody?” Sparky asked.

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

“Crap,” Sparky said.

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

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

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

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

“Where’s Ji-Ho?” Ted asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Good,” Morgan said.

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

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

“What part of the video?” Robbie asked.

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

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

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

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

“Folsom State Prison,” Ivan said.

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

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

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

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

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

“Be nice, Jules,” Ivan said.

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

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

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

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

“That good,” Jules said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Are you recording this?” Robbie asked.

“Yes, are,” Mr. White said.

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

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

“Oh, God,” Morgan said, eyes tearing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How many?” Tex asked.

“Nearly hundred,” Mr. White said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The nightmare is never over,” Dana said.

To be continued…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!

 

Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!

 

Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!

 

Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store

 

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

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 124 – Mismatch

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

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

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

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

“Worried about our little girl?”

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

“It is?”

“Yes,” Erica said. “I like it.”

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

They rode silently for a few minutes.

“Our turnoff is coming up,” Erica said.

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

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

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

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

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

Sam followed them onto Vista Sage Lane.

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

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

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

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

“Sharp right-hand turn coming up.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Won’t be long now,” Erica said.

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

“No!” Erica cried.

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

“Talk to me,” Sam said.

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

“You sure?” Sam asked.

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

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

“Why’d you do that?” Erica asked.

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

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

“Let them have it!” Sam said.

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

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

“See where they are?” Erica asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The gunfire subsided and stopped outside.

“It’s over,” Erica said.

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

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

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

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

“The night is young,” Sam said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hey, thanks for the ride,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Great,” Sam said. “See you soon.”

Garrett left.

“I’ll help you reload,” Sid said.

“Yeah, me too,” Clem said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“This is war,” Erica said.

***

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

“They’re sure?” Daan asked.

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

“What are you, stupid?” Daan asked.

“What happened?” Saladin asked.

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

“Yes sir. Sorry sir.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Ivan’s not dead, is he?”

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

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

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

“Someone you know?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Where’s Elk Grove?” Saladin asked.

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

“How are they getting here?”

“UN vans,” Daan said.

“Who’s at the Elk Grove base?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Where?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saladin chuckled. “I can imagine.”

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

“Fun?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes sir,” he said.

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

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

He left the room.

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

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

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

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

Saladin and Daan shot each other a glance.

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

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

“This isn’t good,” Saladin said.

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

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

Daan snickered. “Boys will be boys.”

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

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

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

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

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

“They’re all dead,” Saladin said.

“No they’re not,” Daan said.

“We’ll see. Care to place a wager?”

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

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

To be continued…

 

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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…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!

 

Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!

 

Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!

 

Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store

 

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

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 122 – Street Riot

Saladin and Daan Mertins were through with dinner, and almost through talking. A desert tray was brought in, with some coffee and brandy.

“You know how to live,” Saladin said, picking up a small piece of cheesecake on an ornate plate.

“I try my best,” Daan said. “We must always remain civilized.”

Saladin chuckled. “As we do un-civilized things.”

“It’s for the people’s own good. It’s for equality, and for the environment.”

Saladin laughed. “Keep telling yourself that, brother. It’s really for power, as far as I’m concerned.”

“I thought you’d say it was for your religion.”

Saladin shot him a wicked grin. “That’s a control mechanism. Works well.”

There was a knock on the door.

“Come in,” Daan said.

A UN official came in, looking nervous to see Saladin.

“What is it, Gunter?” Daan asked. He eyed the strong-looking young man, with his good posture and crew cut.

“We just got a tip on the whereabouts of Ivan the Butcher,” he said.

“Oh, really?” Daan said.

“I’m skeptical,” Saladin said.

“Where?” Daan asked.

“He’s in an office building in the financial district,” Gunter said.

“Which city?” Daan asked.

“San Francisco.”

Saladin laughed hard. “He’s right under your nose, in a city that you control?”

“I thought you were skeptical,” Daan said, glancing at him. He looked at Gunter. “Your people are on the way, correct?”

“We wanted to clear it with you first. That’s a densely populated area, and we have a lot of associates nearby. If we get into a shooting battle, there will be some collateral damage.”

“Do your best to be careful, but take him out,” Daan said.

“You don’t want us to capture him?”

Saladin laughed.

“No, I want you to kill him, but don’t mangle his face. We can use the pictures for propaganda.”

“Yes sir,” Gunter said. He turned and left the room, shutting the door behind him.

“Do you believe this?” Saladin asked.

“I don’t know. Maybe. Ivan would love to stick it to us like that. He’s got a history of being right under his enemy’s noses.”

“Maybe,” Saladin said. “You want to go over there?”

“Nope,” Daan said, picking out a desert. “There’s no benefit in that, and he might have the whole damn block rigged to blow.”

“Good point,” Saladin said. “Too bad he’s not on our side.”

“We tried that, early on,” Daan said. “When we were trying to set up new smuggling routes between Eastern Europe and Russia.”

“He wouldn’t play ball?”

“He’s a libertarian,” Daan said. “It’s like a religion to him. Any state who tries to exercise even reasonable control over the population is his enemy. I knew it wouldn’t work, but some of my associates had to see that for themselves.”

“Strange for a Russian,” Saladin said.

Daan laughed. “He’s not Russian. He’s an American. He grew up in Southern California.”

“No, really?” Saladin asked.

“Really. He’s wanted here, of course.”

“He’s wanted everywhere, as far as I can tell,” Saladin said. “I know the feeling.”

Daan snickered. “Yeah, this is true. I can’t go to New York state anymore, as you know.”

“That will change when we’ve consolidated control.”

“Hopefully,” Daan said. “There won’t be any public announcement of that, of course. Even though we’re going to increase government control over the individual, we need to make the people think they’re still free.”

“That’s not going to work,” Saladin said. “You’ll have to make examples of people. You’ll need concentration camps.”

“I know that,” Daan said. “We’ve already been working out plans.”

“How many people are you expecting to put into these camps?”

“Rough estimate?” Daan asked. “About twenty-five million people.”

“That’s a lot of people. How long will they be in these camps?”

Daan gave him a deadpan look.

Saladin chuckled. “Maybe I’m underestimating you. Yes, you’ll have to kill at least that many. Probably more. There are a lot of people in this country who won’t go quietly into a more structured society.”

***

Gunter was nervous, sitting in the back of a UN van, first in a caravan of twenty vehicles. He was wearing full riot gear, and it made him sweat.

“One block away, sir,” the driver said in a French accent. “Where do you want me to park?”

“Right in the middle of the street,” Gunter said. “Set up a perimeter. I want the whole block closed.”

“Well, at least it’s not a busy time,” the driver said. He looked at the man in the passenger seat. “Send the message.”

The man nodded as the van slowed.

“Get ready,” Gunter said to the five men sitting with him in full riot gear. They checked their weapons as the van stopped.

“There you go, sir,” the driver said. Gunter nodded, and opened the door, stepping outside. He looked east on Merchant Street, his heart going into his throat for a moment as he saw the Transamerica building right across the intersection.

“Dammit,” Gunter said.

“What’s wrong, chief?” asked the second man out the door, a large blonde with a Finnish accent.

“Oh, nothing, Aku,” Gunter said. “Just that we’re right next to the most famous building on the whole damn peninsula, that’s all. If Ivan wants to make a big show, this is the place to do it.”

“What about the Golden Gate Bridge?” Aku asked.

Gunter laughed. “No place for a secret base there.”

The rest of the UN Peacekeepers were out of the first van. The vans behind were opening their side doors, men flooding out. Gunter motioned for them to meet him in front of the building, as other UN Peacekeepers set up barricades on both ends of the block.

“The tip is that he’s got the top four floors of that building there,” Gunter said, pointing. “We’ve got a lot of associates in this area, so be careful. We don’t want to kill friendlies. Understand?”

“We get it, sir,” one of the men said in a Spanish accent. “Let’s go get that bastard.”

Gunter nodded, and they rushed across the street, going through the heavy glass doors into the lobby of the building. There was a guard behind a massive desk, eyeing them. He was a black man in his early 50s, built like a linebacker.

“Can I help you?” he asked calmly.

“We need access to the top four floors of this building,” Gunter said. “We have a tip that there’s a wanted fugitive up there.”

“Oh, really,” the guard said. “Then send the real police over here.”

“We are in control,” Gunter said, feeling a sweat breaking out on his forehead, the helmet heavy on his head.

“I’ll take that under advisement,” the Guard said. “Go get the SFPD and we’ll talk. Oh, and you’ll need a warrant, of course.”

“That fugitive will get away if we wait for that,” Gunter said.

“Why are you messing with this guy?” Aku asked. He pointed his weapon at the guard. “Let us in now.”

“No,” the guard said. “Go ahead and shoot me. I’ve got my job to do.”

The sound of police sirens approached, just in earshot.

“That’s going to warn him,” Aku said to Gunter.

“Where’s he gonna go?” Gunter asked. “We have the street blocked off.”

“Listen to your boss,” the guard said.

“Shut up,” Aku said, pointing the rifle at him again.

“That’s not nice,” the guard said, eyeing the angry Peacekeeper as a father would eye a misbehaving child.

“The police are out front,” one of the other Peacekeepers said.

“I’ll go talk to them,” Gunter said. He headed towards the door when the SFPD officers rushed in, wearing riot gear and holding assault weapons.

“Who’s in charge here?” asked a Hispanic officer.

“I am,” Gunter said.

“Why have you started an operation of this size without notification? You are required to clear any such activities with the SFPD. I’m Captain Valencia.”

“We don’t have to notify your department in cases like this,” Gunter said.

“What?” Valencia asked. “Guess I didn’t get that memo.”

“Your entire force received those instructions, so back off right now, Captain.”

“I think I’ll ignore that request,” Valencia said. “Until you tell me exactly what you’re doing here. I’ll relay that to the Chief and we’ll see.”

Gunter shook his head, and motioned for him to move to the corner of the lobby. When they were away from the main group, he got close and whispered. “Ivan the Butcher is on one of the top four floors of this building. We got a tip from a reliable source.”

Captain Valencia laughed. “So, the most wanted man in California has been holed up right in the middle of the San Francisco financial district?”

“As improbable as that sounds, that’s what we’ve been told.”

Valencia shook his head as he walked away, hitting the button on his lapel microphone. He had a quiet conversation, then walked back over. “Okay, the chief is okay with you going in, but if there’s gunplay and somebody gets hurt, you’ll have to answer for that.”

“I can’t shoot anybody during an assault on a known fugitive?”

“Oh, if they start shooting at you, by all means defend yourself, but if you catch this person or any of his associates and can take them alive, you’d better do exactly that. Comprende? There will be no executions here, and we’re going up with you.”

Gunter sighed. “All right, I understand. Will you get us access? The guard is asking for a warrant.”

“I’ll talk to him,” Valencia said. He walked to the guard’s counter and had a hushed conversation with him. Gunter watched as the guard shook his head yes. Valencia came back over.

“Well?” Gunter asked.”

“He’ll allow us to go up,” Valencia said, “but he’s going to notify his superiors, and we’d better not break things up there.”

“We’ll try hard not to,” Gunter said.

“I know, because my men are going with you,” Valencia said.

“Is that really necessary?” Gunter asked.

“Yep,” Valencia said. “I’ve gotten too many reports of you goofs hurting people and going beyond what’s allowed per our Constitution. That’s not going on in my district. Sorry.”

Gunter stared at the man for a moment, trying to cow him, but seeing no breakdown at all. He nodded yes, and started for the elevators.

“Wrong way,” Valencia said. “Stairs. Over to the right. I’ll show you.”

Gunter shrugged, then followed him, motioning to the other Peacekeepers.

They went past the guard’s desk and headed into the stairwell, climbing up twelve floors, all of them winded by the time they reached the bottom of the four floors Ivan was supposed to be on.

Gunter called forward a couple of his men, and they came to the door, guns drawn, ready to enter. They burst through it, expecting to see a multitude of people. There was nobody there. The door opened onto a storage room holding a bunch of audio and visual equipment. The UN Peacekeepers fanned out, looking in all directions. Valencia’s men stayed by the stairwell and watched.

“This is a trap, Captain,” one of the SFPD officers said.

“Makes me wonder, O’Malley,” Valencia said. “I think we’ll just let them search.

“What if it’s booby-trapped?”

Valencia snickered. “What, do you think we should go down a few floors?”

“Yeah,” O’Malley said. “I don’t want to get killed helping these bastards.”

Valencia laughed. “Tell me what you really think.”

“Nobody here,” Gunter said, getting back to the stairwell door. He opened it, getting up the next flight and bursting through the door again. Valencia stayed behind with his men.

“Listen,” Aku whispered as they walked into the hallway. “Hear it? Conversation coming out of that air vent up there.”

“I hear it,” Gunter said. “Check this floor out quickly, but be quiet about it.”

Aku nodded and led the men down the hall, opening each door slowly and looking inside. They were back in a few seconds.

“Storage again,” Aku said. “Next floor?”

“Yeah,” Gunter said, looking nervous.

“What happened to the SFPD?”

“Guess they thought this wasn’t interesting,” Gunter said. “Good, that gives us a free hand. I thought I was going to have to kill all of them.”

Aku snickered, and they went back into the stairwell, heading up the next flight. The sound of people was louder by the door. They burst through, all the men rushing into the hallway. There were double doors, which opened into a reception room with an empty desk. The conversation was coming through the single door to the back.

“By the numbers,” Gunter whispered. “This is it.”

They snuck towards the door, Aku by the handle, Gunter behind him with his assault rifle pointed at the door. Aku ripped open the door, and there was a huge explosion, filling the room with smoke and debris, the men closest to the door killed instantly. Two men closest to the stairwell door survived, crawling on the floor, going through the door. Valencia and his men rushed up the stairs, guns drawn.

“Where’s the rest of them?” O’Malley asked one of the survivors.

“All over the room,” he said, fainting, the bloody gash on his abdomen showing.

“Hans!” said the other man, bleeding heavily from his upper arm.

Valencia got on his radio. “Booby trap. Most of the UN team bought it. I’ve got two survivors up here. Send the med unit.”

“Knew it,” O’Malley said.

Valencia shot him a glance, putting his finger to his lips.

***

The last of the battle wagons pulled into the big auto dealership showroom, parking next to the window. The door opened, Ted climbing out, Haley, Brianna, and Stacey following.

“Not exactly out of sight here,” he said.

“Don’t worry, this isn’t visible from any part of the road,” Tex said, walking over to them.

“And we control rest of the facilities, including the new UN base,” Jules said. “Just got a text from Ivan. He said to turn on the news.”

“There’s a TV in the service waiting lounge, right back here,” Allison said. She led people back there. Stacey found the remote and switched it on.

“Holy crap, what’s going on there?” Morgan asked. The screen showed a high-rise with the top floors billowing smoke through broken windows, the Transamerica building in the background.

“Did our side do that?” Robbie asked.

The newsreader came on.

“This is the scene of an attempt to capture Ivan the Butcher in the San Francisco financial district tonight. Investigators are at the scene now, trying to piece together what happened as the fire department works the remaining flames.”

He’s not dead, is he?” Brianna asked.

Jules chuckled. “No, I just get text from him. He on way here. Left boobytrap.”

“We’ve just been told that the floor where the explosion happened was the scene of a large meeting. There were voices heard from the stairwell. Body parts litter the floor at this grisly scene. No word on the condition or whereabouts of Ivan the Butcher or his team. UN Peacekeepers ran this operation. All but two of them were killed by the explosion. SFPD was also on scene, but were on a lower floor at the time of the incident.”

“This is a riot,” Justin said.

“No it’s not,” Katie said. “People got killed.”

Bad guys got killed,” Justin said.

“It’s just been reported that remnants of Ivan the Butcher’s signature fedora and pinstriped suit have been found at the scene, covered in blood and tissue. The coroner has rushed these items to the lab to test for Ivan the Butcher’s DNA. It is on file after an arrest in Brussels several years ago.”

“Now it get funny,” Jules said.

“Why?” Shelly asked.

“Ivan had blood drawn, smear over clothes and hat,” Jules said.

Tex laughed hard. “That son of a bitch.”

“Wonder how long they’ll run the story that he’s dead?” Ted asked.

“Not long, he do TV appearance from our target building tomorrow,” Jules said. “Ladies, if you still want to testify, that will be chance.”

“I do,” Morgan said.

“Me too,” Allison said.

Several of the other women nodded in agreement.

“Hopefully we can actually pull off a rescue this time,” Ted said. “We need to be very careful tomorrow.”

“Planned to T,” Jules said. “Mr. White and Mr. Black are already there, holding initial team hostage with families there. They make sure no escape, and do best to protect women.”

“Look at the trained monkey,” Justin said, pointing to the screen.

“That’s the Lieutenant Governor,” Ted said. “That’s not the State Capitol building, though. At least it’s not the usual place where they do press conferences.”

“We bring you to Acting Governor Lance Kreski,” the announcer said.

“Fellow citizens,” Kreski said. “We have all watched this horrible incident unfold tonight. I want to assure you that we will investigate this fully. The loss of life was horrendous. An unknown number of criminals working with Ivan the Butcher were killed, along with seventeen of our UN Peacekeepers, who have come here at great sacrifice to get us through this difficult time.”

“Look at him,” Ted said. “His eyes are watering and darting around, and he’s as thin as a rail. He’s been under house arrest.”

“He has,” Jules said. “All California state elected officials held at Folsom Prison. Mr. White and Mr. Black will lead team to spring them after this job.”

“We sure all of them are worth springing?” Ted asked. “This jackass played right into the hands of the martial law and UN occupation.”

“Look at that guy,” Allison said. “He’s scared to death.”

“Wish he’d shut his pie hole,” Cody said. “Not interested.”

“He’s done,” Ted said. “Something’s happening. Look at the grin on that newsreader’s face.”

“Just in,” the newsreader said. “The coroner has announced that we do have a match of blood type and DNA to Ivan the Butcher, found on the fedora and clothes. Ivan the Butcher’s reign of terror has ended.”

Jules practically fell on the floor laughing, Tex and Ted joining in, then Robbie and others.

“This rich,” Jules said. “Wait till tomorrow. We make monkey of press and officials, no?”

“Hey, guys, social media is going nuts,” Robbie said, looking at his phone.

“Really?” Tex asked. “What are you seeing, partner?”

“Calls to riot in the streets,” Robbie said. “Ivan’s got a whole lot more fans up here than I thought.

“Look, on the screen,” Shelly said, watching a flood of civilians rushing into the street by the smoking building, pushing the news people out of the way as the SFPD and UN Peacekeepers tried to hold them back.

“It be long night for enemy,” Jules said. “Wait till we nail them tomorrow.”

To be continued…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!

 

Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!

 

Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!

 

Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store

 

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

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 121 – Blood Samples

Garrett and his men rode through the gate at the Williams place and trotted towards the big lawn in front of the house. He dismounted, turning to see Anna coming towards him in a flat-out run. She leapt into his arms, kissing him hard, her arms around his waist.

“I was so scared when I heard,” she said. “You’re not wounded?”

“No, but I lost my hat,” he said. “Got shot right off my head.”

“I can’t believe we lost Zac and Bradley.”

“I know, neither can I,” he said, walking his horse to a hitching post. He tied the reins onto it, and followed Anna onto the veranda. Ji-Ho was sitting there with Sid, Clem, and Sam.

“How many get away?” Ji-Ho asked.

“We never saw the whole force,” Garrett said, sitting down next to Anna on the porch swing. “We killed quite a few, but I had a bad feeling. When are we gonna hit their base? Might be good to hit it sooner rather than later.”

“We talking about now,” Ji-Ho said. “Jamul next target. Too far for Julian forces to stop us.”

“How many UN Peacekeepers in the Jamul location?”

“Two hundred,” Ji-Ho said, “but most consist of brass, there for training and strategy development.”

“If we hit them, it’s like cutting the head off the snake,” Clem said.

“How many more are gonna show up?” Garrett asked.

“Less than expect,” Ji-Ho said. “Intelligence say large group of UN Peacekeepers going to Bay Area, not south.”

“I see movement of Islamists,” Sam said. “Coming south on I-5, mostly.”

“They change strategy,” Ji-Ho said. “Use UN north, Islamist here to re-open I-8. Otherwise they starve for fighters.”

“That intelligence or a guess?” Sid asked.

Ji-Ho chuckled. “Guess, but educated one. Tidbits of info from Ivan help put pieces together.”

“I think he’s right,” Sam said. “We need to nail those UN leadership folks in Jamul before they move north to shore up the UN Peacekeepers on the way to the northern base.”

“They not leave yet,” Ji-Ho said. “Ivan make big mess up north. Take out communications installation. They back to cell phones, and Ivan can hack.”

“You think the enemy is going to wait to move them north until they replace their installation?” Sid asked.

“Good chance,” Ji-Ho said.

“Maybe we need to go hit that base today,” Garrett said.

“Don’t you need to rest up a little?” Anna asked.

“We do when dark,” Ji-Ho said. “Take nap now. We meet again at seven. Work for everyone?”

There were nods of agreement around the veranda.

Garrett stood. “That’s our cue.”

“Don’t waste time going back home,” Anna said. “I’ve got a room upstairs.”

“I was hoping you’d suggest that.”

“I’ll take you up there, and then leave you,” Anna said. “I’ve got things to do.”

“Like what?” Garrett asked as he stood.

“I’m going to introduce Mia to the other women, and help her get comfortable,” Anna said, shooting a glance at Sam. “That way Sam and Erica can still fight when needed.”

“Thank you,” Sam said.

“Okay, I’ll see you in a few hours,” Garrett said. He followed Anna into the house and up the stairs.

“It’s this room,” Anna said. “Feel free.”

“Thanks,” he said, pulling her into his arms. “I had you on my mind the whole time I was gone.”

“Later,” she said, backing away. “Sleep.”

He nodded, watching her leave the room, shutting the door behind herself. He stripped and climbed into her bed, asleep within minutes.

***

Ivan sat behind his desk as the camera shut down. He looked over at Ben Dover and chuckled.

“We have them on the run,” he said.

“Hope so,” Ben said. “What’s next?”

“For TV? The women.”

“They’re really going through with that?” Ben asked. “Do they even need to now?”

“There are still forces in the media trying to combat the truth,” Ivan said. “Hard to argue against the testimony of living victims.”

“They’ll just say it’s phony,” Ben said.

“Of course they will, but the people aren’t going to buy it,” he said. “It’s one more thing. Drip drip drip.”

“Where we gonna do that?” Ben asked.

“Elk Grove, just south of Sacramento,” Ivan said. “We’ve tracked one of the bases that had women captives to that city.”

“We’re gonna try a rescue again?” Ben asked.

“Yes, and hopefully it’ll be successful this time. We can go in there without having to do a large frontal assault. The situation is like what we had at the Torrance Civic Center.”

“Mr. Black told me about that,” Ben said. “Sounded like it was a pretty hairy operation.”

“It was, but we had the element of surprise,” Ivan said. “We also had a talented team.”

“You’re not going to tell me details, are you?”

“It’s on a need-to-know basis,” Ivan said. “You don’t need to know. Jules doesn’t even know the whole plan. Right now he just knows to move up I-5. I’ll be sending instructions for the location in a few minutes.”

Ben sat silently for a moment. “We aren’t doing the broadcast from the new base, are we?”

“That’s more than I’m going to say right now,” Ivan said.

“Shit, it’s going to be from the rescue scene,” Ben said.

“I told you I wasn’t going to talk yet. You’ll be told when it’s time. Trust me. It’s better this way for everybody involved.”

Ivan’s phone rang. “I’ve got to take this,” he said. “Pack your stuff. You’re leaving with the others in ten minutes.”

Ben nodded and got up, heading for the door. He turned for a moment as the phone rang. “Be careful, boss.”

Ivan nodded, then put the phone to his ear and accepted the call, watching Ben leave the room before he spoke. “Mr. Black?”

“Yes, boss. Everything in place. We have head of infrastructure captive, and brought his family here. Mr. White with them. He play ball. We set up video equipment now. Hiding will be easy.”

“Excellent,” Ivan said. “Will the location work for an easy escape?”

“Yes, once we finish. Piece of cake. Where we go afterwards?”

“You and Mr. White are going to Folsom. I’ve got a job there for you.”

“Okay, whatever you want, boss,” Mr. Black said. “You can send team here now. We ready.”

“The rest of the buildings are empty, correct?”

“Yes, boss, they vacant for while. Lots of room to hide. Out of sight.”

“Good,” Ivan said.

“Any big fish coming?” Mr. Black asked.

“Not here, but we release big fish in Folsom afterwards.”

“Okay, I wait. Be careful. Don’t get caught.”

“I won’t,” Ivan said. “Talk to you soon. Call me if anything unexpected happens.”

“Yes sir.” The call ended, and Ivan put the phone in his pocket, then picked up the phone receiver on the land line. “I’m ready. Hurry. I need to be out of here in ten minutes.”

He hung up the phone, then stood behind his desk, taking his fedora off, then stripping out of his pin-striped suit. There was a knock on the door.

“Come,” Ivan said. He watched as two women in white lab coats came in, pushing a stainless-steel cart. The top held a blood-drawing kit. The shelf underneath had a cardboard box on it, bent and soggy, a mangled hand sticking out of the top, just touching the top shelf.

“Ready, sir?” asked the brunette in a Russian accent.

“Yep,” he said, sitting back down in his chair. The woman picked up the blood drawing equipment and walked over to him. The other woman, a slim blonde, wrestled the box off the cart and put it on the floor, then shoved the empty cart through the door into the hallway. She laid two arms and a leg on the desk, then watched as the brunette tied a piece of surgical tubing around Ivan’s upper arm and cleaned around the veins on his inner elbow.

“Small pinch,” she said, slipping the needle in, then filling several vials. The blonde picked the first one up and used a small stick to transfer blood onto the open parts of the arms and leg, making sure she got good coverage around ripped veins and arteries. Three more vials were filled. The nurse bandaged Ivan’s elbow, and he got out of the chair, grabbing one of the vials and pouring his blood onto the inside of the fedora and the suit.

“Spit on the upper part of the suit jacket,” the brunette said, “and drool on the desk. Get it nice and wet.”

“Sounds like good instructions for later,” Ivan said, shooting her a wicked grin.

“Behave self,” the blonde said as she finished with the arms and leg.

“Won’t they wonder where the torso and head went?” Ivan asked. “And the other leg, for that matter.”

“No problem, we set up blast so most would be liquified,” the brunette said. “They’d eventually figure out.”

“They see you live before they finish forensics,” the blonde said. “Why bother?”

“They’ll go live on their propaganda outlets about my death,” Ivan said. “They won’t be able to help themselves. We’ll make monkeys out of all of them.”

The blonde shook her head, smirking at him and the other woman. There was a knock on the door.

“That must be the demolition team,” Ivan said. “You about done, ladies?”

“Da,” the brunette said. “Don’t get killed. We see in new location.”

“Yes,” Ivan said. The brunette opened the door, and several men rushed in, wearing surgical outfits, complete with masks and booties. One of them tossed a small gym bag on the couch across from the desk. Ivan went to it, pulling out clothes and putting them on. Blue jeans and a white t-shirt. He watched as the explosives were placed around the room and underneath his desk. One of the men was working a trigger mechanism, and he put it on the door, moving it open and closed to ensure that it was working correctly.

“I’m ready to leave,” Ivan said. “How long before I can send out the tip?”

“Give us ten minutes after you leave,” one of the men said, his voice partially muffled behind the mask.

“Make it fifteen,” said another of the men. “We still have to get in the car and split.”

“Got it.” Ivan smiled at them, then rushed out the door, joining others who were cueing up at the elevator. He rode it down with the next group, landing in the underground parking structure. Ben saw him walk up and snickered.

“Wow, you look like a frigging middle-class family man in that getup,” Ben said.

“Good,” Ivan said. “Ready?”

“This van is waiting for us,” he said. The two men got in, and the van took off, climbing out of the parking structure, making a right turn onto the busy San Francisco street.

“Which way we going?” Ben asked.

“We’re taking I-80 across the bridge, then all the way to Sacramento. We’ll go through the city to the south side.”

They settled in for the ride.

***

Jules was driving the battle wagon, Sparky in the passenger seat, Dana and Shelly on the couch behind them. Their phones all dinged.

“Somebody check,” Jules said. “I driving.”

Sparky pulled the phone out of his pocket and looked. “Elk Grove Auto Mall,” he said. “Southeast section. Dodge Chrysler Jeep underground structure and Subaru underground structure.”

Jules grinned ear to ear. “Good.”

“Aren’t people going to notice us there?” Dana asked.

“Right off freeway,” Jules said. “Deserted.”

“This freeway?” Sparky asked.

“No, Highway 99,” Jules said. “We cross over on Highway 12. It’s  late at night. We sneak in.”

“This sounds kinda risky,” Shelly said.

“How are we gonna get these damn things into an underground parking lot?” Sparky asked.

“Trust me, we fit,” Jules said.

“How do you know?” Sparky asked.

“Ivan planned,” he said.

“Ivan planned the communications center hit,” Sparky said. “We had tanks waiting for us.”

“This I know,” Jules said. “He working to find out what happen there, but if we stop trusting because of one mistake, game over.”

“Somebody died,” Dana said.

“I know,” Jules said. “Sorry, but war is war. Changes happen on ground. Most Ivan setups work well, though, no?”

“I get your point,” Sparky said. “Can’t blame us for wondering a little bit, though.”

“Right,” Jules said. “Can’t blame.”

“If we’re going to take Highway 12, better get ready,” Shelly said. “It’s coming up in three miles.”

“Thank you,” Jules said. He glanced over at Sparky, who was looking at his phone. “Problem?”

“Highway 12 isn’t a freeway, you know. It’s got stop lights, especially when we get close to Highway 99.”

“We spaced out,” Jules said. “Should be fine. It’s dark, too.”

“No hits on the apps,” Shelly said.

“That doesn’t help us with the UN,” Sparky said.

“True,” Jules said, “so keep eyes peeled, be ready to fight if we need.”

“I texted the others,” Shelly said.

“Good, thanks,” Jules said. he took the off-ramp, settling onto Highway 12, which ran through a rural area with wineries and lots of farmland.

“It’s peaceful,” Sparky said. “I’ll give you that.”

“There’s the residential area,” Dana said. “What town is this?”

“Lodi,” Shelly said.

“Nice little town,” Jules said. “Nobody on street.”

“Wonder if they’ve moved a lot of the people out of here?” Sparky asked. “To urbanize the population.”

Jules snickered. “They still trying, but people mad now. Helps us. Lots of vacant places to hide.”

“Except we stick out like a sore thumb,” Dana said.

“Look, freeway ahead,” Sparky said. “We make it. Highway 99 be fine.”

“Make a left under the freeway,” Shelly said. “The onramp is real close.”

Jules nodded, rolling through the intersection and turning left. The ramp was before them, and he drove up it. “There, see, we made it, no?”

“So far,” Sparky said. “Wonder if everybody else is okay?”

“No messages so far, and everybody responded to the text I sent them about Highway 12,” Shelly said. “I think we’ll be okay.”

“I hope so,” Dana said. Sparky got out of the passenger seat and went to sit with her.

“Take the passenger seat,” he said to Shelly.

She got up and sat there, looking over at Jules. “You’re so confident, even when the rest of us are scared.”

“This a must for commander,” Jules said. “You know this.”

“Yes, I know this,” she said. “I’d trust you with my life. I’m not as sure about Ivan, but if you think he’s trustworthy, I’ll go along.”

“He is,” Jules said, “but he can’t control all.”

“I know,” Shelly said. “Wish this had a bench seat. I’d cuddle next to you.”

He glanced at her, smiling. “I know, me too. We be there soon. Not long way.”

The coach cruised quietly on the road, engine barely audible in the front half of the coach, through miles of farm land.

“It looks like the farms are being run,” Shelly said.

“Must,” Jules said. “California farms important. That’s why freeway not shut down. Truck traffic has to continue, or society fall apart, no good for us or enemy.”

“Who’s running the state? That Lieutenant Governor?”

“Kreski,” Jules said. He looked at her and grinned. “Blow hard is face of government, but not run. Daan run.”

“How?” Shelly asked. “Why don’t the elected officials rebel?”

Jules chuckled. “Some like what they do, push for it before. Green living, everybody in their cubbyholes by work, no private cars. They think they in charge with UN as helper.”

“Not all of them are that stupid.”

“True,” Jules said. “Some in on it. Many profit. State legislators get rich. Until we stop fun.”

“What will happen to them if we win?” Shelly asked.

“When we win,” Jules corrected. “Always have positive thoughts.”

“Okay, when we win,” she said. “Are we gonna line them up against the wall or something?”

“Some, maybe. Most do jail time.”

“Are you going to stay here? After the war’s over?” Shelly watched him as he looked at her, then back at the road.

“We talk already. I be where you happy. Can run family business from where ever.”

“Are you still sure you want me after this?”

“Yes, sure. You?”

“Yes,” she said. “It’s all I think about when we’re not in the middle of craziness.”

“Rough times coming, but get better fast. You see.”

“Think we’ll survive?” Shelly asked.

“Yes,” Jules said. “I think, and you think that too, even if hard.”

“Look, we’re on the outskirts of Elk Grove.”

“Told you short drive,” Jules said. “Check apps, then find me off-ramp by Auto Mall, but must enter from southeast. Probably enemy target area in north part of complex.”

“Do you know this place?” Shelly asked as she looked at her phone.

“Looked, considered buying in with Volvo dealership,” Jules said. “Huge facility. Linked utilities, shared gasoline and other supplies.”

“Why didn’t you go for it?”

“Fees too high,” Jules said. “Rather be on own, like in Culver City.”

“That isn’t a real business, though, is it?”

“Not at first. Money laundering at first, and smuggling. Now just tax write-off, mainly. All legit. Sell big.”

“How many dealerships do you have?”

“Six,” Jules said.

“Wow. How much money do you have, anyway?”

“Enough to buy private jet if want,” he said. “I try to live normal life.”

“Good,” Shelly said. “We’ve got a problem, if you want to avoid the north side of the mall.”

“No good off-ramp before?”

“Worse than that. No way to cross road except for on Elk Grove Blvd. We’ll have to get on that and come back south.”

“Text Ivan, let him know we might be visible from north part of mall,” Jules said.

She typed the text and sent it. Her phone dinged about five seconds later. “He says don’t worry about it.”

“Good, then he already has trap location under control,” Jules said.

“Get off on East Stockton and make a left. Follow it around and make a left on Elk Grove, then go over the freeway and make a left on Auto Center Drive. Then left on Laguna Grove. That will wind around to the dealership you were talking about.”

“Watch, remind if I miss one. Lot to remember.”

“You got it, Jules.”

“We almost there?” Sparky asked.

“Yep,” Jules said. He took the off-ramp and followed Shelly’s instructions, only needing to be reminded on one of the roads.

“There,” Shelly said, pointing. “To the left, See it? Big Jeep sign.”

“Yes, I see,” he said, making the turn onto the lot. He approached the service bay, and Mr. Black appeared, guiding him to the massive showroom instead of the underground lot.

“Guess we not going in garage after all,” Jules said. He rolled the coach onto the linoleum floor of the showroom, pulling forward as directed by Mr. White, who was inside.

“Those guys are scary looking,” Shelly whispered.

“They worse than they look,” Jules said, “but they on our side. You know this…they help during your rescue.” He shut down the engine. Mr. White gave a thumbs up, and walked away.

“This is kinda exposed, isn’t it?” Sparky asked.

“We won’t be here for long, and we can crash out any of these windows if we need.”

Jules went to the door of the coach and opened it, stepping down to greet Mr. White.

“When next coming, my friend?” Mr. White asked.

Shelly climbed out, looking at her text messages. “Next one in about two minutes. It’s Tex’s coach.”

“Good,” Mr. White said. “Food in conference room down hall. Enjoy. I spread word.”

“Thank you,” Shelly said.

To be continued…

 

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

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

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…

 

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 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…

 

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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 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!

 

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 112 – Captives

The choppers on the roof of the Mertins Administration building started their engines as gunfire raged around them, explosions going off on the floor below them. One of the choppers leaned as the roof over the big conference room started to collapse, the chopper sliding sideways down into the building, exploding with a huge fireball. The other two choppers tried to lift off. Commandos approached from the far side of the roof, unsteady as the building shook, trying to get a bead on the closest chopper with their RPG. Then machinegun fire erupted from the third chopper, cutting down the team, the RPG falling to the composite roofing.

“Back off!” shouted the voice over the headsets. The commandos running to take the place of the first team dived behind cover as more machinegun fire came at them.

“Don’t worry about the choppers,” the voice on the headset cried. “Nobody from the building was able to get on. This is just the chopper crews trying to save themselves. Concentrate on officials running around. The routes to the roof have all been destroyed.”

“Roger that,” said the leader of the second team, who peered over the edge of the roof. “Van trying to escape below. You see it?”

“We’re heading towards it, but still a lot of snipers. Take out if you can.”

“You got it,” the Commando said, getting up, sprinting towards the RPG, picking it up. Blood dripped off it as he ran to the side of the roof. Machinegun fire started again from the chopper, the commando bobbing and weaving through what little cover there was while the other commandos fired their M-16s at the chopper, killing the pilot and copilot. The chopper went out of control, slamming into the third chopper, both of them exploding.

“Shoot that van,” shouted the man on the headset.

The commando aimed the RPG and fired, hitting the van, exploding it in front of the gate.

“Nice, that blocked their exit,” the voice over the headsets shouted.

“Glad to be of service,” the commando said. “Crap, get ready. There’s a line of vans headed our way.”

“Where they come from?” Jules asked over the headset.

“Alpha One, good to hear your voice. Nice job on those enemy choppers.”

“Where they come from,” Jules repeated.

“Oh, sorry sir. Coming on Route 17, good clip. I see about twenty of them.”

“Vans only, or military vehicles?” Jules asked.

“Vans…no, wait. I see two Gaz Tigrs.”

“Okay, we attack,” Jules said. “Everybody hear?”

“I got you, partner,” Tex said.

“Yeah, we heard you,” Robbie said. “On our way. You want us up on the freeway?”

“Yes, going wrong way,” Jules said. “I be there quick.”

“Be careful, chief,” the commando said. “We’re almost done here. Killed all of the leadership.”

“Oh, crap, more choppers,” the commando on the roof said. “Scratch that. Those are TV choppers. They’re filming.”

“Leave them be,” Jules said. “Ivan need footage for show.”

Several people on the radio chuckled.

***

Daan sat in the passenger seat of the van, at the back of the caravan, his first lieutenant driving, headset on, brow furrowed.

“We shouldn’t go in there so fast, boss,” the lieutenant said. “In fact, you shouldn’t even be here. It’s too dangerous.”

“Shut up, Hanson,” Daan said. “That’s my place.”

 

Hanson’s eyes squinted as he listened to a message coming in. Daan noticed.

“What?”

“I got intel from the lead,” Hanson said. “The entire leadership bought it.”

“What about the choppers?”

“The ones on the roof? Destroyed, but the leadership had no chance to get up there anyway.”

“And the two I sent to help?” Daan asked.

“Destroyed before they got there. Crap.”

“What?” Daan asked.

“The new UN base got destroyed,” he said. “Overwhelming force of citizen fighters aided by MERCs. The ammo storage blew. I told you we shouldn’t put it inside, even temporarily.”

“This is Ivan,” Daan said. “I’m going to skin him alive.”

Hanson looked forward, afraid to say anything, then his eyes grew wide. “What the hell is that?”

“What?” Daan asked, looking up from his cellphone screen. He froze, sweat breaking out on his forehead. “They’re coming the wrong way on the freeway? What are those things? They look like buses.”

“That one has a minigun on the roof,” Hanson cried. They both watched in horror as the two Gaz Tigrs exploded in a hail of lead.

“Dammit, all of those things have miniguns,” Daan said. “I thought that was only a prototype.”

“What? You knew about these things?”

“We nailed one in central California, remember? And that damn Ji-Ho had one in the south. Almost wasted it, but he limped away.”

“Oh, the battle in Julian,” Hanson said. “Sir, we’d better turn around now.”

“Yes, do it,” Daan said. “Go to the alternate location.”

Hanson slowed quickly as several vans in front of them blew up, then made a sweeping u-turn as machinegun fire ripped into the roof of the van, going through the driver’s seat, guts and brains slamming into the front windshield as Daan looked on, horrified. He held on tight as the van went out of control, rolling onto the driver’s side and sliding to a stop against the center divider.

“Hanson!” Daan shouted, struggling to climb out. The door was jammed. He grabbed Hanson’s rifle and shot through the passenger side window, then scrambled out and ran off the freeway as the other vans were blown to bits with minigun fire and grenades.

***

“That got them,” Robbie said, watching the UN Vans burn on the road ahead. “Should we go check them out?”

“That’s a negative,” Ted said over the headphones.

“Yes, Ted right,” Jules said. “Retract weapons. Turn around, head north on this road. I send text with GPS coordinates for each coach. All separate RV parks. We reconnect before rescue operation. Nice work, everybody. Turn off headsets when text come.”

“Wow, that was a rush,” Morgan said, her face flushed. “I could get used to this.”

Robbie glanced at her, smiling. “Yep, gets your blood up, that’s for sure.” He got the rig turned around, and retracted the weapons systems.

“I wish we could pull over right now,” Morgan said.

“Why?”

“Guess,” she said, shooting him a sexy grin.

“Oh,” he said sheepishly. “Yeah, I could really get into that now, but it’ll have to wait.” Both of their phones dinged.

“Watch the road,” Morgan said. “I’ll look up where our GPS coordinates take us and guide us there.”

“Hope we don’t run into trouble on the way.”

“Just drive casual,” Morgan said as she looked at her screen. “Ah, there we go.”

“Where?”

“Way east,” she said. “Take the 280 to the 680. I’ll guide you after that.”

“What’s it near?”

“It’s southeast of Livermore,” she said. “Looks like a pretty rustic place.”

“How long will it take?”

“Just over an hour, if we don’t run into any problems,” she said.

“I doubt we will, from what we heard about the attack on the UN Headquarters.”

Morgan snickered. “Yeah, why would those morons put so much ammo in their headquarters? Seems pretty stupid.”

“I suspect it was temporary, and we lucked out. Where’s everybody else going?”

“All over the damn place,” Morgan said. “We’re a good sixty miles from the nearest of our friends.”

“Who’s closest?”

“Cody and Allison,” she said. “Ted’s about eighty miles.”

“Where’s Jules?”

She looked at her screen for a couple minutes. “Someplace called Dublin. You aren’t still worried about him, are you?”

“No,” Robbie said. “How’s he going to handle the folks that don’t have the apps?”

“Every coach has a laptop with the new app, remember?” It’s got the normal long-range app on it too.”

“But not the short-range app,” Robbie said. “That one might be the most important, since it doesn’t require LTE.”

“I’m looking at that matrix of coaches and people that Shelly put together. There’s only two coaches that don’t have leadership people in them.”

“I know, Justin and Gil,” Robbie said. “Text one of them and see if they’ve been sent the apps. If not, I need to get on the horn with Jules.”

She nodded, moving her fingers on the screen, sending a text. “I sent a broadcast to the two of them.”

“Good,” Robbie said, hands gripping the wheel. “Here comes the 280.”

“It just turns into the 680, by the way.” Her phone dinged. “Text from Justin.” She smiled. “He got the apps.”

“Gil?”

“Not back yet,” she said. “Give it time.”

“Okay.” He made the transition to the 280. “This road is deserted.”

“Not surprising,” Morgan said. “Wonder if we’ll see any checkpoints?”

“Not on the freeway. Do we have much in the way of surface streets to deal with?”

“We go from the 680 to a much smaller road. Route 84. Looks like it goes through the residential part of Livermore.”

“Freeway or highway with stops?” Robbie asked.

“Looking.” She focused on her phone for a moment. “Crap. Big street, but there are stop signs and such.”

“Are there other ways there?”

She looked closer. “Not better than this way. There’s mountains we have to go around after we leave Livermore. No shortcut to there that I can see, at least with a road vehicle. We should trust Jules, though. I’m sure they thought through these spots.”

“Hope so,” Robbie said.

They rode silently for a while, the freeway transitioning from 280 to 680, then going into rugged terrain.

“Really deserted out here,” Morgan said.

“Yep. Wish we still were towing the Jeep. We’ll probably need to get some food.”

“There’s quite a bit of stuff in the freezer,” Morgan said. “I checked before we took off this morning. Quite a bit of food in the pantry too, but some of it might be bad now. Wouldn’t trust the loaf of bread that’s in there.”

“At least we can tell by looking.”

“It won’t be long before we hit the beginnings of Livermore,” Morgan said, looking at her phone again. “What do we do if there’s a checkpoint?”

“Fight our way through, I guess,” Robbie said. “We’re sure as hell not letting them search us.”

“We’re probably dead if it comes to that,” Morgan said. “How can we outrun anybody in this thing?”

“We have a lot of firepower,” Robbie said, “but you’re right. It’ll be tough. You know it’s possible that we’re being tracked via satellite right now. All of us.”

“I don’t think so,” Morgan said.

“Why not?”

“They would’ve found us at that winery,” she said. “Think about it.”

“Good point,” Robbie said. “Thanks, that makes me feel a little better. We’re getting into town.” He slowed as the road went from freeway to highway. The side streets were nearly empty, with only an occasional car or truck. There was a semi rig ahead of them and a couple of cars behind them. Robbie’s eyes kept darting between his mirrors and windshield, as Morgan looked nervously out the passenger side window.

“So far so good,” she muttered under her breath.

“Traffic light ahead,” Robbie said, rolling to a stop.

“Look, there used to be a checkpoint here,” Morgan whispered. “See the barricades over there?”

“So why is it not running now, I wonder?”

“Maybe because of that big shindig that we messed up in San Jose,” Morgan said.

They cruised along, going through several lights, and then Robbie’s eyes lingered more on the rearview mirror.

“What?” Morgan asked.

“We’re being followed by a cop.”

“Oh no,” Morgan said.

“Don’t get upset yet,” Robbie said. “There’s a big difference between a cop and the UN.”

***

“No luck?” Erica asked. Sam put his cellphone and the address book down on the coffee table in front of the couch. He shook his head no. Mia was sleeping next to them on the couch, her head on Sam’s lap. Most of the people had left the house after the meeting, and it was quiet.

“Should we take her home?” Sam asked.

“Home?”

“Our coach,” Sam whispered.

“Oh, let her sleep,” Erica said. “She’s still recovering from the trauma. You okay to sit there for a while?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he whispered, petting Mia’s head tenderly. “Poor girl.”

“Want a cup of coffee?” Erica asked.

“Sure, thanks,” Sam said. Erica got up carefully and walked into the kitchen. Garrett and Anna were in the kitchen with Clem and Sarah, all of them looking exhausted.

“Hey,” Erica said as she went to the coffee pot.

“It’s a little stale,” Sarah said. “There’s a smaller coffee pot in the cupboard next to the dishwasher.”

“Okay, thanks,” Erica said, retrieving it. “Any of you interested?”

“Sure, I could drink a cup,” Clem said.

“Me too, come to think of it,” Sarah said. “Thanks.”

“How are you holding up?” Erica asked her.

“I’m numb,” she said. “I can’t even cry now. It’s weird.”

“I’m so sorry,” Erica said.

“How’s Sam doing with Mia?” Anna asked.

“He’s in love with that little girl,” Erica said. “Should have known that would happen. He’s a good man. Even better than I thought when I first met him.”

“Yep, he’s good people,” Garrett said.

“So are you,” Erica said, glancing at him. Anna smiled and nuzzled up against him.

“I’ll say,” she said. “How do you feel about Mia?”

“I know what you’re gonna say,” Erica said. “You sure?”

“Yeah,” Anna said. “You couldn’t raise any of the family, could you?”

Erica stopped spooning coffee into the drip basket and looked at her, shaking her head no.

“Do you want her?” Anna asked.

Erica looked at her, starting to tremble a little, tears running down her cheeks. She nodded yes, looking embarrassed.

“What’s the matter?” Sarah asked.

“I’m afraid I can’t be a good enough mother,” she said.

“Rubbish,” Clem said. “You’ll make a fine mother.”

“And you’ll have Sam to help you,” Garrett said. “I saw how he looked at her.”

“He didn’t have any kids with is first wife,” Erica said.

“First wife?” Sarah asked. “He’s only been married once.”

“He’s married to Erica now,” Anna said. “Or as good as married.”

Erica continued making coffee, feeling a welling of pride within her. She turned and smiled. “This is weird.”

“What?” Anna asked.

“I wanted to have kids with Sam,” she said. “It struck me so fast after we met. I thought I was going nuts. It kept up, too.”

“That’s not weird,” Sarah said.

“No,” Erica said. “Now it’s not urgent anymore. Now I want Mia. I can’t explain that.”

“Biology works in strange ways,” Clem said.

“It does,” Anna said. “Have you two talked about this yet?”

Erica turned on the coffee maker and turned back towards Anna. “No, not in so many words, but we’ve definitely had some non-verbal communication about it.”

Anna chuckled. “Hell, even I picked up on that, and I barely know Sam.”

The coffee maker pulsed, coffee dripping into the pot, the room filling with the aroma. Anna looked up at Garrett. “Maybe we should be off.”

“Where are you two going?” Clem asked. “Upstairs?”

“Clem!” Sarah said. Anna laughed.

“No, he’s taking me to Dodge City, to meet his sister and some other people,” Anna said.

“Oh,” Sarah said. “Is it safe to go there?”

“Sure,” Garrett said. “Probably safer there than it is here.”

“I meant the drive,” Sarah said.

“Oh. Yeah, we’ll be fine. A few others are going with us. Most are staying here, though, at least until the cavalry gets back. They should be here in a half hour or so.”

“Okay,” Sarah said. “Just be careful? Please?”

“We will,” Anna said, getting off the stool. She walked towards the archway into the living room and stopped, turning towards Erica. “You’ve got to see this.”

Erica walked over to her and looked. Sam and Mia were both asleep, looking as peaceful as can be.

“Oh geez,” Erica said. “Guess he’ll have coffee later.”

“They won’t sleep long,” Garrett said. “Those horses will wake them up.”

“Let’s go out the back door so we don’t wake them yet,” Anna whispered. Garrett nodded, and they went through the kitchen slider into the backyard, pulling it closed behind them.

The coffee pot sputtered as it finished. Erica poured three cups, sliding one to Clem and one to Sarah, then taking a sip of hers.

“Thanks,” Clem said, taking a sip. “Wish we could have a little booze in this.”

“We have some,” Sarah said.

“I know, but I’m not comfortable,” Clem said. “I know we’re supposed to be safe and all, but I still want to be alert.”

“Good policy,” Erica said.

“You know, our marriage was having real problems before this craziness started,” Sarah said. “John had a real drinking problem.”

“I remember,” Clem said, watching her start to tear up.

“The old goat had to become such a good man,” she said. “Right before I lost him.” She broke down, Clem and Erica both rushing to hug her.

***

Dean Lambert sat in the cement room next to Hodges and Davis, their hands still bound, their mouths uncovered.

There was a clanking sound, and the heavy metal door creaked open.

“Shit, what now,” Dean Lambert muttered under his breath. Hodges looked over at him, pure hatred in his eyes.

“What are you gonna tell them this time, traitor?” he said, sweat glistening on his bald head.

“Shut the hell up,” Davis said. “Both of you. He scratched his kinky black hair on the wall behind his head.

“Gentlemen, how are you?” Ivan asked, walking in with Mr. White and Mr. Black. “Somebody wanted to see that you were really here. Come on in, Ben.”

Ben Dover walked into the room slowly, his face still battered, his head bandaged. “Hey, no fair, these creeps aren’t beat up as bad as I am.”

“Your name is Kent Garland,” Davis said. “You were in one of my classes. What are you doing with these reactionaries?”

“You don’t know what this little cretin did, do you?” Hodges asked. He spat at Ben, who leapt back to avoid it.

“We don’t need Mr. Hodges anymore,” Ivan said. Mr. Black nodded and walked towards him as his eyes grew wider, grabbing his head with both hands and twisting, a sickening crack reverberating in the cement room. Davis and Lambert both cried out, trying to scoot away from Hodges as he fell, ending up across Davis’s lap. He began to cry.

“There, there,” Ivan said. “You don’t have to suffer the same fate as your friend here. All you have to do is cooperate as well as Dean Lambert has.”

“They’ll kill me,” Davis said.

Ivan chuckled. “Your leadership is the least of your worries. Trust me on that. They’re in more danger from us than you are from them, I guarantee you.”

“What do you want?” Dean Lambert asked. “I’ve already told you everything I know.”

“If that’s the case, you won’t last much longer,” Ivan said. He turned to Ben Dover. “You might want to leave the room. This is liable to get a little intense.”

“I’d rather stay, if you don’t mind,” Ben said.

“You didn’t ask me to call you Kent again,” Ivan said.

“I think I’d rather go by Ben,” he said. “Sounds like a good name for a revolutionary. I might be able to help you steer the questioning. I know a lot of details that you might not.”

“Capitol idea,” Ivan said. “Hey, Mr. White, close the door, would you please?”

He nodded, his bulky figure moving towards the door, slamming it shut so hard the walls shook.

To be continued…

 

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

 

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

 

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!

 

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 111 – Re-plan

“This technology is amazing,” Shelly said, watching the laptop screen as enemy fighters and patriots moved around the building, inside and outside.

Jules nodded as his phone dinged. He checked the text message and grinned. “Commando team at UN Regional Headquarters in place. Waiting for attack to start here.”

“Good,” Shelly said. “I think our assets outside the building are rounding up enemy fighters now. They aren’t using many UN Peacekeepers in there, are they?”

“Mostly Islamist,” Jules said. “UN slugs have rough few weeks. Short-handed. Experiment failing. Many are deserting, trying to leave state.”

“Don’t blame them,” Shelly said. “They’re probably not use to dealing with an armed population.”

“Look,” Jules said, pointing to screen. “Commandos going inside building. See?”

The headphone scratched. “Alpha one, inside main hallway, middle of target building.”

“We see you,” Shelly said. “That hallway is clear. Go past three hallways that intersect. Turn right on the fourth one, which leads to the conference room. Many Islamists in that hallway, so be ready.”

“Roger that, Alpha One. Three choppers on roof. You guys see that?”

“Crap,” Jules said. “Taken out?”

“No sir, noise would’ve spoiled the party. Our assets have them in sight, but they might be tough to disable with small arms fire. That’s mainly what we have on the roof. Will get RPGs on the roof after outside enemy fighters are neutralized.”

“They have to fly over our assets to get to UN base,” Jules said. “We have miniguns.”

“Hope it doesn’t come to that, but if it does, good backstop. Just make sure you get them.”

“If they make it to UN headquarters, they die,” Jules said.

“Going down fourth hallway,” the voice on the headset said. “Enemy fighters ahead. They’ve made us. We’re attacking now.” There was the sound of machinegun fire.

“Whoa, look at that conference room,” Shelly said. “Looks like somebody poured gasoline on an ant hill.”

“Action on roof and parking lot,” Jules said. “See that?”

“Listen,” Shelly whispered. “Hear the gunfire?”

“Yes,” Jules said. “Battle rages now.”

“Surprised we aren’t getting more vocal traffic from the headsets.”

“They busy,” Jules said. “They already know where enemy is.”

“Better tell them about that,” Shelly said, pointing at the screen. “See them? Group coming in from parking lot.”

“Headsets chasing them,” Jules said.

“Wow,” Shelly said.

The headsets scratched. “Parking lot locked down, Alpha One. Heading to roof with RPG. Heavy fighting inside building. Main room barricaded. Taking explosives in.”

“Good,” Jules said, his brow furrowed. He sent a text.

“What are you sending?” Shelly asked.

“See people heading for roof? Want our units in siege mode, ready with miniguns.”

“Oh,” Shelly said. “Yeah, I see what you’re talking about.”

He sent the text, then set up siege mode on their coach.

“That gun might stick up far enough for somebody to see it past this fence,” Shelly said.

“Yes, be ready. Keep eyes open. Get console going for forward and rear machine guns. I man minigun just in case.”

Shelly nodded, listening to the whir of motors as siege mode locked into place.

Jules’s phone dinged.

“Our people?” Shelly asked.

Jules snickered after looking at the phone. “No, report from UN assault. Done. They had ammo stored in building. Went up. Entire building in flames. Big mess.”

“If the choppers find out about it, they might go a different direction,” Shelly said.

“Maybe we should move closer,” Jules said.

Just then his phone dinged again. He looked. “Ted and Sparky. They want to move to site. Afraid choppers go other way now.”

“You think that’s a good idea? Two of our best people in an exposed tin can doesn’t thrill me.”

“It be okay, we lock down site outside now.”

Shelly looked at him nervously. “Maybe we should send more than one unit.”

“Not unless need,” Jules said, replying to the text.

“Hope this isn’t a mistake.”

“I tell them to go on other side of site and hide out,” Jules said.

The headset scratched again. “Alpha one, through doors, at least half of people inside killed by blast. Others trying to escape to roof as we suspected. RPGs up there now.”

“Listen,” Shelly whispered. “Choppers.”

“Dammit,” Jules said, getting on his minigun sight, looking around. “Enemy chopper, going to help.” He turned the minigun on, and pointed it at the sky.

“Be careful,” Shelly said.

Jules grinned. “I got you, suckers.” He fired, hitting the belly of the chopper, watching it come apart in the air.

“That’s not the only one,” Shelly said. “Listen. They’re liable to come for us.”

Jules nodded, listening and watching. A chopper appeared, heading right for them. Jules fired. “It’s coming in fast, getting ready to fire missiles.”

“Shoot it down!” Shelly shouted, panic in her eyes. Jules fired, but then there was more gunfire from the other direction, the chopper exploding overhead.

“Another coach help,” Jules said. “Brace. Debris coming down.”

There were explosions around them as pieces of chopper rained around the schoolyard they were hidden in, fires starting on some of the buildings.

“We go,” Jules said. “If that building by driveway burn, we can’t get past.” He took the rig out of siege mode and started the engine, then raced out as the rest of the school buildings went up in flames, hitting the street, making a left turn.

“Where are we going?” Shelly asked, eyes scanning the street ahead.

“Far side of site, like Ted and Sparky,” Jules said.

“We’ll be out in the open,” Shelly said.

“Trees by reservoirs,” Jules said. “I try there. Keep eyes open, man machine guns and grenade launcher.”

She nodded, fear in her eyes.

***

Ji-Ho pulled into the driveway of the Williams Place, Garrett sitting in the passenger seat next to him. Some of the coaches were already there, others behind them. Car loads of Garrett’s men were with them as well, but the cavalry was far behind, half of them going to Dodge City, the others coming to the Williams place.

“Right decision,” Garrett said.

“Yes, is,” Ji-Ho said as he backed into his spot. “Here she come.”

Garrett watched out the window as Anna ran towards the coach. “Mind?”

“Go be with woman,” Ji-Ho said. “We meet in couple hours.”

Garrett left the coach, running towards her in his boots, almost falling down. They embraced on the pasture. Garrett pulled back to look at her face, then kissed her with passion.

“Thank God you guys made it back here okay,” she said.

“You’re glad to see me, aren’t you?”

She laughed. “We’re going to be more than friends. Fair warning.”

He smiled at her and kissed her again as Ji-Ho and some of the others walked by them, heading for the house.

“We have an audience,” she whispered to Garrett.

“Don’t care,” he said, kissing her again. “We’d better settle down a little, I guess.”

“Yes, save it up for later,” she said. “I hear we have a little girl coming.”

“Mia,” Garrett said. “Such a cute little thing. She’s with Sam and Erica.”

“They’re going to raise her,” Anna said.

“I think we’re gonna try to find some relatives,” Garrett said.

“We won’t,” Anna said. “They’re all dead.”

“How do you know that?”

“I just know. I saw them with a daughter. Didn’t understand that the timing was all off. Now I get it.”

“Wait, are you some kind of witch doctor or something?” he asked, smiling at her.

“More like a medicine woman,” Anna said, “but only for certain things. Mainly relationship things.” Her brow furrowed.

“What?”

“Wish it was for more than that,” she said. “I wish I would’ve seen through the traitor.”

“That wasn’t your fault,” Garrett said. “You aren’t feeling guilty, are you?”

“No,” she said. “Still nothing on Ed, I take it.”

“Nothing,” Garrett said. “I send three of my best trackers out to look for him before the battle started, but it’ll be like looking for a needle in a haystack, I’m afraid. That damn hovercraft of his doesn’t leave much behind to track.”

They walked onto the veranda. People were starting to congregate there, as battle wagons and cars continued coming in the gate every few minutes.

“That’s almost all of them,” Seth said, walking up with Kaitlyn. Megan and Angel followed.

“Hey, mom,” Kaitlyn said.

“Hi, Kaitlyn,” she said, leaving Garrett’s side to hug her and then Seth.

“Nothing on Ed?” Megan asked.

“Nope, not yet,” Anna said. “Garrett’s got some trackers looking.”

“There’s Trevor and Kaylee,” Seth said, watching as they approached.

“When are we meeting?” Trevor asked.

“Ji-Ho said a couple hours,” Garrett said.

“You’re more anxious than I am,” Kaylee said.

“We won’t go on the attack right away, I suspect,” Angel said.

“I don’t know,” Trevor said. “If we don’t, we’re liable to see the enemy coming here.”

“They don’t have enough people,” Garrett said.

“Then why didn’t we go on to Julian?” Angel asked.

“They’re gonna be dug in,” Trevor said, “and they’re expecting us. It’s easier to defend than it is to assault.”

“Yep,” Garrett said. “We would’ve won, but the cost would’ve been too high. It was way too high as it was.”

Trevor nodded in agreement.

“Here comes Sam and Erica’s rig,” Kaitlyn said. “They’re going to keep that girl, aren’t they?”

Anna looked at her and shook her head yes.

“Huh?” Seth asked quietly.

“Later,” Kaitlyn whispered. Anna smirked.

“Look at how darling she is,” Anna said, watching them approach, Mia between Sam and Erica, holding their hands.

“Don’t get any ideas,” Garrett said. He pulled Anna close and chuckled.

Anna rolled her eyes, then walked down to greet them.

“Is this Mia?” she asked, squatting down in front of them.

“Yes,” Erica said. “Isn’t she a doll?”

“Glad you feel that way,” Anna said, glancing up at her.

“Shut up,” Erica whispered. Sam shot them a sidelong glance.

“What?”

“Nothing,” Erica whispered. They went towards the house.

“Do you like ice cream, Mia?” Anna asked.

She smiled, shaking her head yes.

“Good,” Anna said. “There’s some inside. Come on.”

Anna held out her hand, and Mia took it as Erica and Sam watched.

“We should follow,” Sam said, brow furrowed.

“You don’t trust Anna?” Erica asked.

“No, no, it’s not that,” he said. “It just makes me uncomfortable when she’s out of sight, that’s all.”

Kaitlyn snickered. Erica shot her a glance and shook her head.

“Okay, honey, let’s go. Maybe we can have some ice cream too.”

The couple went inside the house.

“What the hell?” Seth asked.

“My mom,” Kaitlyn said. “She has the sight. Sometimes I do too. I have this strong feeling that Mia is gonna stay with Sam and Erica.”

“Oh really?” Seth asked. “What else do you see? Do I get to keep you barefoot and pregnant?”

“I never go barefoot,” she said. Seth chuckled.

“When are we getting married? Seth asked.

“We’ll have to wait,” Kaitlyn said. “At least if we want Tyler involved. We’ve got James to take care of. Hopefully we don’t have Ed to take care of too. I’m scared to death for him.”

“I know, he didn’t carry that much in the way of food and water on that hovercraft.”

Ji-Ho came out of his rig, looking tired. Kaylee saw him and rushed over.

“You having that problem again, uncle?”

“No, I fine, just tired,” Ji-Ho said. “Talking to Ivan. Big deal happening now up north. Many friends involved.”

“Is it going well?” Kaylee asked.

“Sound like,” Ji-Ho said. “Still very dangerous.”

“Maybe we should have the meeting sooner rather than later, so you can relax,” Trevor said as he walked up.

“How many coach not back?”

“They’re all back,” Trevor said. “Sid and Yvonne just drove in. There’s still a few of Garrett’s people coming in, though.”

“Where Garrett?” Ji-Ho asked.

“He went into the house with Anna,” Kaylee said. “To feed Mia some ice cream.”

Ji-Ho smiled. “Good. I get ready. Pass word. Meeting in five minutes, in house. Air conditioner running?”

“Last I was in there, yes,” Kaylee said.

“Good,” Ji-Ho said, starting for the house. Trevor rushed over to Seth and Angel and talked to them for a second, and then they all started spreading the news about the meeting.

Everybody was in the house in about five minutes. Ji-Ho stood up in the front. Kaylee and Trevor rushed into the kitchen, grabbing one of the tall stools that was at the counter. Ji-Ho smiled at them and got on.

“Thanks, all,” Ji-Ho said. “We make brief, then rest up.”

Sam and Erica sat on the couch, Anna and Garrett joining them. Mia climbed onto Sam’s lap, still eating ice cream.

“All of you know we lost people,” Ji-Ho said. “Moment of silence for James and John please. They were brave, gave their lives for liberty.”

A hush came over the room, broken by sniffling and crying. Sarah left the room, not able to contain herself.

“Okay,” Ji-Ho said. “We have ceremony soon. Now let’s talk.”

“Anything on Ed?” Ryan asked.

“I’ve got men trying to track him down,” Garrett said.

“Hear from them lately?” Tyler asked.

“No,” Garrett said. “I’ll call them when we’re done here.”

“I might want to go search too,” Tyler said.

“Let’s talk first, then decide,” Ji-Ho said. “As you know, we have large group of enemy fighters in Julian. They dig in.”

“We also have UN Peacekeepers in the mix, and we can’t see them with the apps,” Clem said.

“I don’t think it worth risk to hit Julian with frontal attack,” Ji-Ho said. “There are other targets we can hit, though.”

“Do we know where the supply depot is for the Julian operation?”

“Yes, do,” Ji-Ho said. “They expect us to hit there. Dug in too. Can tell.”

“Yeah, I’m seeing that too,” Trevor said. “They’re waiting for us. You can tell by where the icons are.”

“That right,” Ji-Ho said. “I talk to Ivan a little while ago. He has new prisoners. Got information we can use.”

“Like what?” Sam asked.

“UN bring in reinforcements for Southern California. We find out where secret base is.”

“We did, huh?” Garrett asked. “Where?”

“Jamul,” Ji-Ho said. “Waiting for more intelligence from Ivan.”

“Are they there already?” Sam asked.

“Leadership and some of the peacekeepers. Might need to transfer some up north after what Ivan do today.” He laughed.

“They still mixing with the Islamists?” Garrett asked.

“Yes, are,” Ji-Ho said. “Small force of Islamists in Jamul, though. Bulk still around Julian and also northeast. Ramona and Fernbrook.”

“Hell, we chased them out of some of those locations already,” Sid said.

“Understand,” Ji-Ho said. “We can’t occupy and lock down unless robust citizenry there. The enemy still in trouble around populated areas of LA and Orange County. No need to operate there now. Citizens have control, elect local governance, organize militias.”

“Well, that’s good,” Yvonne said. “Why does this area continue to be a problem?”

“Border, I suspect,” Garrett said.

“Yes, border,” Ji-Ho said. “New UN base planned to be large. They will battle with US Armed forces for control of Route 125. Our job is to stop them from getting strong enough.”

“If they get control of that road, we’ll have a constant flow of enemy fighters coming in,” Sid said.

“Yep,” Ji-Ho said. “Very bad. Must stop.”

“What about Julian?” Garrett asked. “If we move a bunch of our people away from here to attack Jamul, the bad guys from Julian will move in and attack our loved ones here.”

“We have to move them away,” Ji-Ho said, “but no worry yet. We can leave enough here to defend for now. Should dig in, though, like they have in Julian.”

“What good is Julian doing them?” Angel asked.

“Interstate 8,” Garrett said. “It’s vulnerable. Not enough resources to protect it if they attack and take control. They want to open both I-8 and Route 125.”

“And we can’t let them do that,” Sam said. “When do you expect the info we need for the first attack?”

“Tonight or early tomorrow,” Ji-Ho said, “so relax for now. Rest up. Gonna get crazy again soon.”

There were murmurs around the room.

“When are we doing memorials for John and James?” Sarah asked, leaning against the wall by the door.

“I say we try to do them late tomorrow,” Tyler said.

“I second that,” Ryan said.

“Fine with me,” Ji-Ho said. “I’ll leave you to your planning now. Need to rest.” He struggled to get off the stool, Trevor and Kaylee rushing to help him.

“He’s not in good shape, is he?” Erica asked under her breath.

“No,” Sam said. “We need to protect him.”

***

Daan Mertins sat on a couch in the posh office of the Chancellor at UC Santa Cruz. A very uncomfortable academic sat behind the desk. Saladin sat in a chair close to the door, exasperated look on his face.

“I can’t believe you morons can’t handle a little resistance,” Saladin spat. “You guys are as bad as Sable was.”

“Zip it, skippy, or I’ll yank your leash,” Daan said, sitting up straighter. “Chancellor Wilson, did you know that Dean Lambert was dipping his wick in that damn coed?”

Chancellor Wilson loosened his tie, his double chin sagging in relief. “This specific girl? No.”

“Oh, so there’s been more, huh?” Daan asked.

“Please, let’s stop the bullshit,” Saladin said. “We heard the tape of your conversation with him. He offered her to you, and you took it to a worse level.”

“What’s he talking about?” Wilson asked.

“Daan here likes them about five years younger,” Saladin said.

“Knock it off,” Daan said. “I mean it. If we get Dean Lambert back, I’m gonna gut him for those tapes. You get all of them away from the police?”

“Yes, and we washed down the scene too,” Wilson said. “This is not what I signed up for.”

“Hope you washed the body,” Saladin said. “If his DNA is inside her, it’ll start a real mess. The press is friendly unless there’s a sex scandal they can pounce on. They just can’t help themselves.”

“We’ll deal with this ridiculous freedom of the press after we’ve consolidated our control over the population,” Daan said.

Saladin laughed again. “Yeah, I’ll believe that when I see it.”

“I’ve had enough of you,” Daan said, pulling his phone out of his pocket. He walked away, having a hushed conversation.

“Don’t you know it’s rude to talk on the phone while there are others in the meeting?” Saladin asked.

Daan slipped the phone back in his pocket. “Rank has its privileges. I was just talking to your boss.”

“About what?” Saladin asked.

“I just suggested that you need to be involved in the set-up of the new base in Capitol Reef.”

Saladin snickered. “I’ve already discussed it with him. I’m going there anyway. You had nothing to do with it.”

“True, but I got it moved up. You need to be away from here while we solve this problem. More heavy-handed crap like you pulled at that abandoned prison isn’t going to help us. Remember what that led to.”

“What are you talking about?” Wilson asked.

“Sable’s assassination,” Daan said. “This idiot took that upon himself. Didn’t know that all that data was going to get released as a result.”

“It was a minor problem,” Saladin said. “We got past it.”

“And I want to get past this one, too, so you’re out of here tomorrow morning. You might want to go pack.”

Saladin stood up, sneered at Daan, and left the room in a huff. Wilson looked like he wanted to hide under his desk.

“Relax, Henry,” Daan said. “You’re not in trouble. Neither is he, really, but we need him out of here before he pulls some stupid stunt that makes things worse.” His phone dinged. Daan looked at the incoming text message, his eyes wide.

“What?”

“My factory is under attack,” Daan said, heading for the door in a panic.

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 110 – Rear Fire

Sam and Erica sat in their coach with Mia, who was at the dinette eating some food. Erica had bathed her and helped her into fresh clothes.

“Clem, Sid, and Yvonne have been in Sarah’s coach for a while now,” Erica whispered. “This is horrible.”

“Yes, and it’s not the last of it,” Sam said softly. “We’re getting in deeper, and the enemy knows how much of a threat we are. More of our people are going to die.”

“They’re preparing Julian for us right now, I’m sure,” Erica whispered. “We’ll be lucky if they don’t try anything at home.”

“Home?”

“The Williams place and Dodge City,” she said. “We need intelligence on Julian before we go in there. We’ll need to send in scouts. Our best.”

“I know,” Sam said. “Damn UN. Can’t completely trust the apps because of those losers.”

“We should try to sleep,” Erica said. “I think we’d better bring Mia into bed with us.”

“I know,” Sam said. “Don’t want her waking up early and either leaving or messing with the weapons systems.”

“We really need to get her back to the Williams place,” Erica said. “This is a battle party. It’s no place for a little girl.”

“How do we do that? Take the Jeep. Leave the rig here?”

“Maybe,” Erica said. “Let’s sleep on it, okay?”

“Probably best,” Sam said. He studied her worried look. “They aren’t going to win.”

She sighed. “I know, but how many of us are gonna die before they’re defeated?”

“Look, Sid and Yvonne are leaving the coach. Maybe Clem will stay with her.”

“Sid’s typing something on his phone,” Sam whispered. His phone dinged. “Thought so.” He looked at the message.

She’s taking it hard. Clem will stay night. We should talk in the morning. Maybe we go home and regroup.

Sam showed the message to Erica. She nodded in agreement. Sam sent a response, then put his phone down.

“It’s probably for the better,” she said. “We need to plan the attack on Julian. It’s going to be huge. That town is too spread out, and there’s lots of places where they can dig in.”

“Maybe we leave them there and attack something else,” Sam said. “They’re expecting us to attack there. Even with our numbers, they’ll be ready, and they’ll kill a lot of our people. Better to draw them out. Take their strategy away from them.”

“I’m tired,” Mia said.

“I know, honey,” she said. “We’re all going to bed.”

“Protecting her is job one,” Sam whispered, tears in his eyes.

“I know, honey,” Erica said.

***

Mr. Black and Mr. White hid in the bushes by the windows of Dean Lambert’s office, watching him rise and fall on top of the pretty blonde coed.

“Wimp,” Mr. White whispered.

“Wait till he finish, then we take,” Mr. Black whispered.

“Think the old goat can?” Mr. White whispered. They both snickered. “We take her?”

Mr. Black shook his head no.

“We let go?”

Mr. Black shook his head no again.

“Oh, I get. We kill. His DNA inside.”

Mr. Black shot him a deadpan look. “Look, he finish.” They watched as Dean Lambert rolled off of the girl. “Now.”

The huge men rushed to the door, breaking it down like it was made of cardboard. Avril screamed, sitting up, covering her breasts. Mr. Black pulled his silenced handgun and shot her in the forehead.

“No!” Dean Lambert shouted. “Don’t kill me!”

“Don’t worry, we not kill you yet, scumbag,” Mr. White said, reaching down and yanking him to his feet with one hand. “Come, we leave now.” He pulled the naked Dean out the door and into a van parked in back, throwing him in with the two others.

“Hodges! Davis!” Lambert shouted. They looked back at him, duct tape covering their mouths, hands bound behind their backs, terror in their eyes. Mr. Black came into the back as Mr. White drove away.

“What are you doing? Do you know who I am?”

Mr. Black unrolled some duct tape and bound his hands behind his back, then covered his mouth. “Your wife arrives at office any minute. She thinks you have heart attack. She might have heart attack when she see.”

Dean Lambert’s eyes were wide. He struggled against the tape on his wrists. Mr. Black elbowed him hard in the face, breaking his nose, causing him to pass out. Then Mr. Black went back to the passenger seat.

“Night night?” Mr. White asked.

Mr. Black nodded yes. Several police cars and a paramedic unit flew by them in the opposite lane, sirens blaring as they made their way to Lambert’s office. Mr. White chuckled.

***

Tex was sitting next to Karen on the couch when a text came in. He looked at his phone.

“Meeting?” Karen asked.

“Yep,” Tex said. “Let’s get ready to go.”

“Maybe it’s time to attack,” she said, worried look on her face.

“Could be, little lady,” he said. They went out the door. Others were walking towards the patio behind the house. It was mid-morning, the sun burning hot already.

“Look, Ted and Haley are holding hands,” Karen whispered.

“Saw that coming,” Tex said. “Jules is already set up.”

“With Shelly,” Karen said. “Those two are peas in a pod.”

“Yep,” Tex said. They took seats towards the front as the others arrived.

Jules stood and raised his hands. “Hello all, thanks for coming.”

“We gonna attack?” Justin asked.

“Yes, and timeline short, so we need to meet quick and get on road. VIP scum attending conference at Mertins plant. We wipe out.”

Shelly nodded, and the TV screen next to Jules showed a satellite shot of the facility.

“That place is huge,” Ted said.

“Yes, is,” Jules said. “Now look.” An overlay covered the picture, showing icons in various places in the building, and some around the grounds and by the parking lots.

“That looks different than our apps,” Tex said.

“New,” Jules said. “High resolution view. Used to rescue General Hogan. We can zero in on right part of building when enemy meetings go on.”

“So we’re getting new apps?” Robbie asked.

“This PC only,” Jules said. “Takes too much power to put on iOS or Android devices.”

“What are we gonna do with that?” Ted asked. “It’s not like we have laser target designators and smart bombs.”

“We sneak in nearby, then watch where enemy personnel are using the laptops. Ivan’s commandos rush in and kill bad guys. We communicate, act as eyes. There is extra enhancement, too. Headsets visible on screen. We can see where commandos are as well as enemy.”

“Wow,” Karen whispered to Tex. He nodded, brow furrowed.

“Hope we’ve got a lot of commandos, partner,” Tex said. “Looks like a death trap.”

“We have two thousand men,” Jules said. “Another thousand in reserve. Plus us.”

“Geez,” Sparky said.

“We also on hand to prevent escape,” Jules said.

“We can use this new technology for the rescues, too, can’t we?” Morgan asked.

“Yes,” Jules said. “Laptops and headsets inside house, set up and running. For each rig. We train now. Leave in two hours.”

“Wait, honey, let’s show them where we’re parking first,” Shelly said.

“Oh, yes, sorry,” Jules said. “Area bounded by Winchester Boulevard, West Valley Freeway, San Thomas Expressway, and Los Gatos Creek.”

“What’s that water?” Ted asked. “Looks like a reservoir system.”

“Yes, prevent escape that direction,” Jules said, getting next to the screen to point. “We stop along roads off Winchester. Here, here, here, here, and here. Escape through this maze of roads.”

“What’s to prevent them from blocking our rigs in and taking us?” Ted asked.

“You let me worry about,” Jules said. “Ivan and I have something special planned for certain key roads, and attack happen on UN base of operations at same time.”

“Geez, how many people are involved with this operation?”

“More than ten thousand,” Jules said. “Including rogue law enforcement personnel who were supposed to be security for this event.”

Tex laughed. “We turned them, huh?”

Jules nodded his head yes. “We go over assignments for each specific rig. Have easy part of battle.”

“Uh huh,” Ted said. “We’d better get busy. I’m not comfortable enough with the plans.”

“Yes, I knew,” Jules said. “You help develop now. You’re on board, no?”

Ted sighed, looking at Haley. “Yeah, we’re on board.”

The group focused on where each rig would park, what the escape routes were, and how to use the headsets and app. After that was over, everybody went into the house and got training on the new apps and the headset radios.

“Wow,” Karen whispered. “This is a professional hit, isn’t it?”

Tex nodded yes. “We’re gonna cream these folks. Big time.”

“Okay, let’s get into our rigs and take off,” Shelly said. “Staggered exit. Five minutes apart.”

“There’s our cue,” Tex said, picking up the laptop and headsets for their rig. They headed out along with the others. Soon there were diesels starting, and coaches pulling away, leaving at five-minute intervals.

“Almost our turn,” Karen said as they waited at the stop sign. Tex’s phone buzzed, and he drove onto the street, making a right turn. “Glad we’re not taking Route 17 all the way in. There’s that massive interchange right by the target. Seems like we’d be too visible to anybody watching.”

“Seriously,” Tex said. “We are on it for a while, though.”

“We’re getting off at Saratoga Los Gatos,” she said. “I’ll navigate you there, honey.”

“Excellent,” Tex said. “There’s Route 17.” He turned onto it and sped up.

“We’re going to have to run our generator if the laptop battery gets too low,” Karen said.

“Hell, I doubt we’ll use up all the battery,” Tex said. “Supposed to be good for five hours.”

“Not much traffic,” Karen said.

“They’ve got everything locked down. Can’t wait for Ivan to go public with Ben Dover.”

“When are we going public. About the rapes?”

Tex looked over at her. “I wish you didn’t have to do that.”

“I want to do it. You won’t be ashamed that people know, will you?”

“No, of course not,” Tex said. “I’m proud that you’re my woman. I’ll always be proud, no matter what.”

“I like that,” Karen said. “I like being your woman. Didn’t see that coming.”

“I did,” Tex said.

“Look down there.” Karen pointed. There was a checkpoint on a major street below the freeway. UN Peacekeepers with their blue helmets were beating an old man senseless with their batons as his wife looked on.

“Bastards,” Tex said. “They’ll get theirs.”

“And then some,” Karen said. “My teachers in school always talked up the UN as the future for mankind. What morons.”

“The teachers in Texas weren’t like that, except for in places like Austin.”

“What part of Texas are you from?”

“West Texas,” he said. “Long line of cattle ranchers.”

“Which city?”

Tex chuckled. “We were between cities. I’m a country boy. The closest city was Lubbock.”

“How’d you end up in California?”

“I got caught outside of Texas after they shut down the borders,” Tex said. “Couldn’t get back in, so I figured I’d spend some time with Sparky. Didn’t expect this to be old home week.”

“Old home week?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Tex said. “I never expected to see Jules or Ted. That was a nice surprise.”

“Do you wish you were in Texas?”

“No,” Tex said.

“Why?”

“Because I wouldn’t have met you,” he said. “We getting close?”

“Oh,” she said, breaking out of her trance. “Three more miles. Sorry.”

Tex watched her red hair swaying as she looked at her phone. “You’re so gorgeous.”

“Stop,” she said, smiling at him. “Are you going back to Texas when this is over?”

“If you’ll go with me,” Tex said. “We don’t have to. I’d like to visit pretty often, though.”

“I have nothing holding me to California,” Karen said. “You’re all I have, actually. I’ll go wherever you want to go.”

“It’ll be a joint decision,” Tex said.

“There’s the off-ramp.”

Tex nodded, moving into the right lane. He took the ramp, getting onto the surface street.

“Wow, it’s even deserted down here, and this is a big street,” Karen said.

Tex was watching his rearview mirror. “Open the target console.”

“Oh, crap, what do you see?”

“UN Vehicle. They’ve noticed us. They’re getting ready to pull us over.”

“What are we gonna do?”

“Well, it’s not a van. I can see all the way inside, and there’s only two people. Think you can hit both the driver and the passenger with the rear machine guns?”

Karen had the console pulled out, and looked at the target reticle. “I see them. They need to be a little closer.”

“They just turned on their red light,” Tex said. “Good, nobody around. I don’t see anybody on the road for the next several blocks.”

“Nobody behind us either. Slow down a little bit, like you’re getting ready to pull over.”

Tex chuckled as he slowed.

“Come to papa,” Karen said. “Or should I say mama?”

“God, I love this woman,” Tex muttered.

Machine gun fire blasted out the rear of the coach, smashing through the windshield of the UN vehicle, hitting both occupants square in the face. The vehicle rolled to a stop against the curb, hitting a parked car. Tex sped back up to speed, eyes darting between the road ahead and the mirrors.

“Hope they didn’t call in a description,” Karen said. “Hey, there’s people running out to the vehicle. One of them looked at us and gave a thumb up.”

Tex laughed. “I’m telling you, the people around here don’t like this martial law garbage one bit, and they hate the UN. We’ll have plenty of help.”

“I hope you’re right about that,” Karen said. “I’m gonna leave the console out.”

“Good idea,” Tex said.

“Turn right on Daves Avenue. It’s coming up in a few blocks. We’ll follow that around until we get to our parking place.”

“Okay,” Tex said. He made the turn. “This is a nice street. Plenty of tree cover. Not much traffic. Just residential.”

“Also a hard place to escape from,” Karen said, watching out the window. “Think that church parking lot will be safe enough?”

“Yeah,” Tex said. “It’s not visible from the street.”

“We need to park so we can drive out in a hurry.”

“Don’t worry, little lady,” Tex said. “We’re holding a good hand. We’ll be fine.”

They cruised down the quiet tree-lined street as it curved to the right twice, then to the left.

“Home stretch,” Karen said.

“Nice houses back here,” Tex said. “Looks like a good place to raise a family, except for the murderous UN thugs and Islamists.”

Karen laughed. “There’s a good point. See the church up ahead?”

“Yep,” Tex said. “That’s a tight driveway.”

“I’m sure you’ll make it just fine,” Karen said, watching as he made the left turn into the long driveway. “Hopefully Ivan made arrangements for us to be here.”

“Look,” Tex said, pointing to a man looking out the back door as he pulled into the parking lot. The man waved, and then went back inside. “There’s our answer. I’m gonna make a wide turn and pull this puppy around so we have a fast shot at the exit, though, just in case. No other way out of here.”

“Okay,” Karen said, getting out of her seat. “I’ll bring the laptop out here and get her set up. Want your headphones yet?”

“Bring it up, but I won’t turn it on yet. I’d rather save the battery.”

“We can plug them in,” Karen said. “To recharge.”

“You go ahead and put yours on,” Tex said.

“Okay.” She watched as Tex parked and shut down the engine. “Should we go into siege mode?”

“Nah, not yet,” Tex said. “Right now we just look like somebody’s rich uncle. There might be people walking around.”

“Good point,” Karen said, walking to the front. She put the laptop on the center console and opened it, turning on the power. “Wonder how long till we strike?”

“Good question,” Tex said. “Look for headsets on the app.”

Karen nodded as the application opened, showing the map. She moved the view to the target complex. “Wow, there are a lot of enemy personnel in there.”

“They clumped up yet?”

“Getting there,” Karen said. “You know that we can see them moving with this, right?”

“Seriously?” Tex asked, looking closer. “I’m surprised Jules didn’t bring that up. Surprised we didn’t see it before.”

Tex sent a text to Jules asking him about it. His phone dinged right away. Tex chuckled. “He forgot to mention it.”

“But why didn’t we see it before, during the demo?”

Tex typed a message. A reply came right back. “Distance. That’s why we didn’t just do this from the base.”

“Oh,” she said, “so this has a peer to peer element like the short-range app.”

“Probably,” Tex said. “I’m not that technical. Give me something that works. I don’t need to know how.”

Karen laughed. “There’s where we differ a little. I love to know how things work. I’m gonna zoom out and look for the commandos. Maybe you should mention that UN cruiser we killed on the way in here.”

“Crap, you’re right,” Tex said, whipping his phone back out. He sent a text, the ding coming back after a few seconds.

“We’re not the only ones,” Tex said. “They tried to stop Robbie’s rig too. Same result for them. So far no indication that they’re watching for us, but we’re all pretty well out of sight from the road.”

“I can see the other battle wagons,” Karen said. “Looks like all seven are placed.”

“Good,” Tex said. “See those commandos yet?”

“Nope…wait. There are a bunch of them. They’re riding down West Valley Freeway. Some of them are already on Winchester.

“This is gonna happen fast,” Tex said. “Maybe I should put the headset on.”

“Yeah, maybe so,” she said. “Another group coming in on Camden, from the opposite direction. They’re crossing the river as we speak.”

“We’d better focus on where the enemy is,” Tex said. “This is gonna ramp up fast.”

Karen shook her head yes. “Wow. There’s about four hundred people in the same room right now. Northeast corner of the building. There are still folks streaming in, though. I see icons outside, patrolling the buildings and the parking lots.”

“So how we gonna sneak a thousand men in there, I wonder?” Tex asked.

“Oh, crap,” she said. “We’ve already got a bunch of men there. I’m seeing headsets moving around inside, and they don’t have RFID chips.

“Rogue cops,” Tex said, grinning. “That’s how the other commandos are getting in. Wait and see.”

“Aren’t the enemy VIPs going to head for the hills when they hear shooting start outside?”

“Hopefully not,” Tex said, “but since we can see them, they aren’t going anywhere.”

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 109 – Children

“Should we go back right now?” Yvonne asked, looking at the ruined church before them.

“No, we need to check out the town,” Sam said. “We can’t let them shut down our resolve every time they kill one of us.”

“You’re right,” Erica said. “Let’s go into town, but nobody opens any doors, and watch the ground for trip wires too.”

“They’re watching us,” Clem said, pointing into one of the trees.

“That’s a video camera?” Yvonne asked.

“Yep,” Clem said.

Sam took aim with his pistol and shot it, the plastic exploding over their heads.

“Maybe we shouldn’t be doing that,” Sid said.

“You want them to know which direction we’re going?” Sam asked.

“Crap, didn’t think about that,” Sid said. “We ought to look for more of them.”

“Save one,” Clem said. “I might be able to figure out which IP address they’re using.”

“Okay,” Sam said. “Let’s go.”

“Your Jeep got hit, Sid,” Clem said. “We’d better take a look.”

“It did?” Sid asked. “Didn’t see it happen.”

They rushed to it, Clem using his flashlight. “There, see. Driver’s side fender.”

Sid squatted next to it as Clem brought the flashlight closer. “It’s okay, but we’re lucky. Just missed the tire. See?”

“We’d better check it over good, and then check Sam’s Jeep too,” Erica said.

“Yeah,” Clem said. They looked at both vehicles.

“I think we’re okay,” Sam said. “Let’s get going.”

“Which way?” Sid asked.

“Get to Oak Grove Drive,” Yvonne said, looking at her phone screen, the glow lighting her face. “There’s quite a few streets. We won’t be able to look at the entire town. It’s tiny but spread out.”

“Okay,” Sam said. “Let’s go.”

They got into the vehicles and took off.

“This is terrible,” Erica said as she fastened her seatbelt. “Poor Sarah.”

“I know, this is really gonna hurt. It’s hard to keep going.”

“Did you know him long?”

“Not as long as Sid,” Sam said. “Always liked him a lot.”

“He went out of his way to be nice to me.”

Sam chuckled. “Before this mess started, he had a drinking problem. I think it was on its way to ruining the marriage. He sobered up when things started to go nuts.”

“I wonder how many more of us will give up our lives?”

“I’d rather not dwell on that,” Sam said.

“It still hurts, doesn’t it? Connie.”

“Yes, it still hurts,” Sam said.

“What was she like?”

“A lot like you, actually,” Sam said. “I don’t think I can talk about her right now. You mind?”

“No, of course not.”

They rode silently for a few blocks, coming to another clump of buildings.

“Look, to the right,” Erica said. “Looks like a grocery store.”

“I see it,” Sam said. “There’s some lights on inside, but it doesn’t look open. I’m gonna park there and check it out.”

“Don’t open any doors,” she said.

He nodded as he got out. Sid pulled up next to him.

“There’s probably nobody here,” Sid said. “These businesses have lights on a timer.”

“I know, just wanted to look around.”

Erica came over. “The front is all glass. Probably hard to rig the way they did with the church.”

“Hopefully,” Sam said. They walked up to the front and peered through the glass, the others following cautiously.

Erica saw something and rushed forward.

“What?” Sam asked, running after her. “Don’t touch the door.”

“I think there’s a child in there,” she said.

A little girl peeked out from behind a shelf, then moved back behind it again. Erica started to go for the door.

“Stop!” Clem shouted. “Don’t step in front of that door. Back away.”

“There’s a child in there,” Erica said.

“I know, but if this door opens, there’s gonna be an explosion. Look.” Clem pointed at the top of the sliding door. There were wires running from there up to the ceiling.

“Dammit,” Sam said, looking at it. “Everybody back. Now!”

They rushed towards the cars.

“We can’t leave that little girl in there,” Erica said.

“I know, but we can’t go through the front door, and I don’t trust the back doors either.”

“Roof,” Sid said.

“Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking,” Sam said. “Wish we had a chain saw.”

“Maybe there’s a trap door,” Yvonne said.

“I should go see if I can get her to come out,” Erica said.

“What if she runs towards the door?” Yvonne asked.

“She won’t,” Sam said. “She’s part of the trap. I’ll bet she’s tied up so she can’t go near the trigger points herself.”

“You might be right about that,” Clem said. “Otherwise she would’ve come out that front door on her own.”

Erica nodded in agreement. “I just want to let her know we’re going to help her.”

“Okay,” Sam said. “C’mon.”

They rushed to the windows in front, avoiding the door. Erica knocked on the glass.

“Little girl! We’re here to help you. Come out where we can see you. We won’t hurt you. I promise.”

“I hope she can hear,” Sam whispered.

“She heard us out front,” Erica said. “Might have heard the Jeeps.”

“Look,” Sam said. “There she is.”

“It’s okay sweetie,” shouted Erica. “We’ll help you.”

“She’s got an ankle cuff on,” Sam said, cursing the enemy under his breath.

Sid rushed over from the side of the store. “Hey, man, there’s a ladder on the side of the building. Goes up to the roof. It’s got one of those hasps to keep people from climbing up, but it’s only got a cheapo padlock on it.”

“We can shoot it,” Sam said. “C’mon. Erica, let her know that we’re going to shoot a lock. Tell her not to be afraid.”

Erica shouted to her as Sid and Sam rushed to the ladder and looked at the lock.

“Hell, this is real cheeseball,” Sam said, looking around the delivery dock yard. There was a crowbar sitting next to a forklift. “I can probably break the damn thing with that.” He rushed over and grabbed it.

“Yeah, that ought to do it,” Sid said. He watched as Sam wedged it into the padlock and pulled. The lock snapped loose.

“Bingo,” Sam said, pulling the broken lock off the hasp and moving the barrier. He climbed up the ladder, Sid following him with the crowbar in hand.

“I see a trap door,” Sid said, pointing to the trap door towards the back of the building. “You don’t think they boobytrapped that too, do you?”

“Stay up towards the front,” Sam said. “No reason for both of us to get it.”

Sid laughed. “We’re both dead if it goes off. Make your move.”

“There’s no padlock on this side,” Sam said. He pulled up on the trap door, and it creaked open. “No bomb here, but we do have one problem.”

“What’s that?”

“No ladder. I can see one, leaning up against the wall by the back of the receiving dock. Over there.”

Sid looked. “Yeah. Maybe if we had a rope.”

“Don’t know if I’m in good enough shape to climb down a rope,” Sam said. “Been a long time.”

Sid chuckled. “You’re still in good shape. You got a rope?”

“There’s one in my Jeep,” Sam said. He rushed to the front of the building. “Erica, could you grab the rope out of the back of the Jeep? It’s in the storage compartment. Just move the carpet piece, undo the latch, and lift.”

“Got it,” she yelled, then rushed over to the Jeep’s tailgate.

“Hopefully there’s a door somewhere that doesn’t have a charge,” Sam said to Sid.

“Clem’s good at recognizing that stuff, but he’s not going down that rope.”

“Hey, he’s got an iPhone, right? We could Facetime it.”

Sid chuckled. “Yeah, we could at that.”

They heard huffing and puffing behind them. Erica appeared at the top of the ladder, climbing over, the rope on one arm. “Here you go, sweetie.”

“Perfect, thanks,” he said.

“Tie her off on this sewage vent pipe here,” Sid said.

“It strong enough?” Sam asked.

Sid pushed on it. “Yeah, it’s plenty strong.”

Sam tied one end of the rope to it and then fed the other end into the trap door. It made it within two feet of the floor.

“You sure you can do this?” Erica asked.

“Hell, if I fell half way I’d live through it,” Sam said. “Here goes nothing.” He started his climb, wishing he had gloves, but making it to the floor. The stock room was dark. He pulled his cellphone out and turned on the flashlight, looking for a light switch. He found it, by the back door, which was wired with plastic explosives. “Not getting out that way.”

“You okay?” Erica shouted down.

“Yeah, he said. “The back door is wired. Can’t go out that way. I’m gonna go get the girl.”

He pushed through the swinging doors into the store, rushing to the spot where the girl was. She sat on the floor trembling, her long red hair matted to her head from sweat, her pants soiled with urine.

“Hi, honey,” Sam said softly. “We’re gonna save you. Don’t be afraid.”

She eyed him with terror, then rushed around the shelving until the chain was taught. Sam peeked around the shelves at her, then got on his hands and knees and crawled over. “What’s your name, honey?”

She looked at him, trying to figure out if he was safe or not. “I’m Mia,” she said softly.

“What a pretty name,” Sam said. “I’m going to get the chain off. Don’t run away, okay? The doors have explosives on them. We can’t go out that way.”

“I won’t,” she said. “I have to go to the bathroom again.”

“Okay,” Sam said. He looked at the chain. It was bolted onto a hole in the bottom of the shelf. “Just a sec.” He ran into the stock room and found some pliers, then rushed back and undid the bolt, getting the chain off. Then he looked at her ankle, which was raw and bloody from her struggles, his anger flaring.

“You aren’t going to hit me are you?” she asked, eyeing him.

“Oh, no, honey,” Sam said. “I’m mad at the people who did this to you. Hold still while I get the nuts off. It might hurt a little if it twists.”

She nodded yes. Sam worked on the nut, getting it loose easier than he expected, and carefully pulled the ankle piece off. “C’mon, there’s a bathroom over here. He rushed her over and held the door open while she used it.

“My pants are wet,” she said.

“Don’t worry, we’ll take care of that after we find a way out,” Sam said.

She came back out and they walked into the back part of the stockroom. Sam pointed to the back door. “Don’t touch that. See that thing over the door, on the wall, with the wires coming out of it?”

She looked at it, then shook her head yes at him.

“If we try to open that door, it’ll blow up. Do you understand?”

She nodded yes.

“Let’s go look at those big doors.”

“You two okay?” Erica asked from the roof.

“Yeah, just looking for a way out,” Sam shouted back. “I’m going to check out the roll-up doors. Tell Clem to be ready for a Facetime, okay?”

“Sid already did,” Erica said. “He’s standing by.”

Sam took Mia’s hand and they walked towards the big doors. He looked all along them, not seeing any explosives or wires, but there were large padlocks on both the doors. He set up a Facetime call to Clem.

“Oh, Facetime,” Mia said. “I talked to Grandpa and Grandma with that.”

“Yes, it’s nice,” Sam said. “Hey, Clem.”

“Coming through perfect,” Clem said.

“Okay, I’m going to show you the roll-up door back here. If it’s not wired, I’ll open it.” Sam walked to one edge, focusing his phone on the right side from floor to ceiling, then across the top, then down the left side.

“I’m not seeing anything,” Clem said. “That’s a pretty big padlock on there, though. You won’t break that one with a crow bar.”

“I’m going to have to shoot it off,” Sam said. “See you soon.” He took Mia’s hand and led her into the bathroom. “Stay in here, honey. I don’t want you to get hit with anything.”

“Okay,” she said, walking in. Sam blocked the door with some crates and rushed back to the roll-up door, aiming his pistol. He fired, the sound echoing through the stockroom. The lock moved, damaged on the outside, but it wouldn’t open. He stood back and fired again, twice. The lock broke. He knocked the remains away and then pulled the chain on the right side to roll the door up. Erica, Clem, and Sid were waiting for him outside. They rushed to the bathroom, unblocking the door. Mia came out, looking scared.

“Did they come back?” she asked.

“No, I had to use my gun to open the door,” Sam said. “It’s okay. You’re safe.”

“Hi, honey,” Erica said, squatting next to her. “Do you know how to get to your home?”

She nodded yes, but her expression was full of fear. “They hurt mommy and daddy there. I heard them.”

Erica shot a glance at Sam, her brow furrowed.

“They’re liable to have booby traps like this set up all over the town,” Sid said quietly.

Sam nodded. “Let’s go.”

They left the store, heading back out to the parking lot, where Yvonne was watching, her rifle in her hands.

“We gonna blow this place?” she asked. “So nobody else gets killed?”

“There’s a lot of food in there,” Sam said. “Maybe we ought to empty it before we do that.”

“All it’s gonna take is somebody standing in front of the doorway,” Clem said.

“I’ll go shut down the power,” Sam said. “I saw the breaker box in the back. That should stop the door, right?”

“You don’t think the doors automatically open if the power is shut off, do you?” Sid asked.

“Crap,” Sam said. “Good question.”

“I could try to defuse it,” Clem said.

“You an expert?” Sam asked.

“Nope, but I’ve read some stuff.”

“No way, Clem, you’re way too valuable to lose,” Yvonne said.

“Yeah, I agree,” Sam said. “Let’s keep going for a while.”

“Should we go to the girl’s house?” Erica asked.

Mia shot her a worried glance.

“Don’t worry, honey, we won’t take you inside, but we could get some of your stuff,” Erica said.

“She’s only about seven,” Clem said. “She might not even be able to tell us how to get there.”

“I’m eight,” Mia said. “It’s right down there.” She pointed down the street.

“Maybe we should just go back to camp and come here with the main group,” Yvonne said.

“There might be other children being used for bait,” Sam said.

“Might not be able to get them all out,” Clem said. “We were lucky with this one.”

“Yeah, I know,” Sam said. “We still have to try. If we can’t save our children, what good are we?”

“Might be easier when it’s light,” Sid said.

“True,” Sam said. “Let’s at least try to get to her parent’s house. Maybe they’re alive.”

The others nodded in agreement, and they got into the Jeeps, Mia sitting on Erica’s lap.

“There it is,” Mia said, pointing to a house next to a yardage store. “That’s my mom’s store next to it.”

Sam turned into the driveway. “Wait here.” He got out and rushed to the door, Sid following him. Yvonne stood outside their Jeep with her rifle.

“Hope they watch out for booby traps in there,” Clem whispered to Yvonne.

“They know,” Yvonne said. “What are we gonna do with the girl? You know her parents are dead, right?”

“Somebody in our group is going to foster her until we can find some relatives,” Clem whispered back.

Sam and Sid walked down the hallway from the front door of the single-story house. There was blood on the wall near the door of the first bedroom.

“Smell that?” Sam whispered.

Sid nodded yes. They went inside. There were two headless corpses on the floor and blood all over the room.

“Dammit,” Sam muttered under his breath. “Look for an address book or some ID.”

Sid nodded as Sam checked the other rooms. There was a little boy dead in the next bedroom, single bullet hole in his forehead. The next room was Mia’s. Sam grabbed the pillow on the bed, yanking the pillowcase off, then filling it with clothes and other items. He came back out just as Sid was leaving the master bedroom.

“Find anything?” Sam asked.

“Nope. Let’s look in the kitchen. People keep address books in there more often than in their bedrooms.”

They walked down the hall, turning left before they got to the front door. The kitchen and connected family room were a mess, broken plates and glasses all over the floor, food laying around half eaten on counters, windows to the back yard broken. A dog’s bloody body lay on the carpet in front of the TV.

“Animals,” Sid said, going to the small hutch where the phone was. “Bingo.” He picked up an address book, taking a second to look inside.

“Look for the woman’s purse,” Sam said. “We want her driver’s license. I’ll go check the male body in the master for a wallet.”

Sid nodded, rummaging around as Sam walked away.

“There was a wallet in the back pocket,” Sam said, holding it up as he came back into the kitchen. “Jason Berliner.”

“Here’s the purse,” Sid said. “Wonder where the heads are?”

“Probably on spikes someplace. I say we take Mia back to camp. I don’t want her to see anything like that.”

“You’re right,” Sid said. “Let’s go.”

They both rushed back outside.

“We’re going to the camp,” Sam said to Erica as he got into the Jeep.

“Why?” Erica asked.

“She’s asleep?” Sam asked.

“Yep, she crashed. She’s totally exhausted.”

Sam got close and whispered about the heads to Erica, who looked down, her body shaking as she began to cry. She nodded yes. “Get us out of here.”

Sam drove back onto the highway, his heart heavy as he thought about Sarah and John. Sid and the others followed.

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 108 – Higher Education

The door opened, a pretty young woman rushing in, her long blonde hair flowing.

“You don’t knock anymore?” the old man asked, sitting behind a huge mahogany desk. His degrees and awards covered the wall behind him.

“I thought things were more casual between us now, after…”

“Stop,” the gray-haired man said, standing, his sweater a little too tight. “What are you doing here, Avril?”

“Sorry, Kelsy,” she said, hurt look on her face.

“Dean Lambert,” he said. “Don’t call me by my first name. Even in here. Want us to get caught?”

“The UN and their guests have left,” she said, walking towards the desk, making her hips sway.

“Good,” Dean Lambert said. “How did the students take to the training?”

“Most of them are fired up,” Avril said, moving next to him behind the desk, pushing his chair back. She got on his lap.

“Dammit, not now. This thing worries me. It’s liable to get totally out of control.”

“Relax,” she said, her hands going around his head, pulling it against her chest. He backed away.

“Get off me, dammit,” he said, rising out of his chair, forcing her off. “Be professional. Give me an assessment. I have to tell the Regional Governor how it’s going, and he’ll ask a lot of tough questions. Remember where our funding comes from.”

“Why do they still call him the Regional Governor? Isn’t he just the Governor? He’s been in that job since Governor Sable disappeared.”

“States are just mini nationalistic structures,” Dean Lambert said. “They must be swept away with the rest of our bankrupt Republic.”

“Oh, sorry,” she said.

“I’m busy. Tell me what I need to know and then get out of here.”

“Don’t treat me like that,” she said. “There’s no patriarchy anymore, remember?”

“Yes, I understand that, but there is still leadership, and those below leadership. You’re below leadership. Do your job.”

“Okay, okay,” she said. “The military training went well. The students know how to knock the crap out of all those retired folks with too much time on their hands who’ve been protesting the Regional Governor.”

“Do you think the students will hit them hard enough to put them into the hospital or the morgue? That’s what we need. Blocking streets and breaking windows doesn’t work anymore.”

“Yes, they showed us where to hit, and how to get around their protection,” Avril said. “Most of the students were gung-ho. A few expressed concerns about really hurting people. The UN folks removed them from the classes.”

“Good,” Dean Lambert said. “Anybody who shows reactionary tendencies needs to be dealt with.”

Avril’s look changed, her brow furrowed. “They’re just kicking them out, right?”

“They’re being sent to re-education camps, on orders of the Regional Governor,” Dean Lambert said, sitting back down behind his desk. “The authorities need to have a free hand to work the problems we have in the southern part of the region.”

“Why, that battle is already over,” Avril said. “They’ve been covering that on the news reports for a while now.”

“Yes, we’re mostly in control, but there is a stronger resistance there. Do not talk of that outside this office.”

“Why is there resistance everywhere?” Avril said. “My professors always said that once people see the truth they will follow.”

“Yes, I know what the professors say, and in most cases they’re right. We can’t stop all of the corporate agitators overnight. They’re being paid too much.”

“They go away when Capitalism is all the way gone, though, right?”

Dean Lambert smiled at her, shaking his head. “Part of your charm is your naivety, but it’s more exciting as an act than it is as the real thing. You’ve got a lot to learn. That’s why I took you under my wing.”

She giggled. “I thought it was because of these.” She raised her shirt, exposing her bra-covered breasts.

“Stop that. It’s too early. We’ll spend some time together later.”

“When’s later?” she asked.

“Do your job. What else can I say about the training?”

“Those Islamists did most of the hand-to-hand combat training. They make fun of the UN Peacekeepers whenever they aren’t around, and they mess with the women too. I think it’s unprofessional.”

“They’re just contractors,” Dean Lambert said. “We’re paying them to do a job. How do you think auto mechanics talk about women when they aren’t looking? Doesn’t mean we don’t need them.”

“I guess,” she said.

“What about the propaganda instruction?”

“The UN Peacekeepers handled that, but they aren’t all that bright, so a couple of your professors helped them out. I think some of the students were only there looking for extra credit from them, though. There was a lot of snickering going on.”

“By who?”

“Male students, mostly.”

“Names?” Dean Lambert asked.

“Oh, sorry. I’ll have to look into that. They weren’t people I knew.”

Dean Lambert’s brow furrowed. “They were students here, though, right?”

“I’m sure they were,” Avril said. “The professors spoke to them by name.”

“Which professors?”

“Hodges and Davis,” Avril said.

“Would you classify the training as successful?”

She sighed. “I guess. The students were about as serious as they usually are.”

“I don’t like the sound of that.”

“They were just joking around a lot,” Avril said. “I think they absorbed what they needed to.”

“Okay, thanks,” Dean Lambert said. “Now run along. I’ll call you later. We’ll meet here.”

“Here again?” she asked, looking disappointed. “I was hoping for more time in the hot tub.”

“My wife’s in town,” Dean Lambert said.

“Oh,” she said. “All right, see you later. Not too late, though, okay? I do actually have classes tomorrow.”

“Understand,” the dean said, focusing on the papers he was looking at when she came in, acting like she’d already left. She stared at him for a moment, then walked out the door, leaving it open. He got up after a moment and shut the door, looking at his cellphone to see the time.

“Dammit. Late again.” He hit a contact on his phone as he walked back to his seat. He set the phone on the desk and hit the speaker button.

“Dean Lambert,” the voice on the phone said.

“Daan, how are you?”

“Good,” Dean Lambert said.

“You’re late. Anything wrong?”

“Getting info out of my little chickie-poo can be like pulling teeth,” Dean Lambert said.

“She the blonde that I met when I was there? The one in those nasty photos you sent me?”

“Yes, that’s her. You can have her next time you show up, if you want.”

“Thanks, but I like them a little younger,” Daan said.

“So I’ve heard. Isn’t that why you can’t go to New York anymore?”

Daan chuckled. “No comment.”

“You think that was funny?”

“No, I think it was worth it, but enough about the sport. Do you have a report for me about the pilot program?”

“Sounds like it’s going all right,” Dean Lambert said. “There were a couple who didn’t have the stomach for it, apparently. They’ve been removed.”

“We always expect some fall-out,” Daan said. “You know that.”

“Avril said that some of the students aren’t taking it seriously.”

“Well, if that’s the case, they’ll probably get caught at the first demonstration,” Daan said. “I wouldn’t worry about it.”

“Apparently, the Islamists who are doing the military training are making fun of the UN behind their backs.”

Daan snickered. “Who doesn’t?”

“I’m serious,” Dean Lambert said. “They’ve also been getting a little aggressive with the women.”

“That is a problem with them, but we should be careful how we handle it,” Daan said. “The belief system they have is beneficial for what we want them to do, so we don’t want to temper them too much, but we also have to make sure they understand that there won’t be any Sharia Law garbage here after we’ve taken over.”

“There’s a lot more of them than there are UN Peacekeepers. We should discuss this with Saladin. I don’t want any misunderstandings. We don’t need to fight a new war the minute the first one has been won.”

“I’ll take it under advisement, but don’t worry about it now, and do not discuss it with others on your team. Understand?”

“Yes, I understand, of course,” Dean Lambert said. “Any truth to the rumors that this Ivan character is moving his operation north?”

“We’re still working that,” Daan said. “You worry about your job. I’ll worry about Ivan the Butcher.”

“He’s ruined our plans in the southern half of the state.”

“Don’t say that on the phone,” Daan said angrily. “Ever. You got that?”

“Then it’s true.”

“Like I said, you let me worry about Ivan the Butcher. We’ve got a number of tricks up our sleeve. We’ll catch him and flay him alive.”

“Okay, fair enough,” Dean Lambert said.

“Do you feel that this training program is ready for expansion to the other UC locations in the state?”

Dean Lambert was silent for a moment, his heart beating too fast.

“You still there, Lambert?”

“Yeah, I’m thinking,” he said. “I would say yes, with some reservations.”

“What reservations?”

“The ones I brought up just now. The Islamists have behavior problems that might be hard to control. If young women start to disappear or get attacked at the campuses we’re targeting, it will be counter-productive. You know that, right? Remember what happened in Sweden and Denmark six or seven years ago. Hell, it happened in France, too, a little later.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Daan said. “We’re trying to terrorize this society. As long as the general public doesn’t know that we’ve got this training program going, we won’t have any big problems, and the general unease in the society will ramp up. People will want protection.”

“How are we going to keep people from talking?”

“We might have to make a couple of people into examples,” Daan said. “By the way, the detail that was bringing that idiot from the TV show the other night is long overdue. Have you heard anything?”

“No. Not a word. I thought you guys were going to kill him anyway. Your thugs damn-near did in the theater, from what I saw on the video.”

“He’s part of a small student resistance movement,” Daan said. “That needs to be nipped in the bud before it can grow. We need to question him. It’ll probably take some torture. We’ll kill him after we’ve gotten what we want out of him.”

“I don’t want to hear about it.”

“You’re part of the team, so you’d better want to hear about it,” Daan said. “You keep your ear to the ground. If I find out that he’s being helped from your sector, you will join him on the flaying table. You got me?”

“You don’t have to be that way.”

“Sounds to me like I do,” Daan said. “Remember your place. You want a nice leadership position when this is over. You’re in line to get one. Don’t blow it now.”

“I won’t,” Dean Lambert said, his heart pounding again.

“Good, glad we cleared that up,” Daan said. “Talk to you later.”

The call ended, Dean Lambert looking at his phone for more than a minute before he moved. Should I leave now?

***

Garrett got off his horse and strode over to Sam’s rig, still parked on Wildwood Glenn Road. He reached down and pulled off his spurs, then knocked on the door. Erica opened it.

“Hi, Garrett,” she said. “The rest of your force get here?” She made room for him to climb inside.

“Yep, they’re arriving now. That area is barely large enough.”

Sam came out of the back of the coach. “Hey, Garrett, how’s it going?”

“This was a hard day,” Garrett said. “We won, but losing James was really bad.”

“I know,” Sam said. “I was just chatting with Ji-Ho. He wants to send a party into Descanso tonight, while it’s dark, to check it out. Make sure that it’s really free of the UN.”

“It’s free of Islamists, at least,” Garrett said.

“Sit down,” Erica said.

“If I do that your coach is going to smell like a stable,” he said, smiling. “I’m only here to check in and see what’s next. Want me going into town with that detail?”

“You’ve been up too long,” Sam said. “You and your men need to rest. Get some shuteye.”

“Hoping you were gonna say that,” he said. “I’ll do that, but don’t hesitate if you need me.”

There was a knock at the door. Erica looked outside. It was John, Sid, and Clem. She let them in.

“Hey, Garrett,” Clem said. “Nice job.

“Seriously,” John said.

“Yeah,” Sid said. “What’s up, Sam?”

“Thanks for coming over. We need to scout Descanso. I was wondering if you guys are up to helping.”

“I’m game, but Yvonne will want to go along. She was over with Kaitlyn and Megan when you called. They’re pretty torn up about James.”

“I could imagine,” Sam said.

“I’m pretty torn up about it too,” Erica said, “and I’m going, by the way.” She shot a glance at Sam.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Sam asked. “We don’t want you taking un-necessary chances for revenge.”

“I’m mature enough to not do that,” Erica said.

“I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to say…”

“Sam, I get it, okay. I agree on principle, and wouldn’t suggest that either Kaitlyn or Megan go. Same for Tyler and Ryan and the others.”

“I’ll go let Sarah know,” John said. “How we going?”

My Jeep and Sid’s?” Sam asked.

“That’ll work for me,” Sid said. “I’ll go round up Yvonne and bring the Jeep over here.”

“Good,” Sam said.

“Well, I’ll be leaving you folks alone, then,” Garrett said. “Good luck. If you get pinned down, call me. We’ll send the cavalry.”

“Thanks,” Sam said.

Garrett tipped his hat at Erica and left the coach.

“I love that guy,” John said. “Thought he was a nutcase at first.”

“Yeah, we’d be dead now if not for him,” Clem said. “I’m gonna go get ready. You might want to swap places with a coach that’s going to be manned. You’re in a key position on this road.”

“Yeah, we’ll do that,” Sam said. “See you in about ten minutes.”

Sid nodded, and left with the others. Sam closed the door behind him as Erica texted.

“Who are you asking?” Sam asked.

“Zac. He agreed. He’ll be over here in a couple minutes. We’d better move out of the way.”

Sam nodded and got into the driver’s seat. He moved the coach off the road just as Zac’s rig was driving up.

“There he is already,” Erica said as she walked up to the front of the coach. “You putting this back into siege mode?”

“Yeah, might as well.” Sam parked and set up the coach. They were walking down the steps as Sid rolled up in his Jeep, Yvonne in the passenger seat, John and Clem in the back seat.

“Ready to go?” Sid asked.

“Just about. You’ve got some ordinance with you, right?”

“One of the mortars with some willie pete, a BAR, an M60, and all of our M-16s,” Clem said from the back. “Oh, and John’s bow.”

“Good,” Sam said as he rushed back into the coach, coming out with his guns. Erica went back inside and came out with her AK-47. The two Jeeps took off on Highway 79.

“Dark road,” Erica said. “It’s not very far.”

“Hope they don’t have snipers along the side of the road. I feel like we should have our lights off, but I don’t want to drive this road in the dark.”

Erica looked at Sam’s phone, checking the apps. “There’s no Islamists anywhere near here.”

“I’m more worried about the UN. They’re easier to beat in a battle, but not being able to see them sucks big time.”

“It does,” Erica said, “but we haven’t seen much of them for a while. I believe the reports that many of them went up north. Not every single one, but most.”

“Hope you’re right. They still have Gaz Tigrs around here. I was surprised to see that.”

“Islamists have had those too, though.”

“I know,” Sam said. “I think that’s our road to the left. Riverside Drive.”

“Yeah, that’s it, and it’s a smaller road, so be careful.”

Sam made the turn, his eyes scanning ahead, searching for anything that looked like a setup. “Do we know how many citizens are left in town?”

“I heard some conversation between two of Garrett’s guys. They’ve been scouting. They said only about a quarter of the people are left. The rest split after hearing about the battle in Julian that we lost.”

“How many people would that be?”

“Let me check,” she said, moving her fingers on the phone screen. “Geez, less than four hundred people.”

“Really?”

“Yep,” she said. “There’s the bridge over the river.”

“Not much of a bridge.”

Erica laughed. “Not much of a river, either. We’ll start to see more structures now.”

“How far along is the bridge?”

“Less than a quarter of the way,” she said. “We’ve got a little time.”

“There’s some buildings off to the left. Lights aren’t on in any of them.”

“Those our mostly businesses,” she said. “There’re quite a few people living outside of town, so we should start seeing lights.”

They drove along for a few more minutes. “There’s some houses, see?”

“Dark,” Erica said. “Crap.”

“There’s a big Catholic Church to the left. See it coming up?”

“Yeah,” Erica said. “Stop!”

“What?” Sam asked, startled as he slammed on the breaks, Sid skidding to a stop behind him.

“Look,” she said, pointing.

“Oh, God,” Sam said. “Look at all of them.” He drove up the driveway and parked on the shoulder, getting out, M60 in his hand. Sid and Yvonne got out of their Jeep, followed by Clem and John.

“My Lord, no,” Clem said, looking at the bodies hanging from every tree and light post surrounding the church.

“This can’t stand,” John said, the anger in his eyes visible even in the dark.

“This is most of the people I expected to find here,” Erica said, looking around in horror.

“These bodies have been here for a little while,” Clem said. “Look at that one. The birds have been working on it for days.”

Erica looked, turning away quickly.

“I’m gonna go see if anybody is alive inside,” John said, trotting over to the church.

“Dammit, he shouldn’t go in there,” Sam said, turning to shout at him as he made it to the door. He pulled it open, and there was a flash of intense light, as the building blew up in front of him.

“Hit the deck!” Clem shouted. All of them dived to the ground as debris flew at them, damaging Sam’s Jeep. Heavy pieces fell around them for what seemed like minutes.

“Oh, no,” Erica cried. “Everybody else okay? Anybody hurt?”

“Small cut on my right arm,” Clem said.

“I’m okay,” Yvonne said.

“Yeah, me too,” Sid said. “John. Oh my God.”

“Sam!” Erica cried.

“I’m okay,” Sam said, crawling over to her. “Unhurt. I was looking for anybody running away.”

“Nobody there?” she asked.

“Not that I saw,” Sam said. “Boobytrap, just like what happened to Connie. Sick bastards.”

“We won’t even find pieces of John,” Clem said, tears running down his cheeks. “How are we gonna tell Sarah?”

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 107 – Job Offer

“Dammit,” Ryan said, looking in horror at James’s body lying on the ground before them. Shots rang out again, hitting the rocks around where they were hiding. All of them opened fire, several blue-helmeted cretins falling.

“How many are there?” one of Garrett’s men asked.

“Can’t see may of them,” Tyler said, aiming his rifle and firing, a man falling off one of the taller ridges in the area.

“Nice shot,” Garrett said. “Men, don’t just sit there. Fan out along this ridge and that one over there, and let’em have it. Our five hundred men will be here in less than ten minutes.”

“Look, on the right, somebody’s trying to set up a mortar,” Ryan said.

“Got it,” Garrett said, firing his .45-70, the massive blast echoing through the area.

“Damn, boy,” one of Garrett’s men said, chuckling.

“Shoot the mortar tube,” Ryan said.

“On it,” Garrett said, firing again, hitting the tube, sending it flying as the others fired at the team running to take over. Then there was a large chain reaction explosion, as a huge .45 caliber round hit the ammo box.

“That worked,” Ryan said. “Look, somebody’s trying to set up in that direction too, see them?” He fired several times, hitting the team that was running up with the mortar, as Garrett used his .45-70 again.

“Hear that?” Ryan asked. “Horses.”

“Yeah, here come our guys,” Garrett said. “They’re early.”

“My God, that is a thing of beauty,” one of Garrett’s men said, watching hundreds of mounted men along the ridges, rifles aimed. They fired, the air full of thunder and smoke.

“Look, the enemy is running away,” Ryan shouted.

“So let’s go get them,” Garrett said, racing towards his horse, the others following. They rode together, meeting the five hundred on the flats and chasing the panicked UN peacekeepers, killing all of them within a few minutes.

“I’m gonna go check on James,” Ryan said, turning his horse, Tyler nodding in agreement. They rode quickly, dismounting by his body and rushing over. Ryan carefully rolled him over. James smiled at him, his eyes barely open.

“About time you slugs got back here. Beat them?”

“Yeah, we beat them,” Ryan said. Tyler got down on his knees and looked for the wound, finding it on his left side, his shirt and the top of his pants soaked in blood. He shot a grim look at Ryan.

“How bad is it?” James asked quietly.

“You’ll be okay if we can get you to a doctor soon enough,” Ryan said. He looked away from James, wiping his tears away from his eyes, trying to hide it.

“I’m done, aren’t I?” James asked.

Tyler looked at him, and slowly nodded yes.

“Tyler,” Ryan said.

“Better to be honest,” Tyler said.

“Thank you,” James said, his eyes barely slits. “It’s been an honor serving with both of you.”

“It’s been an honor growing up with you, brother,” Ryan said, weeping.

“It has,” Tyler said, tears running down his cheeks.

“Tell Abby that I loved her,” James whispered, his breath faint. “Tell her I’m sor…” His breath escaped his lips and stopped.

“Oh, God,” Ryan said, breaking down, Tyler with him. Garrett rode up with several men, and he dismounted, running over.

“Oh no,” Garrett said. “I’m so sorry. He was a great warrior.”

“We can’t leave him here,” Ryan said.

“I know,” Tyler said. “We’ll pack him out.”

“There’s UN vans and a bunch of pickup trucks parked off Barrett Lake Road,” Garrett said. “We can take him there and drive him out.”

“Where are we going?” Ryan asked.

“We’re going to the camp where the rest of our people are,” Garrett said. “Probably be in Descanso tomorrow. The enemy fled that area, heading for Julian. Just got a text from Sam about it.”

“I’m worried about our base,” Tyler said. “There’s more UN thugs around than any of us expected, and the apps can’t see them.”

“I know, I had the same thought,” Garrett said. “They’re okay so far. I just got off the phone with Anna.”

“How many people we have guarding the place?”

“Six hundred there, another three thousand at Dodge City,” Garrett said. “Plus four battle wagons. I think they’ll be fine. If I didn’t think that, I’d be on my way to get Anna already.”

“Getting kinda sweet on her, aren’t you?” Tyler asked.

“Yes,” Garrett said. “We’re about the same age. Nice to have her to talk to.”

“Let’s go, okay?” Ryan asked. “Somebody needs to call Abby.”

“That’s my job,” Tyler said. “I’ll help you load James on the back of your horse, and then call her.”

Ryan nodded yes, and they picked up James’s body with Garrett’s help.

***

The bruised, beaten man woke with a start, his bandages constraining his arms and his torso, tape wrapped tightly around his broken ribs. A large man sat in a wooden chair against the wall. He casually pulled a phone out of his pocket and sent a text.

“Where am I?” the wounded man asked, catching the big man’s movement out of the corner of his eye.

“Safe, my friend,” the big man said.

“Who are you?”

“Just call me Mr. Black.”

The man tried to get up into sitting position, but fell back.

“Here, I help,” Mr. Black said, walking over to the bed. He pushed a button, and the bed slowly raised, bringing him into a position where he could see the whole room. It was industrial, with concrete walls.

“Am I in a hospital or something?”

“No, you at safe house,” Mr. Black said.

“Where are you from?”

“Bulgaria, originally,” Mr. Black said. He went back to the chair and plopped down. “Boss be here soon. He brings food and drink.”

“Am I a prisoner?”

Mr. Black chuckled. “No, you free to go as soon as you well, but boss have proposition. You should listen.”

“Who’s your boss?”

“Ivan,” Mr. Black said.

“Ivan the Butcher?” the man asked, a grin working its way onto his face.

“Oh, you heard of him?” Mr. Black asked.

“He rescued me, didn’t he?”

“Yes. Now save strength. Ivan be here soon. Relax. You safe. Trust me.”

The man tried to find a comfortable position, but his entire body ached. The door swung open, and Ivan walked in, dressed in a blue pinstriped suit, a gray fedora on his head.

“Mr. Dover, you’re awake,” he said, walking over to the side of the bed. “I’m Ivan.”

“Mr. Dover? You saw me on TV.”

“Yes, I was watching. Excellent performance. How much do you remember?”

“Nothing, after the thugs grabbed me and started hitting me with their batons.”

“It was brave what you did,” Ivan said.

“It won’t do any good. Only true believers watch that garbage. Most people know it’s propaganda.”

Ivan chuckled. “I agree, Mr. Dover.”

“My name is Kent,” he said. “Kent Garland.”

“Nice to meet you, Kent. Perhaps you should keep Ben Dover as a stage name. It works.”

Kent started to laugh, then held his sides. “Dammit. Those creeps beat me up good.”

“They won’t beat anybody else up,” Ivan said. “Isn’t that right, Mr. Black.”

Mr. Black chuckled. “Their necks crack nicely.”

“Are you working with an organization, Kent?”

“A student organization,” Kent said.

“You’re still a student?”

“Grad student,” Kent said. “Political science and econ.”

“Impressive. Which school?”

“Belly of the beast,” Kent said. “UC Santa Cruz.”

“Ah, very interesting,” Ivan said. “We were just looking into that campus. Are you aware of what is going on at Merritt College?”

Kent rolled his eyes. “Morons.”

“UN Peacekeepers and several truckloads of Islamists have been there for the last twelve hours or so,” Ivan said.

Kent chuckled, holding his sides again. “And they thought their rape rate was bad before.”

Mr. Black laughed out loud.

“You’ve heard about their antics?” Ivan asked.

“Dark web boards went nuts a month ago, after that incident in Torrance.”

“You mean the attack on the Armstrong Theater,” Ivan said.

“We know about the rape operation,” Kent said. “I hope the women got out okay. We can’t find any info.”

“Most work for us now,” Ivan said.

“You guys were involved,” Kent said. “Knew it. My friends didn’t believe me.”

“Yes, one of my teams was involved,’ Ivan said. “Mr. Black here handled the Armstrong Theater. The rest handled the rescue.”

“I had help, boss, remember? Mr. White.”

“Two guys killed all those high-ranking slugs there?” Kent asked.

“Like fish in barrel,” Mr. Black said.

“What’s going to happen now?” Kent asked. “Am I a prisoner?”

“No, not at all,” Ivan said. “We’ll nurse you back to health. We will offer you a position. It’s up to you if you accept it.”

“What did you have in mind?”

“Two stage job,” Ivan said. “First we flood airwaves with TV show you were on. Then you go on live TV with me to explain further, and to rally citizens.”

Kent cracked up. “Oh, so this is my fifteen minutes, if I agree?”

“If you agree, you’ll be able to stay on, should that be your desire,” Ivan said. “That will be up to you. No pressure.”

“I think I’ll accept,” Kent said. “I know others. We’ve been fighting against the UC system even before the war and martial law started. We’ve learned a lot.”

“I was hoping,” Ivan said. “You know anything about the meetings going on now?”

“It’s training,” Kent said, “and it’s not the first time. It was part of the reason we felt we had to make a big splash on the TV show. We’re trying to wake people up.”

“Good effort,” Ivan said, “but to do this, you have to force your way in front of people who would never watch that propaganda garbage.”

“I know, that is a problem,” Kent said. “We don’t have the resources that you do, I suspect.”

“What training?” Mr. Black asked.

“Paramilitary training, as well as propaganda instruction,” Kent said. “Remember Antifa about eight years ago? Similar stuff. The state government hasn’t won over the people to martial law, even up here. People are at least passively resisting. The state thinks they need to intimidate the population. They’re stupid, though. That always backfires.”

“It sure does,” Ivan said. “It works in a society that’s never been free. Here that’s not the case, and the citizens are armed.”

“They’ve been confiscating weapons,” Kent said.

“Yes, but they’ve only gotten a small fraction. We’ve been watching that situation closely, and supplying better weapons to other groups too.”

“Well, I’m glad to be working with you,” Kent said. “We have no weapons and no training. We just see and hear things and pass them out on the dark web. I don’t really have that much to offer.”

“Not in terms of power or reach, but you have the most important things,” Ivan said. “Brains and heart. There’s food coming in a few minutes. Eat, then rest. Recover. We’ll talk later. Remember you’re free to go whenever you want to. You are also free to leave the room when you’re ready.”

“Thank you,” Kent said.

The door swung open again, and a tray of food rolled in, pushed by a Russian beauty with delicate features, long black hair, and long legs.

“Is this hero?” she asked, smiling.

“Yes,” Ivan said. “Treat him well. He might need help eating.”

“Shall I leave, boss?” Mr. Black asked.

“Yes. We have some things to discuss.”

“Okay,” Mr. Black said, his huge frame rising. “See you, Mr. Dover.” He chuckled as he followed Ivan out the door, closing it afterwards.

The woman rolled the tray closer, uncovering plates of food, which filled the room with a rich smell. “You need help? I feed you?”

“I think I’m in heaven,” Kent said, shooting her a smile.

“Hardly,” she said. “You’re in Mission District. I’m Cat.”

“We’re in Frisco?” he asked, eyes wide. “Is it safe?”

“Don’t worry,” she said, moving closer with a plate. She filled a spoon and put it to his lips. “Open wide.”

***

Seth watched as Kaitlyn was talking on her phone. She was facing the gun console, but he could see her start to shake, and rushed over, seeing that she was crying. He touched her shoulder.

“I’ve got to go,” she said softly, ending the call and getting into Seth’s arms, her head against his chest as she sobbed.

“My God, what happened?”

“James,” she said, not looking up at him.

“Oh no, he got hit?”

“He’s dead,” she said. “Poor Abby.”

“Oh, no,” Seth said, his tears coming. “Did they say how?”

“The UN laid a trap, near Barrett Lake. He was taking out sentries with his crossbow and got shot.”

“He’s a hero,” Seth said.

“Yes, I know, but it hurts so bad. I’ve known him my whole life.”

“What happened to the rest of the group?”

“They killed the UN trash,” she said. “They’re on their way here.”

“Thank God for that,” Seth said.

“I wish we could just leave.”

“I know, honey.”

“Can we?” she asked.

Seth was quiet for a moment.

“Forget I said it,” she said.

“Look,” Seth said. “You are the most important person in my life. If you want to split, we’ll split. All I ask is that you wait until the grief has died down. Okay?”

“You’d really go with me?”

“In a heartbeat,” Seth said. “I love you so much. You know that.”

She looked at him. “Yes, I know that.”

There was a knock on the door.

“It’s Megan,” Seth said. “She shouldn’t be walking around out there.”

“Let her in, honey,” Kaitlyn said. He nodded and rushed to the door, opening it. She came in, crying hard, and hugged Kaitlyn.

“Where’s Angel?” Kaitlyn asked.

“I told him to stay in the coach,” she said. “I basically ordered him to stay there. I can’t lose him.”

“Want me to slip out and be with him?” Seth asked.

“Yes, do that, honey,” Kaitlyn said, “but be careful. Stay under cover.”

“Okay,” Seth said, grabbing his Winchester. He slipped out the door and trotted away, Kaitlyn watching him until he went inside Angel’s coach.

“How’s Abby taking it?” Megan asked.

“She’s in shock,” Kaitlyn said. “So’s my mom. This is horrible.”

“Angel cried,” Megan said.

“So did Seth. I asked him if we could leave.”

“You did?” Megan asked. “What did he say?”

“He said wait until the grief dies down, and if I still want to leave, he’ll take me.”

“You wouldn’t really, would you?”

“When I said it, I thought I would,” she said, “but no, I can’t leave our people hanging. They need us.”

“He said he would, though,” Megan said. “Angel would too.”

“Did he say that?”

“No, but I know,” she said.

“We’re lucky,” Kaitlyn said, “but I’m so scared of losing him.”

“You’ve never been this much in love before,” Megan said.

“You feel the same way, don’t you?”

Megan shook her head yes, starting to cry again.

“Oh, no, what’s that?” Kaitlyn asked, watching a pickup truck drive up in the dusk.

Megan peered out the side window. “Tyler and Ryan. They’re probably bringing James here.”

“Should we go out?” Kaitlyn asked.

“No,” Megan said. “I promised Angel I wouldn’t go anywhere where he couldn’t see me. I’m keeping that promise.”

Kaitlyn nodded.

“I’m going to go back to him, okay?” Megan asked.

“Yeah, send Seth back.”

“I will,” Megan said. She slipped out the door, Megan watching as she made it to their rig. Seth bolted out and ran back, rushing through the door and closing it behind himself.

“How’s she doing?” he asked.

“About like me,” Kaitlyn said. “How’s Angel?”

Seth sat on the couch. “We talked. If you and Megan want to leave, we’ll take you.”

Kaitlyn sat next to him. “Really?”

“Yes, really,” Seth said.

“Well, don’t worry, because I wouldn’t really do that, and neither would Megan.”

“You don’t have to decide either way right now,” Seth said.

She smiled at him. “How’d we get so lucky? How’d we find each other?”

“We’ll never know,” Seth said.

***

Shelly and Jules made love feverishly until the sun rose.

“Wow,” Jules said, trying to catch his breath.

“Happy?” Shelly asked.

“You know I am,” Jules said. “You?”

“Yes,” she said. “Can’t quite believe it.”

Jules’s phone buzzed.

“Uh oh,” he said, rushing to grab it off the shelf opposite the bed, where it was charging. “Enemy. Same road as before. Looks like they’re going home from UC Santa Cruz.”

“You think it’s the same ones?”

“Same number, anyway,” Jules said. “Placement same.”

“I’ll send a text reminding everybody to sit tight, unless they pull in here,” Shelly said.

Jules nodded as he refreshed the app. “They’ve already gone by the front gate.”

“Good,” Shelly said. “Sent.”

“They just pass back gate. Gone. No problem.”

“Thank God,” Shelly said.

Jules’s phone rang, startling both.

“Dammit,” Shelly said, smiling.

Jules grinned and hit the speaker button. “Ivan, what up?”

“Hi, Jules. Sounds like I’m on speaker again.”

“Yes, Shelly here.”

“Okay, no problem. Ben Dover woke up.”

“Really? What he have to say? He join us, no?”

“Yep,” Ivan said, “and get this. He’s a student. He goes to UC Santa Cruz.”

“You joke?” Jules shot a grin over at Shelly, who stared back in disbelief.

“No joke,” Ivan said. “He knew about the enemy fighters and UN thugs working with people there.”

“What they doing?”

“Paramilitary training,” Ivan said. “They’re training themselves some thugs to push people around. It was like we figured. Most people don’t like this martial law one bit. The local media makes it sound like everybody is on board, but it’s just smoke and mirrors.”

“So, what we do?”

“I still send in Mr. White and Mr. Black to nab the corrupt UC officials,” Ivan said. “After we finish with the Mertins plant, we might just pay their training center a visit.”

“That sounds like a bad idea,” Shelly said, stopping to put her hand over her mouth. “Sorry, I should keep my mouth shut.”

“No, don’t keep your mouth shut,” Ivan said. “Why do you think it’s a bad idea?”

“It might generate sympathy for the students who’ve bought into this,” Shelly said.

“We have to kill some of them, you know,” Jules said. “No way around it.”

“I agree,” Shelly said, “but we should make sure it’s during violence driven by them.”

“Smart woman,” Ivan said.

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 106 – Merrill

“You get them?” Kaylee asked, sitting at the target tray in the passenger seat of the battle wagon.

“Yeah, but there’s more,” Trevor said, his eyes glued into the sight for the main guns.

“Why didn’t we get buzzed?”

“Crap. There’s why. UN Van. See it?” He fired the grenade launcher, blowing the van sky high, but another one moved up, the side door sliding open, blue-helmeted fighters rushing out. Trevor shot a grenade into the open door, blowing up the vehicle.

“Yes! They’re in front of my guns,” Kaylee said as she opened fire, killing all seven men. Then Trevor’s phone buzzed. He looked at the app in a panic. “Islamists coming in.”

“How many?”

“Looks like a couple hundred,” he said.

“Dammit, we aren’t ready,” Kaylee said.

One of the other battle wagons fired its grenade launcher, taking out another UN van.

“Should we get on the road?” Kaylee asked.

“No,” Trevor said. “We’ve got four hundred men only a few hundred yards away. You know they’ve heard this.”

Suddenly gunfire erupted from the south as more UN vans rolled up. The smell of black powder floated into the air.

“Speak of the devil,” Kaylee said, taking aim at more running UN troops, opening fire.

“I’m saving the mini-gun,” Trevor said. “We’re going to get hit with worse than these vans.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right,” Kaylee said. “Where are the Islamists?”

Trevor refreshed his app. “Two hundred yards and closing,” he said. “Do we stay in here or go outside?”

“We’d better stay in here,” Kaylee said. “We’ve got a lot of firepower. If things turn, we can high-tail it. Just be careful not to hit any of Garrett’s men. They’re running in, see?”

“Yeah, I see them,” Trevor said. “Crap, Gaz Tigr coming in on the left.” He fired the grenade launcher, hitting the vehicle in the front, but it kept coming, so he moved to the mini-gun, firing into the windows of the vehicle, which rolled into a tree. Then he fired a grenade inside. It blew up big, spreading fire, causing some of Garrett’s men to flee.

“Wow,” Kaylee shouted. She picked up the M60 and headed for the slit on the passenger side of the coach.

“What do you see?”

“About fifty Islamists and a few UN thugs running towards us broadside. I’m gonna ruin their day.”

She slipped the M60 through the slit and opened fire, sweeping the line of men, dropping many as bullets hit the side of the coach.

“Nice,” Trevor said. “Let’s see how they like this.” He rapid fired several grenades into the fleeing men, knocking many to the ground as Kaylee continued firing. Other coaches joined in.

“Sam’s moving his coach,” Trevor said. “Getting to a better position, I hope.”

“Won’t that expose his tires and his windshield?”

“Yeah, hopefully he goes back into siege mode quickly.”

“I see why he did it,” Kaylee said. “He can use the forward guns and fire right down the road. They can’t come that way now.”

“Yeah,” Trevor said. “He just went back into siege mode.” There was a large explosion.

“He just blew up something big on the road,” Kaylee said. Several more enemy fighters rushed the side of the coach, and she opened up with the M60, dropping all of them.

“This is great,” Trevor said. “Sam’s got Wildwood Glen Lane completely blocked – he can shoot down one direction with the front guns and the other direction with the back guns.”

“Seth just did the same thing on Los Terrinitos Road,” Kaylee said. “Nobody can get in that way anymore either.”

“We should go position ourselves on Highway 79 the same way.”

“That’s a lot bigger road,” Kaylee said.

“So, we move two coaches out there. I’m texting Angel.”

“Okay,” Kaylee said nervously.

“Angel agrees. I’m taking this baby out of siege mode. You okay with handling the forward and rear guns?”

“Of course, but what about broadsides?”

“I’m on the mini-gun and the grenade launcher. If worse comes to worse, I’ll get on the other M60 and do what you were just doing.”

“Okay,” she said. Trevor took the coach out of siege mode and started the engine, moving towards the highway, getting out into the right-hand lane and stopping, setting up siege mode again. They got hit with gunfire right away.

“This was a good idea,” Kaylee said, opening fire with the forward machine guns, stopping two vans which were driving towards the turnoff onto Wildwood Glen lane. One of the vans rolled, landing on the blacktop, blocking both lanes.

Angel pulled up next to them and set back up into siege mode.

“We’ve got to clear that wreckage,” Trevor said. “It gives the enemy cover to get onto Wildwood Glen.” He fired several times with the grenade launcher, lifting the van into the air. It came down on it’s side, but still partially blocking the road. “That’s not good enough. We might have to go push it out of the way.”

“Try again,” Kaylee said.

Trevor nodded and fired several more grenades. This time it moved the van’s burning hulk out of the road. “Good, it worked.”

“There aren’t any more enemy fighters coming,” Kaylee said.

“Well, not yet, anyway,” Trevor said. “Wonder how many escaped?”

“Or how many got calls back to the others,” Kaylee said. “I’ll keep watch. Check what’s happening on the apps.”

“Yeah,” Trevor said, putting his phone in front of his face. He shook his head.

“What?”

Trevor looked over at her. “The enemy is evacuating Descanso. I don’t think they’re going to hit us here again. Nobody else is coming.”

“We can’t see the UN,” Kaylee said.

“That’s true,” Trevor said. “We should stay parked right here until the cavalry arrives.”

“I agree,” Kaylee said.

***

Sam looked over at Erica. They were still sitting on Wildwood Glen Lane, covering both directions of the road with the forward and rear machine guns. “The enemy gave up, and they’re leaving Descanso.”

“Already?” Erica asked.

“They didn’t expect these battle wagons and five hundred men,” Sam said. “We’re going to have to fight them in Julian.”

“We did badly there before,” Erica said.

“Yep, but now we’ve got a lot more fighters,” Sam said, “and better equipment too. Not to mention the apps.”

The phone rang.

“Who’s that?” Erica asked.

“Ji-Ho. I’ll put it on speaker.” He did that and set the phone on the dash. “Hi, Ji-Ho.”

“Hey, Sam, looks like they on run.”

“Saw that. We’ll fight them in Julian.”

“Yes, agree,” Ji-Ho said. “Just heard from Garrett. Large force only half hour away now.”

“Good,” Sam said. “We’ll have to let them rest before we go on. Julian is further from here than this place is from our base.”

“Yes, I know,” Ji-Ho said. “Garrett and men on way here too. Enemy fighters flee from Barrett Lake area.”

“Oh, really?” Sam asked. “Crap, that means we’ll have to fight them later.”

“Yes, true. I say we go into Descanso when main forces arrive and dig in, regroup. Then attack Julian.”

“We need a way to see the UN,” Erica said.

“They not problem,” Ji-Ho said. “Ivan tell. They only left few stragglers here. Large group in north, where Jules’s team is.”

“How are they seeing them?” Sam asked.

“Satellite,” Ji-Ho said. “Morons have UN painted on top of vans.”

Sam chuckled. “They think they are legit, and they think we think they are legit.”

Ji-Ho laughed. “Yes, true. They have nasty surprise waiting for them in north. Ivan has multitude there. Bloodbath.”

“Yeah, well I hope he’s being careful,” Erica said. “We can’t see them. That means they can spearhead attacks.”

“Yep,” Sam said. “What now?”

“Wait until Garrett’s groups arrive, then regroup in Descanso after they rest.”

“Maybe we should do that in the morning,” Erica said. “It’ll be dark in a hurry.”

“Yes, maybe. We talk later.”

“Okay, Ji-Ho, talk to you soon.”

Sam ended the call.

“Should we continue to sit in this street?” Erica asked.

“Yes,” Sam said. “With Siege mode on and parking lights too.”

“Are you convinced that the UN is really that weak down here now?”

Sam thought about it for a moment. “Not as convinced as Ji-Ho is. We need to make sure everybody watches tonight.”

Erica nodded. “Wish we knew where Ed ended up.”

“I know, honey. Me too.”

***

Shelly woke up very early in the morning, feeling for Jules. He was gone. She got up in a panic and rushed out into the salon. He was sitting at the dinette in his underwear, studying his phone, it’s glow lighting his face in the darkness.

“Hey,” Shelly asked as she approached. “It’s only four. Can’t sleep?”

“No,” Jules said.

“What are you looking for?”

“Santa Cruz,” he said, looking up at her naked form, silhouetted by the lights from outside. “That make nice picture.” He started to aim his phone.

“Don’t you dare,” she said, rushing back into the bedroom. She came back out with her long t-shirt on. “That was naughty.”

Jules looked at her and grinned, then looked back at the screen.

“What are you expecting to see?” She slid onto the dinette bench next to him and watched his screen.

“I don’t know,” Jules said. “I expected enemy to go to harbor or the beach area.”

“They didn’t, though, did they?”

“No. UC Santa Cruz,” he said. “Merrill College.”

“Why would they do that?” Shelly asked, looking at him, her eyes getting wider. “They don’t do nuclear or biological research there, do they?”

“Thought crossed mind,” Jules said. “Maybe I call Ivan when light.”

“He might be watching too, right now,” Shelly said. “Send him a text. He might answer.”

“Okay,” he said. “Can’t hurt. Won’t wake him.” He sent the text, then set his phone down for a moment. “You can’t sleep too?”

“I woke up and felt for you,” she said. “I didn’t like that you weren’t there.”

“If Ivan not respond, we go back into bedroom,” Jules said. “I try to sleep again.”

“There’s always something else we could do, you know,” Shelly said, her hand going onto his thigh. Then Jules’s phone rang, making them jump. Jules checked the number.

“Ivan,” he said, hitting the speaker button. “I not wake, I hope.”

Ivan chuckled on the line. “Good morning. I was already awake. You’re looking at apps?”

“Yes. Shelly next to me.”

“Ah, good morning, milk maid,” Ivan said. “Maybe you aren’t keeping Jules occupied enough.”

Shelly giggled. “Maybe not. Hi, Ivan.”

“Hello,” Ivan said. “You’re worried about them being at UC Santa Cruz.”

“Yes,” Jules said. “They drive inside campus, stay near place marked Merrill College. Strange, no?”

“Strange yes,” Ivan said. “The boys and I have been racking our brains on this one. The college they’re in isn’t technical, so they aren’t there to gather up weapons materials.”

“What is study there?” Jules asked.

Ivan snickered. “We read about that part of US Santa Cruz on Wikipedia. Sounds like Leftist Studies to me.”

“What mean, political science?” Jules asked.

“United States impact on the developing world,” Ivan said, sounding like he was reading. “That’s what Wikipedia says.”

“They’re there to develop propaganda,” Shelly said. “They probably want to tailor it to the people living in the bay area.”

“Bingo, milk maid gets the prize,” Ivan said. “At least that’s what we think.”

“Islamists and peace-loving hippy types? Not mix, no?”

“We got a satellite shot a little while ago from General Hogan. There’s more UN vans there than there are the phony trucks the Islamists came in. It’s like they’re having some kind of conference. They even had a stage. There was a concert going on there earlier in the evening. Lots of students attended.”

“Good Lord,” Shelly said.

“Perhaps they be including paramilitary training, no?”

“We thought that at first, two,” Ivan said. “Possible. Huey Newton came out of Santa Cruz.”

Jules looked at Shelly blankly.

“Founder of the Black Panther Party,” Shelly said. “Most people don’t realize that UC Santa Cruz is more radical than UC Berkeley.”

“What we do?” Jules asked. “Anything?”

“You mean like go in there and kill them?” Ivan asked. “No, that’ll play right into the hands of the enemy. This tells us that they are having problems winning over the bulk of the population up here. Our actions will resonate with a significant portion of the population. Enough to stop them.” He paused for a moment.

“Okay, boss?” Jules asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “Sorry. Just thinking.”

“What thinking?”

“I’m going to find out who at the University invited these cretins in. I’ll send Mister White and Mister Black in to nab them.”

“You mean murder them?” Shelly asked.

“Kidnap, for now. Find out who they know, what their plans are. You know.”

“Might have been state government,” Jules said.

“Oh, I’m sure they were involved too,” Ivan said. “Propaganda is crucial up here. We have to fight fire with fire. We’ve already laid the groundwork for that.”

“How?” Shelly asked.

“We rescued somebody who made a scene on one of their propaganda TV shows. We’re nursing him back to health after the UN thugs beat him up, live on a statewide TV show.”

“He’s going to talk for our side?” Shelly asked.

“We’re going to give him that option,” Ivan said.

“Who?” Jules asked.

“He goes by Ben Dover,” Ivan said. He and Jules laughed. Shelly rolled her eyes.

“The nature of this battle will be different than down south,” Shelly said. “You guys know that, right?”

Ivan stopped laughing. “We will expose the enemy for what they are.”

“Yes, we will, and we’re going to help, remember,” Shelly said.

“Yes, I remember,” Ivan said, “and it will help. Big time.”

“What about our problem with the three locations?” Shelly asked.

“Still working on it, but we’ll be able to cover it. We’re working on the how now. We’ve already decided to go ahead. Don’t tell the rest of your group yet.”

“Okay, boss,” Jules said. “You want us to leave Islamists in trucks alone if they go by here again? We could arrange, how you say, accident.”

“No, let’s not make martyrs out of this group. We’ll kill plenty of their kind, trust me on that. We’re going to show the public who they are, and we’re going to use their own media outlets to do it.”

“Do you know when we hit the Mertins plant?” Shelly asked.

“Day after tomorrow at the earliest,” Ivan said.

“Still planning?” Jules asked.

“No, we’re waiting for some special guests to arrive,” Ivan said. “We want them to have front-row seats.”

Jules shot a grin at Shelly. “We hurt them bad?”

“Oh yeah, we’ll hurt them bad,” Ivan said. “Now go play with your milk maid. I’ve got work to do.”

“Thanks, boss,” Jules said. He ended the call. Shelly stood up and pulled her long t-shirt over her head, tossing it on the dinette table.

“Hey, what you do?” Jules asked, smiling.

“You heard the man.”

***

“I wish we brought camping gear,” James said, weary in the saddle. “This is a long haul.”

“At least we don’t have to fight,” one of Garrett’s men said.

“Don’t be so sure about that,” Tyler said. “We’re going to approach the spot where the enemy was dug in very quietly.”

“Why?” Ryan asked.

“Because of the UN folks who showed up near Descanso,” Tyler said. “You read the texts.”

“Ji-Ho said there wasn’t a significant UN presence down here,” James said.

Garrett chuckled. “There weren’t supposed to be any of them around Descanso. Sorry, but I’m not a trusting soul. Tyler is right. When we get close, we go in as if there’s some UN folks there.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t have sent the five hundred to Descanso, then,” James said.

“I had mixed feelings about that,” Garrett said. “Still do. Glad it’ll still be dark when we get there.”

“How will we know when we’re there, now that the Islamists are gone?” James asked.

“I saved the GPS locations,” Tyler said.

“That’s why he’s chief,” Garrett said, “although I saved them too. Can’t be too careful. Even if there’s no UN folks there, they might have boobytrapped the area.”

“Dammit,” James said. “I didn’t think about that.”

“Well don’t get your panties in a bunch,” Ryan said.

Tyler grabbed his phone and checked their location. “We’re really close. I say a few of us sneak up there and take a gander.”

“I’m game,” Garrett said.

“Yeah, same crew as last time,” Ryan said. James shot him a worried glance, but nodded yes. They dismounted, Garrett taking a second to chat with his foreman, who got off his horse to help.

“Grab your long guns,” Garrett said, pulling his out of the scabbard hanging from his saddle. The others did the same, and they walked forward, trying to be as quiet as they could.

“I’m taking my crossbow,” James said. “Just in case.”

“Good idea,” Ryan said.

“We don’t have a well-defined ridge here,” Tyler whispered. “It’s a lot of big rocks and little valleys, right off the road, a few hundred yards in front of the dam. Watch yourselves. If there’s anybody here, you can bet they’re watching for us.”

The others nodded and they moved along quickly, trying to keep close to cover. The rugged, hilly dirt terrain changed to large rocks after about forty yards, and they slowed down, stopping behind rocks to take a good look, then rushing to the next cover available.

“Look,” Tyler whispered. “Cell phone. See the light?”

“That’s a sentry,” James said, pulling his crossbow off his back. He loaded an arrow and crept forward as the others watched, covering him.

Garrett texted on his phone, Tyler seeing his screen. “Careful with that. What are you doing?”

“Turning the five-hundred around,” Garrett whispered. “They’re not that far. They can be here in a hurry.”

Tyler gave him thumbs up. Then they heard the crossbow, and the sentry clutched his chest, falling. James ran in a crouch to his position, checking the body and the phone, which was still on. He began typing on the screen.

“What’s he doing?” Ryan whispered.

“Probably pretending to be the enemy,” Garrett whispered back.

“Look, here comes another one, wearing one of those stupid blue helmets,” Tyler whispered. The running man stopped, clutching his chest, falling without a sound.

“That’s two,” Tyler whispered.

“Dammit,” Ryan said, catching another UN Peacekeeper sneaking over the top of the rock James was next to. “Game over.” He aimed his rifle and fired, dropping the enemy, the sound echoing through the area.

“James, get over here,” Tyler shouted. James sprinted back towards them, but his running went wild and he fell half way back, shot through the side.

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 105 – Santa Cruz

Tyler, James, and Ryan were on horseback, with Garrett and about thirty of his men. They were on their way to intercept the four icons they saw coming south from Barrett Lake, riding through the desert with its low ridges and dry river beds. Nobody had been able to raise Ed, so they all assumed he was being held by Black Crow.

“You guys did a good job breaking these horses,” Garrett said.

“Thanks,” Ryan said. “They’re barely even winded.”

“Seriously,” James said. He glanced over at Tyler, who was looking at his phone screen as he rode, struggling to keep the horse under control. “You want us to stop for a sec, chief?”

“Chief?” Tyler asked, looking up. “I just saw what we thought we’d see. They’ve started back towards the north.”

“How fast?” Garrett asked, his horse snorting as he slowed to get next to Tyler.

“About the same speed as before,” Tyler said. “I think they’re on foot, but they’re moving pretty quickly. We’re a few miles behind them.”

“Wonder how close we have to be for them to hear us?” James asked.

“We’ll want to slow down when we get within half a mile or so,” Garrett said. “We’ll still be moving faster than they are.”

“That’s easy,” James said. “The short-range app should buzz us at that distance.”

“Roughly,” Garrett said. “Wonder if the hills out here will make any difference in range?”

“Good question,” Tyler said. “This is peer to peer, so we might have some problems. Might be line-of-sight. I think I’ll need to go by the long-range app to keep track of how close we really are, just in case.”

“If it were flat, we’d be seen,” Ryan said.

“True that,” Garrett said. “Remember they might be up high enough to see us once we get close. They could be on one of the hills.”

“And we’re taller, since we’re on horseback,” James said.

They continued at a good clip, keeping their thoughts to themselves for a while, the tension and anticipation rising.

“Wonder how far along the battle wagons are?” Ryan asked.

“They’ll beat most of my guys to Descanso,” Garrett said. “They’re going to stop outside of town and wait.”

“Good idea,” Ryan said. “Those battle wagons aren’t indestructible, and they can get overrun.”

“Yep,” Garrett said. “You been watching the Williams place too, right?”

Tyler nodded. “No enemy hits anywhere near there so far. I see some movement from Julian down to Descanso, though.”

“How much movement?” Ryan asked.

“Several hundred fighters,” Tyler said. “I already shot a text to Sam and Ji-Ho.”

“You don’t look very worried about that,” James said, looking at Garrett.

Garrett chuckled. “We’ve got two thousand men riding there, and there were only about three hundred men there to begin with. If we see a couple thousand men coming down there, I’d be worried.”

“They don’t have that many man anywhere near here,” Tyler said. “Glad we kicked the UN out of this region. They don’t have chips.”

“You sure they’re all really gone?” James asked.

“Pretty sure,” Tyler said.

Garrett had an uneasy look. “Hope that’s the case. Sam told me that they’re all up north, trying to salvage martial law in that part of the state.”

They rode silently for another hour or so, the sun beating down on them, their horses getting tired.

“There’s a stream up ahead,” Tyler said.

“Good,” Garrett said. “Let’s water the horses there. How close are the enemy now?”

Tyler looked at his phone. “Just under a mile. We don’t want to for break too long. Quick rest and drink, and then we need to get moving.”

They made it to the stream and dismounted, bringing the horses close to the water. Garrett pulled out his phone and sent a text, then read his screen, shielding it from the sun with his hat.

“Our main forces are making good time to Descanso,” he said. “And the five hundred-man group is already at Barrett Lake Road. They’re waiting for us to take the four and rescue Ed. Our scout has seen the enemy forces. They’re dug in. Good thing we sent them with some mortars.”

“I just got a reply from Sam,” Tyler said. “They’re on Japatul Road, not too far south of I-8. They’re looking for a place to park until the cavalry arrives.”

“When do your men get there, Garrett?” James asked.

“It’ll be a few hours. Wish we had enough horse trailers to move them all there.”

“Are all of them on horseback?” James asked.

“No, we’ve got about four hundred in vehicles,” Garrett said. “They’re with the battle wagons. Not enough to do the job.”

“We should get going,” Tyler said. “The horses have drunk all they’re going to.”

“Yeah, I agree,” Garrett said. The group mounted up and rode forward, Tyler riding one handed, phone in his free hand. When his phone buzzed, he held up his hand and slowed down. Garrett nodded, his own phone buzzing.

“This is pretty accurate, according to what I see on the long-range app,” Tyler whispered. They rode slowly, heading up to a ridge.

“Stop,” Tyler whispered. “Best snipers, follow me.”

Garrett nodded, sending a couple of his thirty men forward with long rifles, joining them himself. Tyler, Ryan, and James led them to the ridge. They snuck up to the edge and looked over.

“Dammit,” Tyler whispered. “There’s Black Crow and four Islamists, but Ed’s not with them.”

“Crap, man, they probably killed him already,” James said softly.

“Or something else happened to him,” one of Garrett’s men whispered. “He was blasting around in the back country on that hovercraft. He might have crashed it.”

“You’re right,” Tyler said. “Let’s take these guys out. One shot each.”

“You don’t want to question Black Crow?” James asked.

“Shoot him in the leg,” Tyler said. “We’ll see if we can get some info out of him before we gut him.”

James’s eyes opened wider as he looked at Tyler.

“What?” Tyler asked.

“That’s harsh, man.”

“He’s been responsible for the deaths of our people,” Tyler said. “He might have been the reason we got ambushed in Julian. You ever consider that?”

“He’s right, James,” Ryan whispered, aiming his rifle. “C’mon, we’ve got a job to do. I’ve got Black Crow. I’ll wound him. Kill the others.”

The men aimed, carefully, Tyler watching. “On my mark.”

They held their breaths.

“Now,” Tyler said. Five shots rang out almost in unison, all the men slumping to the ground. Black Crow screamed in pain, clutching his right shoulder.

“Why’d you shoot him there?” Garrett’s man asked.

“He’s right handed,” Ryan said. “He won’t be able to shoot.”

“Yeah, but he can run,” James said, nodding towards him as he got up and started running. Ryan fired again, hitting him in the left thigh, bringing him to the ground.

“We’d better get down there quick, before he goes into shock or bleeds out,” Tyler said.

“Yeah,” Garrett said. They rushed back down to their horses, and then all thirty-five men rode over the ridge and down to the enemy bodies. Tyler, James, and Ryan rushed over to Black Crow, who was barely conscious. Tyler frisked him for weapons, pulling a small auto pistol out of his pocket and tossing it away.

“He’s clean,” Tyler said. He turned Black Crow onto his back. “Where’s Silver Wolf?”

Black Crow grinned at him through the pain, his thin features and pockmarked skin shining with sweat. “Wouldn’t you like to know, you wannabe paleface.”

Garrett stuck his spur into Black Crows thigh wound, causing him to scream in pain. “I didn’t hear you.”

“Damn, dude,” James said. Tyler shook his head no at him, then turned back to Black Crow.

“I’ll ask you again. Where’s Silver Wolf?”

“He went to the happy hunting ground,” Black Crow said.

“Where is he?” Garrett asked, poised to dig the spur in again. Black Crow tried to spit at him, blood spewing out with the saliva, landing on his belly. Garrett dug in again, and he screamed bloody murder.

James got up and walked away. Ryan stayed there, watching, his face showing mixed emotions. Tyler glanced at him, then back at Black Crow.

“How long have you been against us?”

Black Crow laughed. “Why should I tell you anything? I’m done anyway. Unless you’ve got a chopper at your disposal, I’ll bleed out long before you can get me out of here.”

“Why’d you do this, son?” Garrett asked.

“I’m not your son,” he spat.

“No, but I’m your chief,” Tyler said. “So is Silver Wolf. At least tell us why.”

“You wouldn’t understand,” Black Crow said, his breath laboring now, sweat pouring off his face.

“Try me,” Tyler said.

“We could’ve used this opportunity to get our land back,” he said. “All of it. We could’ve teamed with the Islamists. They aren’t all that different from us, you know. We’ve both been wronged by the white man.”

Garrett laughed. “Are you kidding me? You planning on converting to Islam? Because if they win and you don’t convert, you’re dead. You’d just be changing one dominate culture for another.”

“They are warriors,” Black Crow said. “Like we used to be.”

“You are one mixed up son of a bitch,” Ryan said. “Can we shoot him and move on? We have a whole lot of Islamic warriors to kill.”

Black Crow laughed hard, turning to a cough, blood leaking from the corners of his mouth. “What do you have, about forty guys? There’s hundreds coming for you, and another thousand sitting north of there, getting ready to hit your little stronghold at the Williams place, and that stupid western town.”

Garrett laughed. “We’ve got five hundred mounted men closing on the enemy forces at the highway, and another two thousand heading for Descanso, you idiot.”

Black Crow’s eyes opened wide.

“You’re beaten,” Tyler said. “Honor your ancestors and tell us where our chief is.”

Black Crow started to cry, as his breath slowed down even more.

“C’mon,” Tyler said.

“All right, if you agree to end me quick.”

“Agreed,” Ryan said.

“We don’t know where Silver Wolf is. I never found him. He probably crashed that stupid hovercraft of his somewhere.”

“So why were those guys coming down here?”

“To pick me up,” he said. “They were going to make me a general.”

“That’s what they told you?” Ryan asked, shaking his head.

“Screw you,” Black Crow said. “Kill me. I did what you asked.”

Ryan pointed his gun at Black Crow’s head.

“No,” Tyler said. “I’ll do it. Stand back.”

The others left. Tyler pulled his pistol, as Black Crow shut his eyes and tensed up. Tyler fired.

***

Ted and Haley rushed into their coach, which was already in siege mode. Brianna had her gun in her hand, eyes wide with fear. “Thank God you’re back.”

Stacey had his gun ready to go, when all of them got buzzed with a text. Ted read his phone. “Shut down the engine. Jules thinks they might just drive by, unless they hear us.”

Stacey nodded and rushed to the driver’s seat, shutting down the engine as the other coaches around him did the same. Then it was silent.

“Turn out the lights,” Ted said. Haley got close to him, putting her arm on his back. “Don’t worry, honey. We know how many there are and we’ll see them if they make the turnoff.”

“I know,” she whispered. “Just scared.”

“Gather around and I’ll display the app,” Ted said. “I’ll have to refresh it every few seconds.”

Haley rushed over there and pulled the coffee maker away from the wall. “Here, prop it up against this.”

Ted nodded and set his phone down. All of them watched the screen, Ted hitting the refresh button every ten seconds.

“They’re passing the turnoff,” Brianna said.

“Yeah, thank God,” Haley said.

“We aren’t out of the woods yet,” Ted said. “They just went by the back entry to the winery. They might still turn in through the front.”

“There’s not that many,” Stacey said. “We could take them.”

“We could,” Ted said, “but they’d get a call out, and we’d have to leave before we’re ready to hit the Mertins plant.”

“Okay, I can see that,” Stacey said. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry,” Ted said. “Always be thinking.”

“They’ve passed the main entrance,” Haley said.

“So it would appear,” Ted said. “We’re probably safe, but it’s going to be a long night.”

“You going to monitor them?” Haley asked.

“Damn straight,” Ted said. “We need to know where they go.”

Everybody got buzzed by a text message. Haley looked at her phone. “Jules just sent an all clear, but said we need to keep lights off, be quiet, and watch the apps.”

“Should we leave this in siege mode?” Stacey asked.

“Yes,” Ted said. “It won’t hurt anything. More headroom too.”

“Maybe we should stay here tonight, instead of going to the house,” Haley said.

Ted looked at her and nodded yes.

Brianna shot a glance at Stacey. “You two want to use the bedroom?”

“No,” Haley said. “You might as well stay in there.”

“All right,” Brianna said. “Let’s go back and get some sleep, Stacey.”

He nodded and followed her, both still carrying their guns.

“Sorry,” Haley whispered. “Hope you don’t mind.”

“It’s the right choice,” Ted said.

“We can share the convertible sofa,” Haley said softly.

“I’d like that,” Ted said. They got their bed set up in a few minutes.

“Thank you,” Haley said softly as they got undressed for bed.

“For what?”

“Everything,” she said as she climbed under the covers. He joined her after a moment, and she snuggled up close. “This okay?”

“Yes,” Ted said, putting his arm around her.

“We can, you know,” she whispered. “I can be quiet.”

“Let’s wait,” Ted said. “You mind? I’m still pretty stirred up.”

“Okay,” she said, watching him as he refreshed the screen on his phone. “Where are they now?”

“They’re almost to Santa Cruz. Now why would they be going there?” He switched to his text app and sent a message.

“What are you doing?”

“Sending a text to Jules, asking what he thinks,” Ted said. His phone buzzed.

“He got back that fast?”

Ted chuckled. “Yeah. He’s already talking to Ivan about it.”

“You don’t think they’ve got bad guys coming in from the Pacific, do you?”

Ted shot her a glance. “That’s the first thing I thought of. Not much of a harbor there. Just pleasure boats. The harbor does go some ways inland, though. Look.” He showed his phone to Haley.

“Looks like someplace they wouldn’t want to be,” Haley said. “They could get attacked from two directions in there.”

“Yeah,” Ted said. His phone buzzed again. “Jules again. Ivan got visuals via a satellite feed. It’s not military vehicles. They’re in commercial trucks. They’re trying to hide themselves.”

“Does he want us to do anything?” Haley asked.

“We’re the closest assets, so he’s putting us on alert.”

“What does that mean?” Haley asked.

“He wants my phone someplace where I can be woken up in the middle of the night,” Ted said. “Let’s try to get some shut eye.”

Haley smiled at him. “Can I have a kiss?”

“Think that’s wise?”

“I don’t care,” she said. “Come here.”

They embraced and kissed, and then it was like a damn bursting.

“Wow,” Haley said. “That was something.”

“Gonna be hard to sleep now,” Ted said, his breath coming fast.

“Then let’s stop,” she said. “We’ll just cuddle, okay?”

Ted nodded, giving her a peck on the forehead.

***

The battle wagons were parked along Los Terrinitos Road, among the trees surrounding several abandoned mini-ranches.

Sam and Erica walked over to Ji-Ho’s rig. Trevor and Kaylee were in there with Seth and Kaitlyn. Megan and Angel were walking up.

“You heard?” Sam asked Ji-Ho as he entered.

“Yeah, no Ed,” Ji-Ho said. “Hope he still alive. Be hard to find.”

“Seems pretty strange that his phone isn’t working,” Trevor said.

“I know,” Erica said. “I’m worried sick.”

“Where’s the cavalry?” Angel asked. “Getting close to dark.”

“Two hours to the south, if they can keep up the pace,” Sam said. “They’ll have to slow down when it gets dark.”

“They can’t be anywhere near the roads,” Erica said. “Too many of them. It’d raise attention for sure.”

“It might anyway,” Seth said. “We could probably take on the enemy with who we’ve already got.”

“Too risky,” Ji-Ho said. “Things go wrong. Battle Wagons not that hard to break. Only four hundred men to fall back on. They have over thousand men between Descanso and the road down from Julian.”

“Yeah, and more getting ready to leave from Julian, from what I’ve been seeing,” Sam said. “We have to wait. This is not going to be an easy battle with them, either. The enemy will have better weapons.”

“Yes yes,” Ji-Ho said. “Sam right. Wait. Make sure. Lower risk. Remember what happen in Julian.”

“That was different,” Angel said.

“Why do you say that?” Erica asked.

“I’ll lay you ten to one that Black Crow guy helped the enemy with the ambush,” Angel said. “Think about it.”

Erica looked down, then up at the others. “You’re probably right about that.”

“This was not your fault,” Sam said, “and besides, he wasn’t even with our group in Julian, remember? He was with the group you were in, off in the alternate location.”

“We all knew about the battle there,” Erica said. “He could have made phone calls.”

“Not matter now. Black Crow dead,” Ji-Ho said.

“Where’s Garrett’s guys?” Angel asked. “I thought they’d be right next to us.”

“They close,” Ji-Ho said. “In huge pasture, just before this road. Maybe four hundred yard.”

“Okay, makes sense,” Angel said. “They’ve got about seventy vehicles.”

“Seventy-two,” Megan said, smiling.

“Let’s go back to our rig,” Sam said. “We’re too close to the enemy to be far from our weapons systems.”

“Yeah, good point,” Trevor said.

Everybody but Ji-ho left the coach, heading quickly back to their rigs.

Sam opened the door to their coach and followed Erica inside. “Should we be in siege mode?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Sam said, “since we’re going to be here for a few hours. Send a broadcast text out about that, okay. I’ll get ours set up.”

She nodded and sent the text. Sam watched out the window of the rig as the electric motors in the other coaches whirred to life, armor plates moving into place, guns rising from the tops. Then there was gunfire, bouncing off the first coach in the row.

“Dammit,” Sam said, pulling down the sight and scanning, other coaches doing the same. “Where’s that coming from?”

Trevor’s coach fired a burst of fire from the mini gun.

“I feel like we’re sitting in a tin can,” Erica shouted, picking up one of the M60s. “I’ll be ready at the slits, but if it gets too crazy, I’m going out there.”

“Me too,” Sam said. “Text Garrett’s guys.”

“Doing that now,” she said.

To be continued…

 

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

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 104 – Pronouns

Ted was sitting in the coach with Brianna and Stacey, watching a local San Francisco public station on TV. There was a sleepy conversation going on about Martial Law and how to make the most of it, with an equally sleepy live studio audience there to watch and ask questions.

“These people are brain-dead,” Brianna said. “I think I’m done.” She got off the couch. “Don’t be too long, honey.”

“Okay,” Stacey said. He watched her walk into the bedroom. “Wow.”

“You like her, don’t you?” Ted asked softly.

“I love her,” he said. “She’s so far out of my league, though. Hope I don’t lose her once things settle down again. She’ll have more selection.”

“Give her some credit, Stacey.”

“You’re right,” he said. “Where’s Haley?”

“She’ll be along. Needed some time to think.”

“You like her, don’t you?” Stacey asked, then paused. “You don’t have to tell me.”

“Yes, I do like her,” Ted said. “Not sure that the feeling is mutual. I’m hoping.”

“Good,” Stacey said. “Don’t give up.”

“I won’t. Listen to these idiots.”

The panel was two women and one man, sitting at a table on stage, with a moderator at the head, who was fielding questions from the studio audience, and asking some himself.

“Kimberly, what is it about the new reality that is working best for you?” the moderator asked.

“That’s hard to say, Chuck,” she said, moving her shiny brown hair away from her face, her unisex shirt and vest looking a little too warm for the studio lights. “If I had to pick just one thing, I’d say it’s my commute time.”

“Commute time? How so?”

“When they laid out the grids, my job was seven grids away from my apartment. After about a month, they got me moved to a different job which is walking distance from my home. It’s much more environmentally sound.”

What a moron,” Stacey said. He looked at Ted, and they both snickered.

“We have a question from the front, there,” the moderator said, pointing to the man raising his hand in the audience. “Go ahead. Which pronoun would you like us to use?”

“They would be fine. Thank you for asking.”

“Sure, no problem,” the moderator said. “Go ahead, please.”

“Hi, Kimberly. Is the job that you left the same as the new job they gave you? Oh, and do you like it as much?”

“I like it about as much as my original job,” Kimberly said, “but it’s lower level. In the old patriarchy I would’ve lost money, but I’m still getting the standard livable wage now, just like everybody else.” She paused, looking at the moderator. “What was his other question?”

There was murmuring from the audience.

“Kimberly, please use they’s chosen pronoun.”

“Oh, geez, I’m so sorry,” Kimberly said, her face turning red.

“Not a problem,” the audience member said. “You basically already answered it, anyway. You said it was a lower-level job, so it’s not the same.”

“Yes, they’s right,” Kimberley said.

“Another question from the audience,” the moderator said. “This will be it, then we’ll need to move to one of the other panelists.”

A woman stood up, wearing a yoga outfit. She had tattoos going up both sides of her neck and many piercings on her face. “I’m Smith Five. Please refer to me as they as well.”

“That’s an unusual name,” the moderator said. “Does it have a meaning?”

“I’m the fifth living person in my family, whose last name is Smith. We all changed to that model, to fight the patriarchy. It kept us from having a gender tag placed on us for life.”

An older man in the audience laughed out loud. There was rustling around, and the man was dragged out of his seat by two large ushers.

“Some people still don’t get it,” Smith Five said, rolling her eyes.

“Are these idiots worth saving?” Stacey asked. Ted shot him a glance, shaking his head.

“Your question, please?” The moderator asked.

“Oh, yeah, sorry. If you’d have wanted to stay in your original job, could you have? I’m asking because I’m in a job that I love, and I’m three grids away from home. I’m being told that I’ll be moved.”

“I was told I had a choice, but when I talked to my boss, I found that wasn’t the case,” Kimberly said. “Not that I minded that much.”

“Were you given a reason?” Smith Five asked.

“We’ll have to cut this question short,” the moderator said.

Somebody else in the audience stood up. “You folks need to read the fine print.”

“Sit down, please,” the moderator said. “You haven’t been called on.”

“Whatever,” the young man said. “My name is Ben Dover. Oh, and I identify as he, since I have a penis. The employers pay a tax for any worker who lives outside of their grid. It goes up based on how many grids away the employee’s home is.”

“That will be enough,” the moderator said.

“It’s just the truth,” Ben Dover said.

The audience broke into outrage. The man laughed, and tossed something on stage. It started to emit smoke, causing somebody in the audience to scream. People started to leave their seats in a panic. Two big men rushed Ben Dover and wailed on him with batons, dropping him to his knees. Then they dragged him out as blood flowed from his head. The screen went blank.

My God,” Ted said. “This is gonna be harder than we thought.”

“Ben Dover is my hero,” Stacey said. He looked at Ted and they both cracked up.

“Yeah, maybe we can recruit him, if he lives through this.”

The door opened, Haley coming up the steps.

“I think I’ll go to bed now,” Stacey said, getting up.

“Don’t leave on my account,” Haley said.

“The show’s over anyway. Ben Dover ended it with a bang.” Stacey chuckled and walked into the bedroom, closing the door behind him.

“What was that all about?” she asked, sitting down next to Ted.

“San Francisco local TV,” Ted said. “We’re gonna have our work cut out for us. Some of these folks are beyond help.”

“What do you mean?” Haley asked.

“We just watched a panel discussion on their local public station. They were talking about the benefits of martial law. It was a politically correct hot mess.”

“What were the benefits of martial law?” she asked.

“You know how they break the cities into grids?”

“Yeah,” she said. “Didn’t pay much attention to it before I got nabbed by the UN.”

“Down south they didn’t go as far before the people ended it,” Ted said. “They laid out the grids, and made the employers pay a tax for employees who didn’t live in the same grid as their job. I was getting ready to pay a tax on Stacey, since he lived a couple grids away. Robbie was in the restaurant’s grid, so there was no tax.”

“That sounds pretty bad,” Haley said. “Are they doing that up here?”

“They’re taking it a step further,” Ted said. “To be environmentally sound, they’re forcing people into jobs closer to their homes.”

“You’re kidding,” Haley said. Then she shook her head. “I don’t’ know why I said that. They made a sex slave out of me. If you’re willing to do that, you’d be okay with just about anything.”

“We saw them beat up one person in the audience and drag another one away tonight,” Ted said. “I suspect the one they beat is in bad shape now. They hit him on the head repeatedly with their batons as they dragged him away.”

“What did they do?”

Ted stretched, yawning. “The guy they took out first laughed at something in a way that wasn’t politically correct. The guy they beat up threw a smoke bomb, after making fools out of them.”

“That must have been the one Stacey called Ben Dover.”

Ted snickered. “Yep. He told the moderator that was his name.”

“Geez,” Haley said.

“They’ve gone full Marxist up here. Everybody is getting paid the same “sustainable wage” regardless of job. One of the panel members told the crowd that she’d been moved out of her original job because it was too far from home. She was put into a lower level job, but with the same money everybody else makes.

“Well, keep one thing in mind,” Haley said. “That mindset is probably not the mindset of the majority up here. It’s propaganda. Sounds like they were unable to keep at least two dissenters out of their audience.”

“Good point,” Ted said.

“You tired yet?”

“Not really,” Ted said. “I was getting there, but the show fired me up a little.”

“Good. Let’s go for a walk.”

He looked at her, worry on his face. “You’ve been thinking about things.”

She shook her head. “What do you think I was doing out there?”

“Sorry,” he said. “Sure, I’ll go for a walk.”

“There’s a nice gazebo on the far side. We can be alone there.”

“Expecting this to get heated?” Ted asked. “I won’t be mad, no matter what you tell me. You know that, I hope.”

“If I thought you’d get mad, I wouldn’t take you off someplace where we can’t be heard, now, would I?”

He sighed. “Sorry.”

“Quit saying sorry,” she said. “Let’s go.”

They got up and left the coach, Ted closing the door as quietly as he could.

They walked into the crisp night air. Half the coaches were dark now as people were retiring for the night.

“Peaceful out here,” Ted said.

“It is,” Haley said, looking over at him in the darkness. “Do you trust Ivan?”

Ted chuckled. “Yes, I trust him, and I hope Jules is right about him.”

“What’d Jules say?”

“That the war has changed his focus, and that he might be done as a mob boss,” Ted said. “I suspect that he can’t be done being a mob boss, even if he wants to be, but we’ll see. He’s connected to a lot of people who might want him unable to talk.”

“Has he murdered people?”

“Personally? I doubt it, but I don’t know for sure. He was in Special Forces, so he can be physically dangerous. You know he’s not really Russian, right?”

“Well, he has no accent,” she said.

“Yes he does,” Ted said. “He has a Southern California accent. He grew up in Torrance.”

“That’s really true? Somebody was saying that a while back, but I didn’t believe it.”

“Yeah, it’s true,” Ted said. “Frankly, I think he’s worked with governments as much as against them over the past ten years.”

“Which governments? Russia?”

Ted laughed. “He was part of the Russian government after the USSR broke up. The mob did there what they wanted to do in Cuba, before Castro upset the apple cart.”

“Until they got a strong dictator, anyway,” Haley said.

“Yep,” Ted said. “He went to the EU mainly to mess with the globalists.”

“He was still running organized crime, though, wasn’t he?”

“Had to bring in money somehow,” Ted said. “We parted ways for a while at that time.”

“But you’re with him again now,” Haley said. “There’s the gazebo.”

“Yeah, I’m with him again now. He kinda tricked me into it, but truth be told, this is a fight I want to be in. How could I not?”

They entered the gazebo, which was dimly lit with moonlight. There were lounges and chairs in there, and a bench-seat swing. Haley sat in the swing and patted the spot next to her. Ted shot her a worried glance and sat next to her.

“I know what you are,” she said softly.

He stared at her blankly for a moment.

“You’re a patriot,” she said.

“Don’t think I totally agree, but thanks.”

“Why wouldn’t you agree?”

“I’m not selfless,” he said.

She smiled at him, her blue eyes locked with his, framed by her blond hair. “Do you think George Washington was selfless? Or Jefferson? Or Franklin?”

“I’m not like them,” Ted said. “I’m part of the resistance. That’s all.”

“So were they, but enough of this. That’s not why I brought you out here.”

Ted took a deep breath. “I know. Enough with the small talk.”

“That wasn’t small talk,” she said. “You still look afraid.”

“Of course,” he said.

“I understand,” she said. “You think you’re going to lose me. That’s not going to happen, so settle down. All right?”

“I’ll try.”

“I’ve been attracted to you since the day we met,” Haley said, watching for his reaction. “I’ve kept you at arm’s length on purpose, and it’s been hard for me.”

“Because you didn’t know how I felt?”

She laughed. “I know you’re interested. Known for a while now. I was hoping it was going to just simmer until this mess is over. You and I both know that’s not going to work anymore.”

“We can go back to how it was, for now,” Ted said.

“No, we can’t,” she said. “The cat’s out of the bag now. There’s no putting it back. I should’ve expected one of us to slip.”

“You’re sounding like you feel the way I do,” Ted said, staring at her face.

She laughed. “Hell, I’m as much in love with you as you are with me.”

“What?” he asked.

“Don’t be shocked. Who do I spend all my waking hours with?”

“So, you wanted me to make a move all this time?” Ted asked.

“No, like I said, I was hoping it would simmer until this mess is over.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m a coward,” she said. “I knew that when we got started, it would become the most important part of our world. Make plans and the devil laughs.”

Ted shook his head. “We were both separately in the same place, weren’t we?”

“So it would appear.”

“Why can’t we just put the cat back in the bag for a while, and be friends?”

“You broke the ice,” she said. “There’s no going back. Not that I want to now. That would’ve only worked if we both would have preserved it.”

“Then you’re upset with me?”

“Upset? No, that’s not the right word,” she said. “I was hoping our timing would be different, but truth be told, I couldn’t have held back much longer anyway. One of us was going to do it. Turned out to be you, but it could’ve just as easily been me.”

“You’re awful calm about this,” Ted said.

“No I’m not. I’m going crazy inside. Both of us are like that, you know. We’ll have to work on that if this is going to last.”

“You’ll be with me? You want that too?”

“Yes, but we need to work a few things out,” she said. “And you have to keep your mouth shut about some things. Do you promise?”

“Yes,” he said, brow furrowed. “Is this gonna be something bad?”

“I don’t want to be pregnant,” she said. “Not during this mess. Later, maybe, but not now. We have to use birth control. You gonna be okay with that?”

“I have no problem with that at all,” Ted said. “It’s too dangerous to be pregnant right now. Surprised we haven’t had problems already.”

“What makes you think we haven’t?”

“Uh oh,” Ted said. “That look on your face scares me a little bit.”

“Some of us got pregnant during captivity,” she whispered. “I was one of them.”

“Oh no,” Ted said. “I’m so sorry. You’re not pregnant now, though. You’d be showing.”

“Remember Audrey?”

“The doctor,” Ted said. “Losing her was really bad.”

“She was able to hook us up with something.”

“When?” Ted asked.

“At the Volvo dealership. We got a delivery that none of you noticed. It was risky. Didn’t work with all of us.”

“I thought those pills were only effective for seventy-two hours afterwards,” Ted said.

“You know more than most men,” she said. “It can be up to five days, but it doesn’t always work.”

“How did you know you were pregnant? It was so early.”

“I know when I ovulate, and I know the feeling when it takes,” she said, looking down.

“That’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Ted said.

“I know, but it still hurts. It worked with all but one of us.”

“Who?” Ted asked. “Never mind, that question was out of line.”

“It was Lily,” she said, tears filling her eyes.

“Oh,” Ted said, looking at her. “Oh God.”

“Yeah,” she said. “Don’t tell anybody. I mean it.”

“I won’t. I promise.”

“We’ll have to get something soon,” she said. “Pills make me blow up like a balloon, and women in my family have a hard time with IUDs. You know what that leaves.”

“No problem. Wonder what the other couples are using?”

She laughed. “Some aren’t using anything. There are a couple who are already pregnant.”

“Are they gonna take care of it?”

“They want it,” Haley said. “Won’t make much difference for six months or so. Assuming the stress doesn’t cause them to miscarry.”

“This conflict will still be going for six months, at least.”

“I know, I’ve seen the icons on the maps. Rooting these creeps out is gonna be a big deal. If I thought it were only six months, I wouldn’t worry.”

He looked at her face, passion rising fast. “You’d want to?”

“Yes,” she said, her breath coming a little quicker.

“Wow,” Ted said, moving closer to her. “You’re getting worked up.” He slipped his arms around her, but she leaned away.

“Wait, we’re not done talking yet.”

He froze. “Sorry. Go ahead.”

“When I commit, I do it intensely. Think you can handle that?”

“Yes,” Ted said.

“You don’t want to know what I mean by that?”

“We understand each other,” Ted said.

“What do you think I mean?”

“You mate for life,” Ted said. “I demand the same thing.”

“Oh, yes,” she said, pulling him close. They kissed, long and deep, both trembling. They broke it, and she stood up.

“Want to go back?”

“We could, but don’t you want to see me naked?”

“Oh yeah,” he said, starting to get up.

“No, sit,” she said, starting to unbutton her blouse.

“We don’t have anything,” he whispered.

“It’ll be okay for a couple days,” she said, a twinkle in her eye as she shrugged out of her top, her white bra showing in the moonlight. “You like so far?”

Ted couldn’t even speak, and then his phone buzzed, startling him.

She froze. “What’s wrong?”

“Hopefully this is just a text,” he said, fishing the phone out of his pocket. “Crap. It’s the short range app. Enemy fighters coming in from the north. Half a mile away and closing fast.”

“Oh no,” she said. “They’ve found us.”

“I left my gun in the rig. We’re gonna have to run back.”

“Let’s go,” Haley said as she buttoned her blouse. They sprinted towards the row of battle wagons, some already going into siege mode, some starting their engines.

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 103 – Hit the Trail

Jules and Tex messed with the laptop, getting ready for their conference call with Ivan.

“You hear back from him yet, partner?” Tex asked.

“No, but will soon,” Jules said.

Stacey came up to them. “Want to feed that into the TV? I know how.”

“Yes, that good,” Jules said. “Be my guest.”

Stacey smiled proudly and got to work on that, Jules and Tex standing back to watch. Jules felt his phone buzz and pulled it out of his pocket.

“He’s good,” Jules said. “Will be on.”

“Great,” Tex said. “How do you think he’ll react?”

“He won’t tell answer tonight, but he’ll think about and let us know soon.”

“Hope you’re right,” Tex said.

“Okay, this is set up, but we’ll still have to use the camera in the laptop for Ivan to see us,” Stacey said.

“Great, thank much,” Jules said. “I grab barstool and bring out. Higher, give better look to Ivan.”

“I’ve got it,” Stacey said, rushing into the other room.

“That kid’s trying to make points,” Tex said.

“He solid,” Jules said. “I know. Watching.”

Ted walked over. “Looks like we’re almost ready.”

“Yes,” Jules said.

“Everything okay, partner?” Tex asked.

Ted looked at him and shrugged.

“What?” Jules said.

“I’ll tell you later, boss,” Ted said.

Jules chuckled. “Woman problem.”

“Later,” Ted said, glancing around to see where Haley was.

“Don’t worry, I zip it,” Jules said. His phone buzzed again. “Ivan ready.”

Stacey was back with the bar stool, which he placed next to the TV and put the laptop onto.

“Shelly, ready,” Jules said. She rushed over and got onto the laptop, loading the video conference software and then sending request to Ivan’s number. His face showed up on the screen, smiling under his fedora, a flashy tie with a diamond stick-pin on his chest.

“Milk maid?” he asked. “I see why Jules is smitten.”

“Thanks, I think,” Shelly said, smiling. She backed away from the laptop so he could see the whole room. “Sorry we don’t have a better camera.”

Ivan laughed. “It’s better than mine. Good evening to all. Pleasure to see you. My, so many beautiful women.”

Jules chuckled. “No flirting.”

“Don’t worry,” Ivan said. “What’s on your mind?”

“Morgan, would you explain?” Jules asked.

She flashed him a nervous smile and nodded, then approached the front of the room. Robbie came up with her, and sat as she stood.

“Don’t be nervous,” Ivan said. “Take your time.”

“I’m okay,” Morgan said.

“Is that Robbie next to you?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said proudly.

“Your father,” Ivan said, starting to choke up.

“Oh, no, did something bad happen to him?” Robbie asked.

“No, no, I’m just emotional,” Ivan said. “He’s an inspiration. A great man, who will be remembered for years.”

“Thank you,” Robbie said, feeling himself tear up.

“Go ahead, Morgan,” Ivan said. “Sorry.”

“Okay,” Morgan said, taking a deep breath. “We have two proposals for you, which go together.”

“I’m all ears,” he said.

“Good,” Morgan said, fidgeting. Robbie put his hand on her back, encouraging her. She looked at him and smiled, then looked back at the laptop. “After we do the rescues, we’d like to come on the air with you and tell our story.”

“Your story? Of the captivity? Won’t that be very difficult?”

“Of course it will be, but people need to know what the UN is doing. It should help us win the war.”

Ivan was silent for a moment, thinking, wiping his eyes. “Your bravery. All of you. Wow. Yes, I’ll do that with you.”

“Thank you,” Morgan said.

“What’s the second part?”

“We’d like to hit all three locations at once,” Morgan said.

Ivan was quiet for moment, his eyes reading the room. “You think after the first rescue is done, the enemy will kill the women in the other two locations, or move them somewhere else,” Ivan muttered.

“Or fortify their other locations,” Morgan said. “Make a play for killing us all.”

“This will be difficult,” Ivan said, looking down, the top of his fedora hiding his face for a moment. He looked back up. “Difficult, but not impossible, and it might win the war for us. It should at least shorten it.”

“Then you’ll help us?” Morgan asked.

“I’ll confer with my team,” Ivan said. “It’ll take a few days to work out the details and the logistics. Fair enough?”

“Yes,” Morgan said. “Thank you.”

“Did you lead this effort?” Ivan asked.

“I pushed the idea, and brought it to the other women,” Morgan said. “I got the idea from a comment that Justin made, about using the rescues for recruitment of citizens.”

“Where’s Justin?” Ivan asked.

“Right here,” Justin said, standing up.

“Kudos to you,” Ivan said. “Must have taken a lot of courage to bring that up.”

“I blurted it out, then wished I could take it back right away,” Justin said with a sheepish grin.

Ivan chuckled. “You sound like me. You can’t make that choice for the victims at these three locations…although I suspect some of them might want to join in with their comments.”

“That thought crossed mind,” Jules said. “Would not pressure them, but perhaps they pressure us.”

“Okay, I understand what you want and agree with you in principal,” Ivan said. “I’ll get back to you. Thanks very much for bringing these proposals to me. I’m impressed, and proud to have people with so much courage on our side.”

“Thank you, boss,” Jules said.

“Talk to you soon,” Ivan said. His video stopped.

“Wow,” Robbie said. “He’s so personable. Not at all what I expected.”

Well, he is that, but he’s also a dangerous person,” Ted said. “Good to remember that.”

“Yes, Ted, he dangerous, but war affect him,” Jules said. “I see change. Slowly at first. He great General now. Probably never mobster again.”

“I still wouldn’t want to work for him,” Morgan said.

Sparky and Tex laughed.

“What’s so funny?” Morgan asked.

“He’s your senior management,” Sparky said. “The card club. That’s his operation. You know that, right?”

She looked shocked for a moment. “I thought he was just using it to help with money laundering. You know, as a third party.”

“He owns it,” Sparky said. “Yeah, he’s used it to launder money, but he owns it because he likes poker, and he’s making a tidy profit beyond the other benefits.”

“Oh my God, you’ve been working for the mob,” Robbie said, laughing.

Morgan punched him in the arm, laughing. “Be nice.”

“I think we should get shut eye now,” Jules said. “Late. It’s possible Mertins attack happen tomorrow.”

Morgan nodded, and stood, facing the others. “Thanks for this.”

The crowd gave her a round of applause, turning her face red.

***

Sparky watched as the crowd dispersed, looking for Dana. She was chatting with Karen and Allison.

“Hey, Sparky,” Dana said as he walked up. “What do you think?”

“I think it’s noble and brave,” Sparky said. “Want to take a walk?”

She looked him up and down, brow furrowed.

“Go ahead,” Karen said. “Be with your man. We’ll chat later.”

She shrugged, her face showing hurt for a split second, then forming a smile. “Yes, we’ll talk more tomorrow.”

Sparky started walking toward the door, Dana following behind. He looked back, stopping until she caught up.

“We can just go into the bedroom, you know,” she said. “I’ll treat you right.”

“We need to talk,” Sparky said, not looking at her when he said it. They went out the door and walked silently to the path, near the border of the property.

“It’s okay,” Dana said, hurrying to catch up. “Can we slow down a little?”

“Oh, sorry. I tend to walk fast when I’m nervous.”

They went a little further away from the house, the conversation of the crowd fading into the background.

“It’s okay,” she said. “I understand. I can probably bunk with Cody and Allison.”

Sparky stopped. She kept walking a few steps, and then stopped, turning back to him.

“You’ve got the wrong idea,” Sparky said softly. “Hell, it’s probably my fault, and for that I’m sorry.”

“I have those episodes. I might have them forever. People get tired. People leave. There’s no shame in it. We aren’t married.”

“How do you feel about me?” Sparky asked, trying to read her eyes. “Really?”

“It doesn’t matter,” she said. “Why prolong this? I’ll get my stuff.” She started walking back towards the house, Sparky grabbing her hand and pulling her back.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“Let go.”

“No, we need to talk. Now. I’ve put it off for far too long.”

She sighed, looking at him, tears running down her cheeks. “So talk.”

Sparky looked at her, his heart speeding up as her soft eyes studied him.

“You look like a schoolboy who is about to get a whipping,” she said softly. “I told you that I understand. I won’t make a fuss. Really.”

“Will you stop that,” Sparky said. “I’m in love with you.”

She froze, staring at him in shock. “That’s what you wanted to say?”

“How can you be surprised?”

“You’ve never said it,” she said.

“Neither have you,” he said softly, approaching her.

“Oh, God,” she said, starting to tremble. “Really? Are you sure?”

“Oh, yeah, I’m sure,” Sparky said, moving closer to her. “If you don’t feel like that about me, I need to know.”

“Yes,” she said quickly, staring into his eyes as she moved into his arms. “Yes, I love you. So much that I can hardly stand it.”

“Good,” he said, hugging her tight. “I was afraid you didn’t.”

“Neither one of us are very good at non-verbal communication, I guess,” she said, a soft smile on her face. “Is this going to change anything?”

His face got serious again. “Only one thing. Don’t feel like you have to please me to keep me around. I’m not going anywhere. We’ll deal with your problems when things get a little back to normal.” They started walking again.

“You think I was making love with you to hold onto you?”

“No, not totally,” he said. “That probably sounded terrible, but I’ve got to muddle through this conversation, so hear me out, okay?”

“Okay,” she said.

“I know we enjoy each other,” he said, “and it’s heaven when it goes well. I don’t want it to end, but I want you to understand that I’ll love you even if we back off for now. Do you understand me?”

“Do you feel the urge to leave me when I have an episode?” she asked.

“No, never,” he said. “I feel guilty. Ashamed, even.”

“Why would you feel that way?”

“You’re doing it to make me happy, and it can be so hard on you.”

Dana stopped walking. Sparky stopped after a couple steps and turned back towards her.

“Sweetie, you don’t understand this,” Dana said. “I’m making love with you because I want to. I need it, just like you do.”

“And yet you thought I didn’t love you, and was ready to leave you,” Sparky said.

“Men are different about sex than women are sometimes,” Dana said. “It doesn’t always mean the same thing.”

“That’s never been true for me,” Sparky said.

“So, you’ve been in love with me all along?” she asked.

“Well, almost,” he said.

“You’ve been standoffish sometimes. I picked up on that.”

“I didn’t want to take advantage after what you’ve been through,” Sparky said. “Sorry. Seems pretty stupid now.”

“I wouldn’t use the word stupid,” she said. “We just didn’t understand each other. Like I said, we’ve got bad non-verbal communication.”

“I’m sorry.”

“So where do we go from here?” she asked.

“We don’t have to change anything unless you want to,” Sparky said. “Just know this. I’ll never leave you, unless you want me to. Do you understand?”

“What happens after the war?” she asked.

“Hopefully we get married and make babies together,” he said. “What do you want?”

“That,” she said. “I won’t leave you either. If I have an episode, it’s because of what was done to me, not because of what we’re doing. Having you there afterwards is crucial, though. You’ve been very good about that. Makes me love you even more.”

“Want to go back?” he asked.

“In a minute.” She got back into his arms, getting on her tiptoes to kiss him. It was passionate, both breathing hard when it was finally over.

“Geez,” Sparky said. “I’m so much in love with you.”

“I love you too, honey,” she said. “Thank you.”

“For loving you?”

She smiled at him. “For bringing this out in the open. I was afraid it would be the end if I brought it up.”

“Oh,” Sparky said. “Sorry I was such a bonehead.”

She giggled. “Let’s go to our room.”

They hurried back to the house.

***

Sam got a text back from Garrett, while sitting in Trevor and Kaylee’s rig, looking at the apps.

“Garrett wants to get together. He’s coming over to the house. We should round up the others and meet him there.”

“What others?” Trevor asked.

“Ryan, Zac, and Ji-Ho, for starters,” Sam said.

“I agree,” Sid said. “I want Yvonne there too.”

“Yeah, and I’ll call Erica,” Sam said. “But really, I think anybody interested should be able to come.”

“I’m gonna text Seth and Angel,” Trevor said. “I’ll tell them to bring Kaitlyn and Megan too.”

“All right,” Tyler said. “Meet you guys there.” He left with James.

Trevor unplugged his phone. “Got enough of a charge for now.” He slipped it into his pocket as the rest of the folks left the coach. He looked over at Kaylee. “You okay?”

“No,” Kaylee said. “They know we can see them, I suspect.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Black Crow probably told them. At the very least, they know we know about the chips, since we removed the one from Hasan.”

“Maybe, maybe not,” Trevor said. “Hasan told us to remove it. They probably figured that out. They have no idea how much Hasan told us about them.”

“We’d better give them more credit than that, or we’ll get caught with our pants down,” Kaylee said, picking up her phone. “Let’s go.”

They left their coach, walking towards the house. Trevor texted Seth and Angel on the way.

“There’s my uncle,” Kaylee said, pointing.

“Hi,” Ji-Ho said. “Notice trickle of enemy fighters?”

“Well, I saw a group of four heading south from Lake Barrett.”

“More coming down from Descanso. Not bunching up. Staying under cover.”

“Uh oh,” Kaylee said.

“You don’t think they know we can see their RFID chips, do you?” Trevor asked.

“No,” Ji-Ho said. “They act like they are seen from above. Maybe drone or satellite. Go out of way to stay in areas with trees, except for the four that are the furthest out.”

They climbed the steps of the veranda and went into the living room. Quite a few people were already there. Seth and Angel rushed over, Kaitlyn and Megan with them.

“You think they really have Ed?” Angel asked.

“We have to allow for that possibility,” Trevor said.

Garrett strode inside, his cowboy boots clopping on the hardwood floor. Anna rushed down the stairs and straight to him, hugging him.

“Wow, look at that,” Megan whispered to Kaitlyn, who shot her a worried glance.

“Here comes Sam with Erica,” Seth said.

Ji-Ho walked over to Trevor and held out his phone. “Look. Building up by highway entrance to trail area. They think they ambush us.” He grinned. “Maybe we ought to turn tables.”

“Crap, you’re right,” Trevor said. “Look at this, honey.”

Kaylee looked at it. “I think you’re right. They’re setting up for our arrival.”

“Let’s get this show on the road,” Garrett said. “We’ve been watching the apps too. Large concentration in Descanso, but not large enough to survive an assault from us. You guys see that?”

“Yes, do,” Ji-Ho said. “You see group staying under cover, gathering around highway entrance to trail?”

“No,” Garrett said, eyes wider. “Show me.” He walked over and looked at Ji-Ho’s phone, a smile washing over his face. “They think they’re going to ambush us, don’t they?”

“Looks like to me,” Ji-Ho said.

“Let’s see that,” Sam said, walking over. “Yep. They don’t know we can see their chips, but they obviously think we can see them from above. Otherwise they wouldn’t go out of their way to stay in these trees, here, and here.” His finger pointed to clumps on both sides of the trail, near the highway.

“What about Ed?” Anna asked, brow furrowed. “What if they have him?”

“If they do, there’s not a lot we can do about it directly,” Seth said.

“He’s probably being held by Black Crow,” Tyler said. “Somebody we could take down easy, but we’d need to get to him before those four marks make it there.”

“We’re all over the place here,” Sam said. “We need to focus on what we know for sure and plan by that.”

“We’re listening,” Garrett said.

“We have to assume that Black Crow has Ed,” Sam said.

“Why?” Tyler asked.

“Because they’re setting up this ambush. They know we’ll try to get him back.”

“Hey, Garrett, you think you could beat those four icons to the trail on horseback?” Trevor asked.

“Nope, but I could beat that larger group there, by the highway, assuming they’re coming that way.”

“They won’t,” Sid said. “The four will bring Black Crow and Ed to them, I suspect.”

“This isn’t going to be as hard as you guys think,” Garrett said. “When those four icons start heading north again, it’s better than an even shot that they’ve nabbed Ed and are heading back. We can intercept them before they get there if we leave in a hurry.”

Ji-Ho was silently manipulating his phone, not interacting with the conversation. Trevor noticed it. “Ji-Ho, you’re seeing something, aren’t you?”

“I see same thing as you,” Ji-Ho said, looking up. “I’m planning what to do about it. I have suggestion.”

“Let’s have it,” Garrett said, “but make it quick. I’ve got to get my men on the trail with our horses right away.”

“Yes, agree,” Ji-Ho said. “In fact, you should text and get first group on way now.”

“Good idea,” Garrett said, pulling his phone out. He took a couple minutes to send the text. “Okay, go ahead.”

“I suggest we screw them good. Send battle wagons and several hundred fighters to Descanso. Wipe them out. At same time, send large group of cowboys into wilderness to intercept the four with Black Crow and Ed.”

“We don’t need a large group to do that,” Garrett said. “I could send a small group for the interception.”

“You need large group to attack enemy by highway while we kill force in Descanso,” Ji-Ho said.

Garrett was silent for a moment, thinking. Sam chuckled. Garrett flashed him a look. “What?”

“This is beautiful. Your group gets to the four bad guys. If they’re careful about it, they can take them out before they can warn the enemy fighters along the highway. We drag the bodies towards them. They think it’s their folks…but it’s really their dead folks and several hundred well-armed cowboys on horseback.”

Garrett laughed. “I like it. Need to send another text. Got to get on the trail right away if this is gonna work. Talk to you guys later. We can keep in touch via texts.”

He left, Anna rushing after him, kissing him as they stood on the veranda. Then Anna came back in.

“Mom, you okay?” Kaitlyn asked, seeing the tears in her eyes.

“My warrior is going into battle,” she said.

“Oh, he’s your warrior now, huh?” Kaitlyn asked softly. “So quickly?”

“How long did you know Seth before you felt that way.”

She looked at her for a moment. “Okay, forget I said anything.”

Anna smiled at her, then gave her a hug. “You’d best saddle up with your man. He’s going to need you. We’re all going to need you.”

“Let’s get into battle wagons and head out now,” Ji-Ho shouted. “We on strict timetable. Long drive.”

“All of them?” Seth asked.

“Two thirds,” Ji-Ho said. “Ought to be enough to protect here. Garrett just texted. Two thousand cowboys will meet us at Descanso.”

“Let’s go,” Sam said.

Everybody left the house except Anna, who sat down on the stairs and wept.

To be continued…

 

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 102 – Heart

Shelly and Jules went back to their rig after shutting down the meeting.

“I’m a little upset with you,” Shelly said when they got inside.

“I know, I saw look,” Jules said. “That not bad as came out. Ivan knew I would act. He didn’t have to tell.”

Shelly sat down on the couch. “We’re really on our own for the rescues, though, aren’t we?”

“We run operations on own,” Jules said. “With equipment provided by Ivan. So yes and no.”

“Geez,” Shelly said.

“Still mad?”

Shelly sighed. “No, I get it. It bothered me a little that you made that point to the others before you made it to me.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re mine. I’m first. That’s why.” Shelly stood next to him and hugged him. “Listen to me. Sorry. That sounded so childish.”

“No, not,” Jules said. “I keep in mind, be more careful. You right. You number one. Always.”

“Good, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear,” Shelly said, looking up at him. They kissed, and then her phone dinged. “Wonder who that is?”

“Check,” Jules said, letting her out of his arms. She sat back on the couch and picked up her phone.

“It’s the other women,” Shelly said.

“Which?”

“All of them,” Shelly said. “They want to meet. You mind if I go?”

“Of course not,” Jules said. “You not need permission. You are adult, no?”

“Thanks,” she said, getting up.

“Where?” Jules asked.

“House.”

“Take pistol,” Jules said.

“Why? You always have yours? I thought it was safe here.”

“Yes, I always have gun either on me or nearby,” Jules said. “I plant few here and there.”

“You have one in the house?” she asked.

“High cupboard, above fridge,” Jules said. “You need ladder, so take own, okay?”

“Okay,” Shelly said. She went into the back, grabbed her 9 mm auto, and came back out, slipping it into the back waistband of her pants. “There.”

“Good. Have fun with friends. I see later.”

“I don’t think this is a social visit,” Shelly said. “Be back soon.”

She left the coach, walking into the dusk. Other women were getting out of their coaches.

“Hey, kiddo,” Karen said, joining her. “Who called this meeting?”

“Well, the broadcast text came from Morgan,” Shelly said. “Haven’t heard anything else.”

They climbed the steps onto the porch and went into the living room of the house.

“Would you like coffee?” the maid asked as the women came in.

“I want to be able to sleep tonight,” Morgan told her, “but I’ll ask when everybody shows up.”

The rest of the women arrived and looked for places to sit, the maid bringing in some folding chairs.

Morgan got up in front of the room. “Thanks for coming. The maid offered to make coffee. Anybody want some?”

A couple hands went up.

“I’ll use the small pot,” the maid said, hurrying into the kitchen.

“What’s up?” Shelly asked.

Morgan hesitated for a moment, waiting for the chatter to die down. When it was quiet, she stood up.

“Thanks for coming,” Morgan said. “I had a thought, and wanted to discuss it with you all. It came to me after the meeting this afternoon.”

“We’re all ears, sister,” Tisha said.

“Yeah,” Katie said. “What’s on your mind?”

Morgan’s expression became serious. “The conversation about using the rescues as a recruiting tool. Remember that?”

“My boyfriend kinda stepped in it,” Katie said. “Sorry.”

“I wasn’t offended by that,” Dana said.

“Me neither,” Allison said. “I thought it was a good idea, actually.”

“So did I,” Morgan said, “but we can’t make that choice for others. I have a suggestion. After we complete the first rescue mission, let’s get on the air with Ivan and tell our story.”

The room exploded in murmurs. Haley stood. “I think that’s spot-on. I’ll go along with that.”

“You think Ivan will go along with it?” Karen asked, glancing at Shelly. “Or Jules?”

“Jules will go along with it,” Shelly said. “I can guarantee you that.”

“But how about Ivan?” Dana asked.

“I don’t know,” Shelly said. “I’m sure I can get Jules to talk to him about it.”

“Did you lower the boom on him after the meeting?” Dana asked.

Shelly chuckled. “No, but I did tell him that I wanted to know about stuff like that before he went public with the whole group. If it pertains to him, that is.”

“Why?” Dana asked.

“They’re together,” Karen said.

“Oh,” Dana said. “I thought that was coming. Good for you.”

“Does anybody here have a problem with this idea?” Morgan asked.

“Some of our men might not like it,” Brianna said.

“It’s not their choice, honey,” Tisha said. “Besides, from what I can see, you’ve got Stacey wrapped around your pinky. He probably won’t object.”

Brianna smiled. “He’s stronger than he appears, but you’re right. I can convince him. He’ll be worried about me, though.”

“Let’s be honest, all of our men will be a little worried about this,” Katie said. “I know I can convince mine. Do any of you really think you can’t do the same?”

“I want to do it,” Dana said. “It won’t be easy, but we need to do this. There’s still people who support the UN in Northern California. They need to know what the UN is doing.”

“Exactly,” Morgan said. “Do we have an agreement? Does anybody object?”

“We might want to wait until after we do the final rescue,” Shelly said.

“Why?” Morgan asked.

Dana stood up. “I think I know why. The enemy might decide to kill the women at the other two locations before we can rescue them.”

“That might happen anyway, you know,” Karen said. “At the very least, we’ll go up against a more prepared facility for the second and third rescues.”

“Crap, you’re right,” Shelly said. “Didn’t think about that. We really need to do all three at the same time.”

“We don’t have enough people for that, do we?” Brianna asked.

“No, we don’t,” Morgan said. “These missions are going to be dangerous enough as it is. Some of us might get killed.”

“We need to recruit help,” Allison said. “Or at least go to Ivan and talk to him. He might be willing to help, if he knows we’ll go on the air with him and talk about it.”

“You might be right about that,” Shelly said. “Want me to call Jules over, and have him get Ivan on the phone?”

“When?” Morgan asked.

“Now,” Shelly said.

“No time like the present,” Dana said. “I say we do it, but should we also call our men over? This affects them too, you know.”

“It’s still our choice,” Tisha said.

“I agree,” Dana said, “but let’s get real. These men are in love with you. How would you feel if they launched into something like this without talking to us about it?”

“You’re in the same boat, dearie,” Tisha said.

“Kinda sorta, I guess,” Dana said, “but that’s not the issue here. Do you guys agree with me or not?”

“Maybe we should do it tomorrow morning instead of now,” Katie said.

“Anybody want to wait until tomorrow?” Morgan asked.

There was silence in the room.

“I’ll call Jules,” Shelly said.

“Yeah, I’m calling Cody,” Allison said.

The rest of the women pulled their phones out and called or sent texts.

Morgan stood back up after a couple minutes. “Any of them not coming?”

Nobody said anything, and then the men started to filter in, many of them looking nervous as they took seats next to their women.

“What going on?” Jules whispered, sitting next to Shelly.

“Something that will make you proud, I hope,” Shelly said. “Think you can get Ivan on a call with us tonight?”

“Ivan?”

“Yes,” Shelly whispered.

“Probably. What about?”

“Morgan is doing a good job of explaining it. I’ll let her talk.”

Morgan stood back up, Robbie sitting next to where she was standing. “Thanks so much for coming. I know it’s already been a long day for many of you.”

“No problem, little lady,” Tex said. Karen snaked her arm around his shoulders, looking at him with pride.

“What’s this about?” Cody asked.

“It’s about the conversation we had in the meeting today about the rescue missions,” Morgan said. “Remember Justin’s comments?”

“Oh, crap,” Justin said. “I’m sorry.”

“Stop,” Morgan said. “I’m glad you said it. We have a proposal. Well, a couple of proposals.”

“Go on,” Jules said. “We listen.”

“After we do the rescues, we want to go on live TV with Ivan and tell the people what the UN has done to us,” Morgan said.

There was a hush over the room for a moment.

“Won’t that be really hard on you?” Justin asked.

“Yes,” Morgan said. “We don’t care. There are still people up here who believe the UN is helping them. They need to know what’s really going on. It will help us win the war.”

“But you’ll live with the public knowledge of this for the rest of your lives,” Stacey said, looking at Brianna. “Sure you’re okay with that?”

Brianna looked at him. “I’ll need lots of support from you, honey, but you’re already giving me that.”

“What was second thing?” Jules asked.

“Can I handle this one?” Shelly asked.

Morgan nodded, and the group watched as Shelly walked to the front.

“Okay, we’ve been told that there are three locations where women are being held,” Shelly said. “During our conversation tonight, we realized that once we do the first rescue, the women in the other two locations will be doomed.”

“Doomed?” Justin asked.

“Yes,” Shelly said. “Think about it. They might just kill them as soon as they find out about the first rescue, or they might fortify their positions so much that we can’t mount a rescue without losing our team.”

“Or they might move them to a different location,” Sparky said, “so we can’t find them.”

“Yes, that’s another possibility,” Shelly said. “We want to hit all three locations at once. We think that’s the only way.”

“What if there are more than three locations?” Robbie asked.

“We can only react to what we know about, partner,” Tex said.

“Our forces not large enough to pull three at same time,” Jules said. “You know this.”

“We want to ask Ivan for help,” Shelly said. “What do you think?”

Jules got up and walked to the front, joining Shelly and Morgan. There were tears running down his cheeks.

“You okay?” Shelly asked, looking at him. He bent down and kissed her forehead, and then turned to the crowd.

“I’ve never been more proud than today,” he said. “Such bravery. Such resolve. I’m stunned.”

The other men applauded, the women looking around the room.

“Then you’ll talk to Ivan?” Morgan asked.

“We all talk to Ivan. We get laptop set up with camera and do video conference. I set up now. Anybody object?”

“You sure he’s available tonight?” Tex asked. “You know how he is sometimes.”

“He’ll talk to us,” Sparky said.

“Yeah, I agree,” Ted said. “This can win the war in California for him. He’ll understand that right away, but he’ll ask hard questions, so we’ll need to be sharp. That man is wicked smart.”

“Yes, is,” Jules said. “Come on up and help me get conference set up. I shoot him text so he be ready.”

“Sounds good, partner,” Tex said, coming up.

Shelly put her arms around Jules, looking up at him. “I love you so,” she whispered.

***

Zac, James, Ryan, and Tyler drove up in the Jeep, followed by Kenny and Bradley driving a battered pick-up truck, the back holding several deer. They all looked worried.

Sid saw them and rushed over. “Wow, looks like we’ll be eating well.”

“Meat, anyway,” Tyler said, getting out of the Jeep with the others. “What happened? We heard gunfire in the distance. Couldn’t tell if it was coming from here or not.

“Did Silver Wolf make it back here yet?” James asked.

Sid laughed. “Does he really make you call him that?”

James smiled. “No, but I like to show respect. His warriors mostly call him that.”

“I’m calling him Ed, but I’m not one of his warriors,” Sid said. “He’s been here and left again. He didn’t call you and tell you what happened?”

“No,” Tyler said, looking more worried.

“We got attacked by two waves of enemy fighters,” Sid said.

“You obviously beat them,” Zac said, eyes darting around.

“Yeah, we beat them, but they accomplished their objective,” Sid said, face looking grim.

“Oh no, who’d they kill?” Tyler asked.

“The prisoner,” Sid said, “and two of Garrett’s men who were guarding him.”

“Crap,” James said.

“Did the assassin get away?” Tyler asked.

“Nope, Anna shot him,” Sid said.

“Nobody else got hurt?” Zac asked.

“No,” Sid said. “We killed thirty-four enemy scumbags.”

“So where’s Ed, then?” Tyler asked.

“He went looking for a person named Black Crow.”

Tyler glanced at the other warriors, his brow furrowed. “What did he do now?”

“We think he planted the prisoner’s RFID chip in his room. The assassin knew exactly where to go. He ignored the chips in the shed with the bodies from the earlier attack.”

“I knew it, man,” James said.

“Yeah, we should have banished that jerk weed,” Kenny said. “He probably told the enemy about the ghost town.”

“That’s what some others have said,” Sid said.

“Somebody see him plant the chip?” Tyler asked.

“No, but Anna told Ed that he was helping with the bodies. He had access.”

“Dammit,” Zac said. “If Silver Wolf finds him alone, he’s liable to get killed.”

“You’re right,” Tyler said. He hit Ed’s contact and put the phone to his ear, brow furrowed, waiting through the rings. He ended the call after almost a minute. “This is bad.”

“He probably can’t hear you if he’s in that damn hovercraft of his,” James said. “You know how noisy it is. Leave him a message to call back.”

“He’ll know when he sees the call,” Tyler said. “This scares the crap out of me.”

“Yeah, me too,” Ryan said. “I think we’d better get ready to go after him.”

The tribal women came over to look at the deer, some of them stopping to greet their husbands.

“Tyler,” Mia said. “I’m so glad you’re back. You hear what happened?”

“Yeah, I heard,” Tyler said. “I’m worried sick about Ed.”

“Why, where is he?”

“Trying to find Black Crow,” he said.

“By himself?” she asked, looking scared.

“Yeah, unless he took somebody along on the way out. Anybody missing?”

“Not that I can think of, but I’ve been with the kids all day,” Mia said. “Haven’t wanted to be away from them for more than a few minutes after what happened earlier.”

“We’ve got the apps to warn us now, at least,” Tyler said.

“I know,” she said. “I’d better get to it. Nice looking deer.”

“There’s plenty out there,” Tyler said. “It’s poaching, of course, but the state isn’t in a position to enforce anything.”

Mia nodded and walked to the other women, who were chatting about where and how they were going to do their work.

***

Trevor was sitting on the coach in his rig, messing with the RFID apps. Kaylee came out of the bedroom.

“What are you doing? You’ve been messing with that thing for more than an hour.”

“I know, I’ve got to plug in my phone pretty soon. These apps suck a lot of juice.”

“So set it aside and tend to me,” Kaylee said.

“Don’t tempt me,” Trevor said, flashing her a smile.

“You aren’t done yet, are you? What are you looking for?”

“Ed hasn’t come back yet. Heard about it from Tyler a couple hours ago. Thought I’d keep watch.”

“What are you looking for?” Kaylee asked, sitting next to him.

“Small groups of icons showing up within about twenty miles of us in all directions.”

“Oh,” Kaylee said. “Evidence that Ed’s been snatched.”

“Exactly.”

“Dammit,” she said. “I’ll go get my phone. It’s got a full charge. Plug yours in.”

Trevor nodded, smiling at her. “Thanks, honey.” He got up and took his phone to the kitchen counter, plugging it into the charging cord. Kaylee was back in a few seconds, the app already loading up.

“Will you teach me more about the apps?” Kaylee asked. “I’ve barely touched them so far.”

“Sure.” Trevor took her phone and started looking again, taking the time to explain how it worked to her in greater detail. They worked together for twenty minutes.

“Hey, look,” Kaylee said, pointing to the lower left-hand corner of the screen.”

“There it is,” he said, using his fingers to zoom in. “Four. Out in the middle of nowhere.”

“Text the others,” Kaylee said.

“Yeah, I think you’re right,” he said.

“What’s that lake?”

“Barrett Lake,” Trevor said as he sent the text. “I told them to come over here.”

“Wasn’t Barrett lake the spot where the trail started?” Kaylee asked. “The trail that the tribe came on?”

“I think so,” Trevor said.

There was a knock on the door. Kaylee got up and opened it. Sam, Tyler, James, and Sid came in.

“Still showing?” Sam asked.

“Yeah,” Trevor said. He showed the screen to the others.

“Ed couldn’t have gotten that far this fast, even with the hovercraft,” Tyler said. “He’d run out of gas, for one thing.”

“Where’d they come from?” Sam asked.

“Don’t know,” Trevor said. “I was only going out about twenty miles. I went further in this direction kinda by accident.”

“Yeah, that’s more like fifty miles away,” James said.

“What if this Black Crow person is holding Ed out there, and this is the enemy team coming to get them?” Kaylee asked.

“Crap,” James said. “This isn’t good.”

“No, it’s not,” Sam said. “Is there a faster way for us to get into this area than the way we went in to meet the tribe?”

“Yeah, you could use the highways and come down from Barrett lake,” Tyler said. “You’d be risking a lot of exposure, though.”

“We have the apps now,” Sam said. “They can’t sneak up on us.”

“Expand the view and look for other clumps of icons,” James said, “in the directions we know they could be coming from. North, to the west and the east. They must have a base someplace up there.”

Trevor nodded and started zooming out more. “Oh, boy, look at this. Descanso. Oh, and look at Julian. Guess some of them stuck around after they kicked us out.”

“We need to talk to Garrett’s group and the rest of our folks,” Sid said.

“Yep, you’re right,” Tyler said. “I’ll send the texts and get a meeting set up.”

To be continued…

 

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 101 – Leftover Coffee

Tex and Karen were sitting in the dinette of their rig.

“The meeting is coming up fast,” Karen said.

“You don’t look like you want to go.”

She smiled, reaching across the table to take his hand. “I’d rather just hole up with you in here for a while.”

Tex smiled. “When you decide, you decide, don’t you, little lady?”

“Having second thoughts?”

“Yeah, right,” he said. “I haven’t been this happy in years.”

“Keep talking like that and we’ll miss the meeting,” she said.

“Oh, it won’t last that long,” Tex said.

“Okay, but clear sometime afterwards,” Karen said, getting out of the dinette.

“What are you doing?” Tex asked.

“I need to wash my hair,” she said. “It’s a mess.”

“Oh,” Tex said. “Fine. Think I’ll go get some air.”

“Okay, sweetie,” she said.

Tex got up and left the coach, walking along the row of other coaches. Ted was outside of his, having a smoke.

“What’s up, partner? I thought you quit putting nails in the coffin.”

Ted glanced over at him, then went back to his forward stare. “Don’t bug me about it, okay? I’m not starting again.”

“Sorry,” Tex said. “You want to talk, or should I continue on?”

Ted sighed, then dropped the butt and ground it into the dirt. “I could use a walk, I guess.”

The two men walked towards the house.

“What’s bothering you?” Tex asked. “The rescue mission?”

He chuckled. “No, I literally can’t wait to do that one. Nothing I hate more than the UN. Hope we abolish the whole damn thing after this war gets over.”

“That’ll depend on who wins,” Tex said.

“You think we’re in danger of losing?”

“You been studying the apps like Jules suggested, partner?”

“No,” Ted said, shooting him a sheepish grin. “I’m coming down with what the rest of the group has.”

Tex looked at him blankly. Ted returned it and shook his head.

“Oh,” Tex said. “She falling for you?”

“No,” Ted said. “Haley is still keeping me at arm’s length. It’s me that’s having the problem.”

“I know how that feels.”

“Oh, please, you knew Karen was going to fall for you.”

Tex chuckled. “No, I didn’t, but I wanted it so badly that I kept at her.”

Ted smiled. “Well, that’s fair, I guess. Still going well?”

“If we could just disappear somewhere and make babies, I’d die a happy man,” Tex said.

“Baloney. You’d get bored.”

“I don’t think so, but who knows,” Tex said. “When did you know?”

“Know what?”

Tex laughed. “Really?”

“All right,” Ted said. “When I told her about the rescue mission. I was afraid about her reaction. I wanted so badly to protect her from it, but I knew it would be the end of our chances if I didn’t tell her.”

“I don’t get it,” Tex said.

“Do I have to spell it out for you?”

“Yeah, maybe,” Tex said.

Ted stopped walking, and looked down at the ground.

“Hey, partner, you don’t have to say anything. I’ll leave you alone.”

“Funny how these women can turn us into mush,” Ted said. He looked over at Tex. “I realized that keeping her close was very important to me. In fact, I realized that what she thinks of things is more important to me than anything. Hit me like a ton of bricks.”

“That can happen without romantic attraction, you know.”

“Oh, I’ve got plenty of romantic attraction,” Ted said. “I’ve been pushing it back as hard as I can. It’s out there now.”

“Whoa,” Tex said. “What happened?”

Ted was silent for a moment.

“Forget it,” Tex said. “Let’s go see if they have any coffee left.”

“No, I’ve started this. You can keep your mouth shut, right?”

“How long have you known me again?” Tex asked.

“All right, sorry,” Ted said. “When I told her about the rescue missions, she had a bad reaction.”

“What kind of reaction?”

“She started to tremble and cry. I hugged her. It was the first time we’d touched like that. She held onto me for dear life.” He paused again.

“Go on,” Tex said.

“Let’s get the coffee first, if they have some,” he said. “I could use it. Could use a belt in it too.”

“I’ve got some whiskey in my rig, but Karen’s in there.”

“There’s some in the kitchen,” Ted said. They went into the house. The maid was there, smiling as they walked up.

“Looking for a snack?” she asked.

“Coffee, if there’s some left,” Tex said.

“Sure, there’s some left,” she said. “Help yourself.”

The two men walked into the kitchen, grabbing Styrofoam cups and drawing coffee out of the big canister pot.

“Smell’s a little burned,” Tex said.

“It’ll do,” Ted said, reaching up to open one of the high cabinets. He took out a bottle of Jim Beam. “You want some?”

“A little,” Tex said. “We’ve got that meeting coming up.”

“Yeah,” Ted said as he poured a small amount into Tex’s cup. He poured a larger amount into his, then capped the bottle and put it away.

Tex had a sip. “It’s good, partner.”

Ted nodded and took a sip, then another. “Good, that’s better.” They walked outside.

“See you later,” the maid said as they left.

Tex waved at her as they walked down the steps. “You ready to finish? I’ve got to get back to Karen in a few minutes. Only said I was stepping out for some air.”

“Okay,” Ted said. “There isn’t much more to tell. We hugged until she settled down, then broke it, looking at each other. She thanked me and was about to back away when I kissed her.”

“On the mouth?”

“First on the forehead, then on the mouth,” Ted said.

“How did she react?”

“She bolted,” Ted said. “I called for her to stop, but she ran out of the coach.”

“Know where she is?”

“Around,” Ted said. “I think she’ll be back. I shouldn’t have hit her with that. She was dealing with the rescue mission. I dumped more on top of it. I feel like a jerk.”

Tex chuckled. “You’re not a jerk, and I’m sure she knows it. You been sending signals to her?”

“I don’t think so,” Ted said. “Shoot, I don’t know. Maybe. We still interact like friends.”

“You haven’t tried to change that yet, have you?”

“Nope,” Ted said. “It’s like being attracted to your best friend’s wife. I looked at her as off-limits, and was doing a good job of controlling myself.”

“Until just now,” Tex said. “Don’t worry about it. She’ll settle down, and then figure out what she wants. May be just friends, but she hangs around with you most of the time, from what I’ve seen.”

“There aren’t other un-attached women around for her to hang with.”

“That’s true,” Tex said. “You need to think this through. Don’t rush yourself or her.”

Ted chuckled. “You sound like Dr. Phil.”

“Maybe. Just common sense. Let her take the next step.”

“Okay,” Ted said.

“I’ve got to get back, partner. See you at the meeting.”

“Thanks, Tex,” he said, watching as he walked away.

“You were gone for a while,” Karen said. Tex sighed and sat on the couch.

“Ended up chatting with Ted. Sorry. Want a sip of coffee?”

“Sure,” she said, taking the cup from him and sipping. Her eyes opened wider. “Is that whiskey I taste?”

Tex chuckled. “Oh, yeah, forgot. Ted wanted some. Put a little in mine too.”

“It tastes kinda good,” Karen said as she handed the cup back to him. “Ted okay?”

“He’s nervous,” Tex said. “Can’t really talk about it.”

“Oh,” Karen said. “Haley.”

“I didn’t say that,” Tex said.

Karen laughed. “You didn’t have to. Look at us. We’re like an old married couple.”

“No, more like a young married couple,” Tex said, watching as she sat next to him.

“Yeah, maybe we are,” she said, looking into his eyes.

“You have something to say? You look serious all of a sudden.”

“No, it’s okay,” she said. “I’m happy. That’s all.”

“You want to be married,” Tex said.

“I didn’t say that,” Karen said. “We’ve only just started the dating phase, remember?”

Tex kissed her, Karen returning it with more passion than he expected. “Wow, little lady. Wish we had more time before the meeting.”

“Me too,” she said. “Think Ted is going to be okay?”

“Not talking about that, remember? I promised.”

She looked into his eyes again. Tex had the urge to kiss her, and started moving towards her. “No!” she said quickly.

“Sorry,” Tex said.

She giggled. “If we do that again we really will miss the meeting. You can have me when we get back here.” She tried to read his eyes, petting his cheek. “There’s that look again.”

“What look?”

“Maybe we should stop talking. It’s becoming worse than the kiss was.”

Tex leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, hands holding his chin.

“Thinking?” she asked, leaning forward so she could see his face.

“Yeah,” he said.

“We need to talk, don’t we?” Karen asked, brow furrowed. “Are we going too fast for you? Are you getting nervous?”

Tex looked at her. “No, that’s not it, at least not for me.”

“Then what?”

“I’m serious about you,” Tex said.

“I know that,” Karen said. “I got that message before we broke through with each other.”

He looked back at her silently, her face turning red, her eyes dilating. “Oh.”

“What?” Tex asked, looking down. She put her hand under his chin and turned his face back towards her.

“If you thought I’d go for it, you’d take me somewhere and marry me right now, wouldn’t you?”

Tex stared silently at her, the look of reverence back on his face.

“Never mind,” she said. “That look said it all. I will, by the way.” She stood up. “We’d better get to the meeting.”

Tex looked at her, shocked and speechless. She shot him a smile and reached out her hand to help him off the couch. They left the coach, heading for the patio near the house.

***

Ted wandered the grounds, looking for Haley, wondering if he should be. The conversation with Tex made things even harder, and he regretted saying anything. Everything was going wrong. He felt despondent, like he did when he left his restaurant behind. His life was out of control. He was riding it along, afraid of where it was taking him, just wanting to get off. His phone dinged at him. Broadcast message. Meeting starts in five minutes.

“Dammit,” he said, hitting Haley’s contact. He typed out a text and sent it.

Haley, sorry. I got carried away. Can we just go back to the way it was? I’ll behave. I promise.

He slipped the phone back into his pocket and walked quickly towards the meeting, dropping his half-finished coffee into the trash on the way. People were already showing up. Jules and Shelly were under the covered part of the patio, the flat screen TV moved out onto a table next to them. He saw Sparky there with Dana, and most of the younger people were already seated towards the front. He avoided them, finding a place near the back. Robbie turned and nodded to him from the front. Tex and Karen walked in slowly, hand in hand, Tex shooting him a glance as they sat down.

“Hello,” Jules said from the front. Thanks for coming. Anybody not here? Ted, where Haley?”

“She’ll be along,” Ted said. “Go ahead. I’ll brief her on whatever she misses.”

“Good,” Jules said. “Anybody else not here?”

“Sorry we’re late,” Gil said, rushing in with Tisha.

“Yeah, sorry,” Tisha said. They sat up near Robbie and Morgan. Stacey turned, seeing Ted by himself, his brow furrowed. Ted nodded and smiled, trying to keep him from getting concerned. Brianna snuggled closer to him, and whispered something in his ear. They both faced forward.

“Okay, I go,” Jules said. “First, we talk mission to destroy Mertins Electronics.” He nodded to Shelly, who sat in front of a laptop on a small table. She used her mouse to share a picture. It was a satellite view of the electronics factory complex.

“We don’t go in here. We get near and blow up, with battle wagon guns and mortars,” Jules said. “Team from Oakland join.”

“Do they have battle wagons too?” Tex asked.

“No, we break open location. They go in with five thousand fighters. More like infantry.”

“Citizen fighters,” Robbie said. “Good.”

“This looks like it could turn into a trap for our vehicles pretty easily,” Justin said.

“Yes, but we have new advantage. Some already know about. Now we show rest of you.” He nodded to Shelly, who changed the screen, picking up her cell phone. An image of it went to the screen.

“What’s that?” Gil asked.

“General Hogan’s technical lead finish prototype apps that show enemy RFID chips. Shelly, show San Jose.”

She nodded, moving the map on her screen to that area. Large numbers of icons showed up.

“This enemy concentration in San Jose. We can see real time with apps.”

“Who has these now?” Justin asked.

“Leadership team for now. Restricted. Eventually all have.”

“Why is it restricted?” Justin asked.

“Final version show name, rank, and country of origin data. All ranks of enemy have RFID chips with this information.”

“We need to keep them in the dark on our capabilities,” Tex said. “Until we can see all of them by name.”

“Oh, I get it,” Justin said. “That will keep government infiltrators from escaping.”

“You got, young man,” Jules said. “Exactly right. These apps keep situation from becoming ambush. We see. We’ll be ready.”

“So, we break open this facility and let the citizen infantry finish the job, then,” Katie said. “That sounds less dangerous than some of our other battles.”

“Yes, is,” Jules said. “Ivan take to airwaves as it’s going, show video., All channels, like in southern California.”

“Is this what we’ll be doing for the rest of the war?” Tisha asked.

“No, move to next part of meeting now,” Jules said.

“Wait, when are we doing this?” Justin asked.

“Exact timing come from Ivan within hours. Probably within next three days.”

“Okay, thanks,” Justin said. “Sorry.”

“No sorry, ask questions always,” Jules said. “Very important. Thank you for doing.”

Justin nodded, smiling.

“Okay, next part. This dangerous part. Ivan identify three locations like Torrance Police Station.”

“Oh, God,” Tisha said.

“Son of a bitch,” Cody said. “We’re going to mount rescues, I hope.”

“Yes, do, but like I say, dangerous. Everybody involved needs to understand, make choice, volunteer. Understand? I know emotions run high on this. Too much emotion result in dead team members.”

The room burst into murmurs.

“Count me in,” Tisha said, tears streaming down her cheeks. “It’s the least I can do.”

“Me too,” Katie said.

“Don’t decide yet. We lay out what we know now, and you decide later. It won’t happen until after assault on Mertins Electronics.”

Ted felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned, Haley’s beautiful face staring back at him, eyes red from crying. She sat next to him. He looked at her, but she nodded towards the stage.

“We need to listen to this,” she whispered, avoiding eye contact with him. He shut up and watched. The discussion went into each location, and the beginnings of a strategy for handling each. Jules highlighted the dangerous parts, while Shelly showed long-range app visuals of each of the areas. The crowd sat mesmerized. Then Jules opened it up for questions.

Cody stood up. “One thing is bothering me about this.”

“Go ahead,” Jules said.

“The rescues aren’t strategic. I thought the focus was on beating the enemy as quickly as we can. In the first rescue, I remember there was some doubt as to if Ivan would agree to the risk.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Justin said. “This could be valuable as a recruiting tool.”

There was a collective groan from the crowd, Justin looking like he wanted to take it back right away.

“No,” Jules said. “We not use Torrance rescue, and neither use these rescues. We won’t expose victims. If they want, they do themselves. Not us.”

“Then why?” Justin asked. Robbie shot him a glance, which he ignored.

“I push issue, when find out from Ivan,” Jules said. “My fault. That’s why voluntary. This not strategic war, this rescue only.”

“But Ivan’s okay with it, right?” Karen asked.

“He’d rather we didn’t, but he not forbid. Hell to pay for me if we lose people and hurt mission.”

“You didn’t tell me that,” Shelly whispered. He glanced her way, then back at the crowd.

“Well, I’m all in,” Ted said from the back. “It’s the right thing to do. It’s the only thing to do.”

“I agree,” Tex said.

“Me too,” Sparky said.

Others around the room nodded or said yes in agreement.

“Take time to decide,” Jules said. “Relax and enjoy during time we wait for Mertins operation. Any other question?”

Ted watched the crowd as they sat silently, nobody asking anything. He glanced over at Haley. “Shelly’s going to read Jules the riot act when this is over.”

“Why?” Haley asked.

“They’re together, and he just told her he’ll be in trouble if this doesn’t work out.”

“They’re together?” Haley asked. “How’d I miss that?”

“Just happened, and there’s been so many other things.”

The crowd started to get up and leave the patio, most heading back to their rigs. Ted got up.

“Wait a minute,” Haley said. “We need to talk. You know that, right?”

He sat back down and looked at her. “Okay.”

“You think I’m angry at you,” Haley said, seeing the fear in his eyes.

“Not angry, exactly,” Ted said. “That would be easier.”

“How long?”

“What?” Ted asked.

“You know. How long. Has it been since the beginning, or recent?”

Ted sighed. “It’s been a slow ramp-up. I’ve always liked being with you, and we’re together all the time, so it’s been building. Holding you made the feelings rise in me beyond what I expected.”

She studied his face, giving nothing away with her expression. Ted’s heart was pounding in his chest.

“You still look scared to death,” Haley said. “How strong is it?”

“I don’t know, I….”

“Stop,” she said quickly. “You know exactly how strong it is. I know you. Like you said, we’ve been together all the time.”

“What do you want me to say,” Ted asked.

“Just answer the question,” she said.

“It’s strong,” he said softly.

“Strong meaning your attracted to me, or is it more?”

“You mean am I madly in love with you?” Ted asked, smiling, trying to break the tension.

“Stop that,” she said. “This is serious. Is it just attraction, or is it more?”

“It’s more.”

“Geez, this is like pulling teeth,” she said. “Do we have to do the scale between one and ten thing?”

Ted felt anger rising in him, and looked at her, trembling. “Dammit. I’m in love with you. You’re all I think about. I adore you. All right? I’m sorry.”

“Okay, we can go now,” she said, standing up. “Let’s go see if they made more coffee.”

He sat looking up at her, flabbergasted. “That’s it?”

“That’s it for now,” Haley said. “I’ve got to think about this, and I won’t be rushed.”

“If I can’t have you that way, I still want to be friends with you,” Ted said. “I know I blew it, and I’m sorry.”

Haley smirked at him as he got up, shaking her head. “You have no idea what I’m thinking, so don’t project. Let’s go.”

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 100 – Legacy

“We need to give this kid a proper burial,” Garrett said, staring at the user name and password scratched into the wall, above the bed where Hasan’s body lay. The others were gathered, staring, trying to avoid looking at the gore which used to be Hasan’s face.

“I think we could’ve turned him to our side,” Anna said.

“Looks to me like we did,” Garrett said.

“I agree,” Sid said, “but what can we do with this? We don’t know what system this user name and password are for.”

“Ivan might,” Sam said, taking his own set of pictures of the scrawled data. He texted the pictures to Ivan.

“Good thinking,” Garrett said. “Let’s get this cleaned up.”

The women left the room, and the men gently picked up Hasan’s body and carried it outside. Anna followed with a few of the others.

“Where?” Sid asked.

“Shed, for now,” Garrett said. “I’m gonna find out how you respectfully bury a Muslim. We’ll set something up. We have a cemetery outside of Dodge City.”

Anna looked at his face. “You really care about this?”

“Yes,” Garrett said, breath short as they set him down just inside the shed door. He came out and looked at her. “We failed him. This is really tragic.”

“That’s an understatement,” Sam said.

“Ivan reply to the text yet?” Seth asked.

“Nope, not yet,” Sam said. “One thing really bothers me. How did those cretins know where he was? I thought the chips were all in the shed.”

“Yeah, I was wondering the same thing,” Garrett said. “I had one of my men put them all in there.”

“Let’s check,” Sam said. The two men went back into the shed and came out with a small cardboard box, which Garrett opened.

“Crap, there’s only two in there,” Garrett said.

“Dammit,” Sam said, whipping out his phone. He refreshed the short-range app. “Two hits inside the house. Can’t tell where inside the house.”

“Let’s go find it,” Seth said. “We need to drag the bad guy out of there, too.”

“And my men,” Garrett said, pained look on his face.

“Who was supposed to put the chips in this box?” Sam asked.

“Charley,” Garrett said. “He was one of the two men in the house.”

“So we aren’t going to be able to figure this out,” Seth said. “Dammit.”

“Wait a minute,” Anna said softly. “One of our people was helping them.”

“Who?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Black Crow,” Anna said, looking down.

“We need to talk with him pronto,” Sam said. He sent a text to Ed.

Seth looked at the expression on Kaitlyn’s face. “What?”

“This is bad,” she said. “He’s been a problem before.”

“What kind of problem?” Garrett asked.

“He hates the white man,” Kaitlyn said.

“Don’t be too hasty,” Anna said. “We worked that mess out, remember?”

Ed arrived in his hovercraft after a few minutes.

“Where have you been?” Sam asked. “I was worried when the battle started up.”

“We’ve got to feed everybody,” Ed said. “I was out scouting game with Zac, Tyler, and Ryan. Thought I heard gunfire, and headed home. Just got back a few minutes ago.”

“Oh,” Sam said. “Well, glad you’re okay.”

“What happened here?” he asked.

“The attack was a hit,” Seth said.

“On who? Ji-Ho?”

“No, on the prisoner we took yesterday,” Anna said.

“Oh,” Ed said, looking relieved. “None of our people got hit?”

“Two of my men got killed in the attack,” Garrett said.

Ed looked at him. “Oh no. So sorry, Garrett.”

“Thanks,” he said.

“You okay?” Anna asked, watching him struggle to hold back tears.

“I always have a delayed reaction to this stuff,” he said. “Sorry. These were good friends of mine.”

“Why did you call me over?” Ed asked.

“The enemy knew exactly where the prisoner was being held,” Sam said. “Somebody put his RFID chip near him. It was supposed to be out in this shed with the bodies.”

“You think one of our people did this?” Ed asked.

“I saw Black Crow helping Garrett’s men last night,” Anna said. “He was involved in moving bodies and chips into the shed.”

“And one of the chips is missing?” Ed asked.

“Yes,” she said. “I’m sorry.”

Ed sighed, a worried look on his face. “Where is he now?”

“We don’t know,” Anna said. “I haven’t seen him since last night.”

“He’s a problem?” Sam asked.

Ed was silent for a moment, then looked at Sam. “Yes, he can be a problem. I’ve tried to work with him, but he’s troubled. He’s got a huge chip on his shoulder, and he’s been in and out of jail several times.”

“For what?” Sid asked.

“Assault on customers at the casino and the hotel,” Ed said.

“He was with us at the ghost town,” Erica said. “That’s probably how the enemy found us.”

“Don’t jump to conclusions yet,” Anna said. “We need to be sure.”

“Mom, you’re going to have to back away from this,” Kaitlyn said softly. “I know you worked with him a lot, but we have to protect ourselves.”

“I’ll go look for him, but I suspect he’s long gone,” Ed said. “We’ll have to track him down. Hate to give up the resources for that.”

Sam’s phone dinged. “Text from Ivan.”

“What does he say?” Sid asked.

“He said Thanks. This might be useful.

“That’s it?” Sid asked.

“Yep,” Sam said.

“He’s got somebody who knows what system to go to,” Trevor said. “Ten to one.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me,” Sam said. “We’ve got other things to think about. These folks have very good apps to read the chips. Better than ours.”

“Why do you say that?” Trevor asked.

“He’s right,” Anna said. “I saw the guy rush in. He ran right up the stairs, and right into the correct room. He didn’t have to look around.”

“Black Crow might have told them verbally, you know,” Seth said.

“That’s possible,” Erica said. “There were no RFID chips involved at the ghost town, remember.”

“One step at a time,” Sam said. “Let’s find that chip. If it was hidden in the room, we’ll probably have our answer.”

“Yeah,” Sid said.

“Wonder if they’re apps can read the names?” Trevor asked. “Why didn’t they go to the shed first? There’s no evidence that anybody bothered it.”

“How can we tell which chip was in Hasan?”

“I can tell,” Anna said. “I damaged the one that was in Hasan. It has a cut in the capsule. Let’s see that box.”

Garrett handed the box to her and she looked, her brow furrowed.

“The one that came out of Hasan is missing, isn’t it mom?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Yes,” she said, handing the box back to Garrett.

“I’m still not getting something,” Sam said. “How would Black Crow have known which was which?”

“Easy,” Garrett said. “We didn’t take the chips out of the dead guys until afterwards. Black Crow probably had Hasan’s chip.”

“You don’t remember putting all three together?” Sam asked Anna.

She shook her head no. “I didn’t keep track of where the chip was after I dropped it into the pan down in the kitchen. Sorry.”

“I’m looking at this as good news,” Sam said. “General Hogan’s guy is gonna figure the name part out. There’s a way to do it. This proves it. I’ll text that to Ivan so he can pass it along.”

“I’ll see you guys later,” Ed said. “I’ll go ask questions – try to find out who saw Black Crow last night or this morning.”

“Good luck,” Garrett said.

“Please don’t let this ruin our alliance,” Ed said.

“No worries there,” Garrett said. “Really.”

Ed nodded and walked away.

“Let’s go find that missing chip,” Sam  said.

They went back into the house and up to the bedroom. Anna and Kaitlyn stripped off the dirty sheets while Sam, Garrett, and Sid tore the room apart looking. Some of Garrett’s men arrived while they were working and took the bodies of the fallen guards out of the house.

“Bingo,” Sam said, holding a toy car. “It’s in the driver’s seat.”

Anna took the car and shook it upside down, the capsule falling into her hand. “Yep, this is it.”

“Okay,” Garrett said. “I’ve got to go. There are family members to talk to, and funeral arrangements to make.”

“You want me to go along?” Anna asked.

“Thanks, but no,” Garrett said. “This is something I need to do by myself. I’ll be back later in the day.”

“Okay,” Anna said, giving him a hug. He left the house.

***

Robbie and Morgan were walking back to their coach after breakfast, with Gil, Tisha, Justin, and Katie.

“I wish we could keep going like this for another few weeks,” Morgan said. “Feels like another world.”

“Don’t count on that, dearie,” Tisha said.

Robbie smiled. “I know this is a nice break, but I really want to get on with the rest of our lives. I hope we get the war over with soon.” He looked at Morgan, pulling her close as they walked.

“Have plans, do you?” Morgan asked.

“He probably wants to knock you up,” Gil said.

“What a romantic way to put it,” Katie said.

“C’mon, you guys,” Robbie said. “You know what I mean.”

“No, what do you mean?” Morgan asked with a sly grin.

“It’s not just that, it’s building the nest,” Robbie said, face turning red. “I’m also worried about my parents and my sister all the time. I’m just done.”

“That’s a good point,” Katie said. “I’d like to see Steve. Doubt that’s going to happen until the war is over.”

Robbie’s phone dinged. He pulled it out and looked at it, Morgan flashing him a worried glance.

“Jules,” Robbie said. “He wants to see me.”

“Crap,” Morgan said. “You don’t think it’s about that problem from a while back, do you?”

“I don’t think he wants to kill me,” Robbie said.

“We all should go,” Gil said.

Robbie was quiet for a moment. “No, I’ve got to trust him. I’ll go talk to him.”

“Where?” Morgan asked.

“In his rig,” Robbie said.

“Ask him if I can come too,” she said.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Robbie said.

“If you aren’t worried about his intentions, why would it matter?” Morgan asked. “Text him and see if I can go along.”

Robbie nodded, looking worried, and sent the request. His phone dinged right away.

“Well?” Morgan asked.

“He says fine. Let’s go.”

“Want us to hang around nearby?” Gil asked.

“Yeah, man, we could do that,” Justin said.

“No,” Robbie said. “I’ll be fine.”

“All right, but call me as soon as you’re out of there, so I don’t sit around and worry.”

Robbie smiled. “Okay, I’ll do that.” He took Morgan by the hand, and they walked to Jules’s rig.

“I heard that Jules and Shelly finally got together,” Morgan said.

“That’s good.” They got to the coach and tapped on the door. It opened, Shelly standing there, ushering them in.

“Good morning,” Shelly said. “Have a seat. Jules will be out here in a second.”

“We aren’t in trouble, I hope,” Morgan said.

Shelly smiled at her. “No, not at all.”

“Oh, you here, welcome,” Jules said, coming out of the bedroom. “Coffee?”

“Sure, if you’re having some,” Robbie said.

“You too, Morgan?” he asked.

She nodded yes. Jules went to the counter, but Shelly got up and took over.

“You go ahead, honey,” she said. “I’ll make some for all of us. You talk to them.”

“Honey?” Morgan asked. “You two?”

“Yes,” Shelly said. “We’re so happy.”

“I can see that all over your face,” Morgan said. “I’m happy for you.”

“Thanks,” Shelly said. “Take a seat in the dinette.”

Robbie and Morgan sat on the back bench. Jules slid into the front bench, facing them.

“Your father is amazing,” Jules said.

“You’ve heard from him?” Robbie asked quickly. “I haven’t been able to reach him for a while.”

“He hounded by the enemy, but being protected. General Hogan’s team talked to Ivan.”

“General Hogan has been rescued?” Robbie asked.

“Yes, has,” Jules said. “We talk in big meeting later today.”

“Why do you want to talk to Robbie?” Morgan asked.

Jules smiled. “You still afraid, no?”

“Well, yes,” Morgan said. “How can we not be?”

“No need worry,” Jules said. “Robbie, you will get download link on phone. I just clear with Ivan and General Hogan.”

Robbie looked at him blankly. Jules chuckled.

“Your dad release prototype of RFID app to Ivan’s leadership. I figure because you son, you should get too.”

Robbie smiled, relief washing over his face. “Oh, really?”

Shelly slid coffee cups to Morgan and Robbie, then went back to get cups for Jules and herself.

“Here, I show,” Jules said. He walked the couple through the short-range and long-range apps on his phone. Robbie was getting more excited as the demonstration went on.

Shelly got onto the bench next to Jules with their coffees. “You should be so proud.”

“I’ve always been proud of my dad. In awe of him, frankly. This hits it out of the park.”

“Yes, major advantage, at least for a while,” Jules said.

Robbie’s phone dinged.

“Nice timing,” Shelly said.

Robbie looked at his phone. “Yep, it’s the download link.”

“Go ahead and load, and we verify it working,” Jules said.

Robbie did that, as Shelly and Morgan each had sips of coffee.

“We were just talking about wanting this war to be over,” Morgan said. “Now maybe that will happen sooner than we thought it would.”

“Maybe,” Jules said, eyes narrowing. “We have rough time to come. We talk about in big meeting.”

“We can tell them now, can’t we?” Shelly asked.

“Go ahead, give preview,” Jules said.

Shelly looked Morgan in the eye. “Ivan knows where other women are being held. Like we were.”

“No,” Morgan said. She trembled slightly, eyes starting to turn glassy.

“We know hard for you,” Jules said.

“We’re going to rescue them, I hope,” Robbie said, determination and anger on his face.

“Yes, do, but volunteer. We make case in meeting. Dangerous mission. Like Torrance.”

“Count me in,” Morgan said.

“And me, of course,” Robbie said. “When do we do it?”

“After initial mission,” Jules said. “Initial mission easier, and we have more help.”

“What is the initial mission?” Morgan asked, then paused. “Sorry, it’s not my place.”

“No, is your place,” Jules said. “RFID chips for enemy manufactured at Mertins Electronics plant in San Jose. We take out.”

Robbie shook his head. “You’ve got to be kidding me. An American company made them?”

Jules smiled. “Belgian company, supported by late Governor Sable and former President Simpson.”

“Wait, that name sounds familiar,” Robbie said. “Mertins. My dad knew him. He had a weird first name. I think it had two As in it.”

“Daan Mertins,” Jules said, a distasteful look on his face. “He scum.”

“I’ll bet that creep got the idea from my dad’s research and development of RFID technology.”

“Could be true,” Jules said.

“Geez,” Robbie said.

“How many of our team has the apps?” Morgan asked.

“Me, Tex, Ted, Sparky, Shelly, and Robbie,” Jules said. “When General Hogan okay, everybody get.”

“I think it’s smart that they’re restricting it until my dad finishes the name part,” Robbie said. “Otherwise the cockroaches in DC will scatter.”

“Exactly,” Jules said.

“Honey, we’d probably better get to planning the big meeting.”

“Yes, you right,” Jules said. “Please excuse. Any questions before we finish?”

“No, and thank you very much,” Robbie said. “I’ll keep my mouth shut until the meeting.”

“Thank you,” Jules said. He ushered them out the door and shut it behind them.

“Well, that was a surprise,” Morgan said.

“I’m relieved,” Robbie said.

“Were you really worried about him?”

“Ted was, and that made me worry. I’ve always felt that Jules has a good heart, though. Had a hard time believing he’d want to kill me.”

“He can be a little shifty, but I like him more now than I did. Helps that Shelly’s with him now. I know her pretty well. She’s a good person. She wouldn’t be with him if he wasn’t.”

“I got that impression,” Robbie said. He picked up his phone and typed, then hit send.

“Telling the others you’re okay?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Robbie said. He continued to look at his phone as they walked. “LA and Orange counties still have problems. I was surprised at how many hits there were, even after all of the victories.”

“I know.”

“San Diego and Imperial Counties are the bigger problem, though. Look.” He showed his screen to Morgan.

“Wonder why?”

“The border,” Robbie said. “The enemy needs more fighters in here.”

She nodded, and they walked silently until they got back to their coach, going inside quickly. Robbie sat down on the couch, Morgan sitting next to him.

“Scared?” Robbie asked.

She looked at him for a moment, not saying anything.

“You know, about the rescue mission,” Robbie said.

“I should be,” she said. “I’m not. I’m anxious to be involved. It’s my duty.”

“Something’s bothering you,” Robbie said.

“I wasn’t thinking of this as a national war before I saw all the hits on that long-range app. I thought of it as a California problem, and that seemed almost over to me.”

“I know, that hit me too,” Robbie said. “Even though I already kinda knew.”

She looked at him and smiled. “It kills my favorite daydream.”

“What was that?”

She sighed. “Leaving here, going someplace safe. Now we know that there’s no place safe. At least for now.”

“I know,” Robbie said.

“It’s going to be a while before we can start our life together.”

Robbie took her hand, moving closer to her. “We’ve already started our lives together, honey. They started when I took you home from your apartment. Remember?”

They kissed, and then studied each other’s faces.

“You always know the right thing to say,” Morgan said.

To be continued…

 

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 99 – Hit Squad

Sam and Erica were on the veranda, sitting on the wicker love seat, enjoying the afternoon. Kaitlyn and Seth walked up the steps with Trevor and Kaylee.

“What’s cooking?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Just relaxing,” Erica said. “It’s so nice this time of day.”

“Where’s your mom?” Sam asked Kaitlyn.

“She took a walk with Garrett,” Kaitlyn said, grinning.

“My my,” Erica said. “Figured that was gonna happen.”

“Be nice, you guys,” Kaylee said. Trevor chuckled.

“So, we know now that those chips are planted deep in all the fighters,” Trevor said.

“Well, at least in the three that we’ve removed so far,” Kaitlyn said.

“I’ll bet it hurt putting those in,” Kaylee said.

“Maybe,” Kaitlyn said. “They put them in livestock with a special tool. Might not be as bad as you’d expect.”

Sid and Yvonne climbed the steps with Clem, John, and Sara.

“Mind if we join you guys?” Clem asked.

“Be our guest,” Sam said.

“What are we gonna do with the chips?” Trevor asked. “Ji-Ho decided yet?”

“I think he liked Garrett’s idea of using them for bait,” Sam said.

Sid laughed. “Well, they liked doing that with your RV Park.”

“Yeah, that’s going to be difficult to repair,” Sarah said.

“That’s the least of my worries,” Sam said. “Garrett said they aren’t showing up there anymore, though. Guess they finally got wise.”

“Or they don’t have enough excess forces to waste on that effort,” John said. “Surprised they threw as many into that meat-grinder as they did.”

Sid chuckled. “I wonder how many of them crapped their pants when they looked in the clubhouse.”

“That’s nasty, honey,” Yvonne said.

“Sorry,” Sid replied.

“Does Ji-Ho really think some enemy fighters might show up to get their dead?” Sarah asked.

“I think he does,” Sam said. “I’m a little skeptical. It’d be different if we didn’t have them on the ropes.”

“Don’t be so sure we have them on the ropes,” Erica said.

“Yeah, I was just gonna say that,” Sid said.

“Evening,” Garrett said, walking up with Anna. “Mind if we join you?”

“Please,” Sam said. They walked up and took seats.

“Hi, mom,” Kaitlyn said. “Have fun?”

“Shut up,” Anna said. She flashed a smile.

“We’re just friends,” Garrett said.

“Yes, and why shouldn’t they be?” Yvonne said. “They’re about the same age.”

“I don’t remember telling anybody how old I was,” Anna said.

“I can tell them,” Kaitlyn said.

“Don’t you dare,” Anna said. Everybody chuckled, but then Sam jerked. He looked at his phone.

“Well, here’s Ji-Ho’s answer,” Sam said. “Enemy fighters on the way here, it looks like.”

“Should we take cover?” Sarah asked.

“They’re almost half a mile away,” Sam said. He refreshed the app. “They’re coming in pretty quick though. They must be in a truck.”

“How many?” Trevor asked.

“Twelve. No, fourteen.”

“Lock and load, folks,” Garrett said. “No more prisoners. The one we have is going to be enough of a pain.”

“They might just be driving by,” John said. “What road are they on?”

“Highway 94,” Sam said. “They just passed Pringle Canyon. Go get your guns.”

“Should we get siege mode going on the rigs?” John asked.

“Some of us should, perhaps,” Sam said. “I’m sending a broadcast text.”

“Let’s go get our guns, honey,” Kaitlyn said. “I don’t want to be in the battle wagon.” Seth nodded and they rushed off the veranda.

“If you see them stop out a ways, say something,” Trevor said. “I’m gonna go get the Winchester.”

“Why do you need to know that?” Kaylee asked, getting up.

“Because they’d do that if they were gonna set up a mortar,” Trevor said.

“The kid’s right,” John said.

“Yep,” Sam said. “I’m gonna go get my M60. You want to get your weapon, honey?”

Erica nodded yes.

“You don’t look very worried,” Anna said, looking at Garrett. He flashed her a smile.

“I’ve got men all over the place, on patrol. I’m gonna send them a text right now.”

“Good,” Anna said. “We might want to leave some men upstairs with the prisoner, just in case.”

“Will do,” Garrett said, getting up. “You should go into the house.”

“I can take care of myself,” Anna said. “I’m going to get my gun.”

“Girl after my own heart,” Garrett said. Anna threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. Sam and Erica watched, glancing at each other afterwards.

“What?” Anna asked.

“Nothing,” Erica said. “Let’s go get ready.”

They all left the veranda to get armed. Ji-Ho trotted up.

“You see, right?” he asked.

“Yep, we’re getting ready,” Sam said.

“Battle wagons?” Ji-Ho asked.

“Some should go into siege mode,” Sam said. “I’m grabbing my M60. There’s only fourteen of them.”

“We should kill all. No prisoner.”

“Agreed,” Garrett said. “See you in a couple minutes. They still coming, Sam?”

“Yep, they’re still coming, but they slowed down. They’re just hitting downtown Dulzura.”

“If they don’t come here, we should go get them,” Garrett said.

“Damn straight,” Sam said. He took Erica by the hand and they rushed to their battle wagon.

“You sure you want to carry that M60 around?” Erica asked.

“For this, yes, but I’m bringing the M-16 too. You gonna use your AK?”

“Of course,” she said. They rushed into the rig and got their guns and ammo, then headed back towards the house.

“Where are the RFID chips?” Erica asked.

“In the shed behind the big house,” Sam said. “Bodies too.”

“I hear some motors for siege mode,” Erica said.

“Yep.” Sam looked at his phone again. “They’re just passing Campbell Ranch Road. They’ll be here in a minute.”

“Want to position ourselves by the front gate?”

“No,” Sam said. “I want to see what they’re coming for, but we need to be ready to get into the Jeep. They’re gonna die either way.”

Erica nodded as Seth and Kaitlyn rushed over with Trevor and Kaylee.

“Those aren’t black powder Winchesters, I hope,” Erica said.

Trevor chuckled. “If we run out of ammo, might be a good way to go.”

Sam shook his head. “Don’t worry, Ivan will make sure we get ammo. Black powder will drop your power by a lot.”

“Where are they?” Seth asked.

“Slowing down, almost here,” Sam said. He refreshed the app again. “They’re off the road, heading into the trees by the creek bed, on the other side of Dutchman Canyon Road.”

“They’re gonna try to rescue their folks,” Erica whispered.

Sam nodded yes to her. “C’mon, let’s set up behind the house and let them come in.”

“What if they set up mortars?” Seth asked.

“We’re going into the woods,” Kaitlyn said. She glanced at Trevor, and he nodded yes.

“Let’s go, then,” Kaylee said.

“You sure, honey?” Trevor asked.

“I’m not so bad, you know,” Kaylee said, holding her M-16. “I’m a natural, remember?”

Trevor looked her up and down, and then sighed. “It’s not that I don’t think you can handle it, it’s just that I can’t live without you.”

“Now you know how I feel every time you run off with that damn Winchester,” she said. “C’mon. We’ve got to stop them in case they set up a mortar.”

The two couples ran toward the woods, Sam watching them, a worried look on his face.

“They’ll be okay,” Erica said. “Kaitlyn is good.”

“Yeah, Trevor’s at that level too,” he said. “I’m a little worried about the other two. Ji-Ho keeps telling me that Kaylee is a natural, but I’m skeptical.”

They positioned themselves in the bushes behind the house, a little left of the shed where the bodies and RFID chips were. Sid showed up with Yvonne, both carrying weapons.

“John, Clem, and Sarah are getting their battle wagon ready,” Sid whispered to Sam. “I’m gonna sneak towards the enemy position and keep an eye on things, just in case.”

“Me too,” Yvonne said. They ran towards the road in a crouch, slipping across and into the heavy woods.

Sam’s phone buzzed him again. “Dammit,” he said, looking at it. “Another group coming. Twenty this time.”

“Check the long-range app,” Erica said.

Sam tapped the icon and loaded it up. “Send a broadcast text about the second group, okay?”

Erica pulled out her phone and sent the text.

“Whoa,” Sam said. “We’re about to get hit hard. There’s another hundred enemy fighters coming.”

“Crap,” Erica said. “I just sent the text. Where are the others?”

“There’s a convoy on Highway 94. They’re just getting to Jamul. The first two batches were sent to soften things up.”

Sam’s phone rang.

“Who?” Erica asked.

“Ji-Ho,” Sam said. He put the phone to his ear. “Yeah, I see them.”

“I suggest sending six battle wagon off to tire dealership,” Ji-Ho said. “Blast last group on road.”

“Good suggestion,” Sam said.

“Okay, we go. I’ll tell Garrett about larger group coming.”

“He’s already got the app, right?”

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “Just want to be sure.”

“Okay, talk to you later. I’m gonna go into the woods and help to nip the first two groups in the bud. They’re probably trying to set up mortars. Then we ought to get the rest of the battle wagons ready while Garrett’s men are on the way.”

“Roger,” Ji-Ho said. “Talk later.”

Sam checked the long-range app one more time before putting his phone away. “They stopped in Jamul.”

“Probably waiting for the first two teams to soften us up before they hit us,” Erica said. “C’mon, let’s go.” She got up and ran across the road, heading into the trees, just as the Winchesters started to fire. Sam raced after Erica.

***

Seth watched, worried look on his face, as Kaitlyn and Trevor rose and rushed the enemy, who were trying to set up a mortar, both firing as they ran. He got up and ran after them, pausing for a moment to blow away an enemy fighter who was trying to flee. Sid and Yvonne were right there with them, firing into the first group of enemy fighters, who were searching for cover in the underbrush. They hadn’t even returned fire yet. Seth made it to where Kaitlyn was.

“There’s only four of them left,” she whispered. “I can see one of them. She turned her AK towards a bush and pulled the trigger, not even raising it to aim. A man cried out in Arabic, and then there was a rustling, three more men making a run for their vehicle. Trevor was running behind them, firing. Then he tripped, hitting the ground, his gun sliding just out of reach. One of the Islamists saw it and turned, running back towards Trevor. Kaylee popped up and ran towards them, firing her gun as she ran, diving in and out of cover as they tried to hit her. She killed two of the men. The third broke and ran, only to be killed by Erica as she and Sam joined the battle. There was silence for a moment. Kaylee rushed over to Trevor, who shot her a sheepish grin.

“Thanks, honey,” he said. “Wow. Your uncle is right about you. You are a natural.”

“You scared the crap out of me,” Kaylee said. “Don’t run over ground like this and fire at the same time, okay?”

“Okay,” he said. “There’s more coming.”

“Yes, I got the text.”

Sam rushed over, Erica by his side. “The other group just made the turn onto Dutchman Canyon Drive. Get ready.”

Kaitlyn and Seth showed up, Sid and Yvonne just behind them.

“Hey, maybe we ought to turn that mortar around and use it,” Sid whispered.

“Now there’s a good idea,” Sam said. “C’mon. You guys cover us, okay?”

The others nodded as they reloaded their guns.

“We can’t hit Highway 94,” Sid said as they got to the enemy’s mortar. “Ji-Ho is gonna be using that with the battle wagons.”

“Yeah, I know,” Sam said. Erica rushed by him, going a little past, finding a good spot to fire from. Kaitlyn and Seth joined them.

“Listen,” Seth said. “Our rigs are starting.”

“We need to splatter this second group before they get a chance to attack them,” Erica said.

Gunfire erupted at them from near the road.

“Get down, they’ve seen us,” Sid shouted. Everybody hit the dirt and returned fire.

“We need to get away from this mortar,” Sam said. “Not enough cover from this direction.” He turned and fired his M60 into the bushes where the fire was coming from. Then there was a pop, and a mortar round flew, hitting about sixty yards to the right of them.

“Take cover!” Sid shouted, turning to see Kaitlyn, Erica, Sam, and Kaylee in a full run towards the source of the fire, slipping in and out of cover as they ran. Kaitlyn did a drop and roll, firing, hitting some enemy fighters, their voices screaming out in pain.

“Nice,” Erica said, hot on her tail, slipping behind a tree near her and opening up full auto with her AK-47. Sam was almost even with them to the right now as another mortar round flew, hitting the spot where the first group’s mortar was, setting off the ammo box.

“Drop, dammit!” Sid cried out. He and Yvonne raced towards the others as Sam spewed lead at the enemy position with the M60.

“Kaitlyn, be careful,” Seth shouted, running after her as she weaved in and out of cover, sliding onto the dirt in front of some bushes like she was hitting home plate in a baseball game, then opening fire, hitting the second group’s mortar rounds, the explosion killing all the enemy fighters surrounding it. There was silence for a moment, the others rushing up behind her, peering through the bushes at the carnage.

“Damn, woman,” Seth said. “Nice work, but you scared the crap out of me.”

“Looks like you’ve gotten even better since I was working with you,” Erica said. “Sam, where are our friends now?”

“Two of them are running back towards Highway 94,” he said, his comment punctuated by the sound of horses, guns firing, the smell of black powder hitting them within seconds. “Scratch those guys.”

“We’d better check,” Erica said, bounding forward, Kaitlyn and Kaylee following in a full run, the others moving in that direction behind them. Erica stopped when she found the bodies, about fifteen yards from their truck. She looked away.

Kaitlyn and Kaylee each took a look and then backed off.

“What a mess,” Kaylee said.

“What now?” Trevor asked.

“We find all the bodies,” Sam said. “There should be exactly thirty-four.”

They fanned out and searched, and then Sam got a call from Ji-Ho.

“Yeah, what’s up?” Sam asked.

“Enemy group in Jamul turn tail and flee,” he said. “We come home.”

“That means word got to them before we killed everybody here,” Sam said.

“You sure kill everybody?”

“We’re checking now,” Sam said. “Should be thirty-four.”

Ji-Ho was silent for a moment, but then he gasped. “Get to house. One chip moving that direction.”

“Dammit, they’re going for Hasan,” Sam said.

“C’mon, let’s go,” Erica shouted, running towards the house, Kaitlyn joining her, Seth and Sam trying to keep up. They got to the house as Garrett was riding up with a bunch of men.

Suddenly there was gunfire from inside. Two black powder shots, and some automatic fire.

“Tarnation,” Garrett shouted, dismounting and sprinting up the veranda steps, Erica and Kaitlyn rushing into the house ahead of them.

“Mom!” Kaitlyn yelled as she bolted up the stairs. Then there was more gunfire, and some screaming.

Seth rushed inside, his heart hammering in his chest as he raced to find Kaitlyn, stopping when he found her and Anna at the top of the stairs, looking down at three bodies. Anna was holding her AK-47, crying. Sam and the others got there in a hurry, Garrett rushing over, pulling Anna into his arms.

“He killed your men, then shot Hasan,” Anna said, sobbing as she dropped her rifle and hugged him.

Seth took Kaitlyn into her arms. “Thank God you and your mom are okay.”

“What happened?” Trevor asked, rushing over with Kaylee.

“One of the Islamists got to Hasan,” Sam said.

“Is he dead?” Kaylee asked.

Anna shook her head yes. “He got shot in the face. It’s not pretty. That poor kid.”

Obviously, this wasn’t a rescue attempt,” Seth said. “It was a hit.”

“My men didn’t do much good,” Garrett said. “God rest them.”

“I wouldn’t say that,” Anna said. “One of your men wounded him.”

“In close quarters, it’s hard to beat an automatic weapon with a couple single-action revolvers,” Sam said. “We need to remember that.”

“Yeah, they didn’t have any cover up here, either,” Seth said. He walked into the room and stared at Hasan’s body, sprawled on the bed, wrist and ankle irons still on him, blood all over the bed and the wall behind it.

“What’s that?” Kaylee asked, pointing to scratches on the wall.

“Dammit, he was trying to pick the locks,” Garrett said, looking at the scratches, and at the nail on the bed.

“Wait, look at this,” Seth said, getting closer. “He wrote something.”

Sam rushed in and got next to him, looking at the scratches, then glancing over at Seth, who smiled back at him.

“What is it?” Kaylee asked.

“Looks like a user name and password to me,” Seth said, taking his phone out. He took several pictures.

“Well I’ll be damned,” Garrett said.

“The battle wagons are back,” Sid said from the hallway. “Hear them?”

“Yeah,” Sam said. “Somebody check the long-range app and make sure the enemy really split.”

“I’m on it,” Sid said, putting his phone in front of his face.

“Anybody get hurt in this?” Anna asked. “Other than these two men?”

“Only bad guys,” Erica said.

“Maybe we should burn those chips sooner rather than later,” Kaylee said.

“No,” Sam said. “We should leave them in the shed back there.”

“Yeah, we don’t want the enemy to know what we know,” Trevor said.

To be continued…

 

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 98 – Damage

Ivan made good on his promise, sending the download link to Jules’s leadership team early in the morning. Shelly woke to her phone dinging when it arrived.

“It’s here, honey,” Shelly whispered to Jules.

“How you know I awake?”

“Your breathing,” she said. “Did you send out a meeting notice yet?”

“Not yet,” Jules said.

“Sounds like a Chief of Staff task to me,” Shelly said. “I’ll do it. Tex, Ted, and Sparky, right?”

“Yes,” Jules said, turning to gaze at her. She noticed.

“Wait,” she said. “Let me do this. We can play afterward if you want. It’s still early.”

He nodded as she typed on her phone and broadcasted the message to the leadership team.

“Should we schedule a meeting with the rest of the team?” she asked.

“After the first meeting,” Jules said. “Now come here.”

“My, but aren’t we hot to trot, even after yesterday.”

Jules didn’t say anything, the need showing on his face. Shelly moaned as he pulled her to himself.

Afterwards Jules drifted off to sleep, waking to find Shelly out of bed. He got up and went into the salon, where she was making coffee.

“Hey, sweetie,” she said, turning towards him.

“Good morning.” He sat in the dinette and watched her in her long t-shirt, her short blonde hair swaying as she moved. “You’re so beautiful.”

“Stop it,” she said. “That meeting is coming up in an hour.”

“I know,” he said. “I get dressed.”

“Yes, do that. I’ll get dressed in a few minutes too.”

“Where we meet?” Jules asked.

“Here,” she said. “I thought it would be best for such a small group.”

“You right,” Jules said. “More coffee cups in pantry.”

“Yes, I