Bugout! California Part 169 – L-ATV

Seth’s computer sounded the history program alarm. He clicked on it, his eyes getting wide.

“What is it?” Kaitlyn asked, turning her chair towards his screen.

“Same highway in Mexico where we saw the semis unload before they took out the Marines. Wow. I’m seeing about thirty-thousand new RFID hits. Better call Jules and Ivan over here.”

“I’ll go get them,” Ben said, getting up from his seat.

“Why don’t they drive closer to the border before they reveal themselves?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Good question,” Seth said, turning as he heard Jules and Ivan come into the room. Ben sat back down, still working the problem with his drone feed.

“They’re dumping, huh?” Jules asked.

“Yeah, but why here?” Seth asked. “Why not closer to the border?”

Jules looked at Ivan, who was thinking, watching the screen over Seth’s shoulder. “They think it’ll be harder for us to stop them when they’re spread out wide on the dirt between there and the border. They’re probably right.”

Robbie and Morgan came back into the room with cups of coffee. “Uh oh, what’s happening?” Morgan asked.

“Thirty-thousand enemy fighters just revealed themselves in Mexico,” Kaitlyn said. “Same highway as before.”

“Maybe it’s time for the planes of the Theodore Roosevelt to start attacking,” Robbie said. “They’re close enough.”

Ivan shook his head no. “They’re going further south. Not for us. There’s an attack coming in the Gulf of Mexico.”

“Against what?” Ben asked.

“Governor Nelson’s team isn’t sure yet. Probably Houston. It’s the largest town in that region.”

“What about us?” Kaitlyn asked.

“We don’t have a city of over two million who are in danger of a nuke attack,” Robbie said.

“That we know of yet,” Seth quipped.

Robbie chuckled. “Yeah, that’s a fair point.”

Seth’s computer sounded another alarm. “Oh boy, another five thousand, same place.”

“This is going to go on for the next couple hours,” Ivan said. “All we can do at this point is watch and pinpoint their locations. If you see any that are on roads closer to the US border, come get me right away, okay?”

“Will do,” Seth said.

Ivan smiled. “Thanks.”

“Mind if I stay and watch, boss?” Jules asked.

“Sure, be my guest. I want to check on the UN base. Mr. White and Mr. Black are running a stakeout.”

“Good, they bigger problem,” Jules said. Ivan left the room, motioning for Ben to follow him.

“There’s a lot more Islamists,” Robbie said.

“True, but them we can see,” Jules said.


It was first light along the border. Doug crawled out of his pup-tent, his bones aching.

Jorge was getting up. “Hey, dude, ready for coffee?”

“Yeah, let’s go to the mess hall,” Doug said as he stood and fixed his pants and shirt. “I need a shower.”

“Yeah, me too, and I need some time with my wife,” Jorge said, dusting off his knees. “Looked at the apps lately?”

“Need to plug my phone in when we get to the mess hall. Glad they provided all those charging stations.”

“We’ve got military equipment that needs to be kept at the ready,” Jorge said.

Doug laughed. “Yeah, our cellphones with the apps on them are military equipment. Never thought of it that way.”

They walked down the hill, getting into the line for breakfast.

“Wonder where Conrad is?” Jorge asked.

“Who knows? That smells good. Bacon.”

“Perfect thing to go with powdered eggs,” Jorge cracked. “Wish they would’ve waited on pulling those trains out of here until morning. Woke me up at two-thirty. Took a while to get back to sleep.”

“I heard it but fell back to sleep right away. Wonder if they’re going to leave that stuff here?”

“Conrad was non-committal on that.”

“He doesn’t have any say,” Doug said.

“Oh, I know, dude, I was talking about him being non-committal on his opinion.”

Doug snickered. “Sorry, I’m not awake until I’ve had some coffee.”

“You and me both. That’s more tanks than I thought, but not all of them are M-1s. What are those other things?”

“Bradley Fighting Vehicles,” Doug said. “I’m surprised they weren’t using those before. M-1s are mainly for battles with enemy tanks, and this enemy doesn’t have them.”

“At least we haven’t seen any yet.”

They got through the food line after about five minutes, then found a place to sit next to charging outlets, both plugging their phones in.

“We’re slaves to modern technology,” Jorge said, his mouth half full of eggs.

“Listen. Is that another train coming?”

The low rumble got louder, Jorge getting up to look out the flap of the tent. “Two again. Looks like they’re both full of weapons.”

“Hope there’s more Bradley Fighting Vehicles,” Doug said.

“Good morning,” Conrad said, walking to their table with his breakfast. “Mind if I join you?”

“Sit,” Doug said. “Another two trains pulling in.”

“Yeah, chatted with Major Higgins about it earlier this morning. We’re finally getting smart.”

“Wait, earlier this morning?” Jorge asked. “Damn, dude, what time were you up?”

“Four,” Conrad said as he shoveled the first bite of powdered eggs into his mouth.

Doug washed down his breakfast with coffee. “So, they’ve gotten smarter than yesterday?”

“I’m kinda joking,” Conrad said. “Most of what they sent here yesterday were Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and about half of them came from further north in California, not from San Diego or Camp Pendleton.”

“I’m still not understanding what makes these Bradley Fighting Vehicles better than M-1 tanks,” Jorge said.

Conrad finished chewing a piece of bacon and washed it down with a small cup of orange juice. “The BFV has firepower that’s better to use against this enemy, and they hold a crew of three, plus up to six fully-equipped soldiers.”

“That sounds more like an armored personnel carrier,” Doug said.

“It’s much better armed.”

“What’s it got, dude?” Jorge asked.

“M242 chain gun, TOW missiles, and an M240 machine gun,” Conrad said. “It’s got reactive armor, too, so they can withstand a lot of abuse. Not as much as an M-1, but plenty for this situation. They’d eat a Gaz Tigr for breakfast.”

“Probably more enjoyable than this breakfast,” Jorge said, turning to toss his empty paper plate into the big cardboard trash box behind him.

“Always with the complaints, man,” Conrad said, shaking his head.

Jorge laughed. “Next, you’re gonna tell me about how Charley eats fish heads and rice, and squats in the bush.”

Doug cracked up, watching Conrad shake his head.

“What’s a chain gun?” Jorge asked.

“It’s a cannon that fires full auto,” Conrad said.

“Whoa, really? Bitchen, dude.”

“I’m sure that’s what the brass said when they selected that particular weapon,” Doug quipped.

“You two never fail to amuse me,” Conrad said, standing up. “We’ve got something even better coming now, from a base in Nevada.”

“Oh, they’re not BFVs?” Doug asked.

“The first train has a few. The second will be full to the gills with L-ATVs.”

“Great, another acronym I have to learn. What the hell is an L-ATV?”

Conrad smirked. “They’re a smaller, lighter MRAP.”

“Well that was helpful,” Jorge said, Doug cracking up as he tossed his empty plate in the trash.

“Sorry, I’m messing with you,” Conrad said.

“You seem happy this morning,” Doug said, sitting back down at the table. “You didn’t look so happy yesterday.”

“Uncle Sam is finally getting into the fight on our side,” Conrad said. “We’ll be a little short on men, but there are enough citizens to cover it with some short training.”

“Why the change?” Doug asked.

“General Hogan is working directly with the new Joint Chiefs now, and he knows where to direct hardware and what kind to deploy.”

“Are you gonna tell us what an L-ATV is or what?” Jorge asked.

“It’s a smaller, lighter form of MRAP, which means Mine Resistant Ambush Protected,” Conrad said. “Remember in the Iraq war where roadside IEDs were killing a lot of our troops?”

“Oh, yeah,” Jorge said.

“MRAP vehicles were designed to protect against those. They have a hull-shaped structure underneath that directs the blasts of mines away from the occupants of the vehicle. And before you ask, L-ATV stands for Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle.”

“That’s more words than there are letters in the acronym,” Jorge said.

Conrad smirked. “Take it up with the Pentagon.”

Doug snickered, then eyed Conrad. “Are we gonna end up in one of these vehicles?”

“Possibly,” Conrad said. “You guys done? Let’s go down and check them out. The trains are almost in position to unload.”

“I’m ready,” Doug said, looking at Jorge, who nodded in agreement. Conrad tossed his empty plate in the trash and they headed down the hill, getting to the tracks just as the first train was slowing to a stop. Major Higgins was there, directing the crews, poised to unload the train.

“Those are the BFVs?” Jorge asked, looking at the vehicles sitting two to a flatbed.

“Beautiful, ain’t they?” Major Higgins asked.

“How many?” Conrad asked.

“We’ll only have twenty of these,” Major Higgins said. “We’ll use them to lay down fire, mostly.”

“How many L-ATVs?”

Major Higgins shot him a grin. “You aren’t gonna believe it. Just got word from my CO.”

“Try me.”

“Fifteen hundred here, another five thousand near Tecate.”

“Wow,” Conrad said. “Nice.”

“That’s not all,” Major Higgins said. “The marines took control of Federal Highway 2D in Mexico and locked down the city of Tecate, with help from that city’s leadership. Seems the Mexicans aren’t too keen on a bunch of Islamists turning their country into a battleground.”

“What’ll they do with that highway?” Jorge asked.

“They’ll load anybody willing to fight onto trucks and take them to the enemy front,” Major Higgins said. “We’ve got citizens massing in that area from all over the state now, itching for some action.”

“Wonder how many enemy fighters there are now?” Jorge asked, reaching into his pocket. “Crap, man, I left my phone on the charger back there.”

“Shoot, so did I,” Doug said. They ran to the mess hall in a panic, Conrad and Major Higgins chuckling.

“Is it really as good as you’re saying?” Conrad asked.

“Yeah, but this is gonna be bloody as hell. Most of the ninety thousand enemy fighters are visible now, walking on a huge line towards the border. We’ve got all these weapons and vehicles, but I expect the enemy to pull some nasty surprises out of nowhere. This battle isn’t about what everybody thinks it is.”

“How so?”

“The Islamists and the UN have had a falling out,” Major Higgins said.

“Where’d you hear that?”

“Never mind. Just trust me on this. They’re evacuating their forces from the US. It’s happening in Texas, and it’s happening in California. No way can they win in the US. They’d evacuate the southwest too, if they didn’t have General Hogan standing in their way.”

“I don’t know that I buy this.”

“They think they can take over Mexico and re-group, if they can get those pesky US regular army folks away from Mexico City and the other places they now control.”

Conrad was quiet, thinking for a moment. “You’re saying that they’d like to draw the US army into a fight to save all the civilians down here?”

“That’s what I’m thinking, and I’m not alone in that. I think they’ve prepared a nasty trap. If we’re dumb enough to fall for it, that’s on us.”

“They want to turn Mexico into a new Afghanistan right on our border, and they think the USA is just gonna let them do it, huh? That’s not so bright.”

“You’re right, it’s not so bright,” Major Higgins said, “and that’s why we’ll win in the long run. There are big glaring signs that they’re ignoring.”

“Like what?”

“The Mexican people are actively fighting on the same side with the US Army. They’ve stopped the flow of Islamist fighters from Central America, and very few of the Venezuelans are left alive in Mexico at this point.”

“It’s hard to believe they don’t see that,” Conrad said.

“They believe their own BS. They still think they can convert most of the poor in Mexico to Islam. Catholics usually won’t go there without a fight, and the Pope has finally turned against the globalists. I expect him to be killed any day now.”

“That doesn’t sound so good.”

“If they’re successful in taking out the Pope, it’ll be the end of radical Islam in any Catholic-majority country. Trust me. These sixth-century cretins think they want a religious war. That’ll be their undoing. They don’t have the numbers nor the good leadership. They’ve made mistake after mistake. They always push too far because some stupid Imam tells them it’s the will of their God. They had a good chunk of Europe at one point. They lost it because of the same thinking they’re using now.”

“Charles Martel,” Conrad said.

Major Higgins laughed. “He’s one of the most important figures in European history, and most people have no idea who he was.”

“Yeah, cracks me up when modern historians rail against the Crusades.”

“You ain’t kidding there. It’s portrayed as stupid and evil by the revisionist historians today, when actually it was a reaction to the Islamist invasions of Europe. Bottom line, look who ended up in the 1st world and who ended up in the 3rd world. Hell, we were so dominant over these Islamist slugs that we drew up the boundaries for their countries. Cut their lands up like a frigging birthday cake. Many say we caused all the rancor in the Middle East because we were stupid in how we drew the borders. That’s a misguided opinion.”

“How so?” Conrad asked.

“We set those countries up the way we did to keep the crazies fighting each other instead of the civilized world, and it worked for a long time, until the globalists started messing around with it.”

“Hell, I never thought about it that way,” Conrad said.

“Remember the results of the Arab Spring? The stupid globalists in the EU and a bad president here pushed that forward. The result was a new invasion of Europe which they’re still dealing with today. Morons.”

Doug and Jorge returned with their phones, both looking scared.

“What’s up?” Conrad asked.

“Do you know there’s nearly a hundred thousand Islamists on the way to the border?” Doug asked.

Conrad and Major Higgins shot each other a glance.

“Last time I looked it was in the nineties,” Major Higgins said. “We’ll have six more trains making deliveries here today, and five times that many near Tecate. Don’t give up yet, men.”

Conrad nodded. “Let’s go check out those L-ATVs.”

Jorge and Doug followed him to the second train, which had just started unloading, leaving Major Higgins to his job.

“How worried are you about this?” Doug asked.

Conrad glanced back at him. “We’re in a better position than we were before. Wow, these look brand new.” The three stopped next to a massive flatbed railcar, which had eight off-road vehicles on it. They sported massive tires, and a small turret on top.

“What kind of gun is that?” Jorge asked.

“Looks like an M240 machine gun to me.”

Jorge got closer, looking up. “Is that good?”

“Yeah, it’s good,” Conrad said. “The army replaced M60s with these in most applications.”

“Most?” Doug asked.

“Yeah, they still use M60s for infantry, because they’re so much lighter than these, but where weight doesn’t matter, these are better. They never jam, and their barrels last a lot longer.”

“That vehicle next to it has a different gun,” Jorge said, pointing at the otherwise identical vehicle next to the first one.

Conrad chuckled. “That’s an M19 grenade launcher.”

“Wow,” Doug said. “Bet that packs a wallop.”

“Wouldn’t want somebody pointing that at me,” Conrad said. “You guys might get assigned to one of these.”

“We don’t know how to operate this thing,” Doug said.

“Don’t worry, not much to it,” Conrad said. “It’ll be dangerous, though. If you don’t think you can handle that, speak up. Nobody’s gonna force you.”

“I’ll do what my country asks of me,” Doug said, “but I don’t have kids or a wife who gives a damn. Jorge, you might want to think twice.”

Excuse me, gentlemen,” a young marine said. “We need to unload these.”

The three men backed away, watching as ramps were put into place, and the vehicles backed off.

Jorge looked down at the ground for a moment, then back up at Conrad. “I’ve got a lot to live for.”

“I know,” Conrad said.

“And I’ve got loved ones to protect. If we can take these creeps out south of the border, they won’t come up here and hurt my family. I’m in if they need me.”

“You have a few hours to think it over,” Doug said. “Best to be sure.”

Conrad nodded. “Yep, it’s best to be sure.”


Ivan and Jules stared up at the hole in the ceiling of the dim storage room, dirt falling as Tex and Sam dug at the earthen walls with shovels.

“It’s big enough now to get supplies down,” Jules said. “That’s the immediate danger, no?”

“The chemical toilets down here are gonna be a problem after a while,” Ivan said. “They weren’t designed for this many people living full time. Rolling the tanks out with carts was one thing. Hoisting them up this hole is going to be more difficult.”

Jules chuckled. “True, didn’t think. Maybe as soon as the hole is big enough, we use ladders to evacuate people.”

Ivan nodded, then his phone rang. “Mr. Black. I’ll put it on speaker.

“Hi, boss, still in the hole?”

Jules snickered.

“Oh, Jules with you. Hi, Jules.”

“Mr. Black, how are you, old friend?”

“Tired, was long night. Glad it morning now.”

“What’d you see last night?” Ivan asked.

“You right, many UN vans around, but not marked. Locals don’t seem to take notice. Foreigners keeping low profile, though. Much more spread out than expected.”

“I figured,” Ivan said. “Have any idea how many UN assets are in the area?”

“Rough guess? Many thousands.”

“Dammit,” Jules said.

“One thing that helps them is TV news,” Mr. Black said. “Talk of Islamists just south of border is on local channels. Saw people chatting in sports bar while watching. Most people stay in their homes according to conversation. Probably helps UN. Easier to not be noticed this way.”

“I’m sure,” Ivan said. “Where’s your other half?”

“Mr. White take nap. Me next. What you want we should do after? Keep motel room, hang out longer?”

“For now, yes. Blend in. Gather intel. We will be hitting them, but it’ll be a coordinated hit. When we get close, you’ll be moved to Dana Point. We’ll start the attack when the boat is at the dock. Kill everybody there, sink the boat, make sure the locals know what the operation was. Ruin that spot for them. That’ll screw them good.”

“How so?” Mr. Black asked. “Boats dime a dozen.”

“We’ll make sure the authorities in all the ports between San Diego and Santa Barbara know what they’re doing, and what to look for.”

“Oh. Hopefully none are on enemy side.”

Jules looked at Ivan.

“Jules, you have something to add?”

“Do we know if anybody at Dana Point knows about operation?” he asked.

“That’s good question,” Mr. Black said, “but very hard to determine. If we ask around, they’ll know, pass to enemy, be ready for our attack. Better to worry about later.”

Ivan sat quietly, thinking. “We need a second intel team.”

“We have, still in San Francisco,” Mr. Black said.

“Yes, but we can’t move them. There’s been attempts to return the UN there. Our operatives can handle it now, but if we lose the intel team, it’ll be much more difficult. I don’t want to battle again for territory we’ve won.”

“Sam, Tex, Ted, and Sparky?” Jules asked. “All trained. All experienced.”

“And Ji-Ho too,” Ivan said.

“Ji-Ho sick, Ivan. Remember, I tell?”

“Oh, that’s right,” Ivan said. “Better to leave him out of this.”

“Boss, I worry more about UN base than harbor,” Mr. Black said. “It’s spread out. Massive assault to take down. We not know boundaries yet.”

“Okay, we’ll table this conversation for now. You and Mr. White stay in the area and watch. Try to figure out what their footprint is, but don’t get caught. Got it?”

“Yes sir,” Mr. Black said.

“Good. Take a nap.”

To be continued…


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Bugout! California Part 168 – Generators

Meyers watched his men from the small ridge, battling the onslaught of Islamists, the tanks silent now, most of them out of ammo. His phone dinged. He set the binoculars aside and looked, his brow furrowed.

“We’re not going to win this,” the driver said in near panic.

“Shut up,” Meyers said. “We’re not done yet. We need to kill as many enemy fighters as possible. That’s all that matters.”

“What was the message?”

“The enemy destroyed the airstrip and the B-1 Bombers in San Diego.”

“What? We’re toast. We should retreat right now.”

“They’ll stop us,” Meyers said. “This was well planned. It’s their D-Day.”

“They’ll retake California?”

Meyers chuckled. “They don’t know how many civilian fighters we have in Southern California. They’ll run into a buzz-saw when they get over the border.” He started for the door of their armored personnel carrier. “Come on.”

“Good, we’re gonna retreat,” he said.

“No, we’re gonna go join the battle, and kill as many of them as we can.”

His eyes got wide. “No way am I doing that.”

Meyers pulled his side arm and pointed it at the driver’s head. “You’re either going or I’m gonna end it for you right here and now.”

“But we’ll get killed. They’re all getting killed down there.”

“And they’re causing huge enemy casualties. Every person we kill is one less that attacks our homeland. We’ve got a job to do, so pull yourself together and be a man.”

The driver swallowed hard, looking down for a moment, then headed for the driver’s door. “I didn’t expect it to end like this.”

Both men got in, and the driver started the engine. Meyers loaded a new belt on the main gun with shaky hands, and they drove down into the raging battle, going for maximum destruction, slaughtering enemy fighters as fast as they could. When the anti-tank missile hit, neither of them felt a thing.


The three motorhomes were parked on the western street next to the mine, making it difficult for anything but pedestrians to get past. Elmer and Clem worked on the power hookup to the generators with Willard acting as commentator. Further back, along the side of the hill next to the boarding house, Tex, Sparky, Ted, and Sam were working on the hole that Elmer had dug to route exhaust gasses from the unfinished mine generator.

“Shouldn’t this give our cellphone signals a better path?” Sparky asked. “We haven’t tried a call from here, have we?”

“Won’t make any difference, because it depends on where the cell tower is,” Tex said. “Hey, Elmer, you guys got any cell repeaters around here?”

Elmer heard him and poked his head up from under the coach. “Yeah, we’ve got one. Willard, you know where that is, don’t you?”

“Yes sir,” he said. “I’ll go get it. Got a long enough extension cord to run it?”

“It’s got a car plug, remember?” Elmer asked. “Plug it into the dash of this rig and turn on the ignition. That’ll be close enough to the hole. Once we have the generators running we can use the AC adapter instead and plug it into the outlet in the utility bay.”

Willard rushed off to the hotel, running inside, coming back out with a box and some dangling wire. He plugged the unit into the motorhome dashboard, the green indicator light on the repeater turning on. “Try it now, Tex.”

Tex pulled out his phone and hit Jules’s contact. It rang three times, then picked up.

“How did you get through, my friend?” Jules asked.

“Cell repeater. I’ll put it on speaker,” Tex said. He did that, setting the phone on a rock as the others paused their work to gather around.

“We’re trying to enlarge the hole for the generator exhaust, so we can get supplies down to you, and hopefully get you out as well. The repeater is sending its signal through there.”

“Oh,” Jules said. “How’s power coming?”

“Close,” Ted said. “Clem and Elmer were almost done with the wiring the last time I talked to them.”

“Good, we’re blind as bats,” Jules said. “Any of you watch apps?”

“I’m sure some of the others are,” Tex said. “We’ve been pretty busy.”

“Ivan worried about battle south of border.”

“Why don’t you try to use the apps near this hole, partner?”

“Ah, Tex, good idea. It in storage room, correct?”

“You know, I’m not really sure,” Tex said. “Hey Elmer, where does this hole open up in the mine?”

Elmer trotted over. “The back storage room. The one we used to keep primer caps in. We’re gonna turn the power on in about five minutes. We’re almost done. The ethernet cable is still connected too. Should get you your WiFi back.”

“That good,” Jules said over the speaker. “Thanks.”

“I’d better get to it,” Elmer said. He went back to where Clem was working, at the mouth of the mine.

“Do you know where that storage room is?” Ted asked.

“No, I find somebody who know. I get off phone for now. Need to conserve battery.”

“The power will be back on in a few minutes,” Sparky said.

“Can you see whole cable?” Jules asked. “Might be damaged someplace else.”

Tex chuckled. “Possibly, but I doubt it. It’s okay, though, we know you’re safe. Talk to you soon, you old bushwhacker.”

Jules laughed and ended the call.

“A Belgian Bushwhacker?” Ted asked with a smirk.

“Okay, maybe that wasn’t the best choice of words,” Tex said. The men got back to work on the hole, making it wider as they went down.

“You know, we should find some rope,” Sparky said. “We’ll have to be down in this hole to continue much further. We don’t need anybody slipping down and getting stuck.”

Tex cracked up. “Yeah, that would be just great. I know where there’s rope. I’ll go get it.” He trotted down the street towards the livery stable.

The motorhome generators started.

“Here goes nothing,” Clem said, watching as Elmer threw the big switch in the mouth of the mine.

“Well, it didn’t short out,” Elmer said. “That’s a good sign.”

“Maybe we ought to make another call,” Clem said. They both walked to the hole. “Get somebody on the phone, so we can make sure they’re getting power.”

Tex came back over with two big coils of rope. “Generators working?” His phone rang. “It’s Jules again.” He put it on speaker.

“We have power,” Jules said. “Thank you. How long will it last?”

“As long as we need it to,” Elmer said. “These generators sip diesel, and we’ve got full tanks, plus more in the storage tank out back.”

“Yeah, we’ll have the waterwheel fixed before we run out of fuel,” Clem said.

“Maybe you have us out by then.”

“Ed and Tyler are leading a team on that, but it’ll be slow going,” Clem said. “It’d be easy to cause more of a cave-in than we already have.”

“Well do best can,” Jules said. “Ivan calling. I talk later.”

The call ended.

“Back to work,” Tex said.


Ivan watched over Seth’s shoulder as his laptop reconnected. Jules and Shelly joined them. Robbie, Morgan, and Ben were on PCs next to them, waiting for them to boot up.

“How long do we have power?” Ivan asked Jules.

“As long as we need,” he said.

“Hey, now that the router and Wi-Fi is back up, just connect your phone to that,” Seth said, eyes still glued to the screen as the history program came up. “The name and password are on the bulletin board over there, on a small piece of paper we tacked up the other day.”

“In a minute,” Ivan said. “Let’s see what’s going on.”

Seth’s eyes grew wide as the display came up. “The enemy fighters are heading for the border in a hurry.”

“Dammit, they overran our troops down there,” Ben said. “I was afraid that would happen.”

Ivan glanced at him, then back at the screen. “How many?”

“Working on a count now,” Kaitlyn said, working on her machine now that it was up. “Wow, less than there were, but still a lot. About ten thousand. It was closer to fifteen the last time we looked.”

“Check further south, to see if anybody else is joining them,” Ivan said.

“Only five thousand killed?” Jules asked.

“Wait, some of those hits are dead,” Seth said, looking at the history program. “Kaitlyn’s just looking at the long-range detailed app.”

“You see them stationary in the history?” Ivan asked.

“Yeah, at least twenty-five hundred of them.”

“So we’ve got between seven and eight thousand,” Ivan said, “and we know where the group from Julian is. They aren’t going to join them.”

“When they do, it’ll be in hell,” Ben said. “I’m working on the drone video feed. Having a hard time getting connected, though. I need to reboot this sucker again.”

“What happened?” Ivan asked.

“I don’t know.”


Conrad walked out of the leadership tent, his face grim. Doug and Jorge were waiting for him.

“I don’t like that look, dude,” Jorge said.

“Meyer’s whole force was slaughtered. At least they took out lots of enemy fighters before they bought it.”

“They’re coming here, aren’t they?” Doug asked.

Conrad shrugged. “Possible. We’re putting the artillery in place here. Want to help put those claymore mines back?”

“They knew,” Jorge said, eyes staring south into the barren desert.

“Excuse me?” Conrad asked.

“The brass,” Jorge said. “They knew Meyers would be overrun.”

“It’s more complicated than that,” Conrad said. “We had B-1 bombers, remember? They were supposed to take part in this, but they got blown up.”

“Yeah, I don’t think it’s so much that they knew this was going to happen,” Doug said. “They knew it might happen, and thank God for that.”

“Doesn’t make me feel a whole lot better,” Jorge said, his eyes on the phone he was holding in front of his face. “They’ve got nearly ten-thousand men on the way.”

“Probably less, according to the intel folks in there.” Conrad nodded at the tent. “Some of the hits aren’t moving. Probably dead.”

“If they put some lead-lined semi-trucks on that highway down there, what’s to stop them from bringing more?” Doug asked.

“Nothing, at this point,” Conrad said. “That’s why I suggested we start placing the claymore mines back out there again.”

“All right, let’s get to it, then.”

The three men went to the truck where they’d stored the claymore mines, pulling the hardware together, Jorge grabbing the big-wheeled cart they used last time.

“There’s got to be more aircraft around,” Doug said.

“The Theodore Roosevelt is steaming out of San Diego as we speak,” Conrad said.

“What’s that?” Jorge asked.

Doug laughed. “It’s one of our carriers. Why aren’t they just using those planes from the damn harbor?”

“They’re overly cautious, and I don’t blame them,” Conrad said. “The fact that they’re throwing that to the wind and bringing the carrier group out is good for us, but worrisome.”

“We’re on our own way too much,” Jorge muttered.

They worked the claymore mine setup for the next several hours, the sun getting low in the sky.

“Okay, that’s all of them,” Conrad said.

“The enemy fighters aren’t coming that fast,” Doug said, looking at his phone.

“They’re waiting for the rest of their force,” Conrad said. “Ten to one.”

Jorge nodded. “Yeah, dude, that’s what I’m thinking.”

They walked up the hill towards the mess center and got in line for food, taking it to one of the tables overlooking the border wall.

“Looks peaceful out there now,” Doug said, “but it won’t be peaceful for long.”

“Train coming,” Conrad said, nodding to the west.

“More artillery?” Jorge asked.

Conrad shrugged. “Probably. We need trained men more than we need artillery right now. The enemy is on foot and spread way the hell out, according to the app.”

“That’s a long train,” Jorge said. “Hey, looks like tanks.”

“Really?” Conrad asked, standing up, craning his neck to see in the distance. “Yeah, you’re right. I’m surprised.”

“Why are you surprised?” Doug asked.

“They were down to pretty low levels of armor at the bases. They want to keep a certain amount there, just in case they get attacked. If the Naval base or Camp Pendleton get overrun, we’re in deep yogurt.”

“What do they know that we don’t, dude?” Jorge asked.

“That’s what I’d like to know,” Doug said. “There’s a second train following this one. See it?”

“Barely,” Conrad said. “This worries me. I hope they know what they’re doing. Maybe these came from someplace other than the local bases.”

The men watched as troops and armor were unloaded, heading down the hill after they finished their meals.

“I’m going to ask where this stuff came from,” Conrad said, heading for the train. He found a Major directing the unloading and approached. “Excuse me.”

“Who the hell are you?” the Major asked. Conrad pulled his ID and showed it. “Okay, heard of you. What’s on your mind? We’re a little busy, as you can see.”

“Where are these assets coming from?”

The Major chuckled. “You look worried. Good.”

“Well?” Conrad asked.

“San Diego, mostly,” he said. “I think they’re nuts to do this. They’ve left themselves too open, and now they’ve sent the Theodore Roosevelt out as well.”

Conrad shook his head. “The B-1s are gone too.”

“Oh, you know about that?”

“It’s why Meyer’s bought it,” Conrad said.

The Major’s brow furrowed. “Meyers was a good man, and my friend.”

“I just barely got to know him, but was very impressed,” Conrad said. “Seems like this whole thing was planned.”

“You don’t know the half of it,” the Major said. “They hit the B-1s, but they also hit the base Ivan the Butcher was using in Dulzura.”

“Oh, crap, is he dead?” Jorge asked.

“And who might you be?” the Major asked.

“He’s one of our citizen recruits,” Conrad said. “A good one. Jorge. The guy next to him is Doug.”

“Good to meet you. I’m Major Higgins.”

“Pleasure,” Doug said. “Is Ivan still alive?”

“Yeah, heard they were in a mine when the cruise missiles hit the base. They’re trying to dig out now, but they’ve got power back on and are still conducting intelligence.”

“You know a lot about him,” Conrad said.

“We’ve been working with him lately,” Major Higgins said. “How could we not? He’s a criminal, but he’s our criminal, and he’s gotten better results than anybody else in the state.”

“Well, I hope we’re doing the right thing,” Conrad said, “but I’m skeptical.”

“What would you have done?” Major Higgins asked.

“We’ve got a couple hundred thousand citizen recruits all along the roads here. More than enough to stop this enemy before they get very far. There’s less than ten-thousand of them.”

“I wish you were right,” Major Higgins said.

“What’s not right?”

“Ivan’s guy is running that history program over Mexico now, and they got some earlier data from the regular army down around Mexico City. There’s over ninety-thousand RFID chips missing. Been disappearing over the last two weeks. They used barely fifteen-thousand of them against Meyers.”

“Oh, hell,” Jorge said. “Really? We need to evacuate our town right now.”

“Jacumba Hot Springs?” Major Higgins asked. “They’re not going to mess with that. If they come here at all, which I think is doubtful, it’ll be to get on Old Highway 80 and head west. There’s nothing for them to the east but death. General Hogan’s boys have seen to that.”

“What do you think they’re gonna do?” Jorge asked.

“I think they’ll head for Tecate and cross the border there.”

“Then why are we loading this place up with tanks and artillery, dude?”

Major Higgins laughed. “Because the brass don’t listen to me.”


Mr. Black was behind the wheel of the van. “They’re going right to where we expected.”

Mr. White nodded. “Yes, they do. Turnoff is only three miles. Don’t get too close.”

Mr. Black shot him a glare. “You worry too much. Boss say forty-five vans participate in hit on Dulzura base. Remember how many vans we see yesterday?”

“I didn’t count them,” Mr. White said. “Fill most of parking lot, so if number down, we’ll see.”

“They’re making the turn.”

Mr. White chuckled. “I have eyes.”

Mr. Black pulled into a parking lot across the street from the industrial area. “Watch them. Maybe we should walk over after dark and check out, no?”

“That’s nuts,” Mr. White said. “We wait a few minutes, drive by, see how many vans, report to boss. Get drone over area.”

Mr. Black sighed. “Okay, that fine.” They waited for a few minutes, then got back out on Pioneer Way, going north, past Vernon.

“That parking lot full more than yesterday,” Mr. White said. “I text boss.”

“You should call,” Mr. Black said.

Mr. White shook his head. “They still in mine, can’t get call, only text.” He sent it, and a second later his phone rang. “Hey, fixed, he calling.”

“Put on speaker,” Mr. Black said.

Mr. White pushed the button and set the phone on the center console. “Boss, you out of mine?”

“No, we’re still stuck, but we have a cell repeater in place. You say the vans are all still there, huh?”

“Yes sir, look like more to me. You want we should investigate?”

“We’re going to put a drone over the area, but I’d like you two to stick around. Keep an eye out on the street for traffic. If they’ve got a large enough number of those vans there, you’ll see them cruising the area. Don’t sneak around on foot after dark, though.”

“Yes, night vision make more dangerous than broad daylight,” Mr. Black said.

“Exactly,” Ivan said. “I’m going to let Ben try to hack into the El Cajon municipal video system. If he’s successful, I’ll send you a URL. You have your laptops, right?”

“Don’t leave home without,” Mr. Black said. Mr. White snickered.

“Good, you guys never disappoint,” Ivan said. “Talk to you soon. If you see any kind of major movement, follow them and let me know.”

“Will do, boss,” Mr. White said. “Talk later.”

The call ended.

“It be long night again,” Mr. Black said.

To be continued…


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Copyright Robert Boren 2018

Bugout! California Part 167 – Empty Ice Chests


Tyler rushed into the intelligence room.

“UN Peacekeepers! The patrol leader just told us they’re massing at the front of the property. They haven’t started shooting yet.”

“Put the video feeds on that big screen,” Ivan said.

Karen shot Tex a worried glance.

“Want to go man our battle wagon, little lady?” Tex asked.

“I’m game,” she said.

Sparky rushed in. “We’d better get out there.”

Sam’s phone dinged. “Text from Garrett. The back end was attacked too, but we stopped them. Remember that the cavalry and the off-roaders are out there.”

“I just made a deal with the large groups who are camped here, remember?” Jules said. “We be fine, but time to fight.”

“Jules, you stay in here with Shelly,” Ivan said. “You’re second in command. I need you to fight with your brain. Understand?”

Jules nodded, watching the others head for the main shaft.

“Don’t get that look,” Shelly said. “Ivan’s right. We have plenty of fighters.”

“I know, but don’t have to like,” Jules said. “Let’s monitor video, have phones out to direct battle.”


“You hear that?” Trevor asked, hanging out with Kaylee, Megan, and Angel by the mouth of the main shaft.

“Enemy fighters,” Angel said. “I’ll bet that’s why Tyler just ran by.”

They all picked up their weapons. Erica trotted out with Sam, and then Ted, Haley, and the others rushed by them, Ted turning to Trevor. “Get ready, kid, it’s on!”

Trevor nodded, and then he saw somebody running towards the mine from the street. “Is that Willard?”

“Yep,” Kaylee said.

“Good, I could use a drink,” Angel said, Megan rolling her eyes.

“Hey, kids, want to provide me some cover?” Willard asked, trying to catch his breath.

“Sure, what’s up?” Trevor asked.

“I called what’s left of the cannon crew. We want to start blasting these cretins, but a little cover would help us get set up.”

“Cool,” Trevor said. “I love those things. Let’s go!”

They ran to the cannons, which were still in the wooded section in front of town. Willard’s team was already there, Trevor, Kaylee, and the others taking covered positions pointing in several directions.

“Look, see the white vans?” Kaylee asked, laying down next to Trevor.

He looked in that direction. “Yep, still on the highway. Behind the trees there.”

“Wish we could see how many,” Kaylee said.

“You and me both. Hear that? Off-roaders.”

“Yeah, coming from behind the town.”

“Hey, man, look!” Angel said, looking back towards town at a handful of off-roaders sporting micro-guns, followed by a multitude of mounted cavalry.

Everybody’s phones dinged. Trevor pulled his phone and looked. “Jules and the others are monitoring the whole area with all of those new video cameras that Clem’s team put up. The enemy came with at least thirty vans, and a dozen Gaz Tigrs too.”

“They’re in for a nasty surprise,” Megan said, reading her phone.

“Seriously,” Kaylee said. “When do we open fire? I can hit several enemy fighters from here.”

Trevor typed a text to the intelligence team. Fire at will?

Gunfire erupted from the highway, right through the trees, hitting one of the battle wagons but doing no damage. Then there was an ear-splitting blast, as the first cannon went off, and a Gaz Tigr blew up, the fireball clearly visible behind the tree line.

“Guess that answers my question,” Trevor said, opening fire with his Winchester, tagging several UN Peacekeepers who were running to the burning Gaz Tigr. Then a mini-gun on one of the battle wagons fired, stopping a Gaz Tigr which was trying to come in on the main driveway, its windshield shattered. Kaylee opened fire, killing the men as they got out, Megan joining in, as Trevor concentrated on UN infantry rushing through the trees in all directions.

“Damn, there’s a lot of them,” Angel shouted, firing his M-4, too many shots going wide.

“Slow down,” Trevor yelled. “Aim carefully. No need to rush. Look behind you!”

Angel turned around and saw several hundred cavalry men, riding by the cannon emplacement, firing their Colt pistols and Winchesters, the smell of black powder filling the area. Two of the cannons fired again, their thunderous roar striking terror into the UN Peacekeepers, most fleeing for their lives.

“This is burning my eyes,” Kaylee said.

“We’re not in a good position,” Trevor said, “the wind is blowing the smoke into us. We should go hunting. Plenty of UN Peacekeepers to take out.”

“Then let’s go do what we do best,” Kaylee said, getting up, running to the first clump of cover and diving to the ground. She fired, hitting several UN Peacekeepers who were rushing her. Trevor opened fire as he ran, dropping the rest of them. He dived to the ground next to Kaylee, Angel and Megan joining them.

“Hey, let me know a few seconds before you haul ass,” Trevor said as he shoved more .44 mag rounds into his magazine. “Nice shooting, though.”

“Thanks. Where did those off-roaders go?”

“Probably heading towards the highway,” Trevor said. “There’s a way, remember? We walked it a couple days ago. That pretty pathway with the trees covering it on either side.”

“You’re right,” Angel said. “I think the rest of the UN team is afraid to come in here.”

“Not so much,” Megan said, pointing to several Gaz Tigrs busting through the bushes right of the main driveway, in sight of the battle wagons, which opened fire with grenades and mini-guns.

“Whoa!” Trevor shouted. “They’re bailing out of those vehicles. Let’s go get them, so the mini-guns don’t have to waste the ammo.”

Kaylee nodded and they got up, running in a crouch, going from one clump of cover to another, firing on the way, killing several enemy fighters and spooking the rest.

A cannon fired again, hitting a van trying to come down the main road, causing it to fly sideways and roll, the cavalry on them in seconds, blazing away, none of the enemy fighters getting away. Several more vans rolled up behind the burning one, UN fighters racing out the side doors, heading for cover. Trevor and Kaylee hit as many as they could, the men on horseback riding over to finish off those who’d made it behind the bushes and boulders.

“The battle wagons aren’t moving around this time,” Trevor said. “Works a lot better. They’re just blasting whoever comes within range.”

“I hear the off-roaders now, going someplace in a hurry,” Kaylee said. “Couldn’t hear them before.”

“They make a lot more noise when they’re up to speed,” Trevor said. His phone dinged, and he looked at it. “Get ready for mortar fire. They showed up in the video feed. The off-roaders are going to take them out, but they won’t get there in time.”

Just as he finished talking, a mortar round fell in the middle of the pasture in front of town and blew up. Nobody was nearby.

“Uh oh,” Kaylee said. “That’s not good.”

The raspy snarl of the micro-guns started, and seconds later there was a loud series of explosions from the highway.

Trevor laughed. “I’ll bet those micro-guns just fried the mortar ammo.”

“Let’s hope so,” Kaylee said. “Look, there’s more UN Peacekeepers flooding in through those trees, where the first ones came from.”

“Let’s go get some,” Trevor said.

“Okay, Ash,” Angel said, rolling his eyes.

Trevor laughed. He got up with Kaylee and they ran forward, weaving in and out of cover again, firing at the running UN Peacekeepers until the cavalry noticed and flooded into the area.

“Hey, no fair,” Trevor said.

“There’s more over there,” Kaylee said. A shot rang out, whizzing by her, Trevor leaping into action, tackling her, pushing her up behind a boulder.

“What are you doing?” Kaylee asked, reaching for her M4 which she dropped when Trevor knocked her down.

“Saving my woman,” Trevor said, cocking the Winchester and firing at the approaching fighters, Kaylee joining in with automatic fire from the M4.

“Thanks, I think,” Kaylee said, swapping magazines. “We might run out of ammo.”

“I know.”

The gunfire was ramping down. Trevor and Kaylee went back by the cannons, Megan and Angel joining them. Willard and his team were still watching the area, but there was nothing to shoot at.

“Can it really be over this fast?” Willard asked. “Thought it was gonna be a bigger battle.”

“I guess it’s Miller Time,” Angel said.

Willard chuckled. “Perish the thought. It’s whiskey time.


Ivan, Ji-Ho, and Jules watched the video feed.

“Why they do this, boss?” Jules asked. “They know we beat that many UN creeps.”

Ivan was watching the screen. He turned to Jules. “Most of our leadership people are still out there. Get them in here. Now!”

Jules sent a broadcast text to the principals. “You think they would do that much just to draw our people out?”

“I don’t know,” Ivan said. “Maybe.”

“Hey, Ivan, that drone is over us finally,” Ben said, turning from his PC. “Nobody else around for miles. We’re working on a count of the vehicles they sent at us.”

“Good, do that,” Ivan said. “Jules, are they coming?”

“Yep, they responded.” Jules said. “I tell them come fast.”


“Make sure Garrett and Clem get their butts in here too,” Shelly said. “We need them both.”

“I included them,” Jules said. “Trevor and Kaylee too.”

“Thank you,” Ji-Ho said.

Ben turned towards them again. “Counting the attackers in the back, they sent fourteen Gaz Tigrs and forty-five vans.”

“Nowhere near enough to take us, and they know,” Ji-Ho said. “Tell our people hurry.”

“Just did,” Jules said.

There was a low rumble, shaking hard enough for dirt and small rocks to fall from the ceiling.

“Too late,” Ji-Ho said, eyes full of worry.

“Oh crap,” Shelly said, looking at the ceiling. “Was that a cruise missile?”

Several of the video feeds disappeared from the big screen.

“Who got to the mine?” Ivan asked.

“I don’t know, boss, sending message now.”

There was another low rumble, much louder this time, and the ground beneath them shook. Dust filled the air in the intelligence room.

“Dammit,” Jules said, walking away with the cellphone to his ear.

The electricity shut off, several people screaming.

“We just lost everything but the laptops, guys,” Robbie shouted, coming out of the back room using his cellphone flashlight.

“Jules?” Ivan asked.

“Ted report, all alive so far,” Jules said. “Say part of mine shaft may have collapsed. Signal weak. Texts working, but can’t make call.”

“We’re trapped in here,” Shelly said.

“I only felt two explosions,” Ivan said.

“Is there anything they can hit us with that will penetrate this far down?” Ben asked. “Bunker busters, for instance?”

“You have to drop those from plane,” Jules said. “We have air superiority.”

“We hope,” Ivan said. “We used to have B-1s to deliver air support.”

Shelly glanced at Jules. “Let’s see where the cave-in is. Might be a way around it.”

“Yes,” Jules said, turning to the others. “Hey, there flashlights in cabinet by door. Many. Save phones, everybody. Don’t use for flashlight more than necessary.”

Jules and Shelly left the room, grabbing flashlights on the way, light beams picking up the dust in the air as they walked to the main shaft.

“Ivan’s having problems with the stress,” Shelly whispered.

“He okay, in thinking mode. Does hand-wringing. Trust me. He working it out.”

“Whatever you say. You know him better than anybody.”

“True,” Jules said. “Look, there. Closer than I expect. That’s bad. No way around.”

They walked up to a wall of rocks and dirt, blocking the shaft completely.

“Can we dig that out?” Shelly asked, eyes wide as she looked at it.

“From inside, I doubt. From outside with bulldozer, probably.”

“Did the enemy know what they were doing?”

Jules looked at Shelly. “I hope not.”


Trevor and Kaylee raced to the entrance of the mine, after the big explosions. A couple of the buildings in town were damaged, but not totally. Tyler and his warriors were already there.

“I wouldn’t go inside that shaft,” Tyler said. “Might cave in.”

“My dad’s in there,” Kaylee said, ignoring him, running inside with Trevor, both of them taking out their phones and turning on the flashlights. The blockage was only about thirty yards in.

“Dammit,” Trevor said. “That’s gonna take a lot of work with bulldozers.”

Willard came up behind them, with Clem, Tyler, and Elmer.

“Holy crap,” Elmer said. “That’s bad. Might take a couple weeks to dig that out.”

“They’ll starve in there,” Kaylee said, tears running down her cheeks.

“No, they took a lot of food and water down there,” Clem said. “I watched them do it. If it’s not on the wrong side of the cave-in, they’ve got supplies.”

“It’s not on the wrong side of the cave in,” Trevor said, shining his flashlight around at the mountain of rubble blocking the shaft.

“True,” Willard said, “but the cave-in might have landed on top of it.”

“Everybody would be dead,” Trevor said. “I got texted from them after it happened. They said everybody’s okay.”

“They have no power,” Tyler said. “Weren’t you guys working on getting something run down there?”

Clem scratched his head. “Dirt falling on wires won’t knock out the power.”

“Power’s out in the mill, too,” Susanne said as she rushed inside. “We should check the generator.”

Clem and Elmer looked at each other, then rushed out of the shaft, going across the street, to a small building near the mill.

“Look, the waterwheel is blown up,” Elmer said. Must have gotten hit by flying debris.”

“That’s fixable, but not in a hurry,” Clem said. “We need power for those folks in now. They’re in the dark, and our intel team is blind as a bat.”

“Those battle wagons have generators, right?”

Clem smiled. “Yeah, they do, as a matter of fact. It would take about three of them to replace that mill generator. You know how to wire that stuff up?”

“I could do it blindfolded,” Elmer said. “Let’s go.”

They rushed over to the crowd outside the mine.

“Well?” Susanne asked.

“The waterwheel is screwed,” Elmer said.

“Do you have to use that terminology?” Susanne snapped.

“The kids are all in the mine,” Clem said. Several of the people out there gasped. “Don’t worry, they’ll be okay.”

“We need three of the battle wagons moved over here,” Elmer said. “We’ll use the generators until we can get the mill repaired.”

Sam and Erica ran up.

“Oh, God, the kids are still in there?” Erica cried.

“They’re alive,” Kaylee said quickly. “We need three battle wagons over here, so we can use the generators. They’re in the dark right now.”

“Use the new ones in the back,” Sam said. “We should leave the others out front where they are. We might get attacked again.”

“I’ll help drive them over,” Tyler said. He followed Sam and Erica with a couple of warriors.

“Do they have full tanks of gas?” Clem asked.

Trevor nodded yes. “Yeah, they came full. Those diesel generators will run a long time.”

“I had that exhaust hole for the inside generator almost done,” Elmer said.

“I was just thinking about that,” Clem said. “Think we can widen it enough to get people out?”

“Yeah, I think so,” Elmer replied. “Might take a few days.”

“I’ll help,” Willard said.

“I think some of us younger guys ought to work on that, partner,” Tex said. “Lead the way.”


“How far they go?” Mr. Black asked from the passenger seat, as they followed the two rental trucks north on I-5. “They have guts, driving on I-5 so close to the Marine base.”

“That why they take rental trucks,” Mr. White said. “Very little chance they get stopped.”

“We’re already north of San Clemente.”

Mr. White shot him a glance. “Want me to call them and ask how much longer? What you care, I stuck driving whole way.”

Mr. Black was silent for a moment, watching as the rental trucks took the off-ramp to Highway 1. “I knew it, they go to a harbor, pick up more UN Peacekeepers.”

“You probably right, my friend,” Mr. White said as he took the same off-ramp. “What nearby? Any small harbors?”

Mr. Black picked his phone off the van’s center console and brought up the map program.

“Well?” Mr. White asked.

“Dana Point Harbor. Looks like pleasure craft and fishing marina. If they make left on Dana Point Harbor Drive, that’s where they go.”

“How far?”

Mr. Black chuckled. “Less than mile. They turn any minute. If not here, much further. Newport.”

“They not get off so quick for that.”

“I-5 take off towards east right after Highway 1,” Mr. Black said. “So don’t be so sure.”

“There they go, into the left turn lane.”

Mr. Black shot him a grin. “Good, Dana Point. When we see where they park, let’s park too and get out of car. Blend in.”

“Okay, but we must be careful.”

The rental trucks passed the first driveway into the Marina complex, making a left turn into the second one.

“There,” Mr. Black said. “Embarcadero. Huge parking lot. It’s flat, so we can see where they go. They going by launching ramp, turning right.”

“I see. They turn left on street, look.”

“That’s called Street of the Golden Lantern,” Mr. Black said. “They go all the way down to boat dock. Wait and see.”

“I’m gonna park here,” Mr. White said.

“Fine, no outlet where they are. Shall we walk over?”

“Yes, but text Ivan now. Just in case.”

Mr. Black nodded, typing the text as Mr. White parked. “Text done. Say delivered. Let’s go.”

“Turn off your phone ringer,” Mr. White said.

“What, you think I amateur?”

The two trucks were pulled up in a loading lane right next to the entrance of the pier. The French smoker was out, lighting up again. The other men walked onto the dock. Mr. White and Mr. Black walked towards the pier at a leisurely pace, trying not to stare at the trucks, pretending to take in the sights like tourists.

“Double parked,” Mr. Black said. “They won’t be here long, my friend.”

“There’s coffee joint right before it. Looks like their patio overlooks the docks. Let’s get some and watch.”

“You read my mind,” Mr. Black said. They walked to the window and ordered. Mr. Black stood at the counter, waiting on the coffees, while Mr. White went to the patio and grabbed a table right by the edge, giving him a good view of a big fishing boat that said Charter Only on the side.

Mr. Black walked up with the coffees, handing one to Mr. White. “Well, what you see?”

“UN pigs climb aboard charter fishing boat,” Mr. White said softly. “That big boat.”

“Yes. Look, they carry ice chests. Large. New men. Not in original group.”

“Fresh UN thugs to kill, eh?” Mr. White quipped.

“Quiet,” Mr. Black whispered. “They might have lookouts close by.”

“Here come more men. Six. No, ten, look.”

“Five more.”

The two men watched, trying not to make it obvious, as the fifteen men carried the ice chests, four men on each.

“Empty, but they pretend heavy,” Mr. White said. “I’ll bet they don’t come back.”

“Uh oh, they pack boat tight. That’s at least ten more coming out now.”

“There’s more,” Mr. White said, taking a sip of coffee as he watched more men climbing out of the boat, doing the empty ice chest routine again.

“I count thirty, with first fifteen make forty-five.”

“That batch gone now. Look, drivers carry back first ice chests, two men instead of four. Still empty.”

Mr. Black chuckled. “Another fifteen men get off boat. They have this well thought out, no? Fifty-five men so far.”

“Can’t be more, boat not that big.”

“You’re right,” Mr. Black said. “Look, drivers back with rest of empty ice chests. Boat crew picking up from dock.”

“I bet they don’t smell like fish.”

Mr. Black grinned, taking his phone out and typing the info, sending it to Ivan.

“He reply to first message?” Mr. White asked.

“Yes,” Mr. Black said. “Says they got hit at base.”

“They okay?”

“Ivan okay, didn’t mention anybody else. Oh, there reply.”

“What say?”

“Thank you,” Mr. Black said, “and follow back, make sure they go to base we find.”

“You’re driving this time,” Mr. White said.

To be continued…


Bug Out! California Book 6 is available now in e-book and paperback.


Bug Out! Texas Book 11 is available now in e-book and paperback.


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


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


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


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


Copyright Robert Boren 2018

Bugout! California part 166 – Line of Trucks

Mr. White watched as the UN Peacekeepers went into the office of the rental yard. The coast was clear, so he texted Mr. Black to come back to the van. He was there in a few seconds, slipping into the passenger seat.

“Same losers as yesterday?”

Mr. White shook his head yes.

“Surprised I didn’t smell those lousy French smokes.”

“Why they rent trucks?” Mr. White asked. “Why not just steal some? I hear all other rental yards in area closed. Probably trucks sitting in lots.”

“If those get ripped off, owner will call cops, cops put out APB.”

“True, but here owner could tell others about his unusual customers,” Mr. White said. “In fact, that’s exactly what happened.”

“Not exactly,” Mr. Black said. “They drop advertiser pen on ground near Ivan’s base. Stupid mistake. Otherwise like needle in haystack.”

“The turn of war, no?” Mr. White said. “Look, they come out.”

They watched as the UN Peacekeepers walked to the same trucks they’d used yesterday, one of them going back to the small van they came in.

“Only two trucks,’ Mr. Black said.

“Big trucks, though.”

“Don’t follow too close,” Mr. Black said as Mr. White started the engine.

They followed the rental trucks through town.

Mr. Black pointed. “Look, they go to San Vicente Freeway.”

“Is that Route 67?”

Mr. Black nodded. “Goes north, then cuts east, ends up in Ramona.”

“You’ve been there?”

“No, but I saw on map,” Mr. Black said. “This will be interesting.”

“Here we go,” Mr. White said as he steered the van to the on-ramp, hanging back, not seeing his quarry for a moment.

“I hope this pay off,” Mr. Black said.

“It will, my friend, it will.”


Meyers was getting tired of listening to his driver. They were ahead of the tank and infantry line now, going way to the west, heading for a high spot.

“Highway 2D should be over that ridge. Slow down when we get close. I’m gonna get out and walk.”

“Be careful,” the driver said. “We’re even ahead of the enemy now. Some of them might have seen us. Binoculars aren’t exactly advanced technology, you know.”

The grade continued to increase, until it was too steep to pass.

“This’ll do,” Meyers said. “Shut down and keep watch while I go check this out.”

“Yes sir.”

Meyers got out of the passenger door, closing it quietly, looking in all directions before he started moving, his M4 in one hand, binoculars hanging around his neck. The side of the hill was loose, and he slipped a couple times before he found a pathway that would work. The sun was to the west, still high in the sky, but he’d be looking south-east. Good. No reflections. He crawled slowly to the top of the ridge and peeked over. There was a line of semi-trucks on the road, nearly a mile away. He pulled out his phone, took a picture, and then texted it to his commander and the rebel intelligence team he’d talked to earlier.

His phone dinged, his commander replying to the text.

Take coordinates and begin tank and artillery barrage when in range. I’ll call in an air strike.

Meyers typed roger that and slipped his phone into his pocket, turning to slide down the hill. He caught a glimpse of something rolling towards them in the distance. Then his phone dinged. His driver had seen them too. Meyers hit the contact and put the phone to his ear.

“You see them?” the driver asked.

“Yeah. Get the guns ready. We might have to fight our way past them. You concentrate on them while I concentrate on calling the tank line. We can’t let them run headlong into what I just saw.”

“What’d you just see?”

“Never mind, do as I say. Get ready to fight.”

“That’s a Gaz Tigr,” the driver said. “We’re out gunned.”

“No we’re not. We’ve had several off-roaders behind us with grenade launchers and micro-guns. Keep your panties dry.”

Meyers ended the call and texted the coordinates and instructions to his force, then hurried to the vehicle, getting into the passenger seat.

“They see us, that’s for sure,” the driver said, a terrified look on his face.

“You ever been in combat before?”

The driver looked at him, shaking his head no.

“Wonderful,” Meyers said, taking control of the gun. “Head back towards our lines while I man the weapon.”

“That’s a standard .50 cal. It’s just for last-ditch use.”

“Not today,” Meyers said, bringing up the targeting system, swinging the gun around as the vehicle rolled down the incline, the Gaz Tigr speeding up towards them.

“They aren’t gonna let us get away,” the driver cried.

“Shut the hell up,” Meyers said, pulling the trigger, .50 cal rounds sweeping up the dirt and into the front of the vehicle, which stopped, getting its main weapon ready to fire. Meyers pulled the trigger again, hitting the windshield, breaking through and killing the man in the passenger seat, the driver going into a panicked zig-zag.

“Nice shot,” the driver said as he sped up, trying to get past them. “What’s that I hear?”

Meyers heard it and smiled. “It’s our little friends.” The sound of small engines approached, and then there was the raspy snarl of the micro-guns, hitting the sides of the Gaz Tigr, taking out the tires, then hitting the side windows until one of them blew out, bullets hitting two men inside, the vehicle rolling to a stop against a big clump of bushes.

“Yes!” the driver shouted.

“Don’t start rejoicing yet, there’s three more coming in from the east. See them?” Meyers aimed and fired, hitting the first one in the front driver’s side tire, stopping it in it’s tracks, the second one squeaking by, only to run into the sights of the micro-guns again.

“Those things are awesome,” the driver said, watching the micro-guns make swiss cheese out of all the Gaz Tigrs in a few seconds. “We were further away last time. I’ll never forget that noise.”

Meyers nodded, scanning the area for more enemy vehicles. “Looks like that’s all for now. Haul ass. We need to get with the main group.”

“What are we gonna do?”

“Set up the tanks and the artillery, then wail away at that road,” he said, pulling the phone out of his pocket and checking the apps. “I’m surprised they didn’t get out of those trucks yet. They must know we’re nearby. I’m not seeing any hits in that area.”

“Maybe it’s not Islamists.”

Meyers chuckled. “Oh, trust me, it’s Islamists all right. They’re funneling us into a trap. They’ll defeat us if the air power doesn’t arrive in time. We’re not out of this yet.”

They made it back to the main lines, where the tanks were already setting up on the coordinates Meyers had sent them ten minutes earlier. “You ready?”

“Yes sir,” the tank commander said.

“Fire at will. Have somebody monitoring the apps for each gunner. They’re further than half a mile, so they won’t get buzzed with the short- range app from here. Tell them to load up the long-range app if they haven’t already, and focus about a mile and a half south.”

“Got it,” the commander said, getting on his radio. Then one of the tanks fired, several others firing within seconds.

“Wow!” the driver yelled, plugging his ears. Meyers ignored him, looking at his phone. Several hundred icons appeared, then several hundred more as the tanks and artillery pieces continued to fire, breaking open the trucks, causing those who weren’t hit to empty out.

“Sir, they’re coming this way in a hurry,” the tank commander said, watching his phone. “I see quite a few thousand now.”

“I see them,” Meyers said. “Stay put but aim the guns via the apps. Got it? I’ll see where that air support is.”

Fire came at them from the west.

Meyers hit the dirt. “Get down! Gaz Tigrs.”

“Oh crap,” the driver shouted, crawling to his armored vehicle, Meyers following, getting in the back and moving quickly to the targeting system, just about ready to fire when the off-roaders were on the Tigrs, attacking them from all sides.

“Man, do I love those guys,” the driver said, firing up the engine. You want me to turn towards them, right? So I can use the forward guns?”

“No, turn our back to them so they can’t destroy us, and don’t fire where those off-roaders are working.”

“Oh, yeah. Sorry.”

Meyers shook his head, using the targeting system to check for more Gaz Tigrs coming in, letting the off-roaders do their job.


Jules and Shelly made their way back to the mine.

“Do you think there’s any chance we’ll be hit here?” Shelly asked.

“I’d be surprised, but I’ve been surprised before, no?”

Shelly glanced at him as they were walking. “Should I be worried or not?”

“Always be worried, until war over,” Jules said.

“That’s what you’re gonna say?”

Jules sighed. “I think it’s unlikely we get hit here. That’s why I wasn’t worried about taking you outside.”

“Thanks. Sorry, I’m a little nervous. Something doesn’t seem right.”

They continued walking, Jules being strangely quiet. When they got to the entrance, Shelly stopped him. “Are you worried that I think something doesn’t seem right, or do you feel that way too?”

Both,” Jules said. “You read me too well.”

“That’s what a good Chief of Staff does,” she said, her eyes flashing at him.

Jules smiled at her, but his expression changed to worry. “Okay. Something happening. Something big. I feel. Can’t put finger on.”

“Crap,” Shelly said. “You aren’t supposed to candy coat things.”

“I would never hide what I know. This just feeling. I’m wrong sometimes.”

“What should we do?”

Jules took her hand. “Let’s go see what’s going on. Talk to Ivan, talk to intelligence team.”

They entered the intelligence room. Ivan was talking with Ted, Sam, Ji-Ho, and Tex in the big room. Ji-Ho saw Jules and Shelly and motioned them over.

“Something up?” Jules asked.

“The enemy has been busy south of the border,” Ted said.

“Uh oh,” Shelly said, touching Jules’s arm.

“What they do?” Jules asked.

“Same thing they’ve been doing here,” Sam said. “Shielded vehicles. This enemy knows how to adapt quickly, and they’re good at making the best of a bad situation, too. We need to remember who we’re dealing with.”

“They seem smarter than they were when Saladin was in charge,” Ted said.

“Yeah, I noticed,” Sam said. “Maybe his ego wasn’t helping them.”

Ivan wasn’t talking much, his mind working. Ji-Ho noticed. “What worry you?”

“Our forces are in trouble down there. The apps are showing nearly fifteen thousand men, over and above the group they’ve been chasing, which is still several thousand strong. We need coverage of all of Mexico with that history app.”

“You get to the regular army forces?” Sam asked. “Maybe they’ve been monitoring things. We shared Seth’s program with General Hogan. He probably gave it to them.”

“I’m still waiting for a call back on that,” Ivan said. It’s taking too long.”

“Well, partner, we’ve still got air support, right?” Tex asked. “They hit them with B-1 bombers last time, remember?”

“Yes, I know,” Ivan said. “Still makes me nervous, and we’ve got nearly two thousand Islamists rolling around on this side of the border that we can’t find.”

“Are they done with the search along the road from Julian to here?” Shelly asked.

“They should be done any minute,” Ivan said.

“At this rate, we’ll see them come out of those vehicles before we see them with the drone, partner.”

Ivan nodded. “Yeah, Tex, I’m afraid you’re right.” His phone dinged, so he raised it to his face. “The drone sweep is done. Unless those semi-trucks from Julian are in a building or something, they aren’t around here.”

“Wish that made me happier,” Ted said.

“You and me both,” Sam said.

Ivan’s phone rang. He answered it, turning to the others after a second, ending the call. “We need to go into the next room.”

“Robbie?” Sam asked.

“Seth,” Ivan said, leading the others into the smaller, darker room through the archway.

“What’s up?” Sam asked. Seth and Kaitlyn turned towards them, Robbie, Morgan, and Ben there too.

“The Islamists from Julian have shown up,” Kaitlyn said.

“Finally,” Ivan said. “Where?”

“An airstrip in San Diego,” Seth said. “You don’t think this is a surrender, do you?”

Ivan’s brow furrowed. “Ben, see if you can find out where the B-1 bombers are based. I’m gonna call central command.” He walked away with his phone.

“Dammit, they’re gonna stop the air support,” Ted said.

“Yep, this is a suicide mission,” Sam said. “Dammit.”

“How much damage can that many men do in the middle of our territory?” Shelly asked.

“They can ruin airstrip or blow up bombers,” Jules said. “Very bad.”

Shelly shook her head. “Oh. That’s not good.”

“That is where the B-1s were based,” Ben said, swiveling his chair away from his PC screen.

Ivan rushed back. “They accomplished their mission. They blew up the bombers and ruined the airstrip before anybody realized what was happening.”

“Hopefully somebody got word to our forces down there,” Sam said.

“Seriously,” Ted said. “That means we’re out of danger for now.”

“Unless we’ve got a bunch of UN pukes showing up here, partner.”

“The drone is gonna come back and hang out over us,” Ivan said.

“They don’t need to help out in San Diego?” Shelly asked.

“Nope, the enemy fighters there are already dead.”

“We’d better get ready to guard the roads,” Ted said. “Assuming the enemy is gonna overrun the Marines we sent south of the border.”

“That battle is still going,” Ivan said. “Let’s get the app going on that big screen and watch. I have the transponder code for the tanks.”

“Great, I’ve got that overlay program ready,” Ben said, smiling as he set it up.

“We got problems,” Robbie said, turning away from his PC screen.

“What?” Ivan asked.

“I looked at the sales for lead in Mexico and Central America. There have been a huge number of recent sales down there. Enough for a lot of semi-trucks.

“What’s a lot?” Sam asked.

“At least a thousand,” Robbie said. “This is bad for California. Maybe worse for Texas.”

“The enemy isn’t worried about Texas anymore,” Ivan said. “They know they can’t win there. California is still their crown jewel, along with some of the east coast areas. They’re still fixated on imposing martial law in a way that a preponderance of the population will accept. They think if they can get it going on the coasts, they can spread it into the free areas eventually.”

“They’re delusional,” Ted said.

“You know it and I know it,” Tex said. “They aren’t that bright.”

“No, they’re very bright,” Ivan said, “and it’ll be all we can do to hold them off and survive. I’ve always known that.”

“This come down to naval power,” Ji-Ho said. “UN and EU can’t take us without sea access on the coasts. It’s US and British Navy against rest of world’s Navy.”

“You’re basically right, but it’s not as bad as you think,” Ivan said.

“How so?” Ji-Ho asked.

“You forget the Russian Navy,” Ivan said. “They’re on our side, at least for now.”

“Yep, and that huge,” Jules said. “They only navy that rival USA.”

“What about China’s navy?” Ben asked.

“China sit out,” Ji-Ho said. “Cozy up to winner.”

Ivan laughed. “Yeah, that’s what it’s looking like, but they might decide to come in on one side or the other. They’re still heavily invested here, so I doubt they’ll side with the EU and the UN.”

Ben was still typing on his PC, trying to get the battlefield display correct. The apps were up, but he was struggling with the tank transponders. “Ivan, you sure the transponder code is correct?”

“That’s what I was told,” Ivan said, walking towards the screen.

“Do those transponders run off the tank’s main electrical systems, partner?” Tex asked.

Ted shook his head no. “They’d be on batteries, independent, like a black box. The only way they wouldn’t show up is if the tanks are damaged or burned up so badly that the units are disabled. Can’t imagine all of the tanks are destroyed.”

“Nothing would surprise me in this damn war,” Sam said.


“That’s a scary number of hits there,” Ivan said, staring at the screen. “What happened to the ends of their lines?”

“I’ll zoom out and catch them,” Ben said, turning back to his PC. The screen changed, the entire enemy line coming into view.

“Son of a bitch,” Ted said.

“Yes, this isn’t good,” Ivan said.

“What is that?” Shelly asked.

“Ends of lines come towards middle, trap our Marines,” Jules said. “This plan all along. They crush our forces and head for the border fast.”


Garrett and Anna laid next to each other at the ranch house, in the afterglow of their lovemaking.

“Think you could get used to living here?” Garrett asked.

She turned to him. “You aren’t gonna get weird, remember?”

“That’s not weird,” he said. “Not in my book, anyway.”

“I’m just teasing you. Yes, I could get used to living here, but we’ll have to split our time up. I need to be with the tribe part of the time.”

“That means I get to see my friends,” Garrett said, sitting up. “I’ve gotten pretty close to Ed and Tyler, you know. Same with Sam, and he’s gonna be with Erica.”

“That’s true,” Anna said. “I knew that was gonna happen, and now they’ve got a child together.”

“Yep,” Garrett said. “I’m jealous.”

“Now that is weird,” Anna said, her eyes dancing with his.

“Okay, it is,” Garrett said, “but the feeling is there.”

There was a buzz, coming from the bedside table.

“What’s that?” Anna asked. “I heard it a few times when we were busy.”

“I didn’t notice. Turned the ringer off so we wouldn’t be disturbed.” He picked up his phone, looking at the screen. “Guess I wasn’t rocking your world hard enough. Wait – you missed one at least. There’s four messages.”

“Don’t look so proud of yourself,” she quipped.

“I’ll start from the first one,” he said, his fingers scrolling the screen. “Damn, there’s a huge row of semi-trucks on Mexico’s Highway 2D. The tanks attacked, breaking them open. There’s over ten thousand men there waiting for them.”

“Oh no,” Anna said. “Our men can’t go up against that many, can they?”

“I don’t know. Next one is good news. The drones didn’t see any semi-trucks near us.”

“Good,” Anna said, getting ready to make another comment when she saw his expression. “Uh oh, what’s wrong?”

“Those semi-trucks that we thought might be coming here just blew up B-1 bombers and an airstrip in San Diego.”

“That’s bad, isn’t it?”

“It means our guys won’t have an air strike to help them beat the enemy.”

“Doesn’t sound good.”

“It gets worse. The ends of the enemy line are moving towards the center. They’re trying to encircle our forces.”

“There’s no other place for air power to come from?” Anna asked.

“I don’t know,” Garrett said, getting out of bed. “Maybe we ought to go join the others. If a force that size gets past those Marines down there, we’ll be needed to slow them down on the roads.”

Anna got out of bed and dressed. Gunfire erupted, startling both of them.

“Oh, crap,” Garrett said, fastening his belt and then grabbing his phone. More gunfire started, sounding closer now.

“Look, there’s a bunch of vans out there on that fire road,” Anna said. “Looks like your guys are coming in from either side on horseback, but they’ll have a problem catching them.”

Garrett rushed to her side, looking out the window. He grinned. “I think I can help.” He rushed to the closet, coming out with his Sharps rifle.

“Is that a buffalo gun?” Anna asked, looking at the massive weapon.

“Yep, single shot. I’d better take it on the balcony, though, or this room is gonna smell for a week.”

He filled his pockets with cartridges and rushed onto the balcony, taking the spiral staircase to the top level, Anna right on his heels with her AK-47.

“You should stay in the house,” Garrett said. “They’re liable to return fire, and they’ll see our position with this black powder gun.”

“I’ve got my rifle,” she said. You’re gonna lay down, right? It’ll be hard to hit us.”

He glared at her for a moment, then nodded and got down, her joining him. He took a few seconds to aim the massive rifle. “This is gonna be loud.”

“It’s okay,” Anna said, sighting her own weapon as Garrett pulled the trigger, the recoil pushing his body back. The windshield of the lead van exploded, the vehicle rolling to a stop, blocking the line of vans.

“Perfect!” Garrett said as the smoke blew to the east.

Anna fired several times, tagging two Islamists who were fleeing from the back of the first van.

“Wow, that’s good shooting,” Garrett said as he loaded the Sharps rifle again. “I’m gonna put a round in the engine before they can get somebody else behind the wheel.” He fired again, the smoke spewing into the air, blowing away quickly. A couple shots came at them, hitting the side of the house below the top balcony. Anna returned fire, killing the man with the rifle.

“Those idiots are trying to aim at this distance with stock sights,” Anna said, laughing.

Garrett looked at her rifle with its custom sights. “Wow, didn’t even notice that.”

“Well, I’d rather you be looking at me than my gun,” she said as she fired again, dropping another Islamist. “One got into the driver’s seat, but I nailed him.

More gunfire filled the air from the other direction. “Dammit, they’re near the front of the property too,” Garrett said. “We’d better get back to town.”

“Yeah, your cavalry is blowing these guys away in a hurry. I think the back door is closed.”

To be continued…


Bug Out! California Book 6 is available now in e-book and paperback.


Bug Out! Texas Book 11 is available now in e-book and paperback.


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


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


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


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


Copyright Robert Boren 2018.

Bugout! California Part 165 – Federal Highway 2D

Karen watched as Tex approached.

“Excuse me,” she said to Haley and Dana.

“Oh, good, here comes Sparky,” Dana said.

Karen met Tex half way across the room. “Well?”

“Nothing immediate happening here that we know of.”

“You look worried.” She took his hand and they went to the bench next to the wall.

“It was basically good news,” Tex said, looking at her pretty face, framed by her thick red hair. “Ivan’s guys found out where the UN base is.”

“We’re going to attack, aren’t we?”

“We won’t leave here in large numbers until we know where the shielded Islamists ended up. The worst news out of that meeting is the drone. We still don’t have it in the air. Ivan said it’s from further north, but I think there’s more to it than that. I suspect we aren’t considered as important as the battle going on south of the border. Not that I’d blame them for that.”

Karen studied his eyes. “What else?”

“There were more UN vans at the base than we expected. Mr. White and Mr. Black suggested that they follow the UN thugs after they pick up their trucks in the morning and see what they’re up to.”

“They’re moving new UN creeps in here from someplace,” Karen said, staring at the floor. “This is far from over, isn’t it?”

“Maybe, but don’t lose hope. This might be a good development. If we can find where they’re bringing in the UN Peacekeepers, we can shut it off. That’s good news.”

Karen chuckled. “We didn’t think there was still a flow of them entering California until you guys talked just now. Things are worse, not better.”

Tex shrugged. “Okay, you’re right.”

“Where are Jules and Shelly?” Karen asked.

“I was wondering that myself. Neither of them was in that meeting. I haven’t seen them for a while.”

Ted walked up with Haley. “What did you think?”

Tex chuckled. “I was more confident before I discussed it with Karen. We’re worse off than we thought.”

“Because we didn’t know there were still UN Peacekeepers coming in,” Ted said. “Thought the same thing myself.”

“You know where Jules and Shelly are, partner?”

“Yeah, they’re meeting with the leadership of the two largest groups to arrive here. They’re over in the saloon, I think.”

“They aren’t having to hang out down here?” Karen asked.

“Ivan thought this was important enough to let them go,” Ted said, “and besides, the chances that we’ll get hit are going down by the hour, not up.”

“Are you talking about the cruise missiles or the shielded Islamists?” Tex asked.

“Both, actually,” Ted said. “Wish we had that damn drone, though.”

Ivan rushed in. “We’ve got the drone. I told them to run it over Highway 79, coming south from Descanso.”

Ben Dover heard him. “You got the URL for the feed, boss?”

“Yep,” Ivan said, holding his phone out for him. Ben took the phone to his computer desk and input the URL into a browser window. The drone’s screen came up, and Ben loaded the video feed.

“This is gonna be tough,” Ben said. “It’s been hours since they took off. They might have turned onto any number of roads.”

“If they’re coming here, they’ll show up someplace along Highway 79,” Ivan said. “That’s the first thing we need to eliminate. If the drones get all the way down to Highway 94 without seeing the semi-trucks, they’ll go back up and check I-8.”

Tex was looking at the map on his phone. “If they got onto I-8, they aren’t coming here, they’re heading to the border battle zone.”

“That would be my guess,” Ivan said, “but remember how unpredictable this enemy can be.”

“Who’s watching the video feed for us?” Ben asked, eyes glued to the screen. Ivan approached, looking over his shoulder.

“Somebody out of Camp Pendleton,” Ivan said, taking back his phone.

Ted was watching and listening. “You guys know that if they’re coming here, they’d already be close by, right? It’s been too many hours. The drive isn’t that long.”

“How long is it, honey?” Haley asked.

“Hour and a half max. I was just looking at it. They’ve been messing around getting the drone in the air for a lot longer than that.”

Ivan sighed. “You’re right, but it’s still worth doing the search. It’s hard to hide semi rigs like they’re using. If they plan on attacking us, we’ll find the rigs someplace nearby. I’d be shocked if they are, though.”

“Me too,” Seth said, turning away from his computer screen. “They’d be sitting around, packed like sardines in hot semi-trailers. It’s too warm for that today. I think they’re still traveling someplace, or we would’ve gotten hits on the history program.”

“I agree,” Ben said.

“Where’s the drone now?” Ivan asked.

“Just a sec,” Ben said, changing from the video feed to a combo view, with the video on one side and data on the other. “Twenty miles south of I-8.”

“Okay,” Ivan said. “We’ll get notified if they see something, but whoever wants to watch the video feed, feel free. I need to go make more phone calls.”

Ivan walked out of the room.


Garrett walked to the saloon, Anna by his side.

“I still think you should’ve stayed in the mine,” he said.

“We aren’t going to get hit,” Anna said. “I’d rather be with you in any event.”

“You’re looking at me differently now,” he said, glancing at her for a moment as they walked, then looking ahead.

“What do you mean?” she asked with an edge to her voice.

“You sound defensive,” Garrett said. “It’s no big deal. It just seems like our relationship is changing.”

She stopped, grabbing his arm. “I’m not losing interest in you.”

Garrett chuckled. “That isn’t what I’m picking up.”

“Oh.” She released his arm and started walking, stopping when she noticed he didn’t continue. “What?”

“We need to chat for a minute. Jules will keep.”

She sighed, looking at him for a moment. “It’s nothing.”

“I’m in love with you,” he said, watching her face. She trembled, her eyes wetting with tears.

“Stop,” she said softly.

“You’re falling for me, aren’t you?”

“I’m sorry,” she said, wiping her eyes. Garrett took her into his arms, hugging her tight. She looked up at him. “This wasn’t supposed to happen.”

“I’m glad it is.”

“It complicates things,” Anna said. “You know that.”

“I don’t care. I want you.”

“Oh, God,” she said, hugging him tighter again. “How can this work?”

“We don’t have to do anything,” Garrett said, his hand caressing her hair. “At this stage in our lives, all we have to do is enjoy each other. I want you with me, though. All the time.”

A smile broke through her tears. “We’re together all the time anyway.”

“Exactly,” Garrett said. “I just wanted you to know how I feel, and what I sense from you.”

She was silent for a moment, looking down at the ground.

“Hey, don’t worry,” he said. “It’ll be all right.”

“I’m giving off a hell of a beacon. Sarah figured it out too. You aren’t going to get all weird, are you?”

Garrett looked at her, not understanding. She shook her head.

“Okay, you’re reading me like a book. I’m in love with you. There, I said it. Is that what you wanted to hear?”

“Yes,” he said, pulling her back into his arms, kissing her gently. Then he pulled back to look at her, using his fingers to wipe away her tears. “We can go talk to Jules now.”

“That’s it, huh?”

Garrett smiled. “I wish I could take you back to the ranch and express my love right now. For several hours.”

She giggled, her eyes dancing. “You get a raincheck on that. Let’s go.”

They got onto the wood sidewalk and continued to the saloon, going through the door.

“Hey, boss, want a drink?” Willard asked from behind the bar.

“What are you doing out here?” Garrett asked.

“You’ve got your gig, and I’ve got mine,” Willard said.

“Where’s Jules?” Anna asked.

“He and Shelly walked our guests back to their camp.”

“We back,” Jules said, walking through the swinging saloon doors with Shelly.

“Hi, guys,” Shelly said.

“How’d it go?” Garrett asked.

“They agreed to stick around until we know where those shielded Islamists went,” Shelly said.

“Yes, we can tell Ivan mission accomplished,” Jules said, taking a stool at the bar.

“Victory drink?” Willard asked.

Jules chuckled, nodding yes. Willard poured drinks for all of them.

“So they’ll fight for us, then?” Garrett asked.

“Yep, all four thousand,” Jules said.

“What were they gonna do before?” Anna asked. “Join the battle at the border?”

“They were going to be the back stop if the enemy forces get onto Old Highway 80, Highway 94, or I-8.”

“They’ll still be that, won’t they?”

“Yes, Anna, and our forces will too,” Jules said. “They planned to leave today and dig in along the routes. Now they hang out here instead, ready to guard base. They move to original planned deployment as soon as we see hidden Islamist forces.”

“Hopefully it won’t be too long,” Garrett said. “The drone is on line now.”

“Finally,” Jules said, raising his glass, then taking another sip.

Garrett tossed back his drink. “Mr. White and Mr. Black saw more UN vans than we were expecting at the base.”

“I was afraid of that,” Jules said.

“What does that mean?” Shelly asked.

“It means UN peacekeepers still coming into state, or moving here from other parts of state,” Jules said. He finished his drink. “Better if they come from elsewhere in state.”

“You got that right,” Willard said. “Think the drone is gonna tell us something concrete? What if those semi-trucks are sitting in some service bays someplace nearby?”

“That why we make deal with new forces,” Jules said. “Ivan covering the bases. Come, we go back.”

“I’d rather hang out here,” Willard said.

Garrett smiled as he got up. “Suit yourself, but there’s nobody around to serve drinks to. Don’t get the people we have on patrol started at drinking, either, you old bushwhacker.”

“Perish the thought. There are others who aren’t acting like gophers, you know.”

“Who else outside mine?” Jules asked.

“I saw Sarah and Clem go into the hotel a little while ago.”

Anna shot Garrett a glance. “Maybe we ought to go to the ranch and check things out before we go back.”

“That’s not a bad idea,” he said. “There’s something I need out there.”

“I figured,” Anna said, getting off her barstool. “Let’s go, old man.”

The couple left the saloon and walked down the street, ducking into the livery stable. Garrett hitched the horses to the wagon as Anna watched.

“It’s nice to be with somebody who knows how to survive old school,” she said. “Makes me feel safe.”

“Do you think society is gonna break down?” Garrett said as he finished with the horses. “I don’t think that’s gonna happen.”

Anna climbed onto the wagon’s front bench before Garrett could help her up. Garrett walked the rig outside, then got on and drove them towards the ranch.

“It’s peaceful out here,” Anna said.

“There are a lot more people out and around than you think. I’ve got seven hundred men on patrol.” He fished the phone out of his pocket. “Send a broadcast text to the men, letting them know we’ll be at the ranch house for a little while. That way we won’t get any unexpected guests.”

“I’m gonna curl your toes,” Anna said as they rolled out of town.


The row of tanks continued ahead, Meyers watching them through binoculars, standing beside his armored personnel carrier.

The driver poked his head out. “You look worried.”

“This is too easy.”

“Too easy? We’ve lost tanks and men.”

Meyers shook his head, then climbed back into the vehicle, sitting in the passenger seat. The driver got back in his seat too.

Meyers took a second to strap in, then settled back, enjoying the air conditioning. “They’re barely fighting back. Just enough to make us think they’re still in the fight, but they continue to retreat. They’re leading us on.” He pulled up the map on his phone. “We aren’t that far from Federal Highway 2D.”

“Why does that bother you?”

“You know what the Islamists have been doing north of the border with the shielded trucks, right?”

“You think they’re gonna do that down here?”

Meyers didn’t answer the question. He picked up his phone and called headquarters, having a hushed conversation. Then he calmly put the phone into his pocket.

“Why don’t you put your phone in the compartment under the dash like everybody else?” the driver asked.

“If I have to bail out of this, I want my phone with me,” he said.

“We’re way in the back, and we’re winning big.”

Meyers shot him a sidelong glance, and then turned back to the windshield, watching the infantry continue their march towards the south.

“How close is this road you’re worried about?”

Meyers was silent for a moment.

“C’mon, I piss you off or something?” the driver asked.

“Your unit isn’t high on discipline, is it?” Meyers asked.

“Sorry, sir. I’ll shut up.”

Meyers sighed. “Okay. It’s about two miles ahead, but it’s behind a small ridge, so I can’t see it yet. As soon as we get to a place where we have a little more elevation, I’ll ask you to stop again so I can get out. Maybe I’ll get on the roof.”

“Be careful doing that. Good way to draw sniper fire.”

“If there are a few thousand enemy troops down there, we’re gonna have a bad day,” Meyers said.

“What about our air power?”

Meyers chuckled. “It’s like the police. When you’re in trouble, they’re just minutes away.” He looked at the driver and grinned.

“That’s not really so funny.”

Meyers nodded, pulling his phone out again. He brought up the message window and typed a text to the rebel intelligence team.

“Hello. We’re nearing Mexico’s Highway 2D. What is the range of the history program south of the border?”

“You can use text messages with headquarters?” the driver asked. “That’s a new one.”

“Watch the road,” Meyers said. His phone dinged. A reply from the rebel intelligence team.

“We don’t cover much of Mexico. In the extreme north we have coverage, south of California. We go down to about Agua Hechicera. No coverage when we get east of California.”

“Crap,” he muttered under his breath as he typed a reply.

“Is anybody else monitoring Mexico?”

“Your expression is scaring me, chief,” the driver said. Meyers continued to ignore him as he waited for a text reply. His phone dinged.

“We’ll check with our allies in south Texas, and with Hogan’s team, but I’d be surprised if anybody’s watching that close.”

Meyers typed another reply.

“How about the forces we have down there? Regular Army?”

He waited, sweat rolling off his forehead, which he wiped away just before it got into his eyes. His phone dinged.

“We’ll get the question to General Hogan. Might take a little while. He can be hard to reach.”

Meyers sent a thank you message and slipped the phone back in his pocket. “Speed up. I want to be closer to the front of our lines.”

“You sure that’s a good idea?” the driver asked. Meyers answered him with a stern glance. “Okay, sorry sir.”


“Strange request,” Seth said, setting his phone down. “Maybe we ought to tell Ivan.”

“He’s right over there,” Kaitlyn said, nodding to the left.

“Good, be back in a sec.” Seth walked over to Ivan. “Excuse me, Ivan.  Something interesting just came up.”

Ivan turned away from Sam, who he’d been talking to. “Go ahead, kid.”

“Got several text messages from one of the commanders of the armored column south of the border.”

Ivan glanced at Sam, then back at Seth. “Go on.”

“He’s asking if we have history program coverage of Mexico. When I told him how far our coverage goes, he asked if anybody else was watching. I told him I’d get with the Texans and General Hogan. Then he suggested the regular Army we have down there, so I told him I’d include that question to Hogan.”

“You sent that through normal channels?” Ivan asked.

“Yes,” Seth said. “Is that okay?”

“It’s correct, but I’ll call the General personally, to speed things up a little. Thanks for telling me this.”

Seth nodded, then went back to the PC.

“Well?” Kaitlyn asked.

“He’s worried. I could see it on his face. Maybe the enemy is setting a trap for our guys down there. They’re getting close to a highway.”

“That’s the first place they could have vehicles like semi-trucks,” Kaitlyn said in a hushed tone. Seth nodded at her.


Mr. Black was barely awake, sitting behind the wheel, watching out the windshield as the sun came up.

“Hey, sleepyhead, time to get up and watch,” he said.

Mr. White stirred. “What time?”


“Think I can sneak out and get us coffee? Donut shop open. I see through back window.”

“Yes, but hurry so enemy not see. They could be here any time.”

Mr. White pulled on his shoes and slid open the side door, slipping into the brisk morning. Mr. Black heard him slide the door shut, keeping his eyes on the rental yard. They were in a better position this time, more out of sight. A truck drove up to the rental yard office and parked in the furthest-back stall.

“Owner,” he muttered to himself, watching as the middle-aged man walked to the front door with a large keyring, opening the door. The lights came on inside, shining into the dull morning as the owner entered.

Mr. White returned, coming through the passenger door with a cardboard tray, holding two large coffees, a bag in between them.

“They have bathroom?” Mr. Black asked.

“Yep, just used,” Mr. White replied. “Go. I watch.”

Mr. Black nodded and opened the door.

“Take phone,” Mr. White said.

“Good idea.” Mr. Black grabbed his phone and got out, closing the door behind him.

Not thirty seconds later, a small white van drove into the lot and parked. Mr. White recognized the men right away and typed a text.

“Stay put, they just arrived.”

Mr. Black replied after a few seconds.

“Got it.”

To be continued…


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Copyright Robert Boren 2018

Bugout! California Part 164 – Trains and Cranes

Kaitlyn and Seth stared at the history program screen, Angel and Megan on the right of them, Kaylee and Trevor on the left. The alarm went off on the PC.

“There’s a third group,” Kaitlyn said. “That makes fifteen hundred.”

“Wonder if they’re coming here?” Kaylee asked.

“Probably depends on their intelligence,” Trevor said. “If they know that Ivan is here, they might make an assault.”

“Do we have enough people outside?” Megan asked.

“Probably,” Trevor said, “but I’m guessing they won’t come here. I think they’re gonna head to the border to help out.”

The alarm went off again.

“Oh no,” Megan said. “More?”

“Not in the same place,” Seth said. “Move the screen towards the indicator there.”

Kaitlyn nodded and used the mouse to re-orient the screen. “That’s south of the border!”

“How far south?” Megan asked.

Trevor laughed. “We just incinerated a bunch of the enemy. There’s no roads there to run semi-trucks.”

Angel stared at the screen. “Look at the number. That’s over a thousand.”

“Hey, Robbie, you hear anything about down south?” Seth asked.

Robbie walked over with Morgan. “Nope, not since the marines and the armor crossed the border into Mexico. Why?”

“About a thousand RFID hits disappeared down there, in the middle of dirt.”

“Where they can’t run semi-trucks, huh,” Robbie said. “We probably nailed them with something.”

“Something like what?” Kaylee asked.

Trevor smiled. “Willie Peter or napalm, I suspect. Either one would burn up a lot of RFID chips.”

The alarm went off again. Kaitlyn turned back to the screen. “Whoa. Another huge group disappeared.”

“I’ll go tell Ivan and the others,” Robbie said, getting up. He left the room with Morgan. They were back with Ivan, Ted, Sam, and Tex after less than a minute.

“See?” Robbie said, pointing to the screen. Just then the alarm went off a third time.

“There’s more,” Seth said. “This is insane. Is there something we aren’t thinking about? Maybe they reprogrammed a bunch of chips or something. They’ve done that before.”

“That was a system-level event, and the apps re-acquire them fast,” Robbie said.

“Maybe they’ve found a way to radiate them,” Tex said.

Ivan pulled out his phone, walking away with it to his ear.

“I’m not sure if we should be happy or not,” Ted said.

Sam was thinking, staring at the screen. “I think we burned them up.”

Ivan was back with a grin on his face. “Fighter jets used Napalm. It’s not all good news, though. The enemy was ready for the tanks. Had huge IEDs buried down there. We lost several tanks and some support vehicles.”

“Did we get the drone close enough to see the trucks that left the Julian area yet?” Robbie asked.

“It’s still on the way,” Ivan said. “It was further north than we thought. All of the assets in San Diego are working the border fight right now.”

“Makes sense, partner,” Tex said.

Ivan’s phone dinged with a text. He looked at it and chuckled, shaking his head.

“What now?” Sam asked.

“Mr. White and Mr. Black are in position.”

“Good,” Ted said. “I’ll bet the enemy doesn’t return trucks tonight, though.”

“We’ll see,” Sam said. “We’re talking UN folks who don’t need shielding. I don’t see them being directly involved in the border fight. I think they’re trying to regain control on this side of the border.”

“You’re probably right,” Ivan said. “If anybody showed up here, I’d expect it to be them, not those Islamists that disappeared from Julian.”

“They might both end up here,” Ted said.

Ivan shook his head. “Possible but unlikely. I’m still thinking the worst thing we’ll get hit with is some cruise missiles from the EU Navy. If we’re using fighter jets and napalm in Mexico, it makes that even more likely.”


The van pulled up, about half a block from the address Ivan had provided. Mr. White looked over at Mr. Black, asleep in the passenger seat. “Hey, trained monkey got us here.”

Mr. Black moved his hat off his face and looked over, then stretched. “We can see from here?”

“It’s right over there, half a block, across street.”

“What time is it?” Mr. Black asked.

“Almost four. Website said check in for rentals at seven. We have a little time.”

Mr. Black nodded, then went into the back of the van, coming back with a brown paper bag and a small ice chest.

“Good idea,” Mr. White said. “I’m hungry.”

They got out food. Sardines, cheese, bread, and some Greek yogurt.

“Wish we could have hot meal,” Mr. Black said, his mouth half full of food. He stopped chewing, nodding through the windshield. “Moving truck. Just pull in.”

“Dammit, why they not wait until dinner finished?” Mr. White asked.

“They do us favor,” Mr. Black said, shooting him a grin. “Eat up. I watch for their vehicle.”

“Look, here comes another one.”

Mr. Black squinted as he watched the second truck pull behind the first one in the return lanes. “How you know they UN?”

They watched silently for a few moments. Two men got out of each cab. One of them pulled out a cigarette and lit it, looking around as the others went into the office.

“There it is,” Mr. White said. “He holds his smoke like French pansy.”

Mr. Black snickered. “Okay, you right. We follow.”

A small white mini-van pulled up after a few minutes. The smoking Frenchman slid open the side door.

“Get ready, they leave soon,” Mr. Black said.

Mr. White nodded, eyes focused on the van. It took nearly ten minutes for the other three men to emerge from the office, walking to the tailgate of the second truck. They rolled it open, grabbing several duffel bags and carrying them to the small van.

“Long guns,” Mr. Black said.

“Could be. Why they want trucks every day?”

Mr. Black scratched his chin, thinking. “We should follow trucks before we hit base.”

“We have to run that past boss first, but I agree.”

“One thing at time,” Mr. Black said. “Look, they leave. Turn left on Main Street.”

“Heading for right turn on Greenfield. I expect.”

“You move?” Mr. Black asked.

“When they make turn. You want them to see us?”

Mr. Black shot him a worried glance. “What if they make another quick turn?”

“Most of town west on Greenfield.” He started the engine as the van rounded the corner.

“Move, dammit,” Mr. Black said. Mr. White chuckled as he drove forward, making the turn. “See, they ahead three blocks. Not getting closer.”

“Ivan gut you if you lose them.”

Mr. White chuckled again. “I ever let you down?”


“Not lately, though. Relax.”

They followed the van down Greenfield for several miles.

“That highway lead to I-8,” Mr. Black said.

“I bet they go over highway, into huge industrial area.”

“When have you been in this town?” Mr. Black asked.

“I do homework. Looked at satellite view on iPad. Watch and see. Greenfield change to Vernon. Past Pioneer Way on North and East are industrial buildings. Many, out of sight of surrounding area.”

“Maybe you right, they pass highway.”

“Told you,” Mr. White said, shooting him a sidelong glance. They past the bridge, noting when the street name changed. “Look, they turn right, slow down.”

“Those large buildings,” Mr. Black said. “What street?”

“Johnson Avenue. I slow down more. Make right turn.”

“What if there’s a gate?” Mr. Black asked.

“Then we leave, report, get permission to follow trucks tomorrow morning.” Mr. White made the right turn on Johnson, driving past the first building.

“Look, second building,” Mr. Black said, pointing. “Many vans, just like one we follow.”

“We have them now,” Mr. White said as he drove by. “Call Ivan.”


Doug, Jorge, and Conrad started bright and early in the morning, cleaning up the area in the aftermath of the artillery attacks. They’d done what they could, picking up body parts and helping to clear debris off the railroad tracks, with a multitude of citizens. The cranes arrived mid-day, lifting wrecked boxcars off the tracks, moving them to the south side.

“I need a two-hour shower,” Jorge said.

Conrad eyed him. “You’re alive.”

“I know. Meant no disrespect.”

“We’re all tired,” Doug said. “Heard from Meyers lately, Conrad?”

“No, but I’ve gotten several texts. My hands have been too dirty to touch my phone.”

“Let’s go to the latrine area and clean up, then,” Jorge said.

“We wasted our efforts on all these fortifications and mines, didn’t we?” Doug asked.

Conrad shook his head no as they walked. “We did the right thing given the info we had at the time. Still might pay off.”

“You don’t think we’ll get attacked here now, do you?” Jorge asked.

“By the group we were expecting?” Conrad asked as they reached the latrine. “No.” The three men each took a sink and started washing their hands and arms, along with many other citizens who’d been working the grim task.

“Look, they’ve got some food over there,” Jorge said.

“You can eat after what we just did?” Doug asked.

Conrad shook his head, pulling out his phone, taking a few minutes to read several text messages. “Meyers says they’re chasing the enemy forces south now. We lost several tanks, though. The enemy set a giant trap with massive IEDs. Obviously, they didn’t expect us to have air support.”

“We lost several M-1s, dude?” Jorge asked. “That sucks.”

“It does, but we’re winning this one,” Doug said.

Conrad was thinking, his brow furrowed.

“What’s bothering you, dude?” Jorge asked.

“The deeper we get into Mexico, the crazier things can get,” Conrad said. “There’s also no word about the ends of the enemy lines.”

“Maybe we need to move men to those areas from here.”

“Well, Doug, that might happen,” Conrad said. “I’m gonna go talk to some folks and make some calls. I’ll see you later. Thanks for pitching in.”

“How could we not?” Jorge said. “Talk to you later.”

Conrad walked away, phone to his ear.

“You really aren’t hungry?” Jorge asked.

“Oh, I could eat,” Doug said. The two headed towards the food trucks, stopping for a moment when there was a loud crash behind them, turning around towards the tracks.

“That was the last big piece,” Jorge said. “They can get another train in here now.”

“Maybe it doesn’t matter anymore.”

They walked silently to the food line and picked up paper plates.

“Wonder where this food is coming from?” Jorge asked.

“Never look a gift horse in the puss.”

Jorge laughed. “Okay, Curley.”

“Oh, you know that Three Stooges episode, huh? I’m impressed.”

Jorge shrugged as they got to the food server, who plopped some mac and cheese on their plates and nodded them over to the next station, where there was fried chicken and green beans. They walked to the tables and benches under a big awning and sat down to eat.

“This isn’t bad,” Doug said as they ate.

“Yeah, no complaints here. Wonder if Conrad is gonna find out anything?”

“We’ll find out before too long,” Doug said between bites. “Hear that? Sounds like a train.”

Jorge got up and rushed to the edge of the awning, looking to the west, then sitting in front of his plate again. “Yeah, long train coming in. Looks like there’s a bunch more tanks or artillery or something. Not close enough to tell yet.”

“It’ll be interesting if they set up artillery here again,” Doug said.

Conrad walked up with a plate full of food. “See the train coming?”

“Yeah,” Jorge said. “Tanks or artillery?”

“Tanks and mobile artillery.”

“So, they’re not putting new emplacements in here, then?” Doug asked.

“Initially, but they’ll be moved quick, I suspect.”

“What else did you find out?” Jorge asked. He and Doug waited until Conrad finished chewing a big mouthful.

“We got more than enough people on the ends of the enemy lines, but the battles haven’t started yet, and we’ve got a problem.”

“What problem?” Doug asked.

“That RFID history program has shown several thousand Islamists disappearing from their base up by Julian. We don’t know if they’re going to attack our lines along the border, or if they’re gonna attack the base in Dulzura.”

“That doesn’t sound good, dude,” Jorge said.

Conrad finished chewing another bite. “Nope, it doesn’t. This food hits the spot. Didn’t know I was so hungry.”

“Seriously,” Doug said. “What are we gonna do next?”

“I don’t know for sure, but I can guess.”

“Well?” Jorge asked as Conrad shoveled more food into his mouth.

“Give him a chance to eat a little,” Doug said.

“Oh, sorry. Finish your food.”

Conrad nodded and finished eating, then they all got up, tossing their plates into the trash and heading down towards the railroad tracks. The train was stopped now.

“So, what were you gonna say?” Jorge asked.

“Oh yeah, sorry,” Conrad said. “If I had to guess, I’d expect them to use us along Old Highway 80 and I-8. Those two roads were always the main reason this was a strategic point. That hasn’t changed. The only thing that has changed is the entry points. They’ll be well west and east of here. We’ll probably be guarding against enemy fighters using the roads from the eastern tip of their lines near Mexicali, and from the west.” He laughed.

“What’s funny?” Doug asked.

“The western tip. They’d be using Highway 94. Now I wish we would’ve left that pass blocked.”

“Then we couldn’t have moved so many people down here,” Jorge said.

Conrad smiled. “True, but we never ended up having to use all these folks here. The forces we’re using south of the border came by other means, remember?”

Doug shook his head, laughing. “War is crazy.”

“Yep,” Conrad said. “I’m gonna go chat with the commanders.” He left them, walking over to the Captain who was standing by the train’s engines.


Tex and Karen sat in a corner of the intelligence room, leaned against each other.

“What’s going to happen?” Karen asked.

“Here? Probably nothing. The enemy would love to take us out, but they didn’t send enough people to take on our forces.”

“You don’t look that confident, honey.”

Tex smiled at her. “You can read me like a book, little lady.”

“So fess up.”

“It’s taking too long to get the drone on line,” he said. “I’m making my prediction based on what I’d do if I were them, but we can’t see them. I’ll feel better when we can.”

“Ivan’s trying to get your attention,” Karen said, nodding towards the archway into the next room. Ivan was standing there with Ted, Sparky, Sam, and Ji-Ho.

“Want to come?” Tex asked.

“Haley and Dana are coming over here,” Karen said. “I’ll hang out with them, but you have to promise to tell me what’s going on.”

“No secrets, little lady. Ever.”

They kissed, and Tex got off the bench they were on, approaching the others. “Are we meeting about something?”

“Yeah,” Ivan said. “In a few minutes.”

“About what, partner?”

“Mr. White and Mr. Black gave me news, and a suggestion.”

“Who are we waiting on?”

“Ed, Sid, Garrett, and Tyler,” Sam said.

The men milled around for a few moments, making small talk. Ed, Sid, and Tyler showed up, with Garrett and Anna.

“Let’s go,” Ivan said. “This won’t take long.”

They went into the next room, where Robbie and Morgan, Seth and Kaitlyn, and Ben Dover were all watching a computer monitor. Robbie looked over and Ivan nodded to him, so they all came to the far side of the room and sat on the chairs and benches in that area.

“Thanks for coming over,” Ivan said.

“How much trouble are we in?” Ed asked.

“Not much, really,” Ivan said. “We don’t have the drone in place yet, since it had to come from further north than expected. This isn’t about our current situation here.”

“What is it about, partner?”

“Mr. White and Mr. Black found the UN base in El Cajon.”

“Yes!” Seth said, Kaitlyn shooting him a worried glance.

“Is it in a place we can attack?” Ted asked.

“It appears to be,” Ivan said. “Industrial area again. There are a lot of small white vans there.”

“Like these?” Sid asked, showing him a photo on his phone. Ivan looked.

“Sounds like it,” he said. “Is that a known UN van from the area?”

“Yep. Not lead-lined.”

Ed eyed Ivan. “You look nervous about something.”

“There were more of those vans there than we expected, and it might not be all of them. The industrial area is huge. Lots of buildings and parking areas.”

“You think this is a mustering point,” Sparky said. Ivan nodded yes.

“It’s gonna take a larger force than we want to send there, isn’t it?” Robbie asked.

“Yeah,” Ivan said. “Mr. White and Mr. Black got me thinking about the bigger picture. I’d like to discuss it.”

“I’ll bet I have an idea where you’re headed,” Sam said.

Ji-Ho grinned. “Yes, me too.”

“Shoot, partner,” Tex said.

“Mr. White and Mr. Black would like to follow the rental trucks in the morning, to see what they’re up to,” Ivan said. “They called and asked me last night. I’ve been thinking about it.”

“And you agree,” Ed said.

“Yes, but I want to hear what you folks have to say.”

Tex stood. “They’re bringing in more UN pukes. If we find where they’re coming in, we can shut them down.”

“Maybe they’re bringing in Islamists, too,” Sparky said.

“No way,” Ted said.

“Why?” Sparky asked.

Ivan smiled. “There isn’t lead lining in those rental trucks, so unless they’ve got a bunch of Islamist fighters with no RFID, they can’t be moving them in.”

“You’re worried because there’s so many vans there,” Robbie said.

“Precisely,” Ivan replied. “We will hit the base, but I think we’d better turn off the flow before we clean up the spill, so to speak.”

“Yeah, if we just attack that base, they’ll find another and continue to move people in,” Ted said. “You can count on that.”

“Anything I’m not thinking about?” Ivan asked.

The group sat silently for a moment.

“I think waiting on the base attack is a good idea either way,” Ted said. “We don’t know where those Islamists disappeared to. We shouldn’t move our forces away from this base until we’ve either located them with the drone or they pop back out on the history report.”

“Anybody else?” Ivan asked.

“Looks like we all agree, partner,” Tex said.

Ivan nodded. “Okay, I’ll let Mr. White and Mr. Black know.”

“See if you can get a handle on the drone situation, okay?” Ted asked.

“Will do,” Ivan said. “How many have disappeared total?”

“Just over three thousand,” Kaitlyn said.

To be continued…


Bug Out! California Book 6 is available now in e-book and paperback.


Bug Out! Texas Book 11 is available now in e-book and paperback.



Book 5 of the Bug Out! California saga has been published. It’s available in both e-book and paperback!


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


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


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


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


Copyright Robert Boren 2018

Bugout! California Part 163 – The Burning Desert

Sam and Erica parked their Jeep behind the livery stable, the other two Jeeps parking next to them.

“You mind if we go to the mine right now?” Erica asked. “I’m worried about Mia.”

“That was my plan,” Sam said. They started walking before the other Jeeps emptied. The streets were deserted, but Sam saw armed warriors placed at strategic points in town. They got to the mine shaft and went inside, Jules and the rest of the group not far behind them.

“Where’s Tex?” Karen asked, coming out of the shadows with Haley.

“Right behind us,” Erica said. “Don’t worry, they’re all right.”

“Where’s Anna gonna be?” Sam asked.

“The room that Susanne used before she got moved outside, I suspect.”

They hurried down the dark shaft, past the large room, which was full of the buzz of conversation.

“You can go in there now if you want,” Erica said.

“No way, I want to get to our daughter first.”

“Our daughter,” Erica said, choking up. “My God, she is, isn’t she?”

Sam nodded as they turned right, heading into the former gun reloading room. It was turned into a children’s play area. Anna was there, with several other women.

“Mommy!” Mia shouted. “Daddy!” She rushed over, hugging them tight.

“How are you, sweetie?” Erica asked, squatting down next to her on the earthen floor.

“I was scared when everybody came down here. Are bad men coming?”

“We don’t think so, honey, but we’ll protect you if they do,” Sam said, crouching next to Erica.

“Glad you’re back,” Anna said, walking over. “Mia’s been on pins and needles. Where’s Garrett?”

“I’m right here,” Garrett said, walking into the play room. Anna rushed to him, hugging him tight. “Wow, you really missed me.”

She pulled back and looked into his eyes, then kissed him gently.

“We should go into the meeting room and report,” Sam said.

“I can go too, can’t I?” Mia asked.

“Yes, you can go too,” Erica said, standing and holding out her hand, which Mia took.

“Daddy,” she said, reaching for Sam’s hand, which he took as they walked towards the main shaft.

“Jules probably unloaded all the info to Ivan, you know,” Erica whispered, drawing a look from Mia.

Sam chuckled. “I want to know what they know, because of all this. If things are too bad, I’ll be taking you two to safety, you know.”

Erica nodded to him as they made their way through the crowd to the front of the room. Jules, Ivan, Ted, Ben, and Tex were chatting in front of the big TV screen. Karen and Haley were sticking close. Sparky and Dana were nearby, listening but keeping mostly to themselves, Cody and Allison doing the same.

“Sam. Erica. How are you?” Ivan asked.

“None the worse for wear,” Sam said. “What’s going on?”

“Simply a precaution,” Ivan said.

“Where are the citizen recruits?” Erica asked.

“They’ve headed towards the border with the armor battalion that showed up here earlier,” Ivan said. “That probably makes us a lot safer here.”

“Yeah, the target is now on the road,” Ben said.

Jules shook his head. “We more important than that force. Enemy knows.” Shelly looked up at him, then moved a little closer, her eyes darting around the rock ceiling.

Ivan chuckled. “Calm down, Jules. We’ll be okay. We’ve got video, lots of firepower, and men all over the place.”

Garrett walked to them with Anna at his side. “I’ve got five hundred mounted men patrolling the area. If we get visitors, we’ll know in a hurry.”

Robbie rushed out of the back section of the intelligence room and made eye contact with Ivan. He nodded, then turned to the others.

“Robbie wants to show us something.”

“Okay,” Jules said.

“I’ll stay here with Mia if you don’t mind,” Erica said to Sam, who nodded in agreement.

Ivan led the way, the others right behind him. The people milling around in the meeting room noticed.

“What’s up?” Sam asked Robbie, who was back beside Morgan in front of his PC screen. Seth and Kaitlyn were looking over their shoulders, Angel and Megan close by.

“Somebody shot cruise missiles at Jacumba Hot Springs.”

“The town?” Garrett asked.

Robbie nodded yes.

“Here it starts,” Ivan said, pulling his phone out of his pocket. He typed a quick text.

“General Hogan?” Sam asked, to which Ivan nodded.

“Is that what you’re afraid they’ll hit us with?” Shelly asked, looking at the devastation of the town on the video feed.

Ivan glanced at Jules and then nodded yes to Shelly.

An alarm went off on Seth’s PC.

“Oh, crap,” Kaitlyn said, rushing over to it, Seth right behind her.

“What was that?” Tex asked.

“That was an alarm from the history program,” Seth said as he stood behind Kaitlyn, who was typing on the keyboard. “It goes off when enemy RFID hits disappear.”

“They’re loading up again?” Ted asked.

“Oh boy,” Sparky said. “Wonder if they’re coming here or going to the border?”

Seth shrugged.

“Where did they disappear?” Sam asked.

“South of Julian,” Kaitlyn said. “They’ve still got a lot of people there.”

“How many disappeared?” Ivan asked.

“Five hundred so far,” Kaitlyn replied.

“No,” Shelly said.

“They probably aren’t coming here,” Ted said, looking at his phone. “Look at the map. We know the western tip of the enemy front is going to hit the border near Tecate. The only way they can go is Old Highway 80, or maybe I-8 if they’re crazy enough.”

“They might come here, though,” Tex said. “There’s more than one way they could go to get on Highway 94.”

“He’s got a point, boss,” Jules said.

“Okay, okay, let’s not panic yet. I’m gonna see if I can get a drone to cover the area.” He walked away with the cellphone to his ear.

“What now?” Angel asked.

“Hang tight and wait,” Ji-Ho said.

Ivan came back in the room. “General Hogan is talking to the Navy base. Hopefully they’ll get a drone over the area.”

“It won’t be just to help us,” Ted said. “There’s a better than even chance that these folks are going to the border to attack Marines.”

“Yes, I made that point,” Ivan said. “Anything else on Jacumba?”

“They only shot three missiles, from the reports I’m seeing,” Robbie said. “They only hit the town. All the armed forces and most of the military equipment was west of there a few miles. Seems kinda stupid to me.”

“It’s terror,” Ted said. “Pure and simple. They know they can’t take out enough of our military to make a difference, since they’re so well-spaced out. They can hit civilians in close quarters like that town, kill a lot of people, and maybe take attention of the fighting force away from their business.”

“This is an escalation,” Sam said.

Ji-Ho nodded. “Yes, I agree.”

“As do I, gentlemen,” Jules said. “Maybe we ought to be getting involved directly.”

“No,” Ivan said. “We sit tight, in this shelter. We have an important job coming up. A job we can pull off. An important job.”

“What’s that?” Angel asked. “What could be more important than killing the enemy?”

“I think I know,” Robbie said. “You want us to take out the UN base after Mr. White and Mr. Black tell us where it is.”

Ivan smiled. “You’re smart, like your father.”


Meyers sat in his armored personnel carrier, watching the laptop screen, which was running the high-res app. He could see all the enemy fighters in detail, the program on auto refresh so he could see movement every twenty seconds.

“We’re not far from the target zone, sir,” the driver said.

“Thank you,” Meyers said, eyes not leaving the screen. “How far ahead are the heavy armor?”

“The tanks are about a hundred meters ahead of us, sir. They’ll be engaging the enemy in minutes.”

“No sign of enemy armor?”

“No sir, but there are a hell of a lot of troops, and a bunch of broken artillery.”

“Watch for anti-tank hand-helds,” Meyers said.

“Will do, sir. See anything about those explosions we saw a little while ago?”

“Nope,” Meyers said. “They might have thought we were still there.”

“Makes sense to me,” the private said. “Haven’t heard more explosions since they’ve been able to see us.”

Meyers nodded, eyes still peeled at his screen. His phone dinged. He pulled it out of his pocket and looked at it, almost losing his balance as he released the hand-holds.

“Jacumba Hot Springs,” he said.

“Excuse me, sir?”

Meyers looked over at him. “They hit the town east of our position with three cruise missiles. Killed a bunch of civilians. Bastards.”

“Oh, geez,” the private said. “From the look on your face, there’s something else.”

“The history program shows enemy RFID hits disappearing south of Julian.”

“That’s a long way to the north. You think they’re coming to join the fight?”

“There’s a base they might be interested in, just outside of Dulzura. We’re trying to get a drone over there to see where they’re going, now that their RFID chips have been shielded.”

The radio scratched to life.

“We’re in position, sir,” the voice said.

“Fire at will, but watch your ammo. Let the off-roaders lead the attack on their infantry.”

“Yes sir.”

“Here it starts,” the private said.

The first line of tanks moved forward. One of them fired into a huge group of enemy troops, killing many in a line and scattering others. Then that tank moved forward, it’s machine gun blazing, other tanks beginning to move. A massive explosion went off right at that moment, under the tanks, blowing three of them up, the others starting to back up in a panic.

“Oh crap!” the private yelled. “They’ve got huge IEDs under the ground there.”

Another explosion went off, taking another tank.

“Tanks – freeze!” Meyers shouted into his microphone. “Use your machine guns to take out as many of the enemy infantry as you can. Off-roaders, come around behind them and fire up those micro guns.”

The private looked at Meyers, eyes full of fright.

“Oh, you didn’t expect something like this?” Meyers asked calmly. “What do you think they’ve been doing for all the days they’ve been sitting here?”

Suddenly there was the sound of jets approaching, and the area around the enemy troops exploded into flames.

“Napalm?” the private asked. “Didn’t know we still used that.”

Meyers chuckled, watching his screen as RFID hits disappeared. Another run of the jets started further back, saturating the huddled enemy fighters with burning gel, the singed flesh smell mixing with the gasoline smell.

“Look, the off-roaders are killing everybody who tries to run away,” the private shouted, as another napalm run started, back past the charred bodies of those already hit. “The enemy isn’t even firing back now. They’re just running.”

“They won’t get far,” Meyers said, picking up his microphone again. “All tanks, back up on the tracks you left on the way in. Go slow. We don’t need to lose any more of you guys. We’re going way wide to pursue the enemy.”

“How far, sir?” somebody asked.

“All the way to Mexico City if we have to.”

His comment was punctuated by another whoosh of fire as the fighter jets spewed death and destruction.


Mr. White was at the wheel of the delivery van, Mr. Black in the passenger seat. “We might make in time to catch,” he said.

Mr. Black chuckled. “I just hear about battle south of border. They have hands full. I bet trucks be late to rental yard.”

“Means we sleep in van, take turns.”

Mr. Black shrugged. “Part of job, old friend, part of job.”

Mr. White nodded. They rode silently for a little while, both tired after eight hours on the road. The drive from San Francisco had been easy due to the light traffic, but there was an APB out on them. They hijacked the van, leaving their Lincoln hidden in an industrial area, way back in Hayward. Sooner or later the man they’d stolen the van from would be discovered. They’d both wanted to gut the guy and throw his body into a landfill, but Ivan vetoed that idea.

“Hey, pay attention,” Mr. Black said. “Don’t stay on I-5, get on the 805.”

“I remembered,” Mr. White said. “Take Highway 52 after that. Don’t worry.”

Mr. Black stared at him a moment, then shook his head. “You take first nap when we park. Too tired for own good.”

“Then maybe you should sleep.”

Mr. Black flashed a wicked grin. “I try, after we get on Highway 52.”

“Funny,” Mr. White said, shaking his head.

“I just mess with you.”

“Yes, that what you always say. Ever since Russia.”

Mr. Black snickered, then looked over at him again. “You think boss go soft?”

“Why, because he wouldn’t let us kill guy in Hayward?”

“That, and group he with now,” Mr. Black said. “Think he come back to business?”

“If he doesn’t, we find work. Plenty business, especially with mess left by war.”

“Can we trust if he become respectable?” Mr. Black asked.

“Wait, you think we should erase boss?”

“I didn’t say that, and don’t you ever repeat again, or I gut you like fish.”

“Then why the question?” asked Mr. White.

“Just thinking about future. Maybe we go back to Europe, if Ivan go straight here.”

“We’re still wanted there,” Mr. White said.

Mr. Black laughed. “Yes, we wanted by bad guys behind this war. They not survive. Trust me, and remember who else wanted, here and there.”

“Ivan hero now,” Mr. White said. “Untouchable.”

“Perhaps yes, perhaps no.”

“Jules went straight. He’s not wanted anymore.”

Mr. Black shook his head. “Not same thing. Ivan’s fortune from crime. Jules rich from centuries-old family business.”

Mr. White nodded, then glanced at Mr. Black and grinned. “Never figure out why he join up anyway. He never in need of money.”

“Rebellious kid, overbearing father,” Mr. Black said. “Old story. Old as hills.”

They both laughed.

“Look, you almost miss again,” Mr. Black said as they neared Highway 52.

“I see, stop worry,” Mr. White said. “Go to sleep now. We on last road. Even trained monkey get there.”

“Then I guess I’m safe,” Mr. Black said, leaning his seat back and putting his hat over his face.

Mr. White grinned, then focused on the road.


Doug and Jorge entered the town of Jacumba Hot Springs on foot, via Old Highway 80. Parts of the town were still on fire.

“Look, the post office is toast,” Doug said.

“So is the resort,” Jorge said, his face lined with worry. “I hope my house didn’t get hit.”

“Would they have been at home?”

“I don’t know, man,” Jorge said. “Doesn’t look like there’s smoke in that direction. Let’s go left on Heber instead of Railroad Street. The wind is blowing that smoke in a bad direction.”

“Yeah, we don’t want to breathe that.”

They continued down Old Highway 80 another block, watching the buildings burn to their left, then turning on Heber.

“Oh no, there is smoke coming from there,” Jorge said.

Doug used his hand to shield his eyes. “I don’t think that’s your street, I think it’s the Methodist Church.”

Jorge just nodded silently, but sped up. “I’ll bet you’re glad your wife left.”

Doug laughed. “She can’t stand me. Probably off with her boyfriend again. Our marriage is a bad joke.”

“You still love her, though, right?”

“I do, but knowing about that other guy ruins it.”

“Why? It’s not like you don’t play around.”

“That was the agreement,” Doug said, “but I didn’t make the choice.”

“If you didn’t want it, why’d you agree?”

Doug was quiet for a moment as they walked

“You don’t have to say anything,” Jorge said. “None of my business. I’m just trying to keep my mind off the worst. It’s not fair. Sorry.”

“No, it’s fine,” Doug said. “You’re the best friend I’ve got, man. I don’t mind talking about it.”

“But you don’t have to,” Jorge said.

“I know. Doesn’t feel like she’s still mine. I can’t get past that.”

“It doesn’t help that you’re having your fun?” Jorge asked. “Seems like you’ve got your cake and you get to eat it too. Sometimes I envy that.”

“I can’t really cheat.”

Jorge looked at him for a moment, not understanding.

“I’m not getting my thoughts out very well,” Doug said. “I can’t have a girlfriend. Not one I might fall in love with, and when you don’t have that, it’s only physical cravings that you satisfy. Afterwards it’s bad. Empty.”

“Why can’t you have a girlfriend? She’s emotionally involved with this other guy, right?”

“I’m still in love with her. I can’t give my heart to anybody else while I do. That’s why I know it’s hopeless.”

“I don’t follow.”

“She gave her heart. She doesn’t worry about it because she doesn’t love me anymore. Not really. Not like a wife.”

“There’s my house, man,” Jorge said, breaking into a run. “Isabel!”

The door flew open, a middle-aged woman rushing out, running towards him as fast as her legs would carry her. They embraced, both crying. Doug looked on, hanging back, tears in his eyes. Jorge’s four children ran out, gathering around their parents, all of them clinging to one another.

Jorge and Isabel talked for a moment, and then she turned and went back inside their house with the children. Jorge walked over to Doug.

“You’re invited for dinner,” Jorge said. “Don’t you dare say no.”

Doug looked at him and nodded yes, wiping the tears out of his eyes.

“What’s wrong?”

Doug looked at him. “Part happiness, part envy.”

“Your wife is safe, at least,” Jorge said.

“Maybe. She doesn’t let me know where she is. Doesn’t return texts or calls half the time. When we’re together she acts like nothing’s happening, but then she huddles out of earshot with her phone.”

“Oh, man, it can’t be as bad as that.”

“I don’t have her anymore,” Doug said. “It’ll be okay. For better or worse, I let this happen, thinking it would keep us together. Let’s change the subject, okay?”

“Maybe you can work it out,” Jorge said. “Come on, let’s go inside.”

To be continued…


Bug Out! Texas Book 11 is available now in e-book and paperback.


Book 5 of the Bug Out! California saga has been published. It’s available in both e-book and paperback!


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


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


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


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


Copyright Robert Boren 2018

Bugout! California Part 162 – Death from Above

Sam drove the Jeep down the side of the hill, following Garrett’s Jeep, Sid and Yvonne behind them in the third. They pulled past the smoking remains of the two booby-trapped semi-trucks.

“Be careful, there might be more mines,” Ted yelled as the group gathered. The off-roaders were on the next ridge, keeping watch.

“We’re not going to learn anything from this mess,” Sam said.

“You got that right, partner,” Tex said, Jules nodding in agreement.

“You know where the tracks start up again, though, right?” Shelly asked Sid, who was staring at the ground.

“They used dirt bikes,” Sid said, pointing. “Looks like at least five. Last night, if I had to guess.”

“There’s probably still some bad guys around, then,” Yvonne said.

“That why off-roaders watch,” Jules said. “We follow tracks?”

“Yeah, but I’d better take the lead,” Sid said.

“I’m driving,” Yvonne said. He nodded, and everybody got back in their vehicles. Yvonne pulled in front, and they followed the motor cycle tracks up the next ridge, where the off-roaders were waiting. The Jeeps stopped, everybody getting out and gathering. Garrett nodded to the leader, and motioned them to come over.

“No cover here for the enemy,” Tex said. “Makes it a little easier.”

“We need to watch that far ridge,” Garrett said. “There’s a huge plain on the other side. The next ridge after that one is half a day’s drive in a Jeep.”

“Where does that road lead?” Shelly asked.

“Southwest,” Garrett said. “Miles and miles of rugged terrain. Eventually you’ll run into Morena Village to the east, but there’s forks. One of them leads down to Tecate.”

“Mexico?” Shelly asked.

“Yep,” Garrett said.

“How much further are we gonna go?” Erica asked.

“That’s a good question,” Sam said.

“I think we should go on until we find end of dirt bike tracks,” Jules said. “Those aren’t long range. We should find spot where they came off the trucks.”

“He’s right,” Garrett said. “We need to remember that the off-roaders are with us, though. We don’t want to run them so far that they can’t get home. They’re not long range either.”

Jules’s phone dinged. He took it out and looked at it, his brow furrowed.

“What now?” Sam asked.

“We just invade Mexico with armor. More armor showing up at Dodge City, staging to continue. Far east and west ends of enemy front rush towards border at same time. Ivan make women and children get in mine.”

“We’re expecting an attack?” Erica asked. “We should get back there.”

“Not troops,” Jules said.

“Then what?” Yvonne asked.

“Ivan afraid invasion of Mexico bring EU response,” Jules said.

“Crap, he’s afraid we’re gonna get bombed,” Ted said, “and he might be right.”

“I’m gonna take a quick run down there,” Sid said. “You guys hang out here.”

“I’m going too,” Yvonne said.

Sid nodded. They got into their Jeep and drove towards the last ridge, the off-roaders ahead of them.

“You don’t think they’d use this back way to march right in here, do you?” Tex asked.

“I was thinking the same thing,” Ted said, looking at his phone. “The western tip of the enemy line isn’t that far from the entrance to this area, as the crow flies.”

Garrett laughed. “Yeah, but as the crow flies isn’t so hot unless you’ve got Jeeps, and they don’t.”

“It’s that area we went through before, isn’t it?” Sam asked, looking at Erica. “Where we met.”

“Yep. They’re on foot, though. Lots easier than taking vehicles over that ground.”

“It’s a lot of miles to walk,” Garrett said. “They’d be sitting ducks during a lot of it, especially with the US Navy and Airforce getting involved.”

“The Airforce isn’t involved, are they?” Sam asked.

“They send B-1s into Mexico a couple hours ago, to take out the enemy’s artillery,” Jules said.

Ted shook his head. “We need to get home in a hurry. They aren’t coming through here.”

“I’d have to agree,” Garrett said. “Too long of a walk. They’ll get on Highway 94.”

“Somebody call Sid,” Jules said. “We go.”

“Looks like he stopped already, partner,” Tex said. They watched as Sid got out of the Jeep and walked in front of it a few steps. He froze, then motioned to Yvonne to back the Jeep up.

“He found a mine, I’ll bet,” Ted said, squinting to see in the distance.

“Yvonne is motioning for him to come back to the car,” Sam said. “Dammit, get out of there, Sid.”

“Good, he’s going,” Shelly said.

Sid got back in the Jeep and Yvonne backed up another fifty yards. Then she was out of the Jeep, aiming her sniper rifle. She fired a shot, which echoed through the area. Then she fired again, and there was a huge explosion, much bigger than a single mine.

“That was a trap,” Sam said, watching dirt and rocks falling. “Glad they were back as far as they were.”

“Here they come,” Tex said, watching them get into the Jeep and k-turn, heading back to the ridge at a good clip.

“They really think we’re stupid,” Shelly said.

“No, I think they hope we check at night,” Jules said. “Men we fought came to check, clean up. Found we hadn’t tripped their trap, so they decided to do ambush.”

“Yeah, partner, I think you’re right,” Tex said. “We need to high-tail it home.”

Yvonne and Sid drove up, skidding to a stop. Sid got out, a big grin on his face. Yvonne was shaking her head.

“The enemy is pretty tricky,” Sid said, “but not tricky enough.”

“I think we’d better be careful on the way home,” Sam said.

“Why?” Erica asked. “You think there’s still some of them out here?”

“Look at that area down there,” Sam said, nodding towards the huge plain. “There’s nowhere to hide. We can see all of it for miles.”

“True,” she said. “What’s your point?”

“Where are the vehicles that the commando team came in?”

Jules glanced at him, then looked around nervously at ridges further out, which they hadn’t checked. “He right, we go now, watch backs on way.”

“Yeah, I think you’re right,” Garrett said. “Let’s have some of the off-roaders in front of us, and some in back, just in case.”

The lead off-road rider nodded in agreement, then closed the visor on his helmet and started his engine.

The group took off for home.


Ji-Ho directed the armored vehicles towards the entrance of the Dodge City property, as far from the city as he could get them. There were over forty vehicles there now. Ed walked over to him.

“All of the women and children are in the mine,” he said, “and the warriors are in defensive positions with some of the citizen recruits who arrived last night.”

“How many men that?” Ji-Ho asked.

“Eighteen thousand, give or take. The rest are leaving for the western tip of the enemy’s line in about fifteen minutes.”

“Good, I tell commander of armor,” Ji-Ho said. “They here for support.”

“Why’d you move them all over here?”

“Ivan’s idea,” Ji-Ho said. “If EU sends airstrike, it not right on top of town.”

“Would they really do that?”

“EU destroyer fire on American citizens in Portland, remember?”

Ed scratched his chin. “Yeah, you’re right. Not used to thinking about these folks as bad guys, I guess.”

Ji-Ho’s phone dinged with a text. He looked. “Ivan want meeting in intelligence room.”

“Let’s go, then.”

Ji-Ho motioned to the armor commander, who trotted over.

“More news?” asked the man, pulling his helmet off his head.

“We have to go into meeting. Main force of citizen recruits will be leaving soon. Get ready now. You follow them, Captain Carlotta?”

“That’s the plan,” he said. “Thanks for your help.”

“Thank you,” Ji-Ho said.

Carlotta smiled, put his helmet back on, and trotted back over to the others in his command.

“Ready?” Ed asked.

“There two battle wagons not yet in siege mode,” Ji-Ho said as they got into their Jeep. “Last two that got new tires. Let’s put them in and then go to mine shaft.”

“You got it.” They drove back to town, ducking into the last two battle wagons and putting them into siege mode on the way.

“That ought to protect them,” Ed said.

“If we get airstrike, they be toast,” Ji-Ho said.

“Then why bother?”

“Might not get airstrike. Enemy forces might overrun, head here. Battle wagons in good spots. We just get in and open fire.”

“Oh,” Ed said. “Got you.”

The Jeep rolled down the main street of Dodge City and parked, Ji-Ho and Ed going into the mine entrance, nodding at the armed warriors who were placed around the area.

“Nice and cool in here,” Ed said.

“Yes, is,” Ji-Ho said. They saw two figures racing towards them. It was Haley and Karen.

“When are our men coming back?” Haley asked.

Ji-Ho smiled. “Ted texted, on way home now. May take some time.”

“So, they’re done back there?” Karen asked.

“Yes, for now,” Ji-Ho said.

Karen shot Haley a worried glance. “I won’t feel better until they’re here.”

“Come, we go to meeting,” Ji-Ho said. “Okay?”

Karen glanced at him, then back at Haley, her red hair swaying. “Let’s go. I want to hear what’s going on.”

The intelligence room was nearly full, Ivan standing in the front, next to a large TV monitor which displayed video from nine cameras mounted around Dodge City. Ji-Ho approached him.

“They’re moved away?” Ivan asked.

“All the way to highway entrance. They be gone soon anyway. Citizens nearly ready to leave.”

“Good. Just heard from Jules. They’ll be back here in about twenty minutes.”

“What did they find?” Ji-Ho asked.

“UN Commandos, mine fields, and a big booby trap.”

“No. All survive?”

Ivan shot him a grim look. “Lost one off-roader.”

“Uh oh,” Ji-Ho said. “So sorry to hear. Armor not good enough?”

“Head shot,” Ivan said, looking like he wanted to change the subject. His phone rang, and he excused himself, walking away with it to his ear.

“He didn’t look happy,” Trevor said, walking up to Ji-Ho with Kaylee.

“Lost off-roader in back country,” Ji-Ho said. “Ivan takes hard every time. Not cut out for this business.”

“Nobody likes losing people,” Kaylee said softly. “Sam and the others are okay?”

“So far,” Ji-Ho said. “On way home now.”

Ivan came back over, shoving the phone back in his pocket.

“Good news?” Trevor asked.

“Mr. White and Mr. Black are on the way to El Cajon,” he said with a wicked grin. “They finished their task up north earlier than expected.”

“What task?” Ji-Ho asked.

“UN officials attempted infiltration in San Francisco, to lay groundwork for renewed assault.”

Ji-Ho chuckled. “How many did your men kill?”

“All of them,” Ivan said. “They’ll find out where the local UN base is. Guess what will happen next?”

Trevor and Ji-Ho cracked up, Kaylee looking on with worry in her eyes.

“Hey, look, the citizens are pulling out,” Trevor said, pointing to the TV screen.

“Ah, perfect,” Ivan said.

“What’s the meeting about?” Ed asked.

Ivan chuckled. “Postponed.”

Ed shook his head. “You called the meeting just to get everybody in here, didn’t you?”

“You found me out.”

“Is there something you know that we don’t?” Trevor asked.

“EU forces are angry,” Ivan said. “That’s the truth.”

“They can’t fly in here, though, can they?” Kaylee asked.

“Yeah, what about the US Air Force?” Trevor asked. “I heard what they did down south.”

“If they hit us, they won’t send manned bombers or fighters,” Ivan said.

“Then what?” Kaylee asked.

Ji-Ho’s eyes narrowed. “Cruise missiles.”

Ivan nodded.

“Where would they launch them from?” Trevor asked. “Didn’t the remaining EU Navy ships leave the west coast after the Portland incident?”

“They still have a couple of ships south of here,” Ivan said. “They’re in a dry dock in Ecuador.”

“US Navy should bomb,” Ji-Ho said.

“That would be a mess from a diplomatic standpoint,” Ivan said.

Ji-Ho chuckled. “We’re sending bombers and armored vehicles across border into Mexico now. Horse already left barn.”

“They attacked us from Mexico with artillery,” Ivan said, “and they’re sending a few hundred thousand troops our way, too. Our actions can be portrayed as self-defense.”

“It’s really just baloney,” Ed said. “We’re at war with the EU and their UN allies. We can defeat them. The sooner we accept that and go after them, the better.”

“I’m not disagreeing,” Ivan said. “I’m deferring to General Hogan, though. He wants to take out Daan Mertins and his remaining team. He thinks if we can do that the EU will lose interest in this adventure and back off.”

“He right, we not want big battle with EU,” Ji-Ho said. “US armed forces still strong, but manpower was depleted by the enemy infiltration. We win any battle on our soil. We can project power with Navy and Airforce, but we don’t have massive assault troop forces to back up.”

Ivan nodded. “You and General Hogan are on the same page.”

“You don’t think the EU would have nuke warheads on those cruise missiles, do you?” Kaylee asked quietly.

“They wouldn’t dare,” Ivan said. “We still have our nuclear capability, and it’s under the control of the Air Force and the provisional government in DC. If they hit us with a nuclear attack where there’s no doubt that they were directly involved, there’s gonna be a lot of Europe on fire in a hurry.”

“Yeah, Islamists don’t have cruise missiles,” Ji-Ho said.

“They floated nukes into our harbors,” Kaylee said.

“The maniac Islamists did that, with help from North Korea and Iran,” Ivan said. “This would be completely different.”

“Would we survive if they did hit us that way?” Kaylee asked.

Ji-Ho shook his head no. “Mine shaft deep, but not deep enough. Not shielded by steel. Not sealed.”

“Let’s not go there, folks,” Ivan said. “They aren’t going to hit us with nuclear weapons. They’ll try to hit the armor and the citizens before they can join the fight at the border, if they do anything. I wouldn’t bother if I were them.”

“Why not?” Ed asked.

“Not enough bang for their buck,” Ivan said. “Our forces will be spread out along the road. It would take a lot of missiles to kill many of them. There’s really no infrastructure they could take out here which would stop us from fighting them, either.”

“That true,” Ji-Ho said. “Cruise missiles good to blow up installations. Not so good to hit multitude of people on open ground.”

“They might take out the saloon,” Willard said, walking up with Elmer and Susanne. “That would be a catastrophe.”

Susanne shot him a disgusted glance as Elmer cracked up.

“Finished with the ethernet cable runs?” Ivan asked.

“Yep,” Elmer said. “We should think about adding more generators. Maybe even placing some down here and drilling exhaust holes. If they hit the mill, we’ll lose our main source of power.”

“We wouldn’t need a lot of capacity,” Willard said. “Keeping the laptops powered up doesn’t take that much juice.”

Ji-Ho’s phone dinged. He read the text. “Sam and others back in town. Asking why citizens aren’t in back camping area.”

“We’ll brief those guys when they get in here,” Ivan said.




Doug looked through his binoculars at the armor column moving south from the border. Behind them were the surviving Marines. Armed off-roaders rolled along on either side of the column. Conrad walked over with Jorge.

“They’re on their way,” Jorge said, turning towards the south and squinting in the bright sunshine.

“I wish we had more troops on the ends of their line,” Conrad said.

Doug handed his binoculars to Jorge, so he could look. “Where’s Meyers?”

“Down there with his troops,” Conrad said.

Doug shook his head. “I don’t see him.”

“He’s in one of the armored vehicles,” Conrad said. “A personnel carrier. They’ve got video screens, the apps, and a direct line to headquarters routed into his rig.”

“Mobile command post, huh?” Jorge said, handing the binoculars to Conrad.

Doug chuckled. “Heard that the forces staged at Dodge City are on their way to the western tip. Hope there’s enough folks.”

“They’ve got a whole battalion of tanks with them,” Conrad said, handing the binoculars to Doug.

“How many is in a battalion?” Jorge asked.

“Twenty-two battle tanks and some support vehicles,” Conrad replied. “Wish we had four times that.”

“What about the eastern tip?” Doug asked.

“They have more citizens there, and more tanks too,” Conrad said, “but some of the tanks are old M-60s.”

“The western tip is M-1s?” Doug asked. Conrad nodded yes. “The most advanced models they had at Pendleton.”

“The enemy is gonna crap their pants,” Jorge said.

There was a loud crash below them. Railroad tenders were dragging cars away on the tracks, one of them coming loose and falling over.

“Damn, what a mess,” Doug said. “That’s gonna take days to clear.”

Jorge nodded. “Yeah, we need more artillery rounds. Hell, we need more artillery pieces, too. It’s gonna be rough getting them here until that train track is back in operation.”

“The main part of the battle will be over before we solve that issue,” Conrad said.

“What’s that?” Jorge asked, pointing at the southern sky. “Is that a drone?”

Conrad squinted, looking too close to the sun, the white missile-shaped object coming into view. His eyes grew wide. “Get down and hope for the best.”

“What is that?” Doug asked.

“Looks like a cruise missile,” Conrad said as he got down in the dirt. “Get down, dammit.”

Jorge and Doug hit the dirt as the missile approached, flying at low altitude. It went over their heads.

“Where’s it going?” Jorge asked.

“Town,” Conrad said, as the explosions started to the east of them. “Dammit, here comes two more.”

“My family is in town,” Jorge cried as the missiles flew over them, going to the same target.

To be continued…


Bug Out! Texas Book 11 is available now in e-book and paperback.


Book 5 of the Bug Out! California saga has been published. It’s available in both e-book and paperback!


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


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


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


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


Copyright Robert Boren 2018


Bug Out! California Part 161 – Military Vehicles

Jules and his team were back on the road, the off-roaders ahead of them by several hundred yards, as they went up and down the hills, watching for more enemy fighters. “No more cover nearby, no?”

“Garrett said that last place was the worst,” Shelly said. “Heard him tell Sid.”

“I heard it too, little lady,” Tex said.

Ted was watching out his window. “Way to early to be relaxing, man.”

Jules chuckled. “Who say relax?”

“They’re slowing down at the next ridge,” Tex said.

“Some of the off-roaders already clear top, go past,” Jules said.

Ted nodded. “I’ll bet the ruined trucks are past this ridge.”

“Hope so, partner.”

Most of the off-roaders stopped just shy of the ridge too, waiting, listening to the engine snarl of the few who kept going.

Jules parked behind Sam and Erica’s Jeep, and everybody got out, heading to the ridge in a crouch.

“Problem?” Jules asked.

Garrett looked back at them. “The trucks are there, and there’s a slight amount of ridge cover to the left.”

“Risky to put off-roaders out there, no?”

“They’re somewhat shielded,” Sam said. “More so than our Jeeps, at least.”

Tex’s brow furrowed. “A little Kevlar ain’t great against a sniper rifle.”

“That’s why we only sent three,” Sam said. “Nothing so far. We might have nailed everybody they sent over here.”

“Think I’ll grab my sniper rifle just in case,” Yvonne said, reaching into the back of the Jeep. She took it to the ridge, getting prone, flipping up the lens caps.

Tex looked over the ridge at the cover. “Hell, partner, that’s not much cover at all.”

“Better safe than sorry,” Ted said, his binoculars in front of his eyes. “We need to check the trucks for booby traps.”

“You said a mouthful there,” Sid said, looking through his binoculars. “We need to check for tracks around those trucks. We might have something to follow.”

The three off-roaders approached the wreckage, slowing down to a crawl. One of them blew up.

“Dammit!” Jules said. “Tell them to pull back.”

“They know, partner,” Tex said, watching as the other two vehicles turned around.

“Land mine,” Sam said. “So much for looking at tracks.”

“What now?” Shelly asked.

“Maybe we should hit the area around those trucks with a few mortar rounds,” Garrett said.

Yvonne fired her rifle, startling everybody, and the ground exploded about ten yards from the broken off-roader. “They didn’t hide that one very well. Saw it through my scope. Start looking at the ground with those binoculars.”

“These aren’t as strong as that rifle scope,” Sid said.

Sam stared down there. “Wish we had an M107.”

“Ji-Ho has one,” Sid said, “but it’s in his rig.”

“I need to move over that direction,” Yvonne said, pointing to the right. “Dirt looks disturbed in a spot over there.”

“Stay below the ridge,” Ted said. She nodded and moved over, getting into prone position again, looking through the rifle scope.

She put her finger near the trigger. “I think that’s one. Let’s see.” She fired, and the ground blew up, the concussion setting off another one a few feet away.

“Hell, they have a bunch of those damn things there,” Garrett said.

Sam stared through his binoculars. “The dirt is loose in several spots, which might be mines. I think we need to short-circuit this.”

Jules eyed him. “What, take chance? Pretty risky, no?”

Sam put down the binoculars and looked at him. “No, I think we ought to drive around the wreckage and find the tracks. No need to look inside the trucks. Hell, they’ll probably be booby trapped anyway.”

“Oh, I get. Yes, we should.”

“What’s wrong with hitting the area with mortars?” Ted asked. “We already know there will be tracks out of here. The folks who were in those trucks didn’t set the mines. We know somebody came by afterwards. Might have been those creeps that we blasted earlier.”

“I got an idea,” Garrett said, rushing over to the Jeep. He came back with his plains rifle. “If those busted trucks are booby trapped, maybe a few rounds with this .50 cal will set it off.”

Jules chuckled, shaking his head. “We need to get upwind of that, no?”

Garrett laughed as he loaded the large cartridge and aimed. He fired, the blast and smoke filling the air. “Damn, this thing kicks like a mule.”

“Didn’t work, partner,” Tex said. “That’s a beauty, though.”

“Want to give it a try?”

Tex chuckled. “Sure, why not?”

Garrett loaded another massive cartridge and handed the big weapon to Tex, who aimed and fired, the recoil taking him back a step.

“Holy crap,” he said, handing the gun back to Garrett and rubbing his shoulder.

“People used to fire these things all day long,” Garrett said. “Buffalo hunters.”

“Don’t get me started on that,” Sid cracked, raising a laugh from his friends.

“You got a point there, I guess,” Garrett said, reloading the gun. He fired again, and there was a massive explosion down below, pieces of truck flying high in the air. The off-roaders rode away as fast as they could as debris landed all over the valley.

Erica smiled. “Bingo.”

“Wow,” Shelly said.

“How much frigging explosive did they put in that damn thing?” Ted asked.

Jules smiled. “Enough to take many of us out if we were close.”

Tex nodded. “You got that right, partner.”

“I’m glad those off-roaders didn’t get hit,” Sam said. “Think we can go down there now?”

“I’d still steer way clear of that spot,” Ted said. “Damn mines will survive a lot more than you’d expect.”

“Let’s get going,” Sid said. “I’ve got a pretty good idea where to pick up the trail.”

“How, honey?” Yvonne asked.

“Staring through the binoculars.”


Doug, Conrad, and Jorge looked down at the devastation that the artillery attack left in it’s wake, all of them on the verge of tears.

Doug’s expression was grim. “We’d better go down there and help.”

“Yeah,” Jorge said. Conrad shook his head in agreement, too shook up to say anything.

“Wait, what’s that squeaking noise?” Doug asked. They all looked at the road in, which was still clogged with cars. A tank came into view, coming over the top of the small hill, next to the road. It was followed by more. By the time the three men got next to the road it was obvious there was a very long column. Meyers was sitting on top of the first tank. It slowed to a stop, and he jumped off. Conrad could tell by his expression that he knew what had just happened.

“So sorry about what happened to your men,” Conrad said.

“We should’ve seen that coming,” Meyers said. “How bad did we hurt them with the air strike?”

“Hard to tell,” Doug said. “The icons are still mostly there, but all that tells us is that their bodies haven’t been burned up.”

“I’ve been refreshing my app every couple minutes,” Jorge said. “Lots of them are still moving around.”

“Well, at least the artillery stopped,” Meyers said. “How many of the marines survived?”

“Don’t have a good number,” Conrad said, “but the losses are significant. Probably close to half.”

“Oh, God,” Meyers said, sitting down on a boulder, trying to keep it together.

“They hit the train several times,” Conrad said, “the last shot hit the artillery ammo before it was all unloaded. That caused a lot of the casualties.”

“Crap, so if that train was later, it wouldn’t have been as bad?” Meyers asked. “I worked really hard to rush that train over here with more artillery shells.”

“Don’t look at it that way,” Jorge said. “After our artillery started firing, the enemy guns slowed down a lot.”

“Yeah, we must have hit their artillery lines a few times,” Doug said. “No other explanation.”

“Well, that’s something, at least,” Meyers said. “We’re going in with the tanks. The US Navy and Marines have decided to ignore the international pressure and go over the border. Enough is enough.”

“Good,” Conrad said. “That’s what needs to happen at this point. I was glad to see those B-1s fly over us, let me tell you.”

Doug looked at the others. “That artillery attack was frightening as hell. I expected to get killed.”

“Yeah, dude, me too,” Jorge said. “So many died, and a lot of them were civilian fighters, not marines.”

“I know,” Meyers said. He turned to the tank. “Go on down and start lining up along the fence. I’ll let you know when we’re gonna move out.”

The tank commander nodded and rolled forward, the others following them across the road, heading towards the break in the wall towards the right.

“When are we going in?” Conrad asked.

“I ought to be getting a call pretty soon.” Meyers looked over at his officers, who were motioning him over. “I’d better go over there.”

“Yeah, go ahead,” Conrad said. “We’ll start working cleanup.”

“Hey, dude, they’re moving,” Jorge said, looking at his phone.

“Where?” Meyers asked.

“Looks like they’re on the way here.”

Meyers pulled his phone out and looked. “Yeah, they are. This is good, in a way. We can tell who’s dead.”

“Assuming some aren’t staying behind to get the artillery going again,” Conrad said.

“The flanks on the far right and far left are starting to move as well,” Doug said, staring at his phone. “We got enough people in those spots now?”

“They’re still arriving,” Meyers said. “Ivan’s recruitment team is back in business, and the citizens smell blood in the water. Of course there’s not enough road capacity for everyone to get there in time.”

“Doesn’t help that the train is blown up here,” Jorge said.

“Yeah, I need to go look at that after I get the tanks and the troops moving,” Meyers said. “Talk to you guys later.”

He walked to the men who were motioning to him a few moments before.

“What should we be doing?” Doug asked. “Body pick-up?”

“Well, somebody has to,” Conrad said. “Let’s go.”

The men got busy, helping the others around them with the nasty task as the tanks continued rolling across the road, going through several breaks in the border fence and parking right inside Mexico.


Anna and Mia were standing on the wooden sidewalk in front of the hotel with Sarah and Susanne.

“The area behind town is filling up,” Anna said, watching the flow of armed citizens coming down the street. “Saw it when I brought the wagon up from Garrett’s place.”

“Why are they all here?” Mia asked.

“They’re coming to help us in the war, honey,” Sarah said.

“Is the war going to be here?” Mia asked, eyes wide as she looked around.

Anna squatted down next to her. “No, we don’t think so.”

“But what if it does happen here?”

“Then you and I will hide where they can’t find us,” Anna said.

Mia looked down. “My mommy told me that before, but they found us anyway. When will my new mommy and daddy be back?”

“Soon,” Anna said. She stood, shooting a glance to Sarah and Susanne.

“Don’t you worry none, sweetie,” Susanne said. “We’ve got a lot of strong people here. It won’t be like what happened at your home.”

“I’ll feel a whole lot better when they get back,” Sarah whispered to Anna. “after hearing that explosion earlier.”

Anna put her finger to her lips, and Sarah nodded in response.

Elmer came across the street with Clem, having to slip through the heavy foot traffic.

“Wow,” Elmer said, getting next to Susanne and putting his arm around her waist.

“Don’t paw me right out on the sidewalk, you old coot,” she said, pushing him away. Sarah and Anna snickered. Mia looked on, not understanding.

“You look worried,” Clem said to Sarah. She shook her head no, nodding down at Mia, who was focused on two of Garrett’s men trying to direct traffic. The sound of a big diesel truck approached.

“Oh, crap,” Sarah whispered as she saw it come into view.

“Don’t worry, that’s the tire company,” Clem said. “Ivan and Ji-Ho were talking to them on the phone earlier. They’re gonna replace the tires on the battle wagons.”

“Did you guys hear from Garrett and the others?” Anna asked quietly.

“Not for a while,” Clem said, “but we did hear from them after the explosion you probably heard.”

“You didn’t hear it in the mine?” Sarah asked. “It was loud.”

Elmer laughed. “If you’re not near the opening, it’s hard to hear much of anything down there.”

“That’s a fact,” Susanne said. “One of the things I liked about it down there.”

“We got your storage rooms wired, honey,” Elmer said.

“Do it right this time?” Susanne asked. “And stop with the honey stuff.”

Elmer shot a grin at the others, then looked back at Susanne. “Okay, honey.”

Chet laughed loud, then covered his mouth. “Sorry.”

Susanne shook her head, rolling her eyes at the same time. “I suppose you won’t shut up about it till I go look. Let’s go.”

The couple started across the street, Elmer’s arm going around her waist again, Susanne smacking it away. He turned back to Clem and grinned.

“Those two are a riot,” Sarah said.

“Susanne’s not fooling me a bit,” Anna said. “She worships that man.”

“Yeah, that’s the impression I get too, now that I’ve been around them more.”

“What was that explosion?” Anna asked.

Chet smiled. “Garrett and that big buffalo gun of his.”

“It’s not that loud,” Anna said.

“They found those blown-up trucks way out in the BLM land, and figured they were booby-trapped. Garrett got the idea to hit it with that big .50 cal. Took three or four shots, then kaboom.”

“Did they run into any bad guys back there?” Anna asked. Clem started to talk, but Sarah touched his arm and nodded down at Mia, who was listening.

“Nothing bad,” Clem said. “They’re just following tire tracks now. They’ll be back before too long.”

Ji-Ho emerged from the mine with Sparky, Ed, and a few others, making their way to the tire company truck.

“I’d probably better get back to work,” Clem said. “Still got to finish wiring up that room for the intel team.”

“I’m hungry,” Mia said.

“There’s some food in the hotel kitchen,” Sarah said. “C’mon, I’ll make us something to eat.” She turned and went into the hotel door, Anna and Mia following.

“Sit at the table, honey,” Sarah said as she was going to the walk-in fridge. “You like tuna sandwiches?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Good, because Clem made some tuna salad last night.” She disappeared into the walk-in for a moment, coming out with a container of tuna salad and the mayo.

“I know where the bread is,” Anna said, opening a drawer under the counter and pulling out a loaf. She looked at Sarah as she opened it and grabbed three plates from the cupboard above the counter. “So, what’s the story with you and Clem?”

Sarah smiled. “News travels fast, I guess.”

“You two together?”

“Kinda, but nothing serious,” Sarah said as she made the sandwiches. “We’re a comfort to each other.”


Sarah’s face turned red, and she nodded.

“Sorry,” Anna said. “Not trying to embarrass you.”

“Oh, it’s okay, really,” Sarah said. “I figure as long as we’re both enjoying each other, what’s the harm?”

“That’s how I feel about Garrett,” Anna said.

“Is that how Garrett feels?”

Anna sighed. “He’d marry me if I gave him half the chance.”

“You don’t want that?”

“Been there, done that,” Anna said. “Still, he’s the best man I’ve had in years. I certainly could do a lot worse. We’ll see what happens after this damn war is over.”

“Well, you’re still young enough. Clem and I are quite a bit older.”

“True, but our circumstances aren’t all that different.”

Sarah nodded in agreement as she put a sandwich plate in front of Mia. “Here you go, honey.”

“Thank you,” Mia said, picking it up and taking a bite. Sarah and Anna stood at the counter and ate their sandwiches, silent for a few moments.

“You’re pretty worried about Garrett being out there.”

She nodded, setting her sandwich down. “That’s the hard thing.”

“You’re in love with him, aren’t you?” Sarah asked.

She looked down at the counter for a moment, then looked back at her, tears welling in her eyes. “Dammit.”

“Strike a nerve?”

“I’ve been trying to keep myself from falling for him,” Anna said. “Not working so well.”

“It’s a nice thing,” Sarah said, “and he’s a good man. Maybe you should just enjoy it for now, and let the future take care of itself.”

There was a low rumble approaching, shaking the ground beneath the building. The two women eyed each other.

“What’s that?” Mia asked.

“Stay here,” Sarah said to her as she ran out to the front. She could see armored vehicles rolling into the large pasture in front of the town. Ji-Ho was talking to somebody on top of one of them, as others filled in the open space rapidly. Sarah went back to the kitchen.

“Well?” Anna asked.

“Military vehicles,” Sarah said. “Tanks or something. I don’t know much about those.”

“Friendly, I hope?”

“Appears so,” she said. “Ji-Ho was welcoming them in.”

“Is it okay?” Mia asked.

“Yes, honey, it’s good guys,” Sarah said. She went back to her sandwich.

There was more commotion outside. The sounds of people talking as they walked past the hotel. Clem rushed in.

“What’s happening?” Anna asked.

“Ivan and Ed want women and children in the mine,” he said quietly, trying not to alarm Mia.

“Are we about to be attacked?” Sarah whispered.

“No, but we’re invading Mexico. That’s why all the tanks, armored personnel carriers, and troop transport trucks showed up. They’re beefy enough to get around the clogged roads.”

“What about Garrett and the others in the back country?” Anna asked.

Clem shot her a glance. “Let’s get into the mine, and then we’ll call them, okay?”

“Is there a fridge down there?” Sarah asked.

“Yeah, as a matter of fact. It’s not huge, but it was nearly empty last I looked.”

“Good, then let’s carry the food from the walk-in down there,” Sarah said.

“Good idea,” Clem said. “I saw some boxes out the back door. Be right back.”

They got the food boxed up in a matter of minutes, and headed across the street to the mine.

To be continued…


Bug Out! Texas Book 11 is available now in e-book and paperback.


Book 5 of the Bug Out! California saga has been published. It’s available in both e-book and paperback!


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


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


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


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


Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 160 – Dirty Trucks

Sam and the rest were pinned down behind the ridge, gunfire coming at them every few moments. They raised to return fire.

“They run us out of ammo while they come around ridge on right hand side,” Jules said, watching as Ted and Sid got out the mortars. “Mortars not solve. Most probably gone from that area.”

Ted set down his mortar and rushed over to Sam, Erica, and Tex as Jules looked on.

“How long until those off-roaders get here?” Ted asked.

Garrett looked away from the ridge. “Ten minutes, maybe fifteen or twenty.”

“We might be dead by then, partner,” Tex said. “Time to become a little more proactive.”

“Hey, recruit,” Ted said, looking at Sam. “What does this remind you of?”

“That bad spot we got ourselves out of in Afghanistan,” Sam said. “Was just thinking about that. You ready?”

“Ready for what?” Erica asked.

“We’re gonna go ambush the ambushers,” Ted said.

Tex grinned. “I’m in.”

Jules held up his hands. “Wait. Think through. We have several resources. Need to use perfectly.”

“I’m listening,” Ted said.

“Sid and I get mortars set up, hit first area, then move to right quickly. Most of force probably there. Who best sniper here?”

“That’d be Yvonne,” Sid said.

“I’ve got my sniper rifle in the Jeep,” she said. “You want me to watch for movement and pick them off, right?”

“Yes, they eyes and ears for force coming at us,” Jules said. “Make them think we all here focused on them.”

“I get it, partner,” Tex said. “Meanwhile those of us good at running warfare use our special forces training. Head them off and pin them down. Hopefully that’ll work long enough for the off-roaders to get here.”

“Exactly,” Jules said. “Ted, Sam, Tex go.”

“I’m going too,” Erica said.

Jules looked at Sam. “She good enough?”

“She’s at least as good as I am,” Sam said. “Maybe better. She trained Kaitlyn.”

“Good enough for me. Go. Clock running.”

Sam nodded, pulling his M60 off the ridge. Erica checked the magazine in her AK-47, while the others checked their weapons – Tex with his BAR and Ted with another M60, his M4 slung over his shoulder.

“I’m gonna go grab a couple more ammo belts,” Sam said, rushing back to his Jeep, returning with them around his neck. “Let’s go.”

Jules watched them scurry off to the right, along the ridge, dropping down out of sight quickly.

“What do I do?” Shelly asked.

“Cover us, and every minute or two, send a short blip of fire from your M4 into those trees. Different target every time. Make them think more than one shooter. I join in between mortar salvos.”

Yvonne’s sniper rifle went off, and they could see a UN Peacekeeper in camo falling out of a tree.

“Nice shot,” Sid said, as he dropped a mortar round into the tube. “Fire in the hole.”

The round came down right behind the trees. Yvonne smiled and fired three rounds as quickly as she could work the bolt on her Winchester Model 70, dropping two with the three shots. Then Jules fired off his mortar, to the right side, the blast sending two UN Peacekeepers rolling down the hill, both Yvonne and Shelly firing at those they could see. Garrett got up with his Winchester and fired several times, the black powder rising above them.

“Wow, I hit somebody,” Shelly whispered.

“You okay?” Jules asked, mortar round in his hand above the tube.

“More than okay,” she said. “This is payback.”

Jules chuckled and dropped another mortar round, hitting a little further to the right again, Sid dropping one seconds later, the whoosh of flame spreading around one part of the trees.

“Sure it’s a good idea to be using that black powder gun?” Sid asked Garrett. “It kinda gives away our position.”

Jules laughed. “In this case, good. Move around with that. Make it look like there more than one.”

“Just what I had in mind,” Garrett said, rushing twenty yards to the left and firing again.


Ted, Sam, Erica, and Tex fanned out as they got into the wooded section below the ridge, using hand signals to point out positions, moving silently, their eyes scanning. Sam was worried about Erica in the back of his mind, not because he didn’t think she was up to it, but because no matter how good you were at this kind of warfare, bad things can happen. Sam had the scars to prove it.

Tex froze, slipping behind some bushes, then getting into prone position, dropping the bipod on his BAR, glancing back at the others, holding up his hand, five fingers up. The others nodded back at him, getting into cover positions, watching silently as the UN commando team headed in their direction, using the same training they had. There was a clear shot for one, Tex having a bead on him, but holding up his hand in a hold your fire manner, waiting as two more of the five also came into view. Erica raised her hand with two fingers, her AK pointed in a different direction.

Tex nodded, opening fire, the others joining in, hitting four of the five, the survivor screaming and running back to the bushes he came out of. They watched silently, the sounds of gunfire and mortar rounds drifting over to them. Sam got up, running in a crouch to the next clump of cover, getting down and listening as the others rushed forward. The mortar fire and rifle shots intensified, the sound of a black powder rifle piercing the air, the sulphur smell drifting towards them. Sam grinned, glancing at Tex, who was focused on the clump of bushes past an open section. He held up his hand and pointed with three fingers. Sam nodded, then saw Erica gracefully rush past him in the brush, eyes focused, gun at the ready, bobbing and weaving, hitting the dirt as a shot rang out in front of her, bullets hitting a tree, bark flying in all directions. Her AK went off, and a person yelled. There was rustling in the brush and Tex fired his BAR, dropping one man. Sam saw three more, rushing towards the spot Erica was, and opening fire with the M60, cutting them down before they got thirty yards. Erica was firing again, at two men who’d frozen behind the three Sam had shot, both hitting the ground dead.

There was more rustling in the brush in front of them, but it was moving away, not moving forward. Ted bounded ahead on the far left, firing his M60 as he went, the UN Peacekeepers yelling and pouring on the speed, Erica up and running now, much faster than Ted, her AK going off every few seconds. Tex and Sam got up and ran in that direction, and then a salvo of fire came at them and they all got behind cover. Tex climbed forward on his belly, looking at the terrain ahead, then shaking his head and holding up ten fingers, flashing them twice, half a grin on his face. Ted rose for a moment and threw something, and then the forest ahead of them exploded, gunfire starting again as Ted hit the dirt, grabbing his M60 and firing into the trees. Erica was up and running again, dodging bullets as she fired, going from tree to tree. Sam saw several Peacekeepers rushing her position and nailed them with the M60, and then there was silence for a moment. Ted and Tex moved forward again, watching silently as Sam moved closer to Erica, who was on point now.

Another volley of fire went off, hitting the trees above their heads, pinning them down. Tex looked forward and grinned, holding up five fingers, then putting the BAR in front of him and firing, a man screaming as he fell into view, only to be hit in the face by Erica’s AK. Ted chucked another grenade, which hit the dirt and rolled into the bushes, a German man yelling in panic before it went off. Three men rushed out of the bushes, right into Tex’s sight, and he cut them down, then paused to reload his magazine with 30-06 ammo. There was no more noise now, other than the sporadic gunfire and mortar rounds coming from Jules and the others. Sam rushed to Erica, diving onto the dirt next to her.

“Nice job,” he whispered.

She nodded, smiling, turning her eyes forward and listening again, making eye contact and holding up three fingers, then nodding towards Ted and Tex. Sam relayed the message and followed Erica forward, around the right side of the wooded ridge. They could hear men running with equipment, but they were fleeing, not coming towards them. Erica stopped behind a tree and fired, Ted joining her from the other side as the Peacekeepers tried hiding behind a boulder to escape Erica’s fire. They were dead in seconds, Erica racing forward again, Sam trying to keep up behind her. The wooded section ended for about fifty yards, Erica trying to shoot a handful of Peacekeepers making for the cover, only hitting two. Ted fired from the other side, dropping two more, leaving one who got to the cover in time. They could hear him breaking through tight branches as he struggled to get away. Then that section of forest exploded in flames, hit by a willie peter round from one of the mortars. Sam froze and sent a text to Jules and the others, telling them not to move any further to the right with mortar fire. He got a confirmation quickly. The group got together behind the trees, all of them trying to catch their breath.

“That was kinda fun,” Erica said, wiping the sweat off her forehead.

“You are a hell of a fighter,” Ted said, smiling at her.

“Seriously,” Tex said. “I’m impressed.”

The wooded section a little further to the left went up in flames with a whoosh, and it spread towards the original position, joining quickly with the flames started with the earlier willie peter round.

“Damn, hope this doesn’t turn into a big brush fire,” Ted said. “You know how dry it is.”

“Maybe we should join the others and keep going,” Sam said.

Tex shook his head. “I think we ought to walk around the back side of that ridge first, partner.”

“He’s right,” Erica said. “We’ve got to drive those Jeeps right down through that valley. If there’s more UN thugs past that ridge, they’ll pin us down.”

They were getting ready to walk towards the burning cover ahead of them when they heard the raspy snarl of many off-roaders approaching.

Tex chuckled. “I don’t think we have to do that job after all. Look. They’re going right through the valley now.”

The rest moved closer and looked, watching about twenty of the off-roaders flying down the hill from the original position, heading for the crest of the hill into the next valley.

“Good, let’s just sit here and wait until they get on the other side,” Ted said. “We’ll hear if they run into anybody. If they don’t, we should go back to the Jeeps and keep going.”

“Yeah, sounds good,” Sam said, watching as the first of the off-roaders climbed the fire road, disappearing over the crest of the ridge, followed by several others. There was no gunfire. A moment later all their phones dinged with a text.

“It’s clear,” Tex said, looking at his screen. “Let’s get going.”

They headed back for the Jeeps. Jules and the others had the guns and mortars loaded before they got there, and they took off, following the off-roaders into the next valley.


“So what do we do, just call the number?” Morgan asked, sitting next to Robbie in the cool dark earthen room.

“I guess,” Robbie said. “Let’s think about this. We need a story.”

“A story?”

“Yeah, we can’t just call and ask if they’ve been renting trucks to UN Peacekeepers, can we?”

Morgan giggled. “I guess you have a point there.”

Robbie sat silently for a moment, staring at his laptop screen, which at this point could’ve been a window. He sighed and picked up the pen, rolling it till he could see the phone number, then picked up his cellphone and tapped in the number. He put it on speaker, and put his finger to his lips, Morgan nodding.

“Smiley’s Rental Yard,” said an old-sounding, rather gruff voice. This is Jimmy.”

“It’s not Smiley?”

The old man laughed, turning into a coughing fit. “Sorry. Smiley was my father.”

“Oh,” Robbie said. “What time do you guys open?”

“We’ve been open since six. What can I do for you?”

“I’m looking for a moving truck,” Robbie said. “My fiancé and I are moving into a new place.”

“We only got small ones available. The three large ones we have are rented most of the time. Usually a day or more ahead.”

“How small are the ones you have?” Robbie asked.

“Slightly larger than a van,” he said. “Two. Okay for moving if you only have a little stuff. Got plenty of open trailers that have a lot more room in them.”

“Not going to work,” Robbie said. “Got nothing to tow with.”

“No car, in California?”

Robbie snickered. “Any of your trailers work with a Toyota Yaris?”

The man chuckled. “Okay, I see your point. No, you don’t want to be towing one of these with those kiddie-cars. No offense.”

“None taken. How about tomorrow? Got any of the larger trucks available then?”

“Maybe, if they come back in time, and in a usable condition,” Jimmy said, his voice flaring with anger. “Jerks left a bunch of blood in the back last night, and dirt too.”

“Uh oh,” Robbie said. “Sounds like you don’t want to be renting to those folks. You gave them the trucks again after that?”

“Normally I would’ve called the cops about it, and stopped renting to them,” Jimmy said. “Can’t do that here. Damn worthless sheriff won’t listen. Says they’re using them for official business, and if I know what’s good for me, I’d better keep my mouth shut tighter than a drum.”

“Any other yards around that have large moving trucks?” Robbie asked. “I got a lot of stuff, and my girl has more.”

“The others closed up shop, at least the others in El Cajon. Maybe some in San Diego, but nobody likes to deal with those damn check-points.”


“The damn Navy. They think they’ve been given control. I got property in there and they won’t let me in.”


“Two of my vans and a pickup truck got caught back there when all hell broke loose. I have an address, but they won’t let me in to fetch them.”

“Oh,” Robbie said, glancing at Morgan. “They the ones who’ve been renting your trucks?”

He snickered. “I wish. The sheriff told me not to ask questions, but I think these are the worst form of scum we have around here now.”

“I don’t follow.”

“They got French and Italian accents. You can put two and two together, can’t ya, friend?”


Jimmy sighed. “I think it’s the damn UN. They’re mostly in hiding after the uprisings, but they’re still around. Bad things still happening.”

“Bad things?”

“You know. Women and girls disappearing, their men found gutted someplace. Real pigs. Hate them all.”

Robbie was silent for a moment.

“You don’t take offence, I hope,” Jimmy said. “You don’t like them, do you?”

“No, I don’t like them one bit,” Robbie said. “What if we came real early in the morning, day after tomorrow?”

“I’ll tell you what,” Jimmy said, “I’ll open for you at 5:30 and let you have one, if you don’t mind taking your chances a little bit.”


“They might not be cleaned out as well as usual. If there’s blood or anything like that, I’ll hose it out the night before.”

“What about my stuff? You got pads or something that I can put on the floor to keep my furniture and boxes clean?”

“Yeah, we got plenty of pads, but I suggest you use boxes on the floor instead. I’ll give you enough free of charge. Don’t put them together, just lay them on the floor… you get it?”

“Yeah, I get it,” Robbie said. “Thanks. What’s your address?”

“You don’t see it on the web page?”

“No, I got your number off a ballpoint pen that a buddy gave me,” Robbie said.

Jimmy laughed. “Well I’ll be damned.”

“What’s so funny?”

“My brother-in-law talked me into buying those pens a few years ago. I think you’re the first customer I’ve ever gotten from one.” He read off the address.

“Well, I’m glad I found you guys. Thanks for your time. I’ll be there at 5:30 sharp, day after tomorrow.”

“This number good to reach you?” Jimmy asked.

“Yep,” Robbie said. “See you soon.” He ended the call.

“What good is going down there gonna do for us?” Morgan asked.

“I think we’ll be sending a team down there tomorrow morning,” Robbie said. “Stake the place out. Maybe hang out all day. Follow them home.”

“Oh, I get it,” Morgan said. “You aren’t going, I hope?”

“Nah, I think this is a job for our folks with special forces experience.”

Morgan looked relieved. “Good.”

Seth came around the corner with Kaitlyn and Ben, carrying their laptops. “Mind if we join you in here for a while?”

“Sure, no problem,” Robbie said. “What’s going on?”

“Elmer, Willard, and Clem are gonna install lights and some more ethernet lines in there,” Ben said. “They’ll be doing this section next, so we’ll all have to move back out there in a couple hours.”

“Progress,” Morgan said.

As they were setting up, Ivan walked in with Ji-Ho.

“Hey, guys, how’s it going?” Ivan asked.

“Glad you’re here,” Robbie said. “Just had a conversation with that rental yard.”

“Oh, the pen,” Ivan said. “Jules texted me about that. What happened?”

Robbie told them the story.

Ivan and Ji-Ho sat silently for a moment, thinking. Robbie shot Morgan a nervous glance.

“Hey, boss, this sounds like a job for your hit squad,” Ben said.

“Hit squad?” Morgan asked.

“Mr. White and Mr. Black,” Ben said.

Ivan looked at him and smiled. “Exactly what I was thinking, but not sure if I can get them here tomorrow.”

“We probably want them there later in the day anyway,” Kaitlyn said. “We want to follow them home, right? Won’t they be going home after they drop the trucks off?”

Ji-Ho nodded. “That right.”

Ivan chuckled. “Yes, that’s right. It was what I was thinking, but Mr. White and Mr. Black are in the middle of an operation that won’t be over until very late tonight.”

“Oh,” Kaitlyn said.

“I’ve got to go make some calls,” Ivan said, walking towards the passage way. He turned before he was out of sight. “Nice job, Robbie.”

Robbie nodded, watching him disappear.

To be continued…


For those of you following Bug Out! Texas, Book 10 has just been published. You can find it here.


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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 159 – The Kiln

Sid and the others walked through the front gate, heading back to Dodge City from the road.

“Kind of a long walk,” Yvonne said.

“I need the exercise,” Shelly said.

Ted got next to Sid and Sam. “We should take that ballpoint pen down to the intelligence team. Let Robbie investigate it. They’re working in the mine, right?”

“Yeah,” Sam said. “Don’t know if they’re down there yet, though. It’s not even eight.”

“Worth a try,” Ted said.

“I’m pretty sure they’re down there already,” Garrett said.

They continued through the front area, littered by debris and parked battle wagons. They got into town, the mine opening about a block in.

“Shall we?” Sid asked.

“Yeah,” Ted said. “Wait here for a second, folks.”

“What’s going on?” Jules asked.

“We’re gonna get Robbie working on the rental yard,” Sam said.

Jules smiled. “Oh, that’s what you were talking about. Good idea.”

Sid, Ted, Garrett, and Sam walked into the mine shaft, it’s ceiling lined with dim electric lights, the floor rough with rocks and dirt.

“Wow, gets cooler down here in a hurry,” Sid said.

“That’s why my sister liked working in here,” Garrett said.

“I thought it was to protect the operation,” Ted said.

Garrett nodded. “Well, that was part of it too.”

They arrived at the opening to the intelligence room. Seth and Kaitlyn were right inside the door, staring at their laptop screens in the dark room.

“Robbie here yet?” Ted asked.

“Yeah, he and Morgan are back there, around the corner,” Seth said.

They walked into that side of the room.

“Hey, guys,” Robbie said, smiling as they walked up.

“Good morning,” Ted said.

Morgan smiled, nodding at them, then taking a sip of coffee out of a paper cup.

“What can we do for you?” Robbie asked.

Sid took the pen out of his pocket. “Found this out front, near the spot where the UN Peacekeepers were parked.” He handed it to Robbie, who looked at it, holding it below a desk lamp next to his laptop.

“You think the UN rented the trucks from here,” Robbie said. “Want us to check on it, don’t you?”

“Yes, but be discreet,” Ted said. “Sid saw tracks from three delivery trucks – with dual tires in the back. Probably moving trucks. See what you can find out.”

“Okay, I’ll get on that right away,” Robbie said.

“Thanks,” Sid said. “We’re going out to the back forty in case anybody asks.

“Be careful out there,” Morgan said.

“We will,” Sid said.

Ted nodded. “See you later, kid.”

They left the room, heading back up the mine shaft. Clem and Elmer were walking down.

“Morning,” Clem said. “What’s up?”

“Found something we wanted Robbie to check out,” Sid said.

Clem smiled. “From out front?”

“Yep. See you guys later.”

The men got back to the road, the women there with cups of coffee for them.

“Oh, excellent,” Ted said. “Thanks!”

They walked down the middle of the street, headed past the livery stable, stopping at the row of Jeeps.

“Here we go,” Sam said. He and Erica got into the first Jeep with Garrett, Sid and Yvonne getting into the second, Jules, Shelly, Tex, and Ted into the third. They rolled across the pasture, then through the tight pass which led to the back country.


Conrad woke up too late, cursing himself. He left his tent, heading for the ridge with his binoculars and phone. Jorge and Doug were already up there, dug in, looking at their phones.

“About time you got up,” Jorge said, smiling at Conrad. “The enemy fighters on either end are starting to move.”

“Very slowly, though,” Doug said.

“No movement down the middle?” Conrad asked.

“Not that we can see so far, Jorge said, “but there are more forces joining them. They’re about a day’s walk away, though.”

“Maybe that’s why they stopped for a while,” Conrad said. “How many?”

“Several hundred,” Doug said.

Conrad raised the binoculars to his eyes. “That’s not very many in the grand scheme of things.”

“Nope,” Doug said. “Where’s Meyers?”

“Haven’t seen him yet today.” Conrad put down the binoculars. “Way too far away to see yet.”

“They aren’t quite a day’s walk, though,” Doug said. “Maybe it’s good that the other group is coming. If the main group waits, it’ll buy us more time.”

“They might be trying to encircle us,” Conrad said, “since the ends are moving. He looked at his phone app, his brow furrowed.

“Don’t like the look of that?” Jorge asked.

Conrad shook his head no. “Wonder where Meyers is?”

“He’s probably working on placement of the Marines along the train tracks,” Doug said.

Jorge shrugged. “I thought he might be on one or the other end areas, since we haven’t seen him this morning.”

“How many people they have there now?” Doug asked.

Conrad continued looking at his phone, but glanced up for a second. “More people than we have here, but they’re all citizens.”

There was a low rumble coming towards the area.

Jorge stood and looked to the west. “Another freight train coming in.”

“They’ll have a hard time stuffing more troops in this area,” Doug said.

Conrad stood, taking a look with the binoculars. “Not all boxcars. Looks like they’re bringing more shells for the artillery.”

“Good,” Doug said. “About time. Can’t believe they ran out and had to wait more than a day.”

“I don’t miss the noise,” Jorge said. “The earplugs don’t block all of it.”

“It’s the concussion.” Conrad took the binoculars away from his eyes. “I wish they could use air power on these folks before they cross the border.”

“You look worried,” Doug said.

Jorge nodded. “Yeah. What’s up?”

“That new group. They’re slowing down, and moving wider. It’s hard to catch if you don’t keep refreshing the app.”

“What do you think they’re doing?”

“Can’t tell,” Conrad said. “Wish we had some drones in the air, or some good satellite shots.”

Doug was silent for a moment, thinking. Then he stood, looking at Conrad. “Tell Meyers to target that new group with the artillery.”

“Why?” Jorge asked.

“Dammit,” Conrad said. “Yeah, Doug, they might be bringing their own artillery up.” He picked up his phone and made a call, listening to the rings. Then he spoke into it quietly, and stuck the phone back in his pocket.

“Left a message?” Doug asked.

“Yeah,” Conrad said. “I’m gonna go meet the train and talk to the gunnery guys.”

“Mind if we come along?” Doug asked.

“Hell no,” Conrad said, starting his climb off the ridge.

Doug looked at Jorge. “You coming?”

“Nah, I think I’ll hang out here,” he said.

Doug nodded and joined Conrad. They made it to the flat ground just as the train was pulling to a stop. The gunnery team was already there, with wagons to drag the artillery shells to the guns.

“You heard from Meyers this morning?” Conrad asked the man supervising the unloading of shells.

“No sir,” he said. “Conrad, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah. Been watching that new group, coming up behind the main group in the center?”

“Not for about an hour,” he said. “Why?”

“They’ve stopped moving forward, and they’re fanning out,” Conrad said, pulling his phone out. He showed him the screen.

“What do you think that means?”

Conrad looked him in the eye. “Maybe they’re bringing up artillery of their own.”

The man shot him a worried look. “You might be right.”

“Maybe they should be the target, when you guys get ready to fire.”

“Yeah, maybe so,” he said. “Thanks. I’m gonna go talk to the crews.”

He rushed away.

“Wonder how long it’ll take them to get those guns ready to go again?” Doug asked.

Conrad smiled. “Minutes. Better go get our earplugs. Left mine in the tent.”

“Me too,” Doug said. They headed back towards the ridge, their tents behind there about sixty yards.

They could hear the train move forward and boxcar doors opening.

“More troops?” Conrad asked.

“Holy crap,” Doug said, looking back. “They’re unloading a bunch of off-roaders with guns.”

Conrad turned around. “What?”

“Look, man,” Doug said, pointing.

“That looks like what Ivan’s got now. Look, they’ve got small turrets mounted on the roll cages.”

Doug snickered. “Wonder if we’re taking them through the gate?”

Suddenly there was a whistle in the air.

“Dammit, hit the dirt!” Conrad shouted, diving to the ground. A shell landed about fifty yards to their left, taking out a group of men who had been dug in.

“Son of a bitch!” Doug shouted. “C’mon!”

They ran towards the ridge, Jorge watching them with eyes wide as another shell flew in, blowing up just to the left of the first one, catching some fleeing men off-guard, pieces of them flying through the air.

“How the hell did they get those there without roads?” Jorge yelled as they approached. Another shell hit, fifty yards left of the first two, but then the gunnery team fired several guns at once, the blast almost deafening.

“Finally!” Conrad yelled, still trying to get to his tent, Doug in hot pursuit, Jorge joining them now, holding his hands over his ears as another salvo went off. Then there was whistling again, and a shell landed about sixty yards behind the artillery line, taking out a bunch of tents.

“Hope those were empty, dude,” Jorge said as they reached their tents, getting their earplugs in as more shots were fired from the artillery line.

“Shouldn’t this be enough to warrant air power going down there?” Doug shouted over the noise. “They’re firing on California.”

There was a huge explosion to the east, hitting the train mid-section, throwing metal into the air, much of it coming down on dug-in Marines.

“Dammit!” Conrad yelled.

The artillery line ramped up their firing, a round being fired once every ten seconds now, as the enemy rounds started slowing down.

“Maybe we hit some of their guns,” Jorge said.

“We can see them better than they can see us,” Conrad said, “and we’ve probably got better guns to boot.”

Another round blew up, almost on top of where the first one was, flinging broken train debris all over the area as men screamed and ran for cover.

“That’s getting pretty damn close to the artillery line,” Jorge yelled.

“Too close,” Conrad shouted back at him. They heard whistling again, in between the rounds being fired, two shells coming down dead center in front of the highway, touching off the back row of Claymore mines.

“What a waste,” Jorge said. The gunnery line was firing even faster now, a round every couple of seconds, as other men raced to help the gunnery team grab more rounds off the back end of the train, going wide to avoid the destroyed front half.

“Maybe we ought to go help with that,” Doug shouted.

“We’ll never get down there in time,” Conrad said.

Just as that left Conrad’s lips, an enemy shell landed on the back end of the train, setting off the remaining artillery shells.

“Get down!” Doug shouted, all of them hitting the dirt.

They waited, heads down, as dirt, metal, and body parts rained down around them.

“Crap, we’re in big trouble,” Conrad said, watching the carnage below them, as the artillery continued to fire at a slower rate. “They’ll be out of shells soon.”

“What are we gonna do?” Jorge said.

They were startled by low flying planes coming in from the north, the blast from their jets getting past the earplugs like they weren’t even there.

“Whoa,” Conrad yelled, standing up and cheering.

“Is that the navy?” Jorge asked.

“Air Force,” Conrad shouted, grinning at him. Those are B-1 Bombers.”  Several more flew over their head, and a mere minute later they could see explosions in the distance, the sound taking some time to get to them.

“Glad we’re not there,” Jorge said, watching the smoke coming up. The artillery fire stopped.

“Looks like that got them,” Doug said.

Conrad stood up, looking at the devastation below them. “My God, they killed at least half of our Marines.”


The three Jeeps rolled up to the first semi-truck, on its side and burned badly. Charred bodies lay around the wreckage.

“There was supposed to be about 400 bodies here, but only half that show on the apps,” Ted said, walking with his phone out. “Guess it doesn’t take that much heat to disable these RFID chips.”

“Let’s just take a closer look, okay?” Sam said, walking over to three bodies lying together in a heap, half burned. He checked their forearms. “Skin got hot enough to cook on these guys.”

“What were you expecting to find?” Erica asked.

“This, or scars where the RFID chips had been removed.”

“Let’s dig them out, just in case,” Sid said.

“Eeewww,” Yvonne said, shooting a glance at Shelly.

“No, we need to know,” Shelly said.

Sid nodded and pulled out his hunting knife, cutting in the spot they’d been told was the implant zone, finding chips in each.

“They got hot enough to warp the plastic,” Sam said, taking a close look. “Let’s check the rest, okay?”

“Hey, guys,” Ted said, standing behind one of the semi-trailers. “We set something off inside this one. Made this damn thing into a kiln, and the lead made things worse.”

Sam and Tex walked over and took a look.

“Oh, man, they’re melted,” Sam said, holding his nose. Erica was on her way over, but he motioned for her to back up. “You don’t need to see this.”

“I’m not cutting into that mess,” Sid said.

“I don’t think we need to do after all,” Jules said, looking at the melted bodies from behind the others. “That enough to explain.”

“Some kind of ordinance went off inside there, partner,” Tex said. “How about the other one?” He walked over to it, then looked back and shouted. “Only a few shot up fighters here.”

“The other bodies are strewn all over the place,” Shelly said. “You guys just shoot them from the ridge over there?”

Sid chuckled. “Most of it was those damn off-roaders with the microguns.”

“Yeah, those are very effective,” Sam said. “We ought to tell the army about this when the war is over. They might reconsider that system.”

“Seriously,” Jules said.

“So we should keep going, right?” Shelly asked.

“Yeah, let’s follow the tracks from this rig,” Sid said. “I’ll lead the way. Back to the Jeeps.”

Everybody got into their vehicles and took off again, driving past the carnage.

“Hard to believe how many men they snuck in here,” Yvonne said, “and they were all dead in an instant.”

“I was wondering how we made such short work of them. Didn’t know something blew up inside that trailer. That was about half of them in one shot.”

Yvonne shook her head. “Bad way to go.”

“You said a mouthful there,” Sid said. “That didn’t blow up… it burned. The heat probably killed them before the smoke got a chance.”

He slowed down as they crested the hill, looking down at the road below, with the gravel dumped into the creek bed.

“Oh, that’s what they did with the gravel,” Yvonne said.

“We’re damn lucky they did. That’s how we noticed the problem.”

“I know,” Yvonne said. “Battles can turn on the smallest of details.”

Sid nodded as they drove down the road, crossing the gravel, then speeding up the next grade, slowing down again before the crest.

“You afraid somebody’s going to be on the other side?” Yvonne asked.

“Damn straight.” He inched forward until he could see. It was clear sailing for a while, nobody in sight, no good cover or ridges for the enemy to hide themselves.

“What’s that on the ground over there?” Yvonne asked.

Sid strained his eyes, then smiled. “That’s the drone that we shot down. We need to grab that. Text the others, okay?”

Yvonne nodded and picked up her phone as Sid left the road, heading for the broken drone. He got out and rushed to it, picking it up gingerly. The other two Jeeps pulled up next to him.

“Oh, yeah, forgot about that thing,” Sam said from the driver’s seat of his Jeep.

“Yvonne saw it,” Sid said, setting it into the back of the Jeep. “Wonder if it’s got any image storage, or if it’s all Wi-Fi going elsewhere?”

“I suggest we let Clem look at it,” Sam said.

Sid nodded in agreement. He got back into the Jeep and drove forward, back to the road, the others following.

“What’s the range on these things?” Yvonne asked.

“I have no idea, but we know the other two semis were close. Probably just over that next ridge. It’ll be interesting to see how far they got before the planes blew them up.”

“Are we sure they got blown up?”

Sid nodded yes. “Pilots told Ivan’s folks.”

“Oh,” Yvonne said, looking around. “There might be survivors on the ground who can shoot. Or worse, others here to rescue them.”

“That’s why we brought the weapons,” Sid said. “I’d be surprised, though.”


“They’re already on the run, and they lost this battle in a big way. It’d be throwing good men after bad.”

“They’re Europeans, mostly,” Yvonne said. “They might place some importance on rescue of their own.”

“Let’s not assume they have that kind of integrity,” Sid said.

“We should be cautious anyway.”

“That’s why I’m slowing down before we crest each hill,” Sid said, grinning at her. “Speaking of which.” He slowed down as they got to the next crest, inching up till he could see over. “Clear again, but there are some trees off to the right that could hide enemy fighters.” He started down slowly, and then their phones dinged with a text.

“Who is it?”

“Garrett,” she said, turning towards him. “Stop and back up past the ridge again.”

Sid shrugged and turned the Jeep around, racing back up the hill and over. Sam and Garrett were lying next to each other on the dirt, just over the ridge.

“Sorry, guys,” Garrett said. “I probably should be running neck and neck with you. I know this terrain better. That line of trees goes for a long way, deep into the BLM land. Good way for somebody to bring up an ambush.”

“Now you tell us,” Sid said, a silly grin on his face. “So what now?”

“I thought I saw something,” Sam said, lowering his binoculars. “Movement. Might be a deer or something.”

“Any chance that friendlies could be in those trees?” Ted asked.

“Doubtful,” Garrett said. “There’s nothing to draw people for miles.”

“Unless they want to set a trap,” Tex said.

“So what now?” Erica asked.

Sam reached behind him for his M60, bringing it up, dropping the bi-pod in front, taking aim.

“You’re going to shoot up the trees?” Erica asked.

Sam handed her the binoculars. “Keep your eyes peeled for anybody running. You too, Garrett and Ted.”

They all put their binoculars to their eyes, and Sam fired, sweeping back and forth into the woods a couple times.

“Nothing,” Garrett said.

“Same here,” Ted said, lowering his binoculars.

“Stop,” Erica whispered. “Just caught a reflection. I’ll bet it’s a wristwatch. See that center tree, honey. Off to the left from where you were shooting, further up the hill. Send some lead in there.”

Sam nodded, aiming and pulling the trigger. Suddenly gunfire came at them, pelting the front of the ridge, causing all of them to put their heads down.

“Well I’ll be damned,” Garrett said. “Check the eyes on Erica.”

“What now?” Yvonne asked.

“I still got the mortar in the back of the Jeep,” Sam said.

“Yeah, I’ve got one in mine, too,” Ted said. “Let’s get set up and give them a surprise.”

“Watch the ridge as it goes to the right there,” Garrett whispered. “They could get behind us using that.”

“Dammit,” Jules said. He pulled out his phone.

“Who are you texting, partner?”

“Off roaders.”

To be continued…


For those of you following Bug Out! Texas, Book 10 has just been published. You can find it here.


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


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


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


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

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! Part 158 – The Pen

Ivan led the leadership team to the hotel lobby, selecting the group of couches and chairs in the rear.

“Something bad happen, partner?” Tex asked.

“The apps are going wide,” Ivan said. “The enemy is about to get their hands full.”

“Finally,” Sparky said.

“This might not be that good for us, you know,” Ted said.

“And it may make no difference at all,” Sam said. “They hit us in shielded vehicles today, remember? They already knew we could see them.”

“You guys are missing it,” Robbie said, looking like he wanted to take it back after it came out.

“Go ahead, kid,” Ted said.

“Well, as Sam said, they already knew we could see them. Now they have to worry about everybody they get near, anyplace they go. This will put extreme pressure on them.”

“Yes, that’s why I said the enemy is about to have their hands full,” Ivan said, “but we need to keep to the strategy that we spelled out earlier. We need to check the back, look at those enemy semis to see who was in them.”

“I agree,” Ted said, “and we need to get out of the mode of being hunted by the UN. We need to hunt them instead.”

“How do we do that?” Seth asked.

Sam grinned. “The old-fashioned way. Like we did before the apps came along. Many of us have had experience. Checking the outback is step one. We also need to investigate the vehicles that the UN Peacekeepers came in through the front. Did they come in rental trucks? Private vehicles?”

“We didn’t see them arrive in vehicles,” Tex said. “They came in on foot.”

“Which means their vehicles are probably still sitting out there,” Ted said. “Maybe we ought to do a quick check of that before we take off for the back forty.”

“I think that’s a good idea,” Ivan said. “Feel free to tell everybody what happened.”

“Why’d you bring us out here, then?” Ben asked.

“I wanted to make sure you were thinking in the right direction. You are. More will hit you when you sleep on it.”

Sam nodded, a smirk on his face.

“You have something to add, Sam?” Ivan asked.

“No, but I’m pleasantly surprised that we have an intuitive leader. Didn’t know you were this sharp.”

“Told you,” Jules said.

“I knew,” Ji-Ho said.

Jules chuckled. “Now let’s go back and have good whiskey.”

“Yep, I’ll drink to that,” Garrett said.

“Me too,” Ed said.

The group went back to the saloon.


Trevor and Angel watched their friends coming back into the saloon, as Megan and Kaylee chatted about marriage and kids.

“Well, anything you can tell us?” Trevor asked.

“We can tell you everything,” Seth said, walking hand in hand with Kaitlyn.

“Shoot, dude,” Angel said.

“The apps went wide.”

“No, really?” Trevor asked.

“What was that?” Kaylee asked. “The apps got released?”

“Yep,” Seth said. “Not that it means the war is over right away, but it’s gonna move us in that direction, probably faster than anybody thinks.”

“That calls for another round,” Angel said, pouring the shot glasses full. They all tossed them back, Kaitlyn shuddering some.

“That stuff is powerful,” she said.

Megan snickered. “I know. Ain’t it great!”

Garrett stood up, clearing his throat loudly.

“All, we’ve just learned that the apps went wide. It’s a whole new ballgame.”

“So what are we gonna do now?” somebody shouted.

“Hunt the UN, for starters,” Garrett said, “and make sure the Islamists have nowhere to hide.”

“I think there’s some things that the social media team could do,” Ben said.

“Yes, I agree,” Sam said.

The group enjoyed each others company, all of them with new hope. It wasn’t a late night. Tomorrow would be busy and dangerous.


Sam woke next to Erica, who was spooned against him. Mia was on a folding bed on the other side of Garrett’s guest bedroom.

“Hey, sweetie,” he whispered. “You awake?”

“I am,” she said.

“Did you ever talk to Anna about Mia?”

“Yes, she was happy about the idea. She just loves Mia.”

“Good,” Sam said. “We going to let her sleep?”

“We have to get going already?”

“Yep,” Sam said. “We’re supposed to meet at six-thirty.”

“Geez. Okay, I’m getting up. Let’s be quiet though, so we don’t wake her.”

“Should we leave her a note or something?” Sam asked.

Erica pulled off her nightgown. “I’ll do that.”

“Mommy, where are you going?” Mia asked.

Erica shot a glance to Sam, then turned to her. “We’re going out to investigate some things, honey. We’ll be back later.”

“Can I go?”

“No, sweetie, Anna is gonna watch you.”

“Okay. It’s not dangerous, is it?”

“No, honey,” Sam said, “the bad guys are gone.”

“Don’t leave the house without Anna or Uncle Garrett, okay?”

“Okay,” she said, laying back down. “I’m still tired.”

Sam and Erica finished getting dressed and left the room.

“She fell asleep already,” Erica said.

“Sure she’s not playing possum?”

“Her breathing changed,” Erica said, “and she was barely awake when she was talking to us.”

They came down the steps. Garrett and Anna were already up.

“Mia still asleep?” Anna asked.

“She woke long enough for me to tell her you were in charge,” Erica said. “She’s back asleep now.”

“Good, it’s too early for her to be getting up,” Anna said.

“There’s some coffee on the stove,” Garrett said. “And some Danish, if you want some.”

“Love some,” Sam said, following him into the kitchen.

“Why do you want to go with them?” Anna asked.

“I’m good in a fight, and I don’t like him out of my sight.”

“This isn’t going to be dangerous, is it?” Anna asked, her brow furrowed. “Garrett said it wasn’t.”

“It shouldn’t be, but you never know. Think I’ll have some of that coffee.” The two women went into the kitchen.

“How long do you expect to be?” Anna asked.

“Hmm,” Garrett said. “First part shouldn’t be more than an hour. We’ll stop back here on the way to the second part.”

“Going in the back will take a little more time,” Sam said.

Anna studied Garrett’s face. “Be careful. Call me if there’s any kind of trouble.”

“We won’t be alone,” Garrett said. “In either part.”

“We’re pretty good at handling trouble if there is some,” Erica said. “I’ll watch out for your man.”

Garrett laughed.

“Don’t sell her short,” Sam said. “She’s right up there with the best of us.”

“Oh, I know, I’ve seen her in action,” Garrett said. “You guys ready?”

Sam and Erica nodded yes. Garrett kissed Anna and they left the house, joining the others when they got into town.

“About time you slackers got up,” Ted said.

Sam smiled at him. “Some things never change.”

“What things?” Erica asked.

“Ted busting my chops.”

Ted got a grin on his face. “You can take that to the bank, recruit.”

“Wait a minute, partner,” Tex said. “Were you his drill instructor or something?”

Sid laughed. “These guys are almost the same age, so I doubt it.”

“Are you guys gonna haze each other the whole time?” Yvonne asked.

Jules came out with Shelley, dressed for the day.

“You two are coming?” Ted asked.

“I speak five languages,” Jules said. “Chances are good the UN thugs have left something behind in one of the vehicles.”

“Good point,” Sam said. “We’d best get moving. It’s gonna be a long day.”

The group picked up their guns and walked towards the front entrance to the property, past the battle wagons with ruined tires and the wreckage of the Islamist semis.

“Let’s keep our eyes open when we get to the highway,” Ted said

Tex nodded in agreement. “Yeah, partner. Wouldn’t surprise me if we have some enemy folk here to see what happened, or try to retrieve their people and equipment.”

“Only one place they could park vehicles of any size and walk in,” Garrett said. “That big turnoff around the bend, about two hundred yards down.”

“Let me walk in front,” Sid said. “I know how to track.”

“That he does,” Sam said.

The group made room for him and Yvonne to get to the front.

“You track too?” Shelley asked, smiling at her.

“No, but I’m good at shooting anybody who targets my man,” Yvonne said.

“That’s my function too,” Shelley whispered, holding up her M4.

“Nice to have women like this, no?” Jules asked.

“No…I mean yes,” Sid whispered, turning back for a moment, then refocusing his eyes on the road.

Yvonne rolled her eyes, Shelly chuckling.

“This isn’t how I expected my life to go,” Shelley said softly.

“How’d you end up with a rascal like Jules, anyway?” Yvonne asked.

“A lot of hard work on my part,” Jules said.

“We might want to concentrate on listening,” Ted said. “We’re still in a war zone, you know.”

Jules turned to him and nodded in agreement.

“Stay back,” Sid whispered, moving quickly over to a spot where the bushes broke off the right side of the road. He got down on his hands and knees, looking at the footprints.

“Damn, I can barely see those,” Tex whispered.

“Told you he was good,” Sam whispered back.

“This is them,” Sid said.

“How you tell?” Jules asked.

“Many different set of footprints, all with the same tread marks,” Sid said. “Kinda like they were all issued the same kind of shoes.”

“Yeah, the Islamists wear all kinds of stuff,” Sam said, “but the UN have uniforms. Where’d the tracks come from?”

“The blacktop,” Sid said. “Got to assume they walked down the road, but I’m gonna check both shoulders just in case.” He walked further down the shoulder looking for more tracks there, then crossed the blacktop to the left side of the road and came back down, shaking his head no as he rejoined the group.

“Nothing over there?” Sam asked.

“Nope. Let’s keep going towards the bend. I suspect there will be vehicles there, or at least some pretty recent tire tracks.”

“Crap, what if there’s no trucks?” Shelley asked.

“Then we know driver, maybe others survive to flee,” Jules said. “Hope that not case.”

“You and me both, partner,” Tex said. They continued down the highway, on the right shoulder, Sid still in front, eyes glued to the dirt.

“Seeing anything?” Ted asked.

“A little swap over from the blacktop. Not unexpected. Nothing beyond that.”

They kept going, the bend looming ahead of them. Sid froze and bent down, picking something up.

“What is it?” Yvonne asked.

“Ballpoint pen,” Sid said. “Probably nothing.”

“Let me see it,” Garrett said. Sid handed it over.

“Recognize it?” Yvonne asked.

“Smiley’s,” Garrett said, turning towards her with a smile. “Equipment rental yard in El Cajon.”

“That might be break we need,” Jules said.

“Isn’t El Cajon a much bigger town?” Shelley asked.

“It’s the eastern edge of the San Diego area,” Sid said. “This could have nothing to do with the UN Peacekeepers, though.”

“We’ll find out around the bend, I reckon,” Garrett said. “Let’s keep going.”

Sid pressed on, Yvonne closely behind him. They rounded the bend. “How soon until I see this turnout?”

“Hundred yards or so,” Garrett said. “It’s pretty deep. Room for several big trucks.”

Sid sped up, still keeping an eye on the shoulder. They came to the turnout after a few minutes.

“Dammit, empty,” Yvonne said.

“Everybody stop,” Sid said. “I need to look for tracks.” He walked along the shoulder first, until he found some recent tire tracks, then followed them towards the back of the turnout, up against a large mound of dirt and rocks. He motioned for the others to come ahead.

“What’re you seeing?” Garrett asked.

“Three delivery trucks,” Sid said. “See the single tires in front and the duals in the rear?”

“Yeah, partner,” Tex said.

“And check out the footprints,” Yvonne said. “Same tread as the ones that disappeared into the bushes back there.”

“Yep, they came in from here for sure,” Sid said.

Sam stood still, thinking. “I was hoping they’d still be here.”

“We need to talk to the rental yard,” Ted said. “Hopefully they aren’t in on it.”

Sid shook his head. “I wouldn’t have your hopes up too high about that pen. Those things are a dime a dozen, you know.”

“Still worth it to check, no?” Jules asked.

“Does it make sense to go further down the road?” Ted asked.

“Nah,” Garrett said. “There’s no place to stop until you get into town.”

Sid nodded. “And we know the footprints started here. We ought to go into the back forty now and check that out. Maybe we’ll find something more useful.”


Sarah woke next to Clem. He was still asleep, and she watched him, his chest rising and falling. She had her leg drapped over his torso again, and it made her feel a little naughty. They were sweaty, but she didn’t care. Does he like me that way? He was a hard man to read, harder than John had been. She wasn’t sure what she wanted from Clem, but she knew at least she wanted to be close to him, and affectionate. It scared Clem. Why? A man his age had physical problems with lovemaking sometimes, but she was pretty sure that wasn’t it. Maybe it was loyalty to John, but he was gone now. John would always be her beloved, but he’d want her to be happy, and he loved Clem. Still, maybe that was what was bothering Clem, even if it seemed like no big deal to her. How hard can I push it? Being friends with him was worth so much to her that she wouldn’t risk it by trying too much. She shifted her weight, moving tighter against him, causing him to stir.

“Hey,” she said as his eyes fluttered open. He turned his head towards her.

“Back again, huh?” he asked.


“I like it, Sarah, just as long as you don’t expect too much.”

“It’s okay,” she whispered, getting closer to him. “I’m here for whatever you want, but no pressure.”

He was quiet for a moment, his brow furrowed.

“Do you want me to leave?” she asked.

“No, no, I like you close to me,” Clem said.

“Is it John?”

He was silent for a moment. “No. There are parts of my past that you don’t know about.”

“Sad things?” she asked, her hand going onto his chest.

“I guess I can tell you,” Clem said. “You’re the closest friend I’ve got now.”

“Only if you want to,” she said.

He turned on his side facing her, her leg staying over him, their faces almost touching. She moved in and kissed him tenderly, her arm going around, pulling him close.

“Wait. Let me tell you before I lose my nerve.”

She nodded.

“I’m married.”

Sarah’s eyes got wider. “Really? You’ve never mentioned that.”

“It’s a long story, and a strange situation,” Clem said.

“Do you ever see her?”

“Not for years,” he said. “I paid her until she told me to stop.”

“Child support or alimony?”

“We never had kids,” Clem said. “She had mental illness. We couldn’t live together, and for a while she couldn’t even be around me. I supported her because I still loved…what she was.”

“You never divorced?”

“Never saw the point, and she wasn’t capable,” Clem said, “so I just left it alone.”

“Where is she now?”

“In an institution,” he said. “All alone, but she told me twenty years ago to stop coming, so I’ve stayed away.”

“You’ve been pining away for her all this time?”

“Oh, I’ve had girlfriends,” Clem said, “but never was able to get serious. I didn’t mind, actually. Never met any I wanted to settle down with.”

“I’m not getting this. You don’t want us to have a relationship because of this?”

He sighed. “This is the hard part. I want to be with you, but we can’t marry, so I don’t want you to think that I’m just using you.”

Sarah laughed. “I don’t want to get married again. Even if we fell for each other hard. I’d be happy if we could both enjoy ourselves without worrying about that.”

“This doesn’t seem weird to you?”

Sarah smiled at him, caressing his face, looking into his eyes. “Honey, I’d love to be with you, to live with you, and to be lovers if you’re interested in that. I don’t require you to do anything but agree if it makes you happy.”

“Are you sure?”

She moved over him, kissing him gently but passionately. Clem’s breath came faster, his body trembling. “You okay? You’re not scared, are you?”

“I’m excited,” he said, kissing her, their passion rising fast, their embrace getting tighter.

“I’m yours if you want me,” she whispered, taking his hand and putting it onto herself. Then there was a harsh knock on the door.

“Hey, Clem, you awake? Want to come help us in the mine?”

“Elmer,” Clem whispered.

“Not again,” she said, on the verge of laughing.

“You’re right, not again,” Clem whispered. “Sorry, Elmer, I need a little more sleep. Be there in an hour or two.”

“Okay, see you later,” Elmer said. “Sorry to wake you.”

They heard him walking away, then started kissing again.

To be continued…


For those of you following Bug Out! Texas, Book 10 has just been published. You can find it here.


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


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


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


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

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! Part 157 – For the Fallen

“Nobody can raise Saladin?” Sam asked, as the group gathered around the bar, Willard getting out glasses.

“That’s what my sources said,” Ivan said, “but that’s about all they said. Jules’s info sounds a little more complete.”

Jules chuckled. “Or mine jumps to more conclusions, no?”

“How do we tell?” Sparky asked.

“Probably doesn’t really matter,” Sam said. “Even if he’s dead, that’s not the end of the war. We’ll just have a change in leadership.”

“Given the mistakes he’s made recently, it might be better for us if these stories aren’t true,” Ivan said.

“He’s dead,” Ted said.

Everybody was silent for a moment.

“Where are you getting that, partner?” Tex asked.

“Part hunch, part educated guess,” Ted said.

Sam chuckled. “Look, several of us have had experience with this cretin. He was feared by all he was close to. Ted might be basing his hunch on the fact that nobody would dare admit that he was missing unless they were sure he was gone.”

“Bingo,” Ted said. “Assuming this isn’t just complete BS coming from their side to mess with us.”

“If that were the case, would we see the gridlock south of the border?” Ivan asked.

“I was just wondering the same thing,” Ben said.

Ji-Ho walked into the saloon. “Oh, you hear?”

“Hear what?” Jules asked.

“Saladin probably take dirt nap,” Ji-Ho said with a wicked grin.

“Who’d you hear that from?” Tex asked. “We’ve just heard he might be missing.”

“If he work for me, I gut like fish,” Ji-Ho said, “after attack here, and incident by Nevada border. He waste too many men.”

Sam took a deep breath, his brow furrowed. “Okay, we need to stop this right now, and assume he’s still in command until we hear otherwise.”

Ivan leaned against the bar. Sid handed him a shot of whiskey and he tossed it back. “Sam’s right. Let’s not fall into this trap. We’ve heard something. Makes no difference at this point. None. Zero. Nada.”

“Yep,” Sam said. “We can still see the men below the border. They aren’t moving right now. That doesn’t mean Saladin is gone. He’s probably not even directing those guys. General Hogan is a more dangerous adversary than anybody just north of the California border.”

“Yes, good point,” Ji-Ho said. “I trust my source, but not always right. I say we take Sam advice.”

“Good,” Ivan said. “Does anybody have a problem with us sharing intelligence with General Hogan’s team and Governor Nelson’s team?”

“You mean via Seth’s program, correct?” Sam asked.

“That, and anything else that might come up,” Ivan said. “I view one of my main functions as liaison with those two teams, and I want to make sure I have your confidence. I want to make sure I’ve got permission to share data.”

Tex chuckled. “I’m looking at you as the leader of this crazy outfit, so I defer to you on this.”

“I good,” Jules said, “not that it surprise.”

“I’m not considering you an employee, Jules,” Ivan said. “You’re a fellow patriot fighting the enemy. Our employer/employee relationship ended years ago.”

“I just meant I trust,” Jules said.

Ivan smiled and nodded.

“Good here,” Sam said. “It makes all the sense in the world to work together on this stuff.”

“So, we’re going to get our intelligence team sharing data with the other groups,” Ted said. “We should make sure none of our intelligence team members have reservations.”

“I think it will protect us from problems like we ran into yesterday,” Seth said. “I’m good with sharing what we have. You too, right honey?”

Kaitlyn looked at him, then at the group. “Yes, I think it’s a good idea.”

“I agree,” Robbie said, “although my main task got eclipsed by Seth and Kaitlyn’s program.”

“The study on sales of lead stock?” Ted asked. “We still need to do that. It will help us to get an idea what the enemy capacity is.”

“I agree,” Ivan said. “We should proceed on that.”

“Okay,” Robbie said.

“You still want me doing mainly social media outreach and recruiting?” Ben asked.

“Yes, and we need to rebuild your team quick,” Ivan said. “I want you to teach the other local team members about that, and then compare notes with the team in Texas.”

“What about General Hogan’s team?” Ted asked.

“I don’t think they’ve focused on that as much as California and Texas,” Ivan said, “so we’d be a help to them.”

“Texas right up there with us,” Ji-Ho said. “Don and Sydney. Heard about from meeting with Governor Nelson. We should compare notes.”

“Yes, I built my organization based on a very limited knowledge of what they’re doing,” Ben said. “I’m sure I could improve our operation if we can share.”

“Don’t sell yourself short, partner,” Tex said. “We all know what you’ve done. You can probably help them some too.”

Ivan stood back up. “Okay, then we’ll get started on that. What do we need to do here?”

“Seems like we have some unfinished business with that back road from the BLM land,” Sid said.

“Is that still an issue?” Sparky asked. “We’ll get a preview of enemy fighters trying to hide themselves.”

“That helps,” Seth said, “but remember that we can’t see the UN Peacekeepers, and there turned out to be lots more of them still around than we expected.”

“The kid’s right,” Ted said. “We need better intelligence on that group. Their numbers should be dwindling by now, but low and behold, they keep on showing up. We need to figure out how to find them.”

“All of them came in through the front, correct?” Sid asked.

“I don’t think we can make that assumption,” Sam said. “There weren’t any in that first semi that we blew up back there, but we have no idea who was in those second two.”

“Shoot, almost forgot about them, partner,” Tex said. “Maybe we ought to send a detail out to the site and see if we can recognize who they were.”

“Good point,” Ivan said. “Did we see hits when they were attacked?”

“Not that I remember,” Seth said. He looked at the high-res app on his laptop. “I don’t see hits out there now, either, by the way.”

“The Naval Aviators might have burned them all up,” Sparky said.

“I’m not buying that,” Ted said. “We need to get out there tomorrow at first light and take a look. We know there had to be Islamists with them. Why else would they send them in those semis?”

“Are we sure they were shielded semis?” Ivan asked.

“I’d bet on it,” Sam said. “Those things were a pain back there in the dirt. That’s why they dropped the gravel in the bad spots of the road, remember?”

Robbie stared at the ceiling for a moment, thinking. “Yes, but maybe it made sense to send them back there since they were already prepared, to take advantage of their capacity.”

“This is why we need to go look,” Ted said.

Sid nodded in agreement. “Okay, then we should kill two birds with one stone. Use the same team to follow the route, and go further to look at the wreckage.”

“Agreed,” Sam said. “I’ll be part of that team. You mind, honey?”

Erica sighed and shook her head yes, then got closer to him and whispered. “I’m gonna see if Anna can watch Mia so I can go along.”

“I’m okay with that,” Sam said.

“What else?” Ivan asked.

Ben raised his hand. “We still have some infrastructure work to finish in the mine.”

“That’s gonna be Clem’s main focus,” Sam said. “Him and Elmer.”

“I’m gonna help too,” Willard said, walking out from the back of the bar with fresh duds on. “We’ll turn that into the nerve center for the operation.” He laughed as he got back behind the bar. “How much of a head start do you guys have?”

“We’ve been talking more than we’ve been drinking,” Sid said.

“That’s about to change, boys. Just heard from Garrett. He’s on his way with most of our folks. We’ll have to expand out to the hotel lobby and the sidewalk.”


Clem woke up on his back, disoriented, feeling warmer. Sarah was against him, her leg over his torso, snoring softly. She stirred when he lifted his head to gaze at the window.

“Oh, guess I got kinda close,” she said, her eyelids heavy.

“You got kinda naked, too,” Clem said.

“Sorry, I sleep better that way,” she said, brushing the hair out of his face. “Getting long, old man.”

“Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve been to the barber shop.”

“I know how to cut hair, you know. Don’t have my scissors and clippers, though. Left them in the RV. What time is it?”

“About ten minutes before the alarm was gonna go off,” Clem said, reaching for his cellphone.

“Can we stay in bed for a little while longer?”

“Of course,” Clem said, lying back down.

“I don’t bite you know.” Her hand went onto his chest, her leg still draped over his middle.

“Just trying to stay a gentleman,” he said, shooting her an embarrassed grin.

She smiled, then took his hand and put it on her side. “It’s okay.”

He froze for a moment, then caressed her. She moved over him more and kissed him lightly on the lips.

“Sarah,” he whispered.

“No pressure. I’m just being affectionate.” She kissed him again, with more passion this time, and Clem started to respond. Then there was a knock on Sarah’s door.

Clem chuckled. “Well it is the afternoon, you know.”

“Land sakes, who’s that?” she asked, getting out of bed, not making an effort to cover herself. Clem took her in. “Good, you didn’t look away this time.” She threw on her robe and rushed into her room, opening the door a crack.

Clem could hear Yvonne talking, telling her that the party was starting, and that they should come now if they want a seat. He chuckled and got up, getting his clothes on. He was half dressed by the time Sarah came back in.

“You heard her?”

“Yep,” Clem said. “We’ll get back to this later, if you don’t mind. I was liking it.”

“Good,” she said.


Kaylee shook Trevor, next to her on the bed, still in his clothes.

“Geez, I actually fell asleep,” he said.

“Battle will take a lot out of you. I just got a text from my uncle. The gathering is starting in the saloon. Most of the folks are there already.”

“Oh,” Trevor said, sitting up and stretching. “I think I’d better change my clothes.”

“Not a bad idea. I did that before I laid down.”

“Did Ji-Ho say when the tire folks are gonna be here?” Trevor asked as he changed.

“Tomorrow morning,” she said. “Glad we only had one blown away.” She walked into the salon, Trevor following her, stopping to put on his shoes.

“You look gorgeous.”

“Oh, please,” she said. “I’m a mess. I haven’t had my nails done in forever, and my hair is out of control.”

They left the coach, stepping into the dusk.

Trevor laughed. “I still smell that black powder.”

“I don’t like it. Smells like Sulphur.”

“It does,” Trevor said, getting closer and taking her hand. They intertwined their fingers. “I wanted to do this in High School.”

She looked at him. “You liked me back then?”

“Yes,” he said. “Sorry. Glad I didn’t push it then. I needed to grow up.”

She giggled. “Yeah, you seemed a lot younger than your friends. I was way into Matt still, too.”

“I know, so I just adored you from afar.”

“Oh brother,” she said, holding his hand tighter. “We got together when it was time.”

“Do you still think about Matt?”

She stopped, turning to him. “What brought that on?”

“Sorry, just wondering.”

They started walking again. She glanced at him. He looked sorry that he’d asked the question. “I don’t think of him romantically, if that’s what you mean. I was unhappier with him than I realized.”

“I feel bad about him and Emma.”

“I have nightmares about Emma,” Kaylee said, looking at him for a moment, on the verge of tears. “Those horrible beasts all over her.”

“Wonder if she’s still alive?”

Kaylee sighed. “We’ll never know. I’ll bet they killed Matt and the other men right away.”

“Probably,” Trevor said. They got to the main street, getting on the wooden sidewalk. “Hard to think about that. We’re lucky they didn’t get all of us.”

“I’m kinda mad at that Jamie character and the others. The enemy might not have got them if they’d stayed with us.”

“I think they would’ve found us,” Trevor said, “but we would’ve beaten them. Our friends would still be alive.”

Kaylee was quiet for a moment, as they approached the saloon. “You’re probably right.”

“We might not be together,” Trevor said. “I feel guilty for even bringing it up.”

She looked him in the eyes before they went into the saloon. “Don’t be so sure about that.”

He nodded and they went inside, joining Seth and Kaitlyn.

“Hey, guys,” Kaylee said as they pulled up chairs.

“Where’s Angel and Megan?” Trevor asked.

“They’ll be here in a few minutes,” Kaitlyn said.

“Cool,” Kaylee said. “My uncle looks a lot better.”

“He’s something else,” Kaitlyn said. “Loved the gut him like a fish comment.”

Trevor laughed. “Who was he talking about?”

“Saladin,” Seth said, “and by the way, he’s missing.”


“That’s what we heard from three sources,” Kaitlyn said.

“Maybe that will end this damn war, and we can go live happily ever after,” Kaylee said.

Seth shook his head. “I wish, but the leadership isn’t thinking so.”

Trevor nodded. “I’m not surprised.”

Hey,” Angel said, walking up with Megan. “What’s the whispering about?”

“Saladin is missing,” Seth said.

“No crap?”

Megan smiled. “Good, maybe this damn war will be over soon, and we can go on with our lives.”

“Oh, really, and what do you have planned?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Same thing you do, so don’t mess with me,” Megan said.

“Uh oh, what’s that?” Kaylee said.

“I know what I’ve got planned,” Seth said.

“What?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Taking you for my wife, and keeping you barefoot and pregnant for a while.”

“Yeah, dude, that’s kinda what I was thinking,” Angel quipped.

“I thought women were supposed to trick you guys into that,” Megan asked, grinning at Kaylee and Kaitlyn.

“You aren’t doing that?” Kaitlyn asked. Kaylee laughed and shook her head.

“Hey, I want that too, you know,” Trevor said.

“Yeah, I’ll bet the two of you have been practicing already,” Megan cracked.

Kaylee giggled. “Look who’s talking.”

“Getting kinda lewd over there,” Morgan said, looking over at them from the next table. Robbie rolled his eyes. Morgan noticed and elbowed him. “Like you don’t want that.”

“Okay, you found me out,” he said. “Anybody want something to drink?”

Willard’s ears perked up, and he glanced over, putting a finger in the air. He rushed over with a bottle of whiskey and a tray full of glasses. “Help yourselves. Drinks on the house.”

“We’re gonna get trashed,” Kaylee said, looking at the bottle.

“You aren’t pregnant yet,” Trevor said. “You can have a little.” That got another eye roll from Kaylee.

The saloon started filling up fast, Willard rushing around with drinks, beaming but being somber as well, as glasses were raised for the fallen. Garrett and Anna came in a little later, the room stopping to acknowledge them.

“I like it here,” Seth whispered to Kaitlyn. “People here love each other.”

She nodded in agreement, her hand going to his. “It is nice, even though it’s kinda whacky.”

“I could live here,” Angel said. “What are you guys doing now?”

“We’re part of the intelligence team,” Seth said.

“So you won’t be fighting directly?” Megan asked. “Are you okay with that, Kaitlyn?”

“Yes and no,” she said.

Kaylee smiled. “I think it’s good. Who else is on the team?”

“Robbie and Morgan, and Ben Dover,” Kaitlyn said. “They’re recruiting to replace Ben’s social media team. You guys might want to apply.”

Megan’s eyes lit up. “I know something about that. What do you think, honey?”

“Maybe, but we can’t have all the young folks like us out of the fight, can we?”

“I’m not planning on leaving the battle,” Trevor said.

Kaylee sighed. “Me neither, I guess. We’re good at it.”

“Oh, you’re finally admitting that you have fighting ability?” Trevor asked.

“I don’t believe that warrior blood stuff that my uncle talks about, but we did well with each other out there today.”

“You did,” Angel said, “I saw some of that. You guys are nuts.”

There was commotion up by the bar.

“Something’s going on,” Kaitlyn said.

“All, we have announcement,” Jules said.

“What’s that?” Clem asked, sitting at a small table with Sarah.

“Saladin is dead,” Jules said. “Died in custody of General Hogan.”

A cheer rose from the room.

“Yes!” Trevor said.

“So what now?” somebody shouted out.

“Fight not yet over,” Jules said. “Still much trash to take out. Still huge force south of border.”

“He’s right,” Garrett said. “The enemy is gonna be in disarray. We’ll take advantage however we can, but we can’t hang it up and go home yet. Our state is still in trouble. I think we saw today what the enemy can do.”

Ivan came back into the bar, walking up to Jules and the others. He made eye contact with Ben, and nodded to the rest of the intelligence team.

“I think he needs us,” Ben said, getting up.

“Us?” Robbie asked.

“The intelligence team,” Seth said. “Let’s go.”

The team got up and headed for the bar. Ivan led them and the rest of the leadership team out of the saloon.

“Damn, I feel left out,” Trevor said.

“I don’t,” Angel said. “I think we ought to have a drink.”

“I’m up for that,” Trevor said. “This is good news. The second-in-command of the enemy forces has been killed by General Hogan’s team. That’s huge, folks.” He poured four shot glasses, handed them out, and raised his. “Here’s to General Hogan and victory!”

To be continued…


For those of you following Bug Out! Texas, Book 10 has just been published. You can find it here.


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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 156 – Clean Up

Jorge looked out over the legions of trained Marines, spread out over the entire funnel area along Old Highway 80. Conrad and Doug came over.

“What’s taking them so long, man?” Jorge asked.

“That’s the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question,” Doug said.

“Meyers thinks something is going on with their leadership,” Conrad said.

“What ever happened with Ivan’s folks?” Jorge asked. “Are they coming south from Highway 94 to pick up the western tip?”

Conrad shook his head no. “Not this time. Ivan was afraid to commit his battle wagons here. Said they’d be overrun and destroyed.”

Jorge chuckled. “Hell, most of us are gonna get overrun and destroyed.”

“I’m not mad at him,” Doug said. “I see his point, actually.”

“Me too, but at the time I wasn’t too happy,” Conrad said. “He put me in touch with the commander of the naval aviators. We’re gonna pull away from that area and bomb the crap out of the enemy as they come across the border…if they come across the border. They’re just sitting there.”

“Thirty miles,” Jorge said, looking at his apps. “We sure all of them have apps?”

“Pretty sure,” Conrad said. “We got a satellite feed too, from the navy. They’re definitely still on foot, so they won’t sneak up on us. They might have figured out we can see them.”

“Still seems like Ivan’s folks ought to be involved down here,” Jorge said.

Conrad’s phone rang, so he pulled it out and looked. “Speak of the devil.” He walked away with the phone to his ear.

Doug smiled. “Ivan’s folks, huh? This ought to be interesting.”

“You think this border crossing is gonna fizzle?”

Doug looked at Jorge and nodded. “Wouldn’t surprise me.”

Conrad walked back over. “They got hit.”

“Who, Ivan’s folks?” Doug asked.

“Yep, by thirteen hundred fighters in lead-shielded semi-trucks. Some came from as far away as Colorado.”

“Holy crap,” Jorge said. “They lose many people?”

“Only a handful. They’re burning bodies now. Could’ve been a lot worse. They got some things in place just in time to save themselves.”

“Like what? Some new weapons?” Jorge asked.

“Yeah, the best weapon of all. Information.”

Doug and Jorge looked at Conrad, waiting for the punchline.

Conrad chuckled. “That history program we were talking about that they just started. They saw about seven hundred enemy fighters from the Julian area disappear overnight.”

“Not following,” Doug said.

“I know what he’s talking about,” Jorge said. “If they disappear, there’s only two possibilities.”

“Well, three, actually,” Conrad said. “Possibility number one – the enemy fighters moved outside the range of the history program. That one is possible, but they’d usually know, because they’d see them moving towards a boundary.”

“Okay, I get it,” Doug said. “The other two possibilities would be that their chips were burned up, or that they’ve shielded themselves in something that stop signal transmission.”

“Exactly, and since we know removing that many RFID chips and burning them isn’t likely, it has to be shielded vehicles. Ivan’s folks were ready and waiting.”

“So if they would’ve sent their battle wagons and troops here, they would’ve been overrun,” Jorge said.

“Without doubt,” Conrad said. “They had some issues with the battle wagons that proved Ivan was right to be worried about sending them to the border.”

“What’s that?” Doug asked.

“Those battle wagons are vulnerable if they are hit with a huge assault of superior forces.”

“Why?” Jorge asked.

“Too fragile to withstand anything large, and if they must flee, their tires are vulnerable.”

“They’re like a PT boat,” Doug said. “Not a battleship or a sub.’

“Yep,” Conrad said, “when the serious weaponry comes out, or you’re hit with overwhelming numbers, you don’t want to be in one of those.’

“Okay, what now?” Doug asked.

“They’re going to continue on as a staging and supply area, and play cleanup if any enemy fighters get north of our lines. They’ll be able to control Highway 94 with those battle wagons if they’re strategically placed, and they can use those off-roaders to great advantage as well. They won’t be right on the border.”

“No, I meant what now for us,” Doug said.

“Oh,” Conrad said, smiling. “We continue to wait. It’s all we can do at this point, but now we’ve got the satellite feed as well as the apps, and we’ll have air support for the areas we can’t staff up with fighters. We’re not in such bad shape. If the enemy doesn’t re-funnel to the center, we’ll have enough men and firepower to stop them here.”

Meyers walked over, surrounded by several of his men. “You heard what happened to Ivan’s base?”

“Just talked to him,” Conrad said.

“They won’t be joining us down here, but that’ll be fine. I’d rather they stayed put and continue with their intelligence and recruiting operations.”

“They plan on using their forces to stop enemy fighters on the road,” Conrad said. “Better use of their capability.”

“I agree,” Meyers said. “One other thing. We’re hearing some new traffic.”

“Traffic?” Jorge asked.

“Enemy communications traffic,” Meyers said. “Nobody can raise Saladin. We think that might be why the enemy isn’t moving.”


Willard came back to the street with Garrett and a host of others, many of them crying.

“I’m so sorry for your loss,” Sarah said to Garrett from the door of the hotel, as they got on the wooden sidewalk heading for the saloon.”

“Thank you kindly, Sarah,” Garrett said. “Always hard when we lose people. Come on over to the saloon and have a drink with us later. We’re doing a wake.”

“We’ll be along,” she said.

“We?” Willard asked.

Sarah smiled. “I’ll drag Clem along. I know he’ll want to be there.’

“Oh, yeah,” Willard said. “Good.”

The group continued down the sidewalk, Sarah wiping tears from her eyes as she went into the lobby. Clem was coming down the stairs.

“Garrett’s folks?” he asked.

“They just had their memorial for the fallen,” Sarah said. “So sad. They invited us over for drinks at the saloon later.”

“Good, I’d like to go over, but after they’ve had some time with their own.”

Sarah nodded. “You sleep any?”

“No, but it felt good to stretch out for a while. That battle took a little out of me.”

“I’m a little tired myself. Maybe I’ll go try. Maybe you should join me.”

“Headed for the kitchen first,” Clem said. “My stomach is growling. That’s probably part of the problem.”

“Oh, good idea.” Sarah joined him, walking down the hallway past the front desk, into the dining room and past it to the kitchen, with its walk-ins and industrial oven and range.

“Wonder how often they use this?” Clem asked. “Looks like over-kill.”

“Remember when they had the opera house running?”

Clem turned towards her and nodded, then pulled open the walk-in fridge. “Never went to a show. John told me you two had a good time there once or twice.”

“Yes, we went. Never spent the night, but they had a nice deal going here. Probably haven’t used this kitchen much since those days.”

“Everything they have in here takes too much effort,” Clem said. “I just want a snack. Let’s check the freezer.”

Sarah followed him to the second walk-in. “Were you scared?”

“During the battle?”

She nodded yes.

“Not that much,” Clem said. “It wasn’t as scary as the other day when the snipers were firing at us.”

“Even with all those enemy fighters rushing us?” Sarah asked, trembling slightly.

“Oh, you’re still shook up, aren’t you?” Clem asked, pulling her into a hug. She began to cry, leaning her head against his chest.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” Clem said, patting her back.

“Why weren’t you scared?”

Clem broke the hug and studied her face. “I don’t know, probably having all of the others with us. I trust the battle wagons too. I know they have their weaknesses, but against small arms they’re pretty tough. I prefer it to being out in the open.”

“Like you were the day before,” she said. “I was so scared when I heard about that.”

“I remember,” Clem said. “It’s okay. Made it past that.”

Sarah tried to compose herself. “Is that more like what you had in mind?” She pointed to the stacks of frozen meals on one of the wire shelves.

“Yeah, something we can just zap,” he said. “You okay with that?”

“Sounds good,” she said.

They picked out meals and took them to the microwaves.

“Look, we can do them at the same time,” Sarah said, looking at the two microwaves on the wall above the stainless-steel counter.

They cooked their meals, then took them to the table in the middle of the kitchen.

“Hit’s the spot,” Sarah said after the first bite. “Guess I was hungry.”

“Not bad,” Clem said.

They ate silently, then Clem picked up their mess, and went into the walk-in fridge. “Want a bottle of water? There’s some cold ones in here.”

“Sure. I’m finally feeling more relaxed. Thank you.”

“I didn’t do anything,” he said, closing the walk-in door. He handed her a water bottle.

“You were here with me,” she said. “You’re a good calming influence, I think. You always have been.”

Clem chuckled. “Well, I’m good for something, then, I guess. Want to go back up?”

“Sure,” she said, standing. “Can I nap with you?”

He glanced at her, then nodded yes.

“Don’t worry, I just want to sleep. I’m so tired.”

“Me too,” he said. “Mind if we set an alarm? I don’t want to sleep through.”

“Me neither. I’d like to go pay my respects at the saloon later.”

“Good, that’s what I was thinking,” Clem said, taking her hand. They went upstairs.


Sid, Yvonne, Tyler, and Ed were standing by the big smoking pit, taking care to stay up wind as the flesh burned. All the bodies were in the pit now. It’d been a long day rounding them up.

“This is a dirty business,” Ed said.

“Had to be done,” Tyler said, “if just to kill those damn RFID chips.”

Sid shook his head. “The enemy will have no doubt what happened.”

Yvonne nodded. “You think that’s bad, honey?”

“I think they already knew.”

She got closer, her arm going around his waist. “I hope we don’t get hit again.”

“We’ll see it coming,” Tyler said. “I was just talking to Kaitlyn. They’ve increased the range of that history program, and we’re going to coordinate with the groups in the southwest and Texas to expand coverage.”

“Kaitlyn and Seth have become valuable,” Yvonne said.

“They were valuable before,” Tyler said. “Hell, Kaitlyn fights better than I do.”

“Where are we sleeping tonight?” Yvonne asked.

Sid shrugged. “We could grab a room in the hotel. That’s where Clem and Sarah are.”

Yvonne grinned at him.

“What?” he asked.

“Never mind.”

Sid looked at her and smiled. “Oh, really?”

“Stop, it’s probably nothing,” Yvonne said. “Sarah won’t say anything.”

“How bad is our rig damaged?” Sid asked.

“Flattened tire on the front passenger side. They put down the jacks so it’s level.”

“We could sleep in there, then, if we wanted too.”

“We’re going back to the tribe’s camp,” Ed said. “See you guys later at the wake.” He and Tyler walked away.

“Well?” Sid asked.

“Let’s go take a look. I didn’t fight in our rig, remember? I was in Ji-Ho’s rig with Clem and Sarah.”

“Afraid it might be a mess?”

“A little,” she said. “I glanced inside before I came back to town. Didn’t look too bad.” They walked back towards town. The saloon was already filling up for the wake, and the night air was descending, cooler but still dry as a bone.

Sid looked at her, taking her hand as they walked. “Gonna be dark pretty soon.”

She smiled at him. “Yeah. I hated being away from you during the battle. Let’s not do that again.”

“We didn’t plan on it that way. Good thing we noticed that gravel when we did.”

“They should’ve gotten the drop on us,” Yvonne said as they neared their rig, sitting in the pasture in front of the chicken coup. “We were lucky.”

“I know. The rig looks okay, except the gun slits are open. Who used it?”

“Some of Garrett’s folks,” Yvonne said. “I talked to them after. They went into siege mode right after they lost the tire. Good thing, or we would’ve lost more of them.”

“I’ll bet.” Sid walked to the door, which was ajar. He pulled it open. The faint smell of gunpowder hit him. “Might smell bad.”

“We’ll air it out for a couple hours, if there aren’t other problems.”

Yvonne followed Sid inside.

“A few water bottles laying around,” Sid said.

“Some brass on the floor.” Yvonne bent over to pick up the shells. “We should reload, just in case.”

Sid nodded, and opened the compartment under the grenade launcher. “They already reloaded this.”

“I’ll check the mini gun and the rear machine guns,” Yvonne said, walking into the back.

“I’ll check the front guns.” Sid opened the compartment next to the front seat. “Reloaded too.”

“So’s the mini gun,” Yvonne said, coming back out with a plastic bag full of spent brass. “It’s fine in here, but let’s open more windows.”

“Might get a little cold by the time we go to bed.”

“You’ll keep me warm,” Yvonne said with a twinkle in her eyes.

They opened the windows, then headed for the door.

“There’s Sam’s rig,” Sid said. “Lights are on. Why don’t we see if they’re going over now?”

Yvonne nodded, and they crossed the pasture, getting to the passenger side of the coach just as Sam, Erica, and Mia were coming out.

“Auntie Yvonne!” Mia said, rushing to her, hugging her legs. Yvonne smiled and patted her head.

“Hi, sweetie, how are you?”

“I’m glad the bad people are gone,” she said, looking up at her, then over at Sam and Erica.

“How’s your rig?” Sid asked.

“Needs a little airing out,” Sam said. “I think we’re gonna sleep over at Garrett’s place tonight.”

“We’re airing ours out now,” Yvonne said. “Smells like gunpowder.”

Erica snickered, nodding in agreement. “How are you two holding up?”

“Tired but relieved,” Yvonne said. “I don’t want to go through another battle without Sid being with me.”

“I feel the same way,” Erica said.

“Well, we did get caught with our pants down a little,” Sam said. “Are you guys going to the wake?”

“Yep,” Yvonne said.

“Good,” Erica said. “Maybe we can grab a table.”

“Probably all gone now, but we’ll see,” Sid said.

“Where’s Clem and Sarah?” Sam asked.

“Last I saw, they were at the hotel,” Yvonne said.

“Did they move in together?” Erica asked softly, glancing down at Mia, who wasn’t paying attention.

“They have separate rooms,” Sid said. “You know why she left the boarding house, right?”

Sam chuckled.

“What’s so funny?” Erica asked.

“Elmer and Susanne were in a shouting match that was still raging when Sarah was ready to go home. We could hear it all the way across the street.”

“Those two,” Erica said, shaking her head.

“I think Sarah wanted to be close to Clem anyway,” Yvonne said.

“You don’t think they’re getting together, do you?” Erica asked.

“I think Sarah needs companionship,” Yvonne said. “Not necessarily romantic, but they’ve been close friends for years.”

“Well whatever works for them,” Sam said. “I’m not going to tease them.”

Sid snickered. “I am, but not tonight.”

“Stop,” Yvonne said, hitting him with an elbow to the side.

“I can’t have any fun?” he asked.

“Am I going to the saloon, mommy?” Mia asked.

“Sure, for a while,” Erica told her. “For the wake. Then we’re spending the night at Uncle Garrett and Aunt Anna’s house. Is that okay?”

“Goody!” she said. “Maybe Anna will let me feed the chickens tomorrow morning.”

Sid and Yvonne looked at each other and laughed. “She’ll get tired of that before too long,” Yvonne said. “Not one of my fondest childhood memories.”

They got on the wooden sidewalk, nearing the saloon.

“Not very loud, are they?” Erica whispered.

“They haven’t made the transition from memorial to wake, I suspect,” Yvonne said as they got to the door. Willard saw them and motioned them in. The place was almost empty.

“Where’d everybody go?” Sid asked, walking to the bar.

“Most of those folks hadn’t been home to change yet,” Willard said. “I’m gonna have to sneak in the back and do the same. I probably smell a little ripe.”

“What does ripe mean, mommy?” Mia asked, looking up at Erica.

“That means that Willard needs to clean up,” Erica said, glancing over at Willard as he cracked up.

“Then he needs a bath?” she asked.

Willard quit laughing for a moment and looked down at her. “I wouldn’t go that far, honey. It’s not spring yet.”

Sam and Sid laughed, the women shaking their heads.

“What’s so funny?” Mia asked, looking at the adult’s faces, the women starting to laugh now too.

“He’s just joking, honey,” Erica said.

“You guys want to tend the bar for a few minutes while I go freshen up?” Willard asked.

“Sure,” Sid said. “Drinks on the house!”

Willard laughed as he walked into the back, where the storeroom and his makeshift bedroom were. “Drinks are always on the house.”

Ivan walked in with Ben, Seth, Kaitlyn, Robbie, and Morgan.

“We’ll set up at the usual table,” Seth said, carrying his laptop to it.

“Sam, good, glad you’re here,” Ivan said.

“Uh oh, something going on?” Sam asked, Erica getting closer with her brow furrowed.

“Nobody’s on the way here or anything like that,” he said. “We heard about some chatter, through my sources and Jules’s sources too.”

“What, enemy chatter?”

Ivan shook his head yes.

“Well?” Erica asked.

“Nobody can raise Saladin.”

Just at that moment, Jules, Sparky, Tex, and Ted rushed in, followed by Shelly, Dana, Karen, and Haley.

“Boss, more info come in,” Jules said, rushing over to them.

“What now?” Ivan asked.

“Saladin in trouble for moving forces here from Colorado,” Jules said, his eyes full of glee. “His own people hunt him now.”

Sam laughed. “Sucks to be him, then, I guess.”

“That calls for a drink,” Sid said, pulling the good whiskey out, lining up shot glasses.

To be continued…


For those of you following Bug Out! Texas, Book 10 has just been published. You can find it here.


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


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


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


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

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 155 – Lessons Learned

“Nobody else anywhere near us,” Ben said, watching the satellite feed.

“Good,” Ivan said. “We should have a leadership meeting.”


“Down here,” Ivan said. “We should leave the others out there just in case. Every enemy body needs to be checked.”

“What do we do with them after we check them?” Morgan asked.

“Burn them,” Robbie said. “Then the RFID chips will be destroyed. That’ll make new arrivals stick out like a sore thumb.”

“Yes,” Ivan said, taking out his phone. He sent a text.

“Who are you inviting?” Seth asked.

“Ji-Ho, Jules, Ted, Tex, Sam, Sparky, Garrett, Ed, and Tyler.”

“Might want to add Sid and Erica,” Seth said.

“Yeah, and Susanne,” Morgan said.

“Somebody have their numbers?” Ivan asked. “Go ahead and text them.”

“Want us to leave?” Seth asked.

“Nope, you guys are our intelligence team,” Ivan said. “We need you here, if you don’t mind. At least for this meeting.”

“Hey, honey, it finally finished processing,” Kaitlyn said, pointing to the screen.

Seth laughed. “Damn, that took forty-five minutes.”

“How long did the original setting take?” Robbie asked.

“About fifteen minutes,” Seth said, “and I was running it every couple hours. We’ll have to adjust our timing if we’re gonna run the larger area.”

“Hope we don’t have to run it this way for long,” Ben said. “It will shorten our reaction time too much.”

“We’ll get with the other groups after this meeting,” Ivan said. “I’d like to see this run more like every hour, and we should share data with the others, and vice versa.”

Footsteps and talking approached the room, and Sam appeared in the doorway with Jules, Ji-Ho, and the others.

“Glad we meeting,” Ji-Ho said. “Lot to discuss.”

Seriously,” Erica said, coming in to join Sam.

“Checked on Mia lately?” Sam asked, his arm going around her waist.

“Just came from there. She’s fine.”

“Thanks for coming,” Ivan said. “One thing I’ve always liked to do is a post-mortem. That’s very much needed in this case.”

“Yes, it is,” Ted said.

Tex smiled. “Yep, partner, but we can be proud of what we did out there too, though. Last count I got from the apps says we got hit with over 1300 enemy fighters. It’s almost double what we expected. I’d say we did pretty well.”

“Those off-roaders,” Tyler said, smiling. “Oh my God.”

“Yes, they’ve proven themselves,” Ivan said.

“But battle wagons did not,” Ji-Ho said.

“Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater on those, partner,” Tex said. “We made some human errors that caused a lot of the problems, and remember how little notice we had on this attack.”

“We could use an alarm on the history program,” Ted said. “Wouldn’t have done our sleeping much good last night, but if we’d placed our coaches wisely and put them into siege mode instead of moving them all over the place, we wouldn’t have lost any of them.”

“We lose one turret,” Ji-Ho said.

Jules looked over at him. “Yeah, but that unit still have the mini-gun, the front and rear machine guns, and the side gun slits intact. That pretty effective group of capabilities, no?”

“Let’s start with the battle wagons, then,” Ivan said. “Wish we had a chalk board.”

“I’ll set up a PowerPoint document and cast it to the big screen,” Kaitlyn said.

“Good idea,” Ben said.

Kaitlyn got to work on that as Ivan waited for the talking to die down.

“I’m ready,” she said.

“Okay,” Ivan said, “let’s brainstorm what when wrong with them, and then we can apply some solutions. The floor is open.”

“Moving those rigs in a target-rich environment is too dangerous,” Ted said.

“Put that one down, please, Kaitlyn,” Ivan said.

“You want solutions?” Sparky asked.

“Not yet. Let’s keep up with the problems.”

“We aren’t keeping enough extra ammo in these coaches for the mini gun and the grenade launchers,” Tex said.

“There’s another one to put down,” Ivan said.

“Two or three people not enough for battle wagon while in fight,” Ji-Ho said. “Need four. Maybe even five.”

“Five?” Sparky asked.

“For fast reloading,” Ji-Ho said.

“Put that one down too,” Ivan said.

“You guys know that the coaches will roll along with the tire armor nearly all the way down, right?” Sparky asked. “There’s enough clearance, and it would cut the exposure way down.”

“Should I add that?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Yes, but let’s modify it slightly,” Ivan said, looking at the ceiling, deep in thought for a moment. “Problem is that tire protection is either all the way on or all the way off. There’s no partial protection for those situations where we must move during a battle. Those situations will come up.”

“Yep, they have come up, partner,” Tex said. “More than once, from my recollection.”

“Okay,” Kaitlyn said, typing the problem in. Shelly rushed into the room, getting next to Jules with her laptop. “Should I be taking minutes?”

“Yes, do, and compare with PowerPoint that Kaitlyn is updating after meeting,” Jules said.

Shelly and Kaitlyn glanced at each other and nodded.

“Any other issues with the battle wagons?” Ivan asked.

“The most important one, I believe, not on list,” Jules said.

“What’s that?” Ivan asked.

“Battle wagon good for some operations, not for others. Not strong enough for use as pillbox, not mobile enough during big battle to survive more than small arms fire.”

“That is the most important thing anybody has brought up,” Ivan said. “Even if we solve the problems we brought up, these units will do much better in some situations than they do in others.”

“So maybe we should start brainstorming solutions for that first, since it doesn’t take any hardware upgrades,” Ted said.

Tex shook his head. “Well, partner, that is important, but let’s keep something in mind. We can’t always choose where we use these. Today, for instance, we had to use them, even though their capabilities didn’t match perfectly. No other choice. We would’ve lost the battle if we didn’t have them here.”

Ivan stood, thinking again. “That’s an excellent point, Tex, but understanding the pros and cons will prevent us from making a bad choice when we do have a choice.”

“We had that crop up yesterday, remember?” Ben asked.

“We did?” Erica asked.

“We got a request from our allies on the border to send our rigs, the off-roaders, and most of you south from Highway 94, to shore up that part of the border now that the enemy is fanning out wide to avoid the artillery,” Ivan said. “I chose not to do that, before I knew we were about to be hit.”

“Good call, partner,” Tex said. “That would’ve been a disaster.”

“Why?” Morgan asked.

“It was another target-rich environment,” Ted said. “I saw a couple hundred thousand fighters on that side of their front. We couldn’t have stopped them from rushing these rigs. We would’ve run out of ammo and had to flee, exposing our tires in the process, as the enemy brought up stuff like grenades and RPGs.”

“Yep,” Tex said.

“So what are these rigs good for, then?” Robbie asked.

“Assaults on weak targets without overwhelming numbers,” Sparky said.

“Yes, that right,” Ji-Ho said.

“Like taking out the checkpoints in LA County and up north, or assaulting single facilities, like the CHP headquarters and Folsom prison up in Sacramento,” Sparky said.

“They can even take on larger forces, if we have the advantage of terrain that protects us from a massive assault,” Ted said. “Remember what we did to Saladin’s forces coming over the pass from Nevada before we came here?”

“Yes, that was a very successful operation,” Ivan said. “You guys understand. I propose that we pursue solutions to the problems we’ve highlighted, realizing that we will get forced into using these in non-optimum situations. In the future we will avoid those situations when we can.”

Ted smiled. “So, I heard that we’re going to store more ammo inside the rig, and increase the crew from an average of two people to a minimum of four, with a fifth person when we can. Agreed?”

Everybody nodded in agreement. Tex spoke up. “The other thing we need to do, if we have the time, is to plant ourselves someplace and go into siege mode right away. Only move as a last resort.”

“I agree with that,” Ted said, “but remember that most of us moved because it was a last resort. We couldn’t effectively hit the enemy from the spots we started in.”

“What about the extra tire shielding?” Robbie asked. “Seems fairly simple.”

“We looked at that, during the second round of design changes,” Ivan said. “It’s not a simple problem.”

“Why not?” Robbie asked.

“The suspension,” Ivan said. “We’d have to allow the armor plates to float with that, and the travel is fairly wide. There’s not a lot of room in the space we have to work with to put a complex solution like that in.”

“I could see that, partner,” Tex said, “and since we want these rigs to look as much like a normal RV as possible, sticking the mechanism outside of the wheel well wouldn’t work.”

“Sounds like we need to table that idea, then,” Sparky said.

“For now, but if anybody comes up with a brilliant solution, I’m all ears,” Ivan said.

“What’s next?” Garrett asked. “The off-roaders?”

“Those things are amazing,” Sid said. “Did we even lose any of them?”

“Nope, not a one,” Sam said, “but that won’t last. There are ways to disable them, and their armor isn’t that powerful. If the enemy got a good description of them back to their leadership, we can expect better counter measures next time.”

“And we know that they did,” Sid said. “Remember the drone?”

“Drone?” Ivan asked.

“Oh, we haven’t mentioned that yet,” Garrett said. “The enemy flew a small drone over the ridge at us after we destroyed the first semi.”

“A military drone?” Ivan asked.

Garrett shook his head no. “Looked like a hobby drone to me, with a video camera and no shielding.”

“Ryan shot it down with his sniper rifle,” Ed said.

Sid nodded. “We think that’s what convinced the other two semis to take a powder.”

“Interesting,” Ivan said. “Maybe we should invest in some hobby drones ourselves. It’s not like they’re out of our price range.”

“Wish I still had my drone,” Ji-Ho said.

Ivan chuckled. “Oh, the one you almost killed Saladin with? Sorry, but that was a higher purpose, and it killed off some fairly important UN creeps.”

“I thought they were just Peacekeepers,” Ji-Ho said.

“One of them was the Southern California commander,” Ivan said, “but we’re getting off on a tangent. From what I’m hearing, the off-roaders are a good defense against large scale assaults like this.”

“They’re also good for operations like the one in the Sierra’s that I mentioned,” Ted said. “I look at them as the fighter escorts to our B-17 battle wagons.”

Sparky cracked up. “Yep, that’s about right.”

“So we need to be aware that the enemy might develop counter-measures,” Ivan said. “How does their ammo hold up?”

“They had very long belts,” Sam said. “And since they’re all two-seaters, there’s somebody there who can reload pretty easily on the fly. They did run low in the back country, but that was after forty-five of them took on over three-hundred enemy fighters.”

“And their semis, don’t forget,” Sid said. “The microguns are very effective, but so are the grenade launchers. These are very potent weapons for this kind of warfare.”

“Good,” Ivan said. “What else? What other parts of our operation worked, and what parts didn’t?”

“We need some shielding on our cannons,” Garrett said. “Our largest group of casualties came from that team.”

“Oh, crap, Willard didn’t get it, did he?” Sparky asked.

“No, he’s fine,” Garrett said. “He was one of the six that survived.”

“How about the cavalry?” Sam asked. “We didn’t lose any in the back.”

“Three were hit, but none of them killed, believe it or not,” Garrett said. “They are good at using cover. Some of that we learned when we were laying traps for the enemy at your old RV park. They show themselves when they have surprise and get the enemy running instead of shooting back.”

“Some of them are still using black powder guns,” Ted said. “Not that they weren’t effective.”

“It’s what they’ve practiced with for years,” Garrett said. “We’ve changed over more of the infantry to M60s and M4s, but we had pretty good luck with the old Sharps 1874 plains rifles in the back. That lead shielding takes a fairly heavy bullet to punch through.”

“What’s a plains rifle?” Ivan asked.

“Long gun, a little over .50 caliber, designed for dropping bison,” Ed said. “Damn things did a lot to destroy our culture in the 19th century, but I’m glad we have them now. They punch a big hole.”

“As well they should,” Tex said. “We’re talking the two and a half inch guns, right?”

Garrett smiled. “You know your firearms history.”

“Should we expand the use of them beyond what we have now?” Ivan asked.

Sam shook his head no. “We’ve got enough, and remember that these are single-shot rifles. They’re great for sitting up on a ridge and firing at a tough target, but if you’ve got enemy fighters rushing you, they’re the last thing you want.”

“I second that,” Garrett said. “We’ve got enough of those, but we should keep those squads together.”

“That’s one we’re still reloading,” Susanne said. “That and the dual use rounds like the 44-40s.”

“Saw your cavalry using those old Winchesters,” Tex said. “Impressive.”

Ivan smiled. “Okay, what else did we learn? What else do we need to adjust?”

“Do we have replacement tires coming for the battle wagons?” Ted asked.

Ji-Ho nodded yes. “Here tomorrow. We need to fix one M19 turret. That all.”

“Good,” Ivan said. “We probably should go direct the cleanup now.”

“Yeah, we could use all the help we can get,” Garrett said. “I’ve got my guys with the dozer out back, digging a big hole. We’re gonna burn them, right?”

“If we want to get rid of the chips, yes,” Ted said. “We’ll help with body disposal. We got enough trucks?”

“Trucks and wagons,” Garrett said. “Hopefully the wind stays in its current direction.”

“Eeewww,” Kaitlyn said, Shelly nodding in agreement.

“Thanks, all,” Ivan said. “I need to go make some calls. Keep the satellite view running as long as we have it, though, okay?”

“You got it,” Ben said.


Saladin was sitting alone in his cave at Capitol Reef, his hand trembling as he drank water. He’d need to escape from his own people now. No way would they forgive him for this. His phone rang. He looked at it, his heart in his throat. Daan Mertins. He punched the answer button and put it on speaker.

“You can run, but you can’t hide,” Daan said, anger dripping from his voice.

“Then there’s no reason to talk to you,” Saladin said, reaching for his phone.

“If you hang up, I’ll come down there and kill you myself.”

“You and which army?” Saladin asked calmly. “If this had worked, you’d be celebrating me as a hero.”

“For staging a revenge attack?”

“My sources said there was a sixty percent chance that both Ivan and Ben Dover were at that location, along with the rest of the California resistance leadership.”

“Pulling all of those troops out of Colorado will hand General Hogan a great victory in the southwest. You’ll be hearing from him in Utah quite soon, I expect.”

“They don’t know where we are,” Saladin said.

“Yes they do. Those RFID chips have been compromised, as we thought.”

“Why do you say that?” Saladin asked.

“Think about it. How do you think the Dulzura group knew your trucks were coming?”

“They didn’t know,” Saladin said. “They were just on high alert, probably because of what I told you at the beginning of this call. Ivan and Ben are at that location. Of course, they’re going to protect them.”

“Stop lying to yourself. They were waiting in both places you attempted to enter the facility. They were ready, and they used air power from the US Navy to take out the two semis that got away from the initial battle.”

“That’s the only reason we lost,” Saladin said. “What are we doing to handle the rogue leadership of the US Armed Forces?”

Daan chuckled. “Moron. If something was going to shut them down, don’t you think it would’ve happened after the US Navy sank that EU Navy destroyer in Portland?”

“Your people are running the border incursion, and it’s not moving. Why is that?”

“We’re being cautious, and waiting for other pieces to be put in place,” Daan said. “We’ll have a large force back in California. Not thirteen hundred like you just wasted. Several hundred thousand.”

“Based on the leadership I’ve seen so far, those men will be wasted.”

Daan chuckled again. Saladin could hear his breath on the line, but no words came.

“You still there?” Saladin asked.

“You’re being relieved of command.”

Saladin laughed. “You think my men will follow the infidel?”

“No, but they’ll follow the guy holding your leash.”

“He’d never side with you,” Saladin said.

“I don’t know, he’s pretty pissed,” Daan said. “What makes you think those caves you’re in are so safe, anyway, given the fact that the enemy knows exactly where you are?”

“Western men value monuments over their principals,” Saladin said. “They won’t destroy this area, just like they refused to bomb the Grand Canyon to get rid of the militia base there. They’ll have to come in and root us out. We’ll have plenty of surprises for them.”

“Well, I’ll tell you what,” Daan said. “You’re on your own now. There will be agents of your governing body coming to relieve you of command and arrest you. Have a nice night.

Saladin ended the call, tossing his phone on the cot.

To be continued…


For those of you following Bug Out! Texas, Book 10 has just been published. You can find it here.


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


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


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


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

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 154 – Swarm of Bees

“Hear that?” Sid asked.

“Sounds like mortar fire,” Sam said.

Tyler laughed. “Sounds like those cannons to me.”

Just then they saw a semi-rig come over the hill, heading straight for them.

“I see hits from the front of the property,” Ed said, checking his phone.

“Let these guys get a little closer,” Sam said.

“Roger that,” Garrett said. They watched as the semi-truck slowed.

“I think they’re gonna park right there,” Sid said, watching them through his rifle scope. “I can take out the driver and passenger. Got them in my crosshairs.”

“Go,” Sam said. Sid pulled the trigger, the driver’s head exploding in the cab, tagging the passenger as he screamed with panic.

“Nail that trailer,” Garrett shouted into his phone, and the large plains rifles fired from the ridges around the truck, shredding the trailer, releasing the RFID signals, all the men’s phones buzzing.

“Let’s get them!” Sam shouted, as panicked Islamists poured out, gunfire from the plains rifles still hitting the trailer and picking off running men. Then the off-roaders roared in, firing grenades, hitting the broken trailer so many times at once that it lifted and fell on its side, breaking free of the truck cab. The microguns fired up now, off-roaders chasing down fleeing Islamists, most of whom had dropped their weapons.

“Sounds like a swarm of bees,” Ed shouted between shots.

“My God,” Sid said, watching as men were cut down, some stopping with their hands up, killed where they stood. The slaughter took only a few seconds.

“Geez, that was about three hundred men, dead in an instant,” Ryan said, watching the off-roaders circling.

“Hey, you hear that?” Sid asked.

“Hear what?” Tyler asked.

“Quiet,” Garrett said. “I hear it too. Crap, it’s a drone. Small one. Look!”

They saw the drone coming down, circling over the ruined semi-truck.

“I can hit it,” Ryan said, aiming his sniper rifle, following it with the scope.

“Do it,” Sam said. Ryan fired, the drone coming apart in the air, falling in pieces.

“There’s another truck back there, or worse,” Ed said.

“Yeah, I think you’re right,” Garrett said, sending a text to his cavalry. “I’m sending them over the ridge to look.”

“The off-roaders are gonna beat them to it,” Sid said, pointing as they raced up the hill, stopping just shy of the ridge, getting off to peek over. They ran back to their machines, one of them stopping to send a text, which hit Sam’s phone.

“Dammit,” Sam said.

“I’m afraid to ask,” Ed said.

“Another semi-truck was back there. It’s turning tail and running the other way.”

“Should we go after it?” Garrett asked.

Sam thought for a moment. “No, feels like a trap. Is there any other way here from that stagecoach road?”

“Not that they could get over with those semi-trucks.”

“Powerful lot of noise coming from town,” Sid said. “Cannon fire, and battle wagons too. Checking the apps.”

Sam nodded, his brow furrowed.

“We can send the off-roaders after that fleeing semi,” Garrett said.

Sam’s brow furrowed. “Dammit, we need a better picture of what we’re dealing with.”

“Uh oh,” Sid said. “There’s more enemy fighters in front of town than we were supposed to see.’

Sam glanced at him. “I was afraid of that. How many?”

“Seven hundred,” Sid said. “That, with the three hundred that we just killed makes a thousand, and there’s another truck back there.”

“At least one more,” Ed said. “I agree with Sam. This is a trap.”

Sam typed a text. “I’m checking with Seth. We need to know where those other Islamists came from.”

“There’s more mortar fire coming from town than we should be hearing,” Sid said. “Maybe we should gather up the off-roaders and hi-tail it back there.”

“Yeah, I think you’re right,” Ed said, “even if the fleeing semi turns around, they’ll be on foot long before they get to town, and we’ll see them on the apps.”

Sam’s phone dinged. He read his screen. “They think a bunch of Islamists came all the way from Colorado, and that’s beyond the range of Seth’s history program.”

“How do they know that?” Garrett asked.

“Ivan got the info from General Hogan’s team,” Sam said. “Let’s get everybody headed towards town right now. Ivan’s got jets from San Diego on the way to wipe out any semi-trucks they see behind the property.”

“Good,” Garrett said, sending a text to his men. Sam texted the off-roaders, and they left, racing back to town.


Ivan had the phone to his ear, standing in a corner of the large mine room, the others working their computers on tables ringing the walls.

“You almost done?” Kaitlyn asked Seth gently. Her hand touched his shoulder, and he turned towards her, nodding yes.

“How far did you extend the range?” Ivan asked.

“I doubled it, to two thousand square miles,” Seth said. “We don’t have the processing power to expand it further than that.”

Ivan nodded. “That will be enough. I see the hurt on your face. This was not your fault. Understand?”

He nodded, then turned back to his screen, as Kaitlyn shot Ivan a worried glance. Ivan’s phone rang. He smiled and answered it, walking back to the corner again.

“Okay, it’s running,” Seth said.

“Hey, Ben, go to this URL,” Ivan said, rushing over to his side. Ben looked at it, typing at his keyboard.

“What is this?” he asked.

“Satellite feed,” Ivan said. “Should give us a view of the whole area.”

“Need a password?”

“No,” Ivan said, “it’s in the URL.”

Ben’s eyes opened wide as he saw the picture. “Holy crap, look at this.”

“Wow, they’ve gotten better with image quality,” Robbie said, looking over his shoulder with Morgan.

“That’s live?” Morgan asked.

“Yep, and we can move it around,” Ben said. “See the two semis on the road in front of the property? One on the driveway and one on the highway.”

“How about the back?” Ivan asked, looking closer.

Ben moved the view over. “Another two. They’re trying to escape.”

Ivan looked at the clock on his phone. “They don’t have long to live. The jets should be here in about three minutes.”

Suddenly there was a flash on the screen.

“Whoa, they’re early,” Morgan said. As the flash died down they could see the broken semis, laying mangled on the ground, engulfed in fire.

“Check the apps,” Seth said. “Let’s see how many were there.”

Kaitlyn looked at her phone. “Only two hundred and change.”

“The explosion and fire probably took out a lot of the RFID chips,” Ivan said.

“Going back to the front of the property,” Ben said, refocusing the view. “That second semi is coming onto the driveway now. Surprised the first one hasn’t opened up yet.”

“Seriously,” Seth said, watching the screen. “What’s that coming in from the east?”

“Cavalry,” Robbie said. “Hate to see them attack first. Where are those off-roaders?”

“They’ll be along,” Ivan said.

“Why aren’t the battle wagons hitting these semis?” Robbie asked.

Seth glanced at him. “Trevor texted me, said they were out of ammo, and most of them have their tires shot up. He’ll probably be down here in a few minutes to grab more ammo. He’s gonna bring up one of the new battle wagons and ferry ammo to the others.”

“How many battle wagons do we have that aren’t being manned?” Morgan asked.

“Trevor said five,” Kaitlyn said.

“Crap, we can man one of them,” Morgan said. “Seth and Kaitlyn know how too, you know.”

“Out of the question,” Ivan said. “The battle wagons are of limited use. Great for certain kinds of assault. Not so great in a target-rich environment. They’re too easy to overrun. This is why I didn’t want to take them to the border.”

“Yeah, it was a good call,” Ben said.

Ivan smiled. “Speaking of that, see if you can view the border. I want to see if the enemy is getting close.”

“What about what’s going on outside?” Morgan asked. “Aren’t those semis gonna unload and kill our people?”

“Don’t worry about it,” Ivan said. “Those off-roaders are perfect for this situation, and there’s about four hundred of Garrett’s people coming too, half of them mounted. Sam told me how they took care of the semi in the back. We’ll be fine, and now we know there’s no more semis coming.”

Ben moved the picture. “It moves pretty slow when you’re going further.”

“No problem,” Ivan said, watching over his shoulder.

“Man, this thing runs slow with this range setting,” Seth said, still looking hurt.

Kaitlyn turned his head towards her. “Look, honey, you need to snap out of this. If not for your program, we wouldn’t have had any warning at all, and we’d probably be dead now.”

“She’s right,” Ivan said. “You didn’t see them all, because you had your program optimized in a realistic way. You saw more than half of them, and that was enough to mobilize us. You, more than anybody else here, saved us. Don’t forget that.”

Seth nodded yes. “Sorry.”

“How far along is it?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Not even half done,” Seth said. “We might not want to leave it this way for long.”

“When we get past this battle, I want our team to work together with teams in the mid-west and Texas,” Ivan said. “Share the program, and spread out the processing. That would solve the problem completely, and it will put your program into wider use. Win win.”

“I’d like that,” Seth said. “We could overlap. Create an air-tight web of surveillance.”

“Exactly,” Ivan said.

“Got that view of the border now,” Ben said. “Hell, the enemy is still pretty far from the border. Can’t tell how many miles, but it’s a considerable distance.”

“They still fanned out?” Ivan asked.

“Yeah, they’re wide and pretty thin. I don’t think that’s gonna work well for them.”

“Conrad thinks they’ll re-converge and try to funnel in where we’ve got our main defenses set up,” Ivan said. “I’m not so sure.”

“Why would they want to do that?” Robbie asked.

“It’s closest to Old Highway 80,” Ivan said, “although what they plan to use for vehicles or a route north might be problematic. From what I’m hearing, this isn’t their A team.”

“So where is their A team?” Ben asked. “Here, attacking us?”

“My sources say central Mexico,” Ivan said. “Not that I buy it.”


Trevor and Kaylee ran down the main street, Willard following. Cody and Alison noticed them run by from their stopped rig, and got out, running to catch up.

“What’s going on?” Cody asked.

“There’re five battle wagons just sitting on the far end of town, and we’ve got gobs more ammo in the mine,” Trevor said.

“Oh, gonna distribute some ammo and get back in the fight, huh?” Cody asked. “I like it. We’ll help.”

There was gunfire behind them. “Dammit, those last two semis must be in place,” Allison said.

“Sounds like it,” Kaylee said. They got to the parked battle wagons just as Sam’s Jeep Unlimited showed up, off-roaders flying past them on main street, towards the battle ground.

“Hey, want to man battle wagons?” Trevor yelled.

Sam shook his head yes, looking at the others. “Ready, guys?”

“We need to stop at the mine and pick up ammo for the others,” Kaylee said.

“Sounds like a plan,” Garrett said. They got into the rigs as more off-roaders roared by, and then the street was flooded with cavalry and cowboys on foot.

Trevor and Kaylee got into one of the rigs, Trevor getting behind the wheel and finding the keys. He started the engine. “Hey, honey, check to see if the guns are loaded.”

“On it,” Kaylee said.

“Want some help?” Willard asked, poking his head in the door.

“Yeah, come on in,” Trevor said, “but no firing that Colt Dragoon out the gun slits. You’ll fill this sucker up with smoke. Use my Winchester or one of the M60s.”

Willard laughed. “Yeah, I got it.”

“The mini gun is fully loaded,” Kaylee yelled from the back, rushing up. She popped the cover on the grenade launcher. “Same with this. We’re ready. Let’s get to the mine.”

Trevor nodded and pulled forward, pushing the massive diesel faster than it wanted to go with no warmup. They made it to the opening of the mine in a couple minutes, and all of them sprinted down the shaft as the other four battle wagons stopped behind them.

“We’re ready and waiting,” Susanne said, just inside the entrance to the mine shaft, belts of mini gun ammo and grenades piled up next to her and the other women.

“Excellent,” Trevor said, smiling as he picked up as much as he could carry and raced it into the rig, Willard and Kaylee doing the same. As soon as they drove away, Sam pulled up in his rig, and he and Ryan rushed into the mine and grabbed ammo too, the other coaches following and doing the same.

“Look, the enemy just parked that first semi,” Kaylee said.

“Parked my ass, look at the cab windows,” Willard said, laughing. They were shot up, the driver hanging bloody over the steering wheel.

“Let’s pull over by where your uncle and Ted’s rigs are and give them ammo,” Trevor said. “Then we should go to the front of the property and get into siege mode.”

“That might work better than what we did last time,” Kaylee said.

They made it between the two battle wagons. Ji-Ho poked his head out, a wide grin on his face. “Now we talking.”

“Stay there,” Kaylee said. “Cover us while we get it to you. That other semi is gonna open up any second.”

Ted and Stacey rushed out of the other rig, grabbing ammo, nodding thanks to Kaylee and the others, and getting back inside to reload.

“Okay, let’s relocate this sucker,” Trevor shouted, and they got in and rolled forward, facing the first enemy vehicle from the front of the pasture. Kaylee opened up with the front machine guns as Trevor set up siege mode, raising the turrets at the same time. Willard went to the driver’s side gun slit with one of the M60s and opened fire broadside on the semi-trailer, the damaged lining inside letting out the RFID signal, all of them getting buzzed.

“Doubt I killed any of them, but that’ll shake them up,” Willard shouted.

“Look, Sam got Jules and Sparky’s rig re-supplied. They just opened fire.”

“Here comes that other semi-rig,” Willard said. “See it?”

“Yeah, that’s one of the reasons I parked this way,” Trevor said. “Let’s hit them. Looks like both Tex’s rig and Justin’s rig are ready to fight again.”

“Angel and Megan’s rig is ready too,” Kaylee said, “and their tires aren’t shot up. They’re moving in to block that semi.”

“Time to end those drivers,” Trevor said, firing the mini gun through the windshield, practically decapitating the driver and passenger, then moving to the trailer. “Crap, that shielding is tough to get through.”

“Hit it with the grenades,” Willard said.

Trevor nodded, flipping the switch and opening fire. “That worked!”

“Damn, started something on fire in there,” Willard said. “Look at those heathens run.”

“What happened to those off-roaders?” Trevor asked.

“They’re by the mill getting more ammo,” Kaylee said. “Noticed them when we came through.”

“Hope they hurry, because we’ve got a flood of enemy fighters on the ground.”

“Yep, here they come now,” Willard said, firing at a couple hundred Islamists as they rushed towards them, Trevor trying to hit them with the mini guns. “Too close again,” he shouted.

“Whoa,” Willard said, watching as the off-roaders rushed into the pasture, their microguns spinning, the fire so fast that it sounded more like a buzz than a machine gun.

“Geez,” Trevor said. “I want one.”

The other trailer is busted open completely now,” Kaylee said. “They’re in front of my guns!” She opened fire, mowing some down, others diving head-first into the cover of the dry creek ringing the pasture. Then the black powder guns and the thunder of horses floated over the battlefield, the Islamists coming back out of the trees, the micro guns killing them as they became visible.

“This battle isn’t gonna last long,” Willard said.

“Sam said that’s what happened in the back,” Trevor said. “Those guns mounted on the off-roaders is pretty tough for infantry to deal with.”

“Shoot, I think I’ll just hold my fire and watch,” Willard said. “I’m afraid I’ll hit those guys, as fast as they’re moving.”

“Yeah, let’s just be here for back up,” Trevor said, watching the carnage through his gun sight. “That sounds like an angry swarm of bees.”

“That’s the description I was trying to find,” Willard said. watching in awe. “Glad the enemy don’t have those suckers.”

The cavalry was out in the pasture, chasing down panicked Islamists with their pistols and swords.

“It’s just cleanup now,” Willard said, watching out the windows.

“They threw about thirteen hundred at us,” Kaylee said, looking at the app. “Geez. That was a hell of a battle.”

The gunfire died down to nothing, and then an all-clear text message hit their phones.

“Well, guess I’ll park this sucker back where it was,” Trevor said.

“I think we ought to leave it here until we meet on this,” Kaylee said. “How badly messed up is our rig?”

“From what I can tell, just a flat tire on one side. Maybe we got one on one of the other wheels now.”

“We need to re-think our strategy with these things a wee might,” Willard said.

“Yep,” Trevor said. “When the battle is so close, we can’t try to be mobile. We need to store double the ammo we’ve been keeping on board too.”

They got out of the rig and joined the others, walking towards town. Ji-Ho, Clem, and Sarah were just getting out of their rig, and joined them.

Kaylee put her arm around Ji-Ho as they walked. “Are you doing okay, uncle?”

“Yes, feel fine,” he said. “It come and go. Right now, go.”

“Good,” Kaylee said.

“I think we’ll need some tires,” Trevor said.

“Already ordered,” Ji-Ho said. “Two day.”

“Any rigs damaged other than tires?” Willard asked.

“One have M19 turret jammed, but happen before. We probably fix here.”

“We need to talk about how we use these,” Trevor said.

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “No more battle without siege mode. Especially in close hand-to-hand fight.”

“Live and learn,” Willard said. “Hope at least some of our cannon team survived.”

There was a noise at the front gate, causing them to whirl around in a panic.

“Paramedics,” Kaylee said as they watched a stream of vehicles picking their way past the wreckage. “Good, they’re gonna be busy.”

To be continued…


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Bugout! California Part 153 – Colt Dragoon

“We’re back on my land,” Garrett said as the Jeep Unlimited drove the rutted trail. “There’s a stand of trees to hide in, right where the semi will have to stop.”

“How far?” Sam asked from behind the wheel.

“Couple miles,” Garrett said. “There’s some of my cavalry, up on that far ridge. See them?”

“Yeah,” Sid said. “Surprised they didn’t see the gravel.”

“They don’t go that far off our land,” Garrett said. “We’ve got so much to patrol inside our own borders.”

They rolled down the dusty trail, the heat of the day still rising, not enough breeze to cool them down.

Tyler took a swig from his water bottle, then wiped sweat off his brow. “We got enough coverage for the town with all the off-roaders coming here?”

“Should,” Sam said. “We’ve got all those battle wagons.”

“Hell of a lot of infantry now, too,” Garrett said. I’d be a lot more worried if it was just our original group.”

“Seriously,” Ed said. “Wish I was gonna be there for the cannon fire.”

Garrett chuckled. “Yeah, those old cannon do get your blood up.”

“Wait till you hear the microguns on the off-roaders,” Ryan said. “Looked up some video. They’re so fast they hardly sound like guns.”

“Why did they kill that program?” Sid asked.

“Yeah, good question,” Ed said.

“I never saw the official reason, but I can guess,” Sam said.

“Let’s have it,” Garrett said.

“They’re too heavy to carry, so they’ve got to be mounted on a vehicle. The difference in weight and ammo storage space from the next size up doesn’t make enough difference to the army. They’d rather have twenty extra pounds and the higher power of the larger rounds.”

“Ah, but we’ve got an application that can take advantage, where the size and weight does make a difference,” Tyler said.

“Yep, the army didn’t have off-roaders,” Sam said. “Seems like a pretty damn good fit to me.”

“That the stand of trees you’re talking about?” Sam asked, pointing ahead.

“That be them,” Garrett said. “The semi can’t get through the rocky pass that’s right past that.”

“Yeah, remember that,” Sid said. “The enemy van could get by, but just barely, and then they didn’t go much further.”

The Jeep sped up on the flat section of road heading to the small tree-covered ridge.

“This is perfect,” Sam said. “There’s more of your mounted guys, Garrett.”

“They’re all over the place, and we’ll need them,” Garrett said. “When we break open that semi there’ll be a lot of enemy fighters on foot.”

“Unless we can land a mortar round on them before they get out,” Sid said.

“I don’t think we can count on that much luck,” Ed said. “If these microguns can get through the sides, that might do a lot of damage.”

“Wonder how they’ll do getting through lead lining?” Tyler asked.

“Probably not good enough,” Sam said. “We’ll need our men with M60s to do much there.”

Garrett chuckled. “Lots of my cavalry guys have plains rifles. They don’t have a high rate of fire, but when you’ve got over a hundred men with them, they can turn things into swiss cheese in a hurry.”

The Jeep pulled past the stand of trees, parking back far enough to be out of sight.

“Here we are,” Garrett said. “Let’s fan out wide.”

“Think they know how far in they can get?” Ryan asked.

“I’m sure they do,” Sam said. “They knew enough to drop gravel in specific locations. They know how far their semi-trucks can go too. Their van team saw it. I’m sure they were in constant contact with the base.”

“We have to assume that,” Ed said.

The men got out of the Jeep with their weapons, Sam going to the back to get out the mortar and grenades.

“Want some help with that?” Ed asked.

“Sure,” Sam said. “Don’t know how much good this thing will be, but it’s worth trying.”

“Listen,” Ryan said. “I hear off-roaders.”

“Here they come,” Tyler said. “Those things are so bitchen.” The small vehicles started coming forward from the rocky pass, fanning out in the stand of trees.

“I want one,” Ryan said.

Sam left Ed to the mortar and rushed over to talk to the lead rider, while Sid and Garrett picked out spots for sniping at the enemy.

Sam trotted over to them.

“What’d you tell them?” Garrett asked.

“I told them to stay out of sight until we start shooting,” Sam said, “and for them to concentrate fire with the grenades first, then move to the microguns after the sides of the semi-trailers have been breached, and the fighters are getting out.”

“Who’s sending us the word from town?” Sid asked.

Sam chuckled. “Everybody and their brother.”

“Won’t even matter,” Ed said, walking over. “We’ll know the other attack is happening when they open the semi-trailers. We’ll all get buzzed when the chips are exposed.”

“You’re right,” Sid said. “Hell, we’ll probably hear the gunfire.”

“Time to wait,” Garrett said, pulling his phone out. He sent a text to his forces, in the outback and in town.


Trevor and Kaylee drove their battle wagon into position, behind an old barn situated on the road into town. They were just out of sight.

“Good, I can see my uncle from here,” Kaylee said. “Glad he upgraded from the prototype. These new rigs can take a lot more damage.”

“Yeah,” Trevor said, “and they’ve got more firepower, too, with the grenade launcher. Who’s with him?”

“Clem and Sarah. Wish they had somebody younger with them, though.”

“Hope they don’t have Ivan in one of these things,” Trevor said. “There’s Angel and Megan’s rig, see it? Just past the mill.”

“Glad Kaitlyn and Seth are staying in the mine,” Kaylee said.

“Does Kaitlyn mind? I know she’s one of the best. She prides herself on that.”

“Megan said she argued a little, but Erica helped convince her.”

Trevor smiled. “I suspect Seth had something to do with that as well.”

Kaylee laughed. “Look at Willard, over there with that row of cannon. Is that a civil war cap he’s got on?”

Trevor looked at him and cracked up. ‘Yep. At least it’s a Union cap.”

Suddenly there was a pop and an explosion, some forty yards from where they were.

“Dammit, they’ve got mortars set up off the property,” Trevor said, sending a text. “They’re gonna soften us up before they bring in their rig. Should’ve thought about that.”

“There goes Ted’s coach,” Kaylee shouted, watching as the battle wagon raced towards the front end of the property, the grenade launcher starting to spew grenades in the direction of the mortar fire as another round dropped, closer to them by about twenty yards.

“We’d better not stay here,” Trevor said, starting the engine. He drove forward on the road, firing grenades as well, several other battle wagons roaring forward, doing the same. Then a hail of gunfire sounded, black powder smoke rising from trees along the highway, some three hundred yards from their position. Ted’s battle wagon got closer, opening up with the mini gun, the stream of bullets chopping through tree branches, setting off a secondary explosion. Then another mortar round went off, past them this time but coming from another direction, getting nearly to the first buildings in town.

“Crap,” Kaylee yelled.

“I think the cannon team on the right sees where that’s coming from,” Trevor said, watching six men working the gun, turning it towards the right. Then it fired, the sound ear-shattering, a secondary explosion going off four hundred yards away. The team struggled to get the big gun loaded again as AK-47 fire came at them, dropping a couple of the team.

“Whoa, here comes the semi-truck,” Kaylee said. She leveled the front machine guns and fired as it approached, hitting the driver and passenger, as several other battle wagons opened up on it. Then the cannons on the left side fired at once, six of them blasting, cannon balls ripping into the trailer.

“My phone buzzed,” Trevor said. “They lost their shield.”

“Yeah, mine buzzed too,” Kaylee shouted. “Look at them flooding out of there!”

“They’re getting into that cover before Ted can hit them,” Trevor said, firing his mini gun through the cab, into the front of the trailer, as another volley of cannon fire hit it broadside, blowing it off it’s wheels, Islamists fleeing right into the infantry, hit with a hail of lead.

“The guys in that busted trailer are still getting out,” Kaylee said. “The lead inside must soak up bullets pretty well. I can’t hit them from here.” She froze. “Look at those guys with the mortars.”

“See them,” Trevor said, opening fire with the mini gun, knocking them down, another group of men rushing forward, trying to get the mortars into the dry creek bed, giving them some cover. More infantry rushed in, and then the cavalry was everywhere, chasing down fleeing Islamists, hitting them with pistol fire and swords, newer recruits rushing forward with their M4s and M60s.

“Look at that group, coming through the brush over there,” Kaylee yelled. “Looks like UN Peacekeepers from outside the property. Hit them, they’re heading for town.”

Trevor nodded, firing several grenades in their direction, pinning them down, then moving to the mini gun as Ji-Ho’s battle wagon moved in that direction. A group of Islamists charged towards it, but then the gun slit opened, an M60 firing, cutting down the rushing men, killing most, causing the rest to retreat. Soon that area was filled with cavalry, chasing Islamists into the trees, terrorizing them with their swords and pistols, some men shooting Winchesters one handed, causing Trevor to crack up.

“What’s funny about this?” Kaylee asked, looking up from her target reticle.

“The guy at the gun range,” Trevor said, “warned us against using our Winchesters like that. Works pretty damn good, from the look of it.”

“Look out, we’re getting rushed broadside,” Kaylee shouted.

“Too close for the mini gun,” Trevor said, rushing to the back and opening the gun slit, firing the M60, taking down six, the rest running for their lives. As soon as they were far enough out, Kaylee opened up with the mini gun, cutting them to ribbons. “Nice shooting, baby!”

“They’ve got more people than we expected,” Kaylee shouted. “Look at all those UN Peacekeepers over there. My uncle is gonna get overrun.”

“No he’s not, look. Ted’s rig is moving there, and Cody’s, and Jules’s.” They watched as fire from four mini guns tore the UN Peacekeepers apart.

“Geez,” Kaylee said. “This is insane.”

The cannons fired again, Trevor’s head snapping around. “Dammit, that’s another semi. Does this mean they’re not coming in through the back as well?”

“Texting Seth,” Kaylee said. “Keep on those guys.”

Trevor rushed to the front, getting back on the main guns, firing grenades at the new semi, just as a salvo of cannon fire it the trailer, their phones buzzing with new enemy hits. “Can’t stop long enough to look.”

“Seth said there’s a total of seven hundred and forty-five,” Kaylee said. “They’ve dropped about four hundred and fifty here. There’s three hundred exposed in the back as we speak.”

“I think there’s been about two hundred UN Peacekeepers here, too, although Ji-Ho, Ted, Cody, and some of the new folks blasted their asses good.”

“There’s too many of them,” Kaylee said, blasting a group rushing up from behind with the rear machine guns.

“They’re really flooding out of that semi-trailer, but I can’t get a clear shot from here,” Trevor said. Just then the cannons fired again, picking up the trailer, rolling it over a large group of fleeing Islamists. “Ouch, that’s gotta hurt.”

“Hit them,” Kaylee shouted, getting on her forward machine guns again and firing at those she could target. Trevor was back on the mini gun, firing away, until the gun spun silently.

“Out of ammo, switching to the grenade launcher.

“I’ll use the grenade launcher, you go reload,” Kaylee said.

“Okay.” Trevor rushed to the bedroom as Kaylee took over the targeting system, firing grenade after grenade into the enemy cover, behind the burning hulk of a semi-truck. The cannons fired again, moving the hulk over, more of Garrett’s infantry rushing in with guns blazing.

“Reloaded,” Trevor said, rushing back to the front. As he got back into the driver’s seat there was a mortar hit about twenty feet from their rig, shrapnel splattering against the passenger side, right front tire going soft.

“Dammit, we’re hit,” Kaylee said.

“It’s okay, we didn’t get breached,” Trevor said, firing up the engine.

“What are you doing?”

“Using the levelers so we’re sitting straight again,” he said. Then there was a loud explosion on the roof behind them, shaking the rig, their ears ringing.

“We’d better get out of here,” Kaylee shouted, going for her M4.

“Yep,” Trevor shouted back, grabbing his M60 and two belts, slinging his Winchester on his shoulder, grabbing boxes of ammo and stuffing them into his pockets. “Me first.”

Kaylee nodded as Trevor rushed to the door, bursting through it, seeing enemy fighters heading toward them, opening up with the M60, cutting them down before they could get off a shot. He rushed out, taking Kaylee’s hand, both running into the small barn they’d been parked behind.

“Hey, this is better,” Trevor said, leveling the M60 and firing at a group of Islamists who were attempting to set up another mortar, spraying them with lead, concentrating next on the box of rounds, which blew up big. “Take that, you cretins!”

“Watch out,” Kaylee shouted, firing her M4 at a group of Islamists running in from the left. Trevor saw them, dropping the M60 and bringing up the Winchester, firing shot after shot, dropping somebody with each, then getting up and running towards the survivors, hitting them as they ran in a panic. He turned and sprinted back into the barn, leaping through the door as he stuffed more .44 mag rounds into the loading gate of the rifle.

Kaylee looked at him like he was crazy. “Quit showing off, dammit.”

“I wasn’t showing off, I knew they’d run off, and I can’t run with that damn M60. Hell, that thing will be out of ammo soon, the way it fires.”

Kaylee shook her head, watching for more enemy fighters approaching. “I don’t think they want to come back this way.”

“Then we’ll just have to go get them,” Trevor said. “See that group over there? They’re trying to go after the cannon team. I’ll be damned if I’m letting Willard get tagged.”

“You’re enjoying this a little too much, honey,” she said, following him as he sprinted across the pasture towards the trees lining the dry creek, firing the Winchester as he got close, killing most of the Islamists there, Kaylee getting down on one knee and cleaning them up with the M4. Willard saw them and grinned, then noticed an Islamist charging him, firing his cap and ball revolver, throwing the man ten feet, the smoke billowing around him.

“Settled his bacon!” Willard shouted.

“What the hell was that?” Kaylee asked. “You see how far it threw that guy?”

“Looks like a Colt Dragoon to me,” Trevor said, twinkle in his eye. “Come on. Let’s go hunt some more heathens.”

They rushed out of their cover, sprinting by the cannon team who let out a cheer, running down the dry lake bed, catching several Islamists trying to escape in that direction. Trevor got off two shots, but then they were around a bend, getting too far ahead. “Those cowards run pretty fast.”

“Yeah,” Kaylee said, trying to catch her breath. Then they heard automatic fire ahead, and the Islamists rushed back at them, Trevor laughing and opening fire, Kaylee joining in, killing eight of them before they could find their way to cover.

“Let’s stop a minute and check the apps,” Kaylee said, leaning against the cover of the creek bed, Trevor next to her, eyes scanning in all directions with the Winchester in his hands. “There’s someone moving over there, trying to sneak into the main street.”

“I wouldn’t suggest that,” Trevor said. “I saw where Erica was placing the warriors earlier. She started out just setting up a defense for the mine, but when everybody saw how good she was at that, they had her work out defense for the entire town. It’s a kill zone.”

“We should still try to get them first, though, right?”

“We’ll go hit some of them, and get them running that way. Text Erica and tell her to get ready.”

“Like I said, you’re enjoying this too much,” Kaylee said.

“It’s almost over. Gunfire is way down, and there’s not a bunch more coming, right?”

“Doesn’t look like it, but maybe they have more shielded vehicles.”

“Let’s go,” Trevor said, rushing forward through the tall grass of the pasture, firing from behind the group of twenty Islamists as they rushed towards Main Street, hitting several of them, causing the rest to sprint down the road in a panic. Then there was a barrage of automatic fire, a few of the Islamists trying to flee back, running right into Trevor and Kaylee’s guns, all of them blown away before they could get close.

The cannons fired once again, and gunfire behind them ramped up. Both of them got buzzed by their phones.

“Dammit, more? Kaylee asked, looking at Trevor in horror. “We’re gonna run out of ammo if this keeps up.”

“We’ve got plenty, but we’ll have to take it from the mine,” Trevor said. “Better go get my M60. They rushed back to the barn, going in the back as bullets hit the old wood structure, both diving to the straw-covered floor, Trevor getting to the M60. He rolled over, opening fire at the men sprinting towards them, cutting down a bunch. Then the firing stopped. “Dammit, got to load a new belt.

“I’ll cover, Kaylee said, firing her M4, keeping the enemy down, watching as they crawled along the ground toward them.

“Got it,” Trevor said, crawling forward, sweeping M60 fire along the dirt, hitting about half of them, the others rolling away as quickly as they could, Trevor switching to the Winchester to pick them off as they rushed for cover.

Gunfire was back up to a fever pitch now, the battle wagons mostly silent, but the infantry and cavalry fighting off the enemy valiantly.

“What happened to the cannon?” Kaylee asked. “We need to blast open that semi-trailer so they can’t hide in it.”

“Got overrun,” Trevor said. “Hope the hell Willard got away from there before it happened.

Kaylee crawled over. “Crap, look, the enemy are still there, trying to figure out if they can do something.”

“Oh, really?” Trevor asked. He crawled over. “See that barrel?”

“What barrel?”

Trevor fired at it, the black powder inside blowing up big, several men flying through the air. “That barrel!”

Somebody rushed in behind them, Trevor spinning around, Winchester pointed.

“Don’t shoot, it’s me, Willard!” he said, diving to the ground with his heavy Colt Dragoon in his hand.

“Willard, what the hell happened out there?” Trevor asked.

“They finally got the drop on us. Killed several. We’re in trouble.”

“What kind of trouble?” Kaylee asked.

“There’s two more of those semi-trucks out there, waiting to come in, and we need a little time to reload. That’s why those battle wagons haven’t been firing. They’re mostly out of ammo.”

“We have more, though,” Trevor said.

“Yeah, in the mine we got lots,” Willard said. “We need to get it to the others, though. Your battle wagon still working?”

“Nope, got damaged,” Trevor said.

“So did some of the others,” Willard said. “They can still fire, but three of them got their tires shot all to hell.”

“Couldn’t stay in siege mode because they kept having to move around,” Trevor said. “That’s what happened with us.”

“Seth’s program is missing things,” Kaylee said, looking at her phone as the gunfire raged outside. “There’s more than seven hundred enemy fighters out here now, and that’s not even counting the ones who came in the back.”

“Probably not counting the two still on the road, neither,” Willard said.

“Crap, we need to think,” Trevor said.

“There’s still some un-used battle wagons in town,” Willard said. “How come we didn’t use them?”

“Didn’t have enough folks to man them,” Trevor said, smiling. “Remember we weren’t expecting to be attacked so soon. We got about an hour notice, and these rigs take some training.”

Kaylee smiled. “Wonder if the keys are in them? We can ferry ammo and attack.”

They got buzzed on their phones. “Dammit, enemy fighters getting out of one of the trucks,” Trevor said.

Kaylee nodded, brow furrowed. “Dammit, that’s another two hundred.”

To be continued…


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


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


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


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

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 152 – Gravel

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

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

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

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

“Is it drivable?” Ed asked.

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

“Where does it go?” Tyler asked.

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

“Kinda?” Sid asked, stopping.

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

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

“Nothing but hiking trails,” Garrett said.

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

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

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

“Couple miles, give or take.”

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

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

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

“We will,” Ryan said. “Trust me.”

“I hope you’re right,” Ed said.

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

“Should’ve brought a hat,” Sam said.

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

“Maybe so,” Sam replied.

“Slow down,” Sid said.

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

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

“What grayish white pebbles?” Garrett asked.

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

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

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

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

“Who owns this land?” Sam asked.

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

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

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

“Let’s keep going,” Sid said.

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


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

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

“Ivan, how are you? This is Conrad.”

“How’s things down by Jacumba?”

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

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

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

“I know where that is,” Willard said.

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

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

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

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

“No more than half, no?” Jules said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“So it would appear,” Sparky said.

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

“I agree,” Jules said.

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

Ivan was silent for a moment, thinking.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

“What highway?” Tex asked.

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

“How many hours is that?”

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

“Dammit,” Ivan said.

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

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

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

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

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

“Tell what see,” Jules said.

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

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

“Go ahead, please,” Ivan said.

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

“Dammit,” Ted said. “When?”

“Early this morning.”

“From where?”

“Julian,” Seth said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Article on smuggling illegal immigrants,” Kaitlyn said.

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

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

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

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

“Let’s get Sam on line,” Ji-Ho said.

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

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

“Robbie, still on?” Jules asked.

“Yes,” Robbie said.

“Uh oh, what’s going on?” Sid asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Who brought it up?” Garrett asked.

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

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

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

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

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

“Ted right,” Jules said.

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

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

“All of them?” Ted asked.

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

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

Seth chuckled. “Don’t ask.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jules ended the call. “To battle wagons.”

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

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

“You’re right about that,” Tex said.

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

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

The group hurried out of the saloon.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes, but you’re not,” she said.

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

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

“Why not?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hey,” Sam said. “Guard Mia. Please?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Around the opening?” asked the first warrior.

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

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


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

“Where’s Yvonne?” Ed asked.

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

“Get off the road,” Garrett said sharply.

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

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

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

“Think that’s the semi?” Ryan asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sid peeked over the top. “I knew it.”

Tyler joined him, then both backed down.

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

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

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

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

“Why?” Sid asked.

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

To be continued…


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


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


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


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

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 151 – Underground

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Fairly good.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What’s on your mind?” Meyers asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I was wondering that too,” Kaitlyn said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Who owned it?” Robbie asked.

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

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

“You’re a writer, huh?” Ben asked.

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

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

“We’ll get back to it,” Robbie said.

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

“What about cellphone reception?” Ben asked.

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

“Why’d you do that?” Kaitlyn asked.

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

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

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

“Who was?” Kaitlyn asked.

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

“Shows?” Ben asked.

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

“Those people still here?” Robbie asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morgan shot him an embarrassed look.

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

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

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

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

“Likewise,” Seth said.

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

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

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

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

“Either would work for us,” Kaitlyn said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The mill has those swamp coolers, remember?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Me too. Want to help me with this?”

“What can I do?” Sarah asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They pulled up chairs next to Seth’s table.

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

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

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

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

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

“What is your program doing?” Ben asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why?” Ben asked.

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

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

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

“Genius, man,” Ben said.

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

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

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

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

Ben smiled. “Good idea.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The laptop beeped.

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

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

“You see something?” Robbie asked.

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

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

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

“Who are you texting to?” Ben asked.

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

“Crap,” Seth said.

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

“What’s it say?” Ben asked.

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

“Oh,” Ben said. “And?”

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

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

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

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

“No,” Kaitlyn said.

Robbie’s phone dinged with a text.

“Jules?” Morgan asked.

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

“Should we get out there?” Ben asked.

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

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

“I’m doing the same,” Robbie said.

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

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

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

To be continued…


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


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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 150 – The Livery Stable

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

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

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

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

“I like. The saloon was fun.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I did. You?”

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

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

“We gonna get hookups?” Shelly asked.

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

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

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

Karen snickered. “He’s home.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Ever hear of XM214 microgun?” Jules asked.

“I remember those,” Sparky said.

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

“They cancelled that program,” Sparky said.

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

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

“Holy crap,” Tex said. “Seriously?”

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

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

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

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

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

“I smell food,” Shelley said.

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

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

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

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

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

“How many were there?” Tex asked.

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

“Yes, Ivan send more,” Jules said.

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

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

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

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

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

“No, we see in barn.”

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

“Good morning,” Jules said.

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

“Thanks, partner,” Tex said.

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

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

Shelley shrugged, whispering back. “Nobody noticed.”

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

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He looked out over the quiet crowd for a moment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The room broke into murmurs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Just California?” Trevor asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes,” Ivan said.

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

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

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

Murmurs rose from the crowd.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What’s an XM214?” Robbie asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Then let’s do it,” Ben said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Several people in the audience cracked up.

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

“I’ll help you, honey,” Elmer said.

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

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

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

“Cooler in the mine,” she said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m sure,” Ivan said.

The group finished up and left the barn.

To be continued…


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


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


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


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


Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 149 – Southern Strategy

The artillery pieces were off the flatbeds now, arrayed in a long row along Old Highway 80. Most of the fog had burned off, the desert heating up quickly, even though it was still before 8:00 AM. The empty train pulled forward on the tracks, heading east, as the next huge train pulled up in its place, Marines flooding out of the boxcars. Lieutenant Colonel Meyers directed placement of the men, and had a large team setting up mortars further back from the lines.

“We’re gonna pound the hell out of whoever survives the shelling, dude,” Jorge said.

“The enemy hasn’t budged yet this morning,” Doug said, looking at the apps.

“They’ll start moving soon,” Meyers said, walking to them, Conrad and several Marines following him. “We’ll be able to relieve everybody from claymore mine duty.”

“How?” Doug asked.

“Remote switches,” Meyers said. “You’re getting an upgrade. They’ll be touched off from that hill back there.”

“Good,” Jorge said. “Still want us on the k-rail here?”

“I suggest you dig in further back,” Meyers said. “We’ll put the Marines up front. They’ve trained for this.”

Jorge and Doug looked at each other, startled as the train bumped forward, now empty, the next one rolling in right behind it.

“We’ve got so many men now,” Jorge said. An ear-splitting boom went off, making him and Doug jump. Conrad chuckled, looking at Meyers, who was sporting a wide grin. He pulled some earplugs out of his pocket and put them in.

“You guys have these?” he asked.

“Nope,” Conrad said.

“We brought a lot of them,” Meyers said. “Go see the men at the table in front of my tent. Spread the word, okay?”

“Yes sir,” Doug said. The three men headed past the road, onto a flat stretch of ground about forty yards behind the k-rail, as more artillery shots went off behind them.

“That’s their wake-up call,” Jorge said. He pulled his phone out and looked at the apps. “Damn, dude, they’re scattering.”

“Hopefully a lot of them are dying,” Conrad said, turning to look at the southern horizon. “Look at the smoke. Maybe we hit some of their ammo.”

They got their ear plugs, Conrad scanning for a good place to dig in.

“See a likely spot?” Doug asked.

“Look at that ridge, right behind the train tracks,” Conrad said. “Set up over there, and tell all of your team. You know where they are?”

“All over,” Jorge said. “I’ll send them a broadcast text.”

“That would be good,” Conrad said. “See you guys in a while. I’m gonna go find my men. We’ll probably be close to you guys. There’s not going to be room up front for anybody but Marines.”

All the big guns were firing now, a round going off every thirty seconds.

“You think they’re going to keep coming?” Jorge asked. “They might flee back to the south.”

“I doubt it. Look at the app.”

Jorge refreshed his. “Yep, they’re spreading out wide.”

“That’s what I’d do. I’ll bet the first few rounds took out quite a few, because they were bunched together.”

“Think the artillery is that accurate? We can’t see them.”

“We know exactly where they are, because of the apps,” Doug said. “They probably had it dialed in with the first shot.”


Clem woke as the sun from the window hit his face, his head pounding from the hangover.

“Whoa, haven’t had one of these for a while.” He sat up in bed, noticing that the doors between his room and Sarah’s were opened wide.

“Not feeling so good, huh?” Sarah asked from her room. “Me neither.”

Clem chuckled. “It’ll pass.”

She appeared in the doorway, standing in her nightgown. His eyes locked onto her, her form shadowed through the thin white cloth, thanks to the sun in her room. He looked away quickly, and she giggled.

“Sorry,” he said.

“Well at least I have something on,” she said. “Left my robe at the boarding house. I don’t mind, if you don’t.”

“I wouldn’t say that I mind, exactly,” he said, turning back towards her, then holding his head. “Ouch.”

“We’re quite a pair, aren’t we,” she said, walking towards his bed. “What time is it, anyway?”

Clem reached for the phone on his bedside table, careful to keep the covers well above his waist. “It’s only 8:30. Maybe we should sleep some more.”

She sat on the side of his bed, now the light of his own window revealing her. “I’ll stay in bed for a while. Move over.”

He looked at her, eyes questioning, face turning read.

“Oh, please,” she said, lifting the covers before he could protest and slipping inside. “I miss this the most.” She settled next to him.

“Sarah,” he whispered.

“We don’t have to do anything,” she said, “and I won’t look if you don’t want me too.”

He laughed nervously, then held his head again. “Geez. Every time I move my head.”

“Glad I didn’t drink as much as you did,” she said. “I’m not feeling that bad. Want me to get you some aspirin? I’ve got some in my purse.”

“Isn’t that at the boarding house?”

“No, it was in the bag I brought over,” she said, getting up, her eyes glancing under the covers. He noticed, and they locked eyes. “Sorry. I didn’t see much.”

Clem shrugged as she walked into her room, trying to keep his eyes off her, but losing the battle. She walked back in and he looked away again, raising a smirk on her face.

“Land sakes, I obviously don’t mind if you look,” she said, picking up a glass from the table next to his wash basin, filling it from the pitcher. She brought it over and handed him two aspirins. “This should help a little.”

He nodded as he took them, then laid down. She got back into bed, laying lightly against him. “Can we sleep a while longer? I like to spoon.”

“You sure that’s a good idea?” Clem asked.

She turned her back to him. “C’mon.”

“Okay,” he said, his heart pounding.

“Feels like you’re okay.”

“It won’t last,” he said. “Hasn’t for a while.”

“Don’t worry about that,” she said. “I think I’ll move from the boarding house into the next-door room, though, if you don’t mind.”

He chuckled. “I thought you’d want to move into this room.”

She turned to him, smiling. “You want all the questions from our friends?”

He sighed. “No, not really. They’ll ask them anyway if you move over here.”

“No, they won’t. Everybody heard the fracas last night. Perfect excuse, if we’re not in the same room. After we’ve retired for the night, we can do whatever we want, you know.”

“Well, this does feel nice, anyway,” Clem said. “As long as you don’t expect too much.”

“I understand,” she said.

“My headache is almost gone.”

“The aspirin.”

“That’s only part of it.” He settled as she laid back on her side again. They drifted off to sleep.


Ji-Ho struggled to get out of bed. He checked his phone. Almost 10:00? Dammit.

There was a rap on the door. “Uncle, are you okay?”

“I fine,” Ji-Ho said as loud as he could muster.

“I’m coming in,” she said, opening the door. She walked to the bedroom and saw him. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. I be okay after I wake up a bit.”

“You need to be honest with me.” She sat down on the end of the bed. “I’m not blind, you know. This is happening more often.”

He looked at her, his eyes tearing up.

“Uncle,” she said softly. “You’re sick. What is it? Cancer?”

He sighed and shook his head yes, not looking at her.

“You act as if that’s something to be ashamed about.”

“I hide from you,” he said.

“You probably had your reasons,” she said. “Does my auntie know?”

He nodded yes.

“How long do you have?”

“Doctor say one to three year,” he said. “I last a while yet. Just hard sometimes. Episodes.”

“Who else knows?”

“Jules, Tex, Ted, Sparky, Sam, and Ivan.”

“And they let you sign up for this?”

“I force issue,” he said, looking at her. “Dead soon anyway, why not fight for good? Fight for bad too many time in past. Maybe this erase some.”

Kaylee’s tears were running down her cheeks, and she shook as the sorrow took her. “Oh, Uncle.” They hugged, both crying.

“I sorry,” he said. “There more. Hang over me like death.”

“What? Is auntie okay?”

“Your mom and dad,” he said softly.

“Oh, God,” she said, turning away from him, sobbing uncontrollably. He let her go for a few minutes.

“What happened?” she asked, still turned away. He touched her shoulder and she shrugged it off.

“Enemy find,” he said. “My brother sent message before they took them. Asked me to protect you. Told me not to tell until things better. That why I gather you and friends at house.”

“Was he in on the war?” she asked.

“He was following North Korean nukes to terrorists,” Ji-Ho said. “Told government. Government had him killed, then go after me.”

She turned towards him, still crying. “You’ve been holding all of this to yourself. You should’ve told me before now. That’s too hard.”

This hard,” Ji-Ho said.

“Trevor. I knew you thought he’d be good for me. You must’ve been desperate.”

“I was,” Ji-Ho said. “Lucky to find him. Please don’t hold against him.”

“I already knew you were matchmaking,” she said, looking at him with red eyes. “I told you to back off, remember?”

“You bonded now?” Ji-Ho asked.

A smile rose through her tears. “I’ll be with him for the rest of my life. We’re on the same page about that.”

Ji-Ho smiled, shaking his head yes.

“What can I do to help you?”

“Have patience,” Ji-Ho said. “I already better now. Be fine for days, then this again. Maybe should have somebody with me when driving battle wagon. Clem and Sarah. I talk to them.”

“Yes, you do that. Do you want something to eat? I’ll fix you something.”

“No, you not nurse, I do fine. Please?”

“Okay, Uncle, but if there’s ever any help that you need, please ask.”

There was a knock at the door. “Ji-Ho, you know where Kaylee is?”

She got up and went to the door, opening it for him, pulling him into her arms.

“You’ve been crying,” he said, looking into her red swollen eyes.

“I’ve got a lot to tell you about,” she whispered.

“Hi, Trevor,” Ji-Ho said, walking slowly out of the bedroom.

“You don’t look so good,” Trevor said.

“I’m getting better. Kaylee tell you what going on. We have meeting, I bet.”

“Half an hour,” Trevor said.

“Good, then let me get ready. I see you in while.”

Kaylee looked at Trevor, and nodded at the door. They went back to their coach.


Saladin sat in the cave, going over battle plans with his top lieutenants. The location was getting to him. Capitol Reef had its charms, but it was dusty and hot, with all manner of disgusting insects and rodents making themselves known at the worst of times. His phone rang. He looked at the screen. “I must take this. Leadership. Carry on.” He walked out with it to his ear, into the mid-day Utah heat.

“Liking the desert?” Daan asked.

“What do you want?”

“Sorry, couldn’t resist. I’m not liking where I am all that much either, by the way.”

“And that is?”

“The great southwest,” Daan said.

“That doesn’t narrow things down much. I’m in the great southwest myself. Not sure what’s so great about it.”

Daan chuckled. “The rest of your men make it to Utah okay?”

“They’re all here. We’re planning a surprise attack on the Kansas base, which my sources tell me isn’t much of a base at all.”

“Never underestimate this enemy,” Daan said.

“What’s on your mind? I’m busy.”

“The UN and the EU got their differences ironed out,” Daan said. “They’re sending more troops to California, and that’s not all.”

“The US Navy is still out there,” Saladin said. “And don’t forget those pesky citizens.”

“Ivan’s moved everything he has into the south. He thinks that’s his main problem. We took out his social media team last night.”

“Ben Dover’s team? Is he dead?”

“We don’t know for sure yet,” Daan said. “Probably. When our commandos attacked and tried to take possession of their computer equipment, it all blew up. We don’t control the Sacramento authorities right now, so we’re waiting for official information on the bodies. I’ve heard it’s hard to tell the remains of one person from another. Probably a DNA job.”

“He’s still alive. He detonated the bomb.”

“We’re thinking more like booby trap, but we’ll see. It doesn’t matter.”

“It does matter, because Ben Dover will start a new team quickly,” Saladin said. “I’ve seen reports on the movement of citizens down to the border. They’ve got an impressive number there already.”

“And you know the troops headed north aren’t your best,” Daan said. “Even with significantly larger numbers, they’ll have a hard time winning.”

“That’s why I wanted to take the two hundred thousand down there.”

“You stay on General Hogan,” Daan said. “We’ve got another plan in the works right now.”

“Are you going to tell me what it is? I’m not seeing the point of this conversation.”

“We’re moving the good troops up into central Mexico to crush the US Army and their Mexican allies,” Daan said.

“On whose authority? We need those troops to finish our conquest of Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, and all of those stupid Central American countries that I can’t remember the names of.”

“They’ll be back down there soon enough, and we aren’t moving all of them. Just the best ones.”

“You’ve been watching the reports from down there, right?” Saladin asked. “The locals are starting to organize better. They’ve been watching Ivan the Butcher and some of the other nationalist scum who are still active.”

“Minor problem,” Daan said.

“It wasn’t so minor up here.”

“Yes, but down there the citizenry isn’t armed, and they’re used to taking orders from whoever is in charge. Add to that the fact that there’s nobody running guns to them, and that makes the resistance insignificant.”

“Remember the Viet Cong?” Saladin asked. “You damn Europeans learn nothing from history.”

“Says the man who thinks we’ll all eventually bend the knee to Allah,” Daan cracked. “Whatever. We need you to work strategy with the forces down there. They need some perspective, and when you aren’t doing something stupid, you have a good handle on things.”

“I’m going to hang up now.”

“No, you’re not,” Daan said. “Right now your reputation is crap, but it won’t be if you cooperate with us on this. I’m giving you a life line. I wish I could move you there. Your chances of survival would be better.”


“George Franklin and General Hogan,” Daan said. “Forget about them already?”

Saladin was silent for a moment.

“I can see that you haven’t,” Daan said. “Healthy.”

“I’m angry, not scared,” he spat.

“Then you aren’t as smart as I thought you were.”

“Have you forgotten about the US Army in Mexico?” Saladin asked.

“Have you forgotten that the leadership running the Mexican campaign is part of the coalition, which is on our side? We’ll turn on the nationalists in the Mexican government. We’ll root them all out and take over. Then we can renew attacks on the US mainland from over the border, as we were doing so successfully before.”

“That coalition is falling apart, and the US Government, regardless of what they say, aren’t helping,” Saladin said. “They’re dragging their feet every step of the way.

“The US Government feels the urgency of moving more quickly,” Daan said. “We put the fear of God into them.”

“You’re thinking that the attack on southern California is a diversion,” Saladin said. “That’s too many men to waste on such a risky venture, even if they aren’t our best men.”

“It’s only partly a diversion. We’ll still overrun the border and re-take major parts of eastern San Diego County, and stage for an assault on western San Diego County, but we’ll have to time it with the arrival of more troops. We’ll probably lose a lot of that force, but no matter. A victory here and there will lull our enemy.”

“You guys are delusional,” Saladin said. One of his people scurried over to him with a note. He looked at it and laughed. “If I were you I’d abandon this stupid plan and pull the South American troops back where they can hold some ground.”


“The US Marines are shelling our troops. You guys put them someplace where they have no cover. It’s gonna be a bloodbath before they even get close to the damn border.”

Daan was silent for a moment.

“You there?” Saladin asked.

“I need to make a few calls.”

To be continued…


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


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


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


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


Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 148 – Boxcars

Clem and Sarah watched as Jules and Tex left the saloon. The argument across the street flared up again, Willard and Garrett laughing, telling the others about the situation.

“Sam is so glad to see those guys,” Clem said.

“You know anything about them?” Sarah asked.

“War buddies, basically,” Clem said. He got up and went behind the bar, getting some ice for his glass. “You want another.”

“Don’t know if I should,” she said. “Oh, what the heck.” She drank down the last few drops and slid the glass to him. He made the new drinks, shooting a glance at Willard, who gave him a thumb up.

“I can’t believe Susanne and Elmer,” Sarah whispered as Clem sat next to her again, leaning in close.

“Hard way to live,” Clem said, “but then you don’t know what’s between a couple. The make-up sex might be a big part of their dynamic.”

Sarah blushed. “That’s what they were talking about, huh?”

“Did I really just say that?” Clem asked.

She touched his shoulder. “It’s okay. We’re both adults, you know.”

“I guess,” Clem said, taking a sip. “This stuff has me going pretty good.”

“I’m drunk,” Sarah said. “Been a lot of years.”

“You aren’t slurring as much,” Clem said.

She giggled. “You’re slurring more. I think it’s kinda cute. You never drank that much back at the RV Park.”

“Oh, I drank quite a bit,” Clem said, “but up to a certain point, I hide it well.”

“You’re beyond that point tonight,” Sarah said, shooting him a grin.

“Maybe a tad.”

“How much is a tad?” she asked, her eyes dancing with his.

“More than a smidgen, I guess.”

She punched him playfully on the upper arm. “That’s not an answer.”

“Sure it is,” he said. “Maybe not a good answer.”

She laughed, then took another sip of her drink. “My head feels tingly.”

“I’m sure it does. Mine does. I like it.” He smiled, turning to look at the table, where the others were chatting and laughing. “They’re having fun.”

“You want to join them?” Sarah asked.

“No, I’m having a better time with you. We can if you want to, though.”

The doors creaked, swinging as Anna walked in.

“Uh oh,” Sarah whispered. “The jig’s up.”

Clem snickered.

“Garrett, you ready to go?” Anna asked.

“Everybody, this is Anna,” Garrett said. “The woman of the house.”

She smiled, shaking her head. “How much have you had to drink?”

“Quite a bit,” Garrett said. “Come join us.”

She sighed, then came over. “Where am I gonna sit?” Garrett pushed back and patted his lap.

“Not in this lifetime,” she said, pulling a chair next to his from the next table. She sat down, and Garrett introduced her to the others.

“Well that was interesting,” Clem said. “At least she doesn’t look mad.”

“She’s totally infatuated with Garrett,” Sarah whispered. “Look at them. That’s nice.”

“It is,” Clem said, moving closer to her. Then the arguing across the street started again, and he laughed.

“They haven’t gotten to the fun part yet, I guess,” Sarah said.

Clem looked at her, studying her eyes, quiet for a moment, then snapping out of it and looking away. He took another sip of whiskey.

“Mine’s almost out already,” Sarah said.


“Not so sure that would be a good idea,” she said, “you having another?”

“I’m thinking about it. I’d like to, but I’d probably regret it.”

“Then don’t,” she said. “I think I’ve had enough.”

“Anna’s taking Garrett home,” Clem said, watching the couple get up and say their goodbyes. They went out the door, the sound of horse hoofs starting, fading away as they headed down the street.

“Maybe I should be going too,” Sarah said.

“I’ll walk you home,” Clem said.

“That would be nice,” she said, getting off the stool. Clem did the same. They were part way to the door when the arguing started again.

“Geez,” Clem said.

“Hey, there’s open rooms in the hotel, if you want to stay there instead of the peanut gallery across the street,” Willard said.

Sarah thought about it for a moment. “All my stuff is at the boarding house.”

“Whatever you want to do,” Willard said. “The keys for the empty rooms are hanging on the wall behind the front desk.”

“Who’s watching that?” Clem asked.

Willard chuckled. “Me.”

Ted, Sparky, and Sam cracked up.

“Remind me not to leave you in charge,” Sam said. “Just kidding.”

“I’ll walk you to the boarding house to get your stuff, then back to the hotel if you’d like,” Clem said.

She looked at him. “That’s too much bother.”

“No it’s not, and the night air will do both of us some good.”

“All right.” They went out the doors, walking down the wooden sidewalk, then crossing the dusty street, entering the front door of the boarding house. “You can wait down here. No need for two of us to go up all those stairs.”

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Clem asked.

“I feel quite a bit better already,” she said, trying to ignore the angry words as she got to the stairwell.

Clem sat on a couch in the parlor, looking around at the replica décor Susanne had used. The yelling finally stopped, Clem wondering if Sarah wouldn’t just stay there instead. She came down the stairs a couple minutes later with a bag in her hand, her face red.

“What happened?” he asked.

“They’re into the fun part now,” she whispered. “I heard more than I wanted to.”

“Oh,” Clem said, laughing. “You can stay here if you want, then.”

“No, that will bother me as much as the yelling, I suspect, especially now.”

“Why especially now?”

“Because of the drinking,” she said, smiling as they walked out the door.

“Feels nice out here,” Clem said.

“Very nice. At least it helped the flush on my face.”

They strolled across the street and onto the wood sidewalk, going past the saloon.

“Looks like the rest of them called it a night,” Clem said.

“They’ve been on the road,” Sarah said. “They’re probably beat.”

“Probably.” There was a dim light on in the lobby of the hotel. Clem opened the door for Sarah, and followed her to the front desk. The wall behind had mail cubby holes and hooks, about half of which had keys.

“Which one are you in again?” she asked.

“Room twelve,” he said. “Nice view of the street.”

“Room eleven is open,” she said. “I’ll take that one. Still makes me a little nervous being alone, you know.”

“It hasn’t been that long,” Clem said. “Perfectly understandable.”

She picked the key off the hook, and they headed for the stairs, climbing up next to each other.

“There aren’t bathrooms inside the rooms, are there?”

Clem laughed. “No, this is old-school. Men’s and women’s rooms, with showers. Down at the end of the hallway, towards the back. They’re not bad. Good pressure in the showers. Kinda nice after what we’ve been living with.”

Our rooms are adjoining, aren’t they?”

“Mine is adjoining with one of them. Not sure if it’s eleven or thirteen.”

They got to the top of the stairs and headed down the hallway, getting to Clem’s room first.

“Well, which is it?” she asked, as he unlocked his door.

“Yours,” he said. “Let’s make sure it opens.” He followed her down to her door and watched her unlock it.

“It’s fine,” she said, looking inside. “Would it bother you if we had the adjoining doors unlocked?”

“You look nervous,” Clem said. “You gonna be okay?”

“I’m just used to sleeping close to somebody I know, that’s all,” she said.

“I don’t have a problem,” he said. “Might want to knock first, though. I don’t have any PJs.”

She giggled. “Oh my.”

He started for her door.

“You can just use the inside door if you want,” she said.

“Okay,” he said, looking nervous.

She smiled, giving him a quick hug. “Thank you for being such a gentleman.”

“Gentleman?” Clem asked. “Even with my off-color remarks?”

She smiled. “I was pretty drunk earlier. You could’ve talked me into almost anything.”

He shrugged. “I could say the same thing, you know.”

She looked at him funny, but then smiled. “Okay, good night.” She kissed him on the cheek, and watched him open the door. Then he laughed.

“Shoot, I have to open the second door from my side. Been a while since I’ve been in one of these rooms, and my brain still isn’t firing on all cylinders.”

“Still feeling it some, huh?” she asked.

“We drank a lot. Don’t you feel it anymore?”

“I’m still half drunk,” she said, following him to the door. “See you in the morning.”

Clem nodded and left. She could hear him open and close his door, and then he knocked on the inside door. “You still decent?”

“Kinda,” she said. “Open it.”

He unlatched the door and pushed it open. “There, we know everything’s hunky-dory,” Clem said, not looking at her.

“What’s the matter?” she asked.

“You said you were only kinda decent,” he said.

“I was talking about my mental state, silly,” she said, laughing. She walked towards him. “Maybe we should’ve drank some more.”

“I’d better go to bed,” Clem said, looking embarrassed. He slipped back through the door, leaving it ajar. Sarah stood staring at it, a sly smile on her face.


The early morning sun couldn’t quite burn through the fog. Doug had been awake since about four. Jorge was still asleep, in the back of his pickup truck, parked on the north side of Old Highway 80. There were several thousand citizen warriors in the area now, digging in and waiting for the onslaught they knew would come. The waiting was the hardest part for Doug. The enemy had been sitting in the same place, moving only a couple miles towards them in the last couple days. Food and other supplies flowed into the town daily. The rumor was that friends of liberty from around the globe were paying for it all, but there were never names.

“Hey, man, they’re moving,” Jorge said, head poking up from his truck bed. You see that?”

“About time you woke up,” Doug said. “I haven’t looked for a while. It’s like watching paint dry.”

“Look at it, man.”

Doug nodded, pulling his phone out and loading the long-range app, his eyes getting wider. “They’re ten miles further than they were last night when I checked.”

“Look behind them,” Jorge said, climbing out of the truck bed.

“Dammit,” Doug said. “Is that another two hundred thousand?”

Jorge was next to him now. “Looks like.”

“We’re gonna get nailed,” Doug said. He shot Jorge a glance that was nervous but resolute. “This is where I make my stand.”

Jorge smiled, shaking his head. “We’ll fight our best, but when it’s time to split, we need to go. We’re worth more to the nation alive than dead. Don’t ever forget that.”

Doug nodded. “I know, but what’s coming might not be something we can escape.”

“I’m worried for the men who are on the first few rows of claymore mines.”

“Yes, they’re in the most danger,” Doug said, “but our position behind the k-rails won’t stand up to much. You know that, right?”

“I do,” Jorge said. “Feel a little guilty that we’re not in the first couple rows.”

“We’re not fast enough,” Doug said.

“Yeah, getting old sucks.”

“Good morning,” Conrad said, walking to them. “They’re on the move.”

“We saw,” Jorge said. “Still a long walk, though.”

“Indeed,” Conrad said, “and they walked about half the night. I expect them to stop for a little while. We’re still looking at more than a day before they can get here.”

“How’s the recruitment going?”

“We’ve got nearly three hundred thousand here now,” he said, “but the road in is clogged, so they’re slowing some. Both I-8 and Old Highway 80 are backed up to Boulder Oaks towards the west, and to Ocotillo to the east. We’re weighing the possibility of having them leave their cars and walk in.”

“Boulder Oaks is over twenty miles from here, you know,” Doug said, “and if we do that, the backup will go back even further. Our forces won’t get here in time.”

“What about Highway 94?” Jorge asked.

“They’ve got the pass about half-way cleared,” Conrad said, “but it’s going faster now. Time-wise they’re about three-quarters of the way done, from what my sources are telling me.”

“Look at the map,” Doug said. “That will just make the traffic backup worse.”

Jorge put the phone to his face, moving fingers around on the map. “Dude, you’re right. It dumps right onto Old Highway 80, at a spot we know is already gridlocked.”

It is moving,” Conrad said, “but it’s moving too slow.”

“I was right,” Doug said. “We’re going to die here, but I’m ready. It’s where we make our stand. We’ll cut the enemy forces way back, so the number will be much more manageable for the forces further north.”

“But the cars,” Jorge said.

Conrad and Doug looked at him like he was nuts.

“What are we gonna drive on?” Doug asked. “The roads will be gridlocked. We’ll get stuck in traffic when the enemy comes over the border, and we’ll get picked off easily. Better to stay and fight them than to run when we’re gonna get killed anyway.”

Jorge sat down, his eyes showing panic. “I didn’t get it before.”

Conrad looked at both men, the harsh realization showing on his face. “This is our Alamo. Why didn’t I realize it before now?”

Doug chuckled. “Well, on the good side, they’ll build a monument here. People will remember. It’ll be a shrine.”

Conrad smiled. “That’s the best attitude we can have now.”

Jorge nodded in agreement, his expression melting into peaceful acceptance. “I wish we could get the damn Navy to start bombing these guys in Mexico. That would bring them down to a reasonable number in a hurry. Hell, might even end it completely. There’s no cover in that desert. The enemy will be sitting ducks.”

“The brass are playing the long game,” Conrad said. “Why risk widening the war when they know we’ve got enough people to stop the invasion further north?”

“They should say to hell with it and attack Mexico anyway,” Doug said. “Hell, we’ve got half the US Army in Mexico right now.”

“Those forces are being driven by the coalition,” Conrad said, “with our phony federal government. That’s a globalist adventure. We should have every politician who signed off on that shot for treason.”

Conrad’s phone rang. He walked away with it to his ear.

“First time I’ve seen him scared, man,” Jorge said.

“Yeah. There’s got to be something we can do.”

“We’ve got nothing to do but wait and think,” Jorge said. “We’ve dug in as much as we can. Maybe we can come up with a plan.”

“Listen? Hear that?” Doug asked.

Jorge stopped talking, then his expression changed. “Crap, man, that sounds like a train.”

“That’s what I’m thinking,” Doug said. “You ever seen trains on that track?”

“Not for years,” Jorge said. “That line goes below the Mexican border, then back up. All the problems got it shut down.”

“Dammit, we might have enemy here already,” Doug said. They both ran off the road to the tracks. Jorge put his ear to the rail.

“Yeah, it’s a train all right.”

“Let’s get our guns,” Doug said, rushing back towards their spot on the road.

“Wait, it might be our side, you know,” Jorge said, rushing after him. “It just dips into Mexico by TJ. The US Navy probably controls that whole area.”

“Better safe than sorry,” Doug said, picking up the M60 he’d been issued, loading the belt of ammo.

“Is that what I think it is?” Conrad asked, running over.

“Yeah, man, it’s a train,” Jorge said. “We’ll be able to see it in a minute. You think it’s our guys?”

“Nobody told me anything,” Conrad said, “but that’s not unusual.”

Four engines came into view, the train starting to slow as it approached.

Conrad got a huge grin on his face. “That’s ours. Look at the artillery on those flatbeds! That’s American stuff. Looks brand new!”

The train continued past them, a long freighter with twelve flatbeds, two artillery pieces on each, and a long row of boxcars behind it. It chugged to a stop, and a Marine officer jumped out of the first engine, followed by a couple staffers. They trotted over to where Conrad was, men leaving their positions to look.

“Who’s in charge here?” he asked in a loud voice.

Conrad stepped forward. “Nobody is officially,” he said. “I’ve been coordinating.”


“Conrad,” he said.

“I’m Lieutenant Colonel Meyers. We’d like to place these artillery pieces, but we need to do it in a hurry. There’s three more trains on the way.”

“Tell us how we can help,” Doug said.

“Yes, we’ll all lend a hand,” Jorge said.

The boxcar doors opened, men climbing out, filling the area towards the rear of the train, all of them with packs and weapons.

“Holy crap,” Conrad said. “How many men per boxcar?”

“With equipment and supplies, about sixty per car,” he said. “The other trains are all box cars – each have about 150.”

“How many men on this train?” Doug asked.

“Just over five thousand,” Meyers said. “I heard you’ve placed rows of claymore mines.”

“Yes sir,” Conrad said, “and we’ve done a considerable amount of digging in. Most of our men have top-shelf weapons now, too. M4s and M60s, plus RPGs and other nice toys. The number of enemy troops coming is a problem. You know that, right?”

“What’s the number of citizens here so far?” Meyers asked.

“We’re getting close to three hundred thousand, and there’s a lot more coming in on I-8, but the road is pretty clogged now. It’s slow going. Some of them won’t beat the enemy here.”

“These tracks cross I-8 to the east,” Jorge said. “We’ve got people stopped there too. Maybe we can get a whole bunch of people to drive off the road and get onto the boxcars – then we could ferry them over here. That would free the road up for more cars, too.”

“I like that idea,” Meyers said. “Last time I looked at these new apps, the enemy was thirty miles away. We’ve got about a day, and there’s more trains coming past these three. We’ll have at least nine total. Well trained Marines. Top notch.”

“We still won’t have enough, though,” Conrad said. “We’re talking just under ten thousand men per train if you can hold sixty per boxcar. There’s seven hundred thousand enemy fighters on the way.”

“We’ll soften them up a lot with this artillery,” Meyers said.

“Yeah, but I’ll bet we can’t use them until the enemy crosses the border,” Doug said, shaking his head.

Meyers smiled. “Yep, those were the orders from General Sessions.”

“Dammit,” Conrad said.

“That jackass left the country with some of the other traitors at the Pentagon,” Meyers said. “They probably know something’s coming. Screw them. We start shelling the enemy positions as soon as we can get these pieces off the flatbeds.”

“Then let’s get them off the flatbeds,” Conrad said with a wide grin.

To be continued…


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


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


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


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


Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bug Out! California Part 147 – Pool Pickup

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

“Ben, you left yet?” Ivan asked.

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

“What happened?” Ivan asked.

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

“Did they get the computers?” Ivan asked.

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

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

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

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

“Yeah,” Ben said. “Sorry.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You guys going too?” Ben asked.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What’s the good stuff?” she asked.

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

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

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

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

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

“You got to drive anyplace?” Clem asked.

Ed chuckled. “No, I guess not.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Another?” Willard asked.

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

“You drink much?” Garrett asked.

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

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

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

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

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

“You sure, honey?” Willard asked.

She nodded yes, so he poured.

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

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

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

Sarah giggled. “Rheumatiz medicine.”

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

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

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

“Text her,” Garrett said.

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

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

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

“That’s a fact,” Willard said.

“I’ve only had three,” she said.

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

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

“What’s going on?” Sam asked.

“Elmer and Susanne again,” Willard said.

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

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

“Nothing violent, I hope,” Sarah said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What?” Sarah asked.

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

“What’s bar etiquette?” she asked.

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

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

Everybody laughed.

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

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

“It’s not muddy,” Clem said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More shouting drifted across the street.

“Geez,” Sarah said.

“Decent squall,” Willard said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Of course,” he said, fixing her one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Me too,” Sarah said.

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

“They’re here?” Garrett asked.

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

“What now?” Ed asked him.

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

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

“Yeah, do that,” Garrett said.

“How are you doing?” Clem asked Sarah.

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

“Good,” Clem said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You need me?” Clem asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Anything more?” Ji-Ho asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Is Ivan really coming here?” Garrett asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Another drink?” Willard asked the remaining men.

“I’m game,” Ted said.

The others nodded in agreement, so Willard poured.

To be continued…


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


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


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


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


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


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


Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 146 – The Wire

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

“What now?” Yvonne asked.

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

“Sounds kinda good to me,” Sid said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“When are they due?” Sid asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The others joined the toast.

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

“Yep,” Sam said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The men laughed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Plans?” Sam asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Nine thirty, okay?”

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

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

“Clem in the saloon?” she asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How old is he?”

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

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

“He’s only seventy-five,” Sid said.

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

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

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

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

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

“Where are you going?”

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

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

“Sid?” Yvonne called from the back.

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

“Turn on a light, silly.”

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

“Well, what do you have to report?”

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

“They’re driving straight through?”

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

“Who’s we?”

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

“I’m going,” she said. “What else?”

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

“Oh, God,” she said. “That all?”

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

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

“You’re naked.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m liking this,” he whispered.

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


“Duh,” she said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

“Yep,” Ben said.

“Where are we going?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How did you find out about us?”

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

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

The young man didn’t answer right away.

“I’m waiting,” Ben said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I heard one come to your phone.”

“Oh,” Ben said. “Yes.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Who are you working for?” Ben asked.

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

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

“How did you know?”

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

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

“All they wanted me to do was tell them where you went,” Eric said.

“Yeah, so they could come kill us,” Sean said.

Ben shook his head. “They probably think we’re going to the same place Ivan is going. Like we’d do that.”

“Can you just let me go?” Eric asked. “Please? I won’t tell anybody.”

Ben ignored him, turning to Sean. “Get the others on all of our vehicles with the bug detectors.”

Sean nodded yes and left the office.

“Who are you working for?” Ben asked again.

“The UN,” he said softly.

Ben sighed. “I already knew that. If it were anybody else, you’d have an RFID chip. Who specifically are you working for?”

Gunfire erupted outside. Eric lost it, crying now, begging for his life.

“You have a frigging wire on or something,” Ben said, pointing the gun at his head and firing. He poked his head out of the office, watching as his small team was killed by a group of UN commandos. “Dammit.” Grabbing his gun, he bolted towards the back of the facility, slipping out the door and running into the shadows. The sound of gunfire went on for another minute or two. Then he pulled out his cellphone, loading the demolition app. He pushed the button, and a large explosion went off, pieces of bob-tail truck flying high enough into the air to be seen from behind the building. A quick text to Ivan, and then he disappeared into the night.

To be continued…


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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 145 – Three Roads

Sid drove the Jeep towards the break in the fence, Clem next to him with the surveillance equipment.

“We’ll have to hurry,” Sid said. “It’ll be dark soon.”

“Yeah, I’d like to be out of here before then,” Yvonne said from the back seat, her rifle cradled in her lap. “I feel like our butts are hanging out on the line. There could be snipers on any of those ridges up there.”

“Garrett’s men are still patrolling,” Sid said.

“That’s what they’re saying, but have you seen one out here yet?” Yvonne asked.

“They’re probably on the other side of the ridges,” Sid said.

“Don’t worry,” Clem said. “This won’t take long. There’s the spot. Got here faster than I expected.”

“Helps to know where you can go fast,” Sid said, “and helps not to be worried about looking for tracks.”

“True, that slowed us way down the first time we came,” Yvonne said.

Sid parked the Jeep next to the fence, several feet to the left of the break, and hopped out, Clem following. Yvonne stayed in the back of the Jeep, putting the binoculars to her eyes and scanning the ridges.

“Something doesn’t feel right,” Sid said, slowing as he approached the fence break. “Hold it. Look at the ground there.”

Clem stopped, squinting as he looked. “What?”

“Somebody’s disturbed the dirt,” he whispered.

“Maybe it was Garrett’s patrol.”

“I don’t see any hoof prints. No foot prints either. Looks like that dirt has been brushed.”

“Maybe it was wild life,” Clem said, walking towards the break.

“Stop,” Sid said. “Stay back.” He crept up to the spot, looking down. He could see scrape marks on the dirt, fading due to the wind, but still visible.

“What do you think?” Clem asked.

“I think somebody put a land mine or two here.”

“Dammit. What should we do?”

“Get way back in the Jeep and have Yvonne fire at it with her rifle,” Sid said. “C’mon.”

They trotted back to the Jeep.

“Something’s wrong,” Yvonne said.

“Looks like there’s a mine placed in that break,” he said. “One of you text Garrett and make sure none of his men did it while I move us back.”

“I’m on it,” Clem said, taking out his phone. He sent a text as Sid started the jeep and drove back about sixty yards.

“What are we gonna do?” Yvonne asked.

“I want you to fire at the dirt once we’re back far enough, unless Garrett tells us that they set the mine there.”

“Sure it’s a mine?”

“Well, they buried something there,” Sid said. “Might take more than one shot to blow it.”

“Garrett just got back to me. It wasn’t them. I asked him why we aren’t seeing his patrols around here. He sounded real worried. There’s more folks on the way now.”

Sid stopped the Jeep. “This ought to do it. Start taking pot shots.”

“Turn around facing it so I can use the roll bar as a rest,” she said.

Sid nodded and turned the Jeep around. Yvonne rested her rifle on the roll bar and aimed, pulling the trigger. The bullet pelted the ground, but nothing happened.

“You sure it’s a mine?” Clem asked.

“Those things have a detonator button. Might take a few tries to hit it.”

“We might just break the assembly, and never touch it off,” Yvonne said. “I’ll try a few more shots. You guys keep your eyes on the ridges. There might be somebody up there.”

She fired several more times, hitting the spot, no explosion going off. Then there was the crack of a rifle shot, Yvonne dropping immediately as a bullet hit the roll bar.

“You hit?” Sid shouted.

“No,” she said. “Roll out of the Jeep. It came from the right.”

“I see where they came from,” Clem said, nodding towards his right. “They’re gonna get me before I can get behind something.”

“I see them,” Sid said, pulling out his rifle. Another shot rang out, hitting the side of the Jeep, then another, popping one of the tires. Sid fired several times, causing the snipers to get down.

“Now!” Sid said, scrambling behind the Jeep as Clem and Yvonne did the same, all of them with weapons in hand.

“Text Garrett again,” Sid said, reaching into the back of the Jeep as another shot rang out, hitting the front windshield.

Clem did that, as Yvonne watched the ridge where the snipers head was popping up every few seconds. She tried to time his rhythm, firing at the right time, splitting the sniper’s head. “Got the bastard.”

“Nice shot, baby,” Sid said, pulling his M60 in front of him. He aimed at the break in the gate and fired, the stream of bullets setting off several mines, one of them a few feet in front of the gate break.

“Whoa, I was almost on top of that one,” Clem said, looking over at Sid.

“You get Garrett?”

“Yeah, let him know what was going on. I told him we needed a ride.”

Another shot rang out, from behind them this time.

“Dammit,” Yvonne said, rushing for cover with the others, then aiming again, watching the ridge. “Come on out, slug.”

“This is why I love her,” Sid quipped.

“Focus, dammit,” Yvonne said, pulling the trigger, tagging the sniper in the neck.

“Wow,” Clem said, clutching his rifle.

“These are more UN folks,” Sid said. “We would’ve gotten buzzed by the apps if they weren’t.”

“Thought we’d nailed most of them,” Yvonne said.

“There might only be a few of them out here, and we’ve killed two already,” Clem said, eyes peeled. “It’s gonna be dark soon.”

Gunfire erupted from behind the ridge, a mixture of M60 automatic fire and black powder rounds, the smoke starting to drift into the air. It went on for several minutes, AK-47s returning fire for a few moments. Then there was silence.

“I’d say that was more than a few,” Yvonne said.

“Horses on the ridge,” Clem said, pointing.

Sid reached into the back of the Jeep for the binoculars and put them to his eyes, straining in the low light of dusk. “We just got an all-clear sign.”

“Thank God,” Yvonne said. “We still gonna place these damn cameras?”

“We should do it now, while we still have some light,” Clem said.

“We need to be careful over there,” Sid said. “Might be more mines.”

“Yeah,” Yvonne said.

“I’ll be fine,” Clem said, “but do me a favor. Stay here and fix the flat, so we can leave.”

“I think I ought to go,” Sid said.

“No,” Yvonne said. “Change the tire. “I’ll watch for both of you.”

Sid nodded and got to work, as Clem grabbed the box of surveillance cameras and hurried back to the fence. He watched the ground as he neared, his flashlight pointed at the ground.

“Good, he’s being careful,” Sid said as he put the jack under the Jeep.

“More horses on the ridge, over where the first shots came from.”

Their phones dinged. Sid pulled his and looked. “Garrett said three of his patrolmen were killed, and there were twelve UN Peacekeepers behind that ridge.”

“Dammit,” Yvonne said. “This sucks.”

Clem started placing the cameras, one on the tree facing the break, others on the fence posts themselves, on either side of the break. He looked at the crater between the fences. There was the edge of an unexploded mine visible on the other side of the gate. He texted Sid about it.

“What did he see?” Yvonne asked when she heard the ding.

“There’s an unexploded mine sticking part way in the dirt, beyond the fence.”

“Are we gonna fire at it?”

Sid sent another text to Garrett. “Let’s see what Garrett wants us to do.”

His phone dinged after a moment.

“Well?” Yvonne asked.

“He said to leave it,” Sid said, “in case they think they all got blown up. He’s going to spread the word to stay away from here.”

Clem rushed back to the Jeep as Sid was pulling the old tire off.

“How much longer?” he asked.

“Five minutes,” Sid said. “Might want to cancel our ride.”

“Don’t,” Yvonne said. “Just in case. They can escort us home.”

“Yeah, I agree,” Clem said.

Sid nodded and finished installing the spare. “Good thing I just put air in this.” He stowed the jack. “Let’s go.”

They got in and Sid drove them home, meeting several other Jeeps on the way, who turned and followed them.


“Stockton is always bigger than I remember,” Shelley said, in the passenger seat of the battle wagon. Jules was at the wheel, Sparky and Dana on the couch.

“I hope using I-5 to go south was the right idea,” Dana said. “Lots of people on this road. These battle wagons are easy to spot.”

“Most people don’t know,” Jules said. “Glad we fix Ted’s mini gun gimbal. With gun out, people tell, no?”

Sparky laughed. “Yeah, that’s for sure, although most people who see us are probably on our side.”

“One would hope,” Dana said. “We’re not taking this all the way down, are we?”

“The boss asked we get on I-15 before we get too far south,” Jules said. “Navy don’t want through coastal side of San Diego.”

Sparky chuckled. “Yeah, I could see that, I guess. Are we going into Dulzura using Highway 94?”

“That the plan,” Jules said. “Should work. Long drive. Wish we could spend a night on way.”

“We’ve got four drivers,” Shelley said. “We should keep going.”

Dana was looking at her phone. “Here’s how to go. Get on the 210 Freeway at Sylmar, then take that down to I-15.”

“That’s a good idea,” Sparky said. “Been that route before.”

Jules shrugged. “Okay, I do. How many hours?”

“Says eight hours and seventeen minutes from Stockton, which we just passed,” Dana said. “It’s not that bad, and all of our rigs have more than one driver.”

“Some of the off-roaders don’t,” Sparky said.

“They make detour anyway,” Jules said, “weapons upgrades being done in Santa Clarita.”

“At the same place we picked the battle wagons up?” Shelley asked.

“Yep,” Jules said.

“Are you sure that’s safe?” Dana asked.

“Enemy never found,” Jules said. “Should be good. They spend night, changes take time.”

“Hope we don’t lose a bunch of them,” Sparky said. “We’re gonna need them, I think.”

They settled into the drive, not speaking much for many miles, Dana finally laying on the couch and dozing, Sparky stretching out on the dinette bench and nodding off.

“You no sleep?” Jules asked, glancing at Shelley.

“Oh, I’m okay,” she said. “It really feels like we’ll get to the end of this soon.”

“Good chance, but dangers ahead. You know this.”

“Yes, I know,” she said. “Anxious to see your old friends?”

“Very much,” he said. “Ji-Ho and Sam are fun. You’ll like.”

She smiled at him. “Ji-Ho reminds me of a big kid.”

“Yes,” Jules said. “He got idea for battle wagons.”

“I heard, from that guy named George.”

Jules smiled. “Yes, George. Too bad he not with.”

“We should decide where to trade off drivers,” Shelley said, pulling her phone in front of her face.”


“Hmmm, that’s pretty far,” Shelley said, brow furrowed under her blonde hair. “How are you feeling?”

“I good for long time.”

“It’s almost another three hours away,” she said, “and the town would be Buttonwillow. Bakersfield is too far east.”

“We can run generator, use coffee maker and microwave,” Jules said.

“Yes, we should do that,” Shelley said, “unless you want to stop, and I think that would be a bad idea.”

“Agree. Maybe you should get shut-eye.”

“No, I’m gonna let Sparky drive the next round, and I’m the only person awake other than you right now. I’ll stay awake while you’re driving, if you don’t mind.”

“I don’t mind,” Jules said, glancing at her.

The miles ticked by, the coach silent inside except for muffled road noise and Sparky’s snoring. Shelley was thinking about the pregnancy, making plans for getting a test kit, going over her speech to Jules in her mind, the feelings warming her as they cruised in the mid-afternoon sun.

“You in heavy thought,” Jules said. “I see wheels turning.”

“I suppose you want to know what I’m thinking.”

“Your thoughts are your own,” Jules said. “Tell me if you want, no pressure, okay?”

“I’m just thinking about our lives after the war, that’s all,” she said.

“Good thoughts, I hope?”

“Of course, honey,” she said.

“USA be mess for months. I hope we can find safe quiet place to ride out.”

“Don’t you think we’ll be looked at as heroes when this is over?” Shelley asked.

“By many, yes. By all, no.”

“Who would want the enemy to have won?” Shelley asked.

“Leftists who want end to democratic society and nationalism,” Jules said. “Fight goes on. Trust me. I expect pressure to break USA into smaller chunks.”

“We can’t do that.”

Jules smiled. “We shouldn’t do that. Not same as can’t.”

“Do you want to stay in America? Or will we go back to Europe?”

“Partly depends on who survives conflict, who in power in governments,” Jules said, “but that’s minor, as far as I’m concerned.”


“Yes, biggest issue is where we want to make life together. Joint decision. We both American citizens. We can stay here. Maybe vacation in Europe.”

“You’d be okay with that?”

Jules chuckled. “Nicer here. Better society. Less class garbage. Less intrusive government. More rights spelled out in Constitution.”

“But your business,” she said.

Jules laughed. “I could sell, money in bank more than enough for us and later generations.”

“Do you want to sell?”

“We need to think about,” he said. “Maybe. Don’t have to move there to run. Have to go more often, though. Might be fine. We’ll see.”

“If you sold it all, what would you do?” Shelley asked.

“Figure something out,” he said. “Not worry me.”

“What if you get bored?”

“Then I do something,” Jules said. “Opportunities abound. Trust me.”

Shelley was silent for a few minutes, thinking about what he said. “What if we just lived in this for a while? Traveled the countryside. People do that all the time here, you know.”

Jules smiled. “I like idea. Might have to remove armaments.”

“Wouldn’t that be weird? Not having to worry about Islamists or the UN trying to kill us all the time?”

“Life go back to normal in hurry,” he said. “Hope your captivity not too harmful over the years.”

“It’s just something bad that happened,” she said. “Look at all the Jews who were in concentration camps, but went on to normal lives after the war. People can be strong.”

“True, and you strong,” he said. “If ever bother you, we work. Professional help or whatever you need. Understand?”

“Of course, honey. It’s not bothering me now. Will it in the future? I don’t know. We’ll see.”

“Checked apps lately?”

Shelley shook her head no. “I’d better, been a while.” She picked her phone off the center console and loaded the app.

“Where are we?” Sparky asked, stretching in the dinette.

“We just passed Turk,” Shelley said. “We’re going to switch drivers when we get to Buttonwillow.”

“How long?”

“Hour and a half, give or take,” Shelley said. “We should get fuel there too.”

“Okay, I’m gonna try to doze a little longer, then.”

“Use bedroom if like,” Jules said.

“Nah, I can sleep okay here,” he said. “Thanks.”

“No enemy hits along our route at all,” Shelley said. “Still seeing a few to the east, but I think they’re going to link up with the group heading to Utah.”

“Where east?” Jules asked.

“They’re on Highway 395, heading for I-15,” she said.

“Where’s rest of enemy group?”

“The closest are already past Vegas,” she said. “The furthest are almost to St. George.”

“That Utah?” Jules asked.

“Yep,” Shelley said. “We’re looking good.”

“How about south?”

Shelley moved her fingers on the screen, getting to the border area. “There’s way more enemy fighters down there than I like to see.”

“How far from border?”

“Hard to tell with this app. Maybe forty miles.”

Jules glanced at her, looking worried. “They slow down. Waiting for more forces, perhaps. How many hits south of their position?”

Shelley looked. “Lots more. Thousands. Coming from Mazatlán, but they’re way south. They’re actually closer to the Texas border than they are to the California border.”

“But they not go that way, no?”

“Doesn’t look like it to me,” Shelley said. “They’re on Mexican Highway 18, which hugs the coast until it goes east into Hermosillo. The roads getting the rest of the way to the California border look pretty bad.”

“It Mexico,” Jules said. “They be on foot eventually. They plan to have vehicles ready for Old Highway 80. We aren’t going to make that easy for them.”

“Didn’t Ivan say they’d overrun our forces at the border?”

“Yes, but we have large buildup of forces at best spot,” Jules said. “We slow down while other forces are brought up, and then Naval Aviators show up. Blast to kingdom come.”

“There’s a lot that can go wrong with that plan.”

Jules nodded. “Tell me.”

“Well, if they get vehicles on Old Highway 80, they can go to I-8, then head either west into San Diego or east and up further into California. They could also take Old Highway 80 to Highway 94 and roll right up to where we’ll be.”

“You mention only three roads they can use,” Jules said. “Two are tiny and easy to attack. One is bigger but also easy to attack. Old Highway 80, Highway 94, and I-8.”

“There’s a lot more if they go east on I-8,” Shelley said.

“They only go that way if they flee to Arizona,” Jules said. “If they go further up into California, we whittle troops down to nothing. Only chance to make difference is San Diego. They will take out Naval Base or die trying. We make sure they die trying.”

To be continued…


Bug Out! California Book 1 is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”


Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 144 – Clackers

Tex woke up next to Karen before it was light, not able to sleep anymore. The plans they agreed to last night were spinning through his head like a North-Texas twister.

“Hey,” Karen said, turning to face him. “It’s early. You okay?”

“Nerves,” he said. “I’m fine, though. You can sleep some more. I’m getting up.”

“I’ve got a better idea,” she said, sitting up and pulling her short nightgown over her head. Tex smiled as she covered him. “My breath might be a little rotten.”

“I don’t care,” he said, his arms going around her. They made love quietly but passionately, ending up on their backs, Tex’s right hand intertwined with her left.

“What are we gonna do after the war?” Karen asked, turning her head towards his.

“I haven’t had time to give it much thought,” he said. “You have some ideas?”

“Do you think we’ll last together after it?”

Tex chuckled. “Still?”

“Still what?”

“You’re still doubting our relationship?” Tex asked.

“You said we’d be together as long as both of us wants it, remember?”

“And I’ve said different things since, remember?” Tex said.

She turned on her side, facing him. “I’m serious.”

“What do you want to happen?”

“I asked you first,” she said.

He turned on his side towards her, staring into her beautiful face, framed by her thick red hair. “You’re really going to make me say it right now?”

She rolled her eyes. “I can tell when you’re teasing me, you know.”

He smiled, reaching to brush her hair from her eyes. “You’re the love of my life. I hoped that would be the case when I was pursuing you. I’m pretty sure now.”

Pretty sure?”

He chuckled. “When I say pretty it means very. You know that. Why do women ask questions about things when they already know the answer?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Because we need to, I guess.”

“Are you gonna tell me what you want, then?” Tex asked.

She laughed. “You’re doing the same thing you just accused me of doing.”

“Answer the question,” he said, pretending he was serious.

“I just want to be with you. Whatever direction that takes us is fine with me. It’ll be an adventure.”

“That wasn’t the answer I expected,” he said.

“Oh, you think I’ve got this vision of what our life together will be?”

“We’ve been living our lives together for a while now,” he said.

“We’ve been on the run together. When this is over we won’t be on the run anymore.”

He sat up and scratched his head. “What makes you think we’re gonna settle down into some boring relationship?”

“Do you think that’s what I want?”

He laid back down. “No, that’s not what I think you want. I can’t tell if you want me to be serious or romantic or both.”

She laughed again. “You do know how that came out, right?”

“You’re not going to get mad, are you?”

She elbowed him, on the verge of laughter. “Living with you won’t be boring, I suspect. You’re right, I don’t want the little house with the picket fence, and at this point I’m not that interested in having a bunch of kids.”

“Why not?”

“Why not what?” she asked.

“Why not a bunch of kids?”

“We aren’t suited for it,” she said. “Maybe I’ll let you knock me up during a weak moment, but I doubt that will happen. We’ll have adventures together instead.”

“Travel the world, huh. Or walk the earth.

She rolled her eyes. “Stop with the Tarantino references. I had a boyfriend who worshiped him. Don’t be that guy.”

Tex laughed. “Who’s Tarantino?”

She elbowed him again. “Stop it. Do you want kids?”

“At this point in my life, I just want you. Fully and completely. If life leads us to having kids and we both want it, I’m down, but neither of us know if that’s going to happen.”

“What about the big M?”

“I told you I’d do that,” Tex said.

“You’re not sure about anything long term, but you’d marry me?”

“Yes,” he said, getting out of bed.

“Where are you going?”

“We’re leaving early, remember?”

She pulled the covers back, revealing herself to him, smiling at his reaction. “Sure you’re in such a hurry?”

“Yep, and you know we have to be,” he said. “You’re waiting for me to say something, but I’m not sure what that is.”

She shook her head, looking a little frustrated, and got out of bed.

“You’re really getting upset,” he said, walking to her. He took her into his arms. “You’re afraid that when the battle is over, I’ll lose interest in you. In us.”

“Sorry,” she said, looking up at him, her arms going around his waist.

“I’m not going anywhere. I want to be with you for the rest of my life. That’s not going to change. We’ll live out our lives doing the things that make us happy. For me, that’s going to include getting married.”

She held him tighter. “Why do you care about being married?”

“Maybe I want the exclusivity that it forces,” he said. “Maybe I want us to own each other. Or maybe I’m just a romantic Texan who has more traditional values than I care to admit.”

She turned her head, resting it on his chest, holding him tighter still.

“You okay?”

“I’m happy,” she said. “I’ve got the man I’ve always dreamed of.” She broke the hug. “Okay, you can get dressed now.”

She turned towards her dresser and got out clothes, as he watched her, shaking his head.

They had a quick cup of coffee, watching out the window as the off-roaders loaded backpacks onto their vehicles, getting ready to go.

“I’m gonna unhook the utilities,” Tex said, heading for the door.

“Okay, I’ll stow things,” Karen said, making eye contact. “Thank you.”

He tipped his hat and disappeared through the door. After a second there was a soft rap on the side of the coach.

“Yes?” Karen asked.

“It’s me,” Shelley said.

“Hey, come on up. I’m about done. You guys ready to go?”

“Yeah,” Shelly said, climbing the steps. She had on a tight-fitting t-shirt and jeans. “Tex had a smile as big as Texas.”

“We were chatting about after the war,” she said. “I can’t believe I resisted that man. He’s a jewel.”

“He is,” she said, sitting on the couch.

“Okay, what’s up?” Karen asked, eyeing her.

“You can’t tell anybody,” she whispered.

“I have an idea.”

“I think I’m pregnant,” Shelley said. “I just had to tell somebody.”

“You sure?”

“Pretty sure, but I’ll get one of those test kits when we get a chance.”

“Does Jules know?”

“No,” Shelley said, “and don’t tell him. I want to wait until I’m sure, but I’m just going crazy.”

“Your secret is safe with me,” Karen said.

“Hey, Shelley, you guys ready to go?” Tex asked as he came back into the coach.

“Yep, we’re ready,” Shelley said. “I’d better get back over there. Talk to you later, Karen.”

“Bye,” Karen said.

“See you, Tex,” Shelley said, shooting him a smile on the way out.

Tex got behind the wheel and started the engine. “What was that all about?”

“Oh, nothing, just girl talk,” Karen said.

“Uh huh,” Tex said, shooting her a sidelong glance. “The gate is opening. Time to go.”

Karen sat in the passenger seat, watching Tex as she put her seatbelt on. “I love you.”

“I love you too, little lady.”


Jacumba Hot Springs had become a mini-metropolis. Every flat spot in town was covered with parked cars, and the wilderness between the town and the fortified stretch of Old Highway 80 was covered with tents of every shape and size. Truckloads of weapons had been coming down the highway, and there were men with the trucks to teach citizens how to use them.

“Where’s all this stuff coming from?” Doug asked.

“Yeah, that’s what I’d like to know,” Jorge said.

Conrad smiled. “All over. We’ve got some Marines showing up in a few minutes.”

“They gonna fight with us?” Doug asked.

“Oh, they’ll be fighting, but I’m not sure if they’ll be here or not. This is a supply and training visit.”

“We’ve already been trained with the M60s, M19s, and a lot of other stuff,” Jorge said. “What else is there?”

“You ever heard of the M18A1 Claymore mine?” Conrad asked.

“We’re gonna mine the area?” Doug asked.

“Yeah, but these aren’t like your normal mines. They’re anti-personnel weapons. Good when you have a massive number of enemy fighters heading your way.”

“Maybe that’s them coming right now,” Jorge said, pointing to a military truck coming towards them from town. Conrad stepped forward and motioned to a parking place. Citizen fighters moved out of the way to let the truck pass. It parked, and the cab doors opened, two men getting out and walking over.

“Are you Conrad Kowalski?” asked the older of the two, a man in his thirties with a muscular build and a square jaw.

“I am,” Conrad said.

“Good. I’m Corporal Callahan, and this is Private First-Class Alito. We’re here to provide training for the M18A1 Claymore mine. Do you have men picked out to receive the training?”

“Haven’t gotten to that. How many men do you need?”

“For a deployment of this size, twelve would be optimum,” he said.

“I’m willing to be a trainee,” Doug said.

“Me too,” Jorge said.

“I’m good with that,” Conrad said. “Both of you learn fast. I have ten others in mind. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

He turned and left, coming back in less than five minutes with the other men.

Callahan was looking at the border fence through binoculars. “We’ll need to be on the other side of that. Does somebody here have the key?”

“Yes sir,” Conrad said. “I got it from the border patrol. Do we need a place to back that truck to? There’s a larger break in the K-rail line up about fifty yards from here.”

“That would be helpful,” Callahan said. “Let’s go. You can ride in the cab, the others can climb in the back, but don’t mess with the crates. Understand?”

“Yes,” Conrad said, looking at the others. “You heard the man.”

The men climbed into the back of the truck as Conrad followed the Marines to the cab. They backed out and went down the road, turning off between two K-rails, heading for the gate in the border fence and parking there. Everybody got out, and Conrad unlocked the gate. He pushed it open, the rusted hinges moaning.

“Thank you,” Callahan said. “First we’ll talk about the weapons. Let’s gather around the back of the truck. Alito, get in there and grab me one.”

“Yes sir,” Alito said, his wiry frame jumping into the back. He came back with a canvas bag, about the size of a large purse, sliding it to the edge of the truck.

“Normally we use this bandoleer to carry the weapon in the field,” Callahan said. He opened the flap on the top and pulled out a curved rectangular item, olive drab in color, with the embossed words Front Toward Enemy on the convex side. It had folding spikes on the bottom, two ports on the top, and a sight between the ports. “This is the mine. It’s C-4 plastic explosive behind ball bearings, which are set in epoxy. When the C-4 is detonated, the ball bearings fly forward in an expanding pattern, going out as far as 250 meters, but at that range it’s not optimum. We’ll place these to get the most effective range, which is about fifty meters.”

“Sounds like a shotgun,” Doug said.

“That’s about it,” Alito said.

“How many ball bearings?” one of Conrad’s men asked.

“About seven hundred,” Alito said.

Jorge stepped up to take a closer look. “It’s not very big, is it?”

“No, but it packs a good punch,” Alito said.

Callahan smirked, then pulled two more items from the bandoleer: a long wire, wrapped around a rectangular spool, and a metal item with an electrical plug on one in and a lever over a cylindrical button, which he held up next. “This is the M57 detonator. We call it the clacker. You plug one end of the wire into this port, and the other end of the wire to the blasting cap assembly, which is installed on the mine. Note the safety arm, which will go in place like this, to prevent the lever from pushing down on the detonator button.” He worked it in front of the men.

“Where’s the blasting cap?” Doug asked.

“Inside the spool for the wire,” Callahan said, picking it up and removing the blasting cap assembly from one end. “We’ll be using a daisy chain to connect the mines together in several rows.”

How long is that wire?” Jorge asked.

“One hundred feet,” Alito said.

“Yes, and that makes this a dangerous job,” Callahan said. “We’ll set these up in staggered rows, starting as close as we can get to those hills out there, and bringing them in about one hundred yards for each row. We should have enough to cover the entire area on the Mexican side of the fence, and at least one row on our side. The last of the detonations will be from behind that K-rail you have set up there. Nice job, by the way.”

“That’s it?” Jorge asked.

“That’s the gist,” Callahan said. “Alito, take the men out with forty mines and set them up about fifty meters this side of those hills.”

“Yes sir,” Alito said, climbing back into the truck. “Somebody come give me a hand.”

Several men got into the truck and helped him load the first forty bandoleers onto the back end of the truck, then the men picked up three or four each and followed Private Alito through the gate. Conrad stayed behind with Callahan.

“How far are the enemy fighters now?” Callahan asked.

Conrad pulled his phone out and fired up the app, focusing on it and then showing it to Callahan. “Forty-five miles. They’re moving slower than we expected.”

“That’s what I saw this morning,” Callahan said. “They’re slowing down because they’re waiting for something. That might not be good for us.”

“Did they give you guys the apps?”

Callahan chuckled. “They’re working on it. They need to buy a whole lot of smart phones. Damn military wouldn’t let us just use our own.”

“What’s to stop you from doing that anyway?”

Callahan pulled his phone out of his pocket. “Nothing, but I’ve been told not to encourage that. All my men have them, but if you tell my CO I’ll deny I knew about it.”

Conrad laughed. “Not much different than it was when I was in.”


“No, Army,” Conrad said. “Should’ve stayed in longer. Oh well.”

“If they really throw a half-million men at this line, these mines will slow them down for a very short period of time. You know that, right?”

“Yeah, I know that,” Conrad said. “We’ll have thousands of men up here with M60s and M19s. We’re already making plans on how to proceed when we’re close to being overrun, though.”

“What are you going to do?”

Conrad smiled. “Have the cars arranged so we can get into them and live to fight another day,” he said. “Helps that the enemy is on foot. The mines will help some, but they also complicate matters. We’ll probably lose the first few men we have on the detonation line.”

“If they’re fast, they might survive,” Callahan said. “You’ll need to dig trenches for all of the detonation spots except the last one behind the K-rails. When these things go off they scare the crap out of everybody who isn’t killed outright, which should give our guys enough time to get through that gate and under cover before the next wave goes off. Know anything about the quality of the men we’re up against?”

“No, not really,” Conrad said. “They might be getting down to the dregs.”

“Or they might finally be putting their best into the fight,” Callahan said.

“Yeah,” Conrad said. “You think we’ll really get a million citizens recruited?”

“I was gonna ask you that.”

“I wish I knew,” Conrad said. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far. We’ve got some good folks.”

“We’ve been fighting with the brass for a while now about joining the fight with Ivan the Butcher.”

“Why wouldn’t they?” Conrad asked. “I get that question every ten minutes.”

Callahan shook his head in disgust. “Job one for the brass is to ensure that no more foreigners get involved, no matter what the damage to the civilian population.”

“Foreigners as in the EU or the UN?”

Callahan laughed. “You guys pretty much kicked the UN completely out of here. All they have left is stragglers, from what our sources are saying, and the EU stopped funding the UN. It’s unlikely we’ll get more.”

“Good, then we might be out of the woods soon.”

“There’s a lot more Islamists in the pipeline,” Callahan said. “Half of the fighters we’ve seen here came from other parts of the world they’ve infiltrated. Mostly the European countries. Refugees. Their leadership figured that experience would help them here.”

“That’s a big fail,” Conrad said. “This ain’t Europe. Our people are different.”

“You’d think they would know that. Anyway, there’s a fair number of enemy fighters coming from the middle east now. More than we’ve had before. Don’t know if that’s better or worse for us.”

“Why isn’t the Navy targeting their transport ships?”

“Same reason they wouldn’t let us help you guys,” Callahan said. “They’re afraid the EU is going to lead a foreign intervention.”

“We’ll mop the floor with those Eurotrash punks,” Conrad said.

“Good, keep that attitude. I think you’re right on the money, by the way. I’ve seen what the citizens have done. Here, in Texas, and all over the Southwest. Brings tears to my eyes, and that’s the truth.”

“I was impressed by the people in Oregon,” Conrad said. “Didn’t expect that.”

“I did. That’s where I’m from.”

“Well, they got the first row placed,” Conrad said, watching the men approach the truck for a new load. “What about air support?”

“The Navy brass doesn’t want to bomb Mexico. They’ll hold off until the enemy has crossed the border.”

“That’s not too bright,” Conrad said. “It’ll get a lot of these people killed.”

“Preaching to the choir,” Callahan said.

To be continued…


Bug Out! California Book 1 is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”


Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 143 – Earth Movers

Jules backed into the covered space at the quarry yard. Robbie had already arrived, and a swarm of off-roaders and Jeeps were rolling in. He shut down the engine and got out of his seat, his legs aching from sitting for so long. Sparky got up and stretched.

“Enemy get past bridge?” Jules asked, walking to the dinette, where Shelley and Dana were sitting.

“Not so far,” Shelley said, eyes glued to the laptop screen. “I see a lot of them going east on foot.”

“We ruined their whole day,” Dana said.

“I’m a little worried about the people who live there,” Sparky said. “Looks like some of the enemy fighters are close to the escape road.”

Shelley nodded. “Our guys should be well beyond those spots.”

“I text them now,” Jules said, pulling out his phone.

“How many enemy fighters are moving?” Sparky asked.

“Well over half,” Shelley said. “From what I can tell. Some are wounded but not dead, of course.”

“You mean there’s over a hundred thousand enemy fighters roaming around up there?”

“Give or take,” Shelley said. “They’re in trouble, though. There’s not much nearby. They need a Dunkirk operation to get them out of harm’s way.”

“It’s cold at night now,” Sparky said. “If they don’t have shelter, they’re gonna have a hard night. Would’ve been easier for them a month ago.”

“Ted, Tex, and others out of area,” Jules said. “Some action on way out, Ted’s mini gun turret damaged. Several off-roaders killed on escape road.”

“Wonder how many off-roaders we lost?” Dana asked.

“Hope not many,” Jules said. “Sparky, you know terrain, weather patterns there?”

“Yeah, spent a lot of time there in my twenties,” Sparky said. “On fire crews, and on vacations. It gets cold at night, but some of them are from climates that get cold too. Afghanistan, for instance.”

“They’ll build fires,” Shelley said. “Try to keep alive. I think we ought to get Ivan to recruit up there. If they don’t have a good way out, they’ll mess with a lot of people as they try to walk away. We’ll see a lot of raids, and a lot of civilians killed.”

“I text Ivan,” Jules said. “Need to update him on operation anyway.”

“You know, if we have a whole bunch of people starting campfires there, we’ll have a dangerous situation,” Sparky said.

“Dangerous how?” Dana asked.

“We had a dry year. The place is gonna be like a tinder box. A forest fire could create a lot of havoc for them.”

“Ivan call in few minutes,” Jules said. “Busy at moment.”

“There’s Tex and Cody coming in,” Sparky said.

“Good,” Dana said. “Ted and Justin ought to be coming within fifteen minutes or so.”

“That right, based on text from Ted,” Jules said. His phone rang. He put it on speaker and set it on the dinette table, then slid onto the seat next to Shelley. “Ivan?”

“Hello, Jules,” he said. “We saw what you did on the satellite feed.”

“You have the feed back now?”

“Yes,” he said. “The Feds are losing control of everything. How’d you guys kill so many enemy fighters? Looks like you took out nearly half of them.”

“Cars and trucks fragile,” Jules said. “Grenades burn them fast. Cause chain reaction when they explode. Most dead probably never got out of vehicles.”

“What’s on your mind?”

“There over hundred thousand creeps wandering around there,” Jules said. “We need to warn nearby residents. Maybe recruit them to fight.”

Ivan chuckled. “Ben Dover started that before you guys got there. We can’t field anywhere near a hundred thousand citizens, but we’ll have a lot of snipers there. Good marksmen who know the terrain. I wouldn’t want to be an enemy fighter out there.”

“Seriously,” Dana said.

“Are all your people back?” Ivan asked.

“All except last group, and I text with them five minutes ago,” Jules said. “Should be here any minute. Ted’s coach has damaged mini gun turret.”

“How many off-roaders did we lose?”

“Don’t know yet, boss. Some. Not many.”

“Good,” Ivan said. “Rest overnight. We need you in the south. You leave in the morning.”

“Ji-Ho all right?” Jules asked.

“He’s fine, but there’s a huge number of enemy troops massing near the border, as we discussed earlier.”

“A few battle wagons aren’t going to make much difference,” Sparky said.

“Many thousands of recruits will arrive at Dodge City, where Ji-Ho’s team is now. They’ll need help to manage the situation, and work strategy.”

“Are there still seven hundred thousand coming?” Shelley asked.

“They’re moving five-hundred thousand to the border as we speak, and the two-hundred thousand from Northern California are taking the eastern route to link up with them. They’re by the Salton Sea right now.”

“How many recruits can we count on?” Sparky asked.

“We’re counting on a million,” Ivan said.

“What?” Sparky asked. “You’re high.”

Ivan chuckled. “We have a third of those committed already, and we’ve been given permission to recruit in western San Diego County.”

“Who gave that?” Jules asked.

“US Navy Base commander,” Ivan said.

“How far from the border are the enemy fighters?” Sparky asked.

“About sixty miles, but they’re on foot.”

“We won’t make it in time,” Sparky said.

“You’re right, you won’t make it there by the time the initial incursion starts,” Ivan said, “but there will be plenty for you to do. The battle isn’t to keep them from coming over the border. No way to stop that now. The battle will happen inside California. That gives us a lot more time to work with.”

“Hey, here comes Ted and Cody’s rigs!” Sparky said, watching them through the front windshield. “Right on time.”

“Excellent,” Ivan said. “I’ve got to go, but we’ll probably have a brief meeting a little later. Be ready to leave at first light tomorrow. Fantastic job. Please relay my praise to all.”

The call ended.

“Well, there we have it,” Sparky said.

“Let’s have quick meeting with others,” Jules said, standing up. “Then relax, rest. Tomorrow big day.”


Saladin was riding shotgun in a nondescript white van, on I-10 just past Banning, heading for the Mexican border. Twelve of his closest men were in the back, along with their weapons and ammo. His phone rang. He sighed when he saw Daan’s name, and put it to his ear.


“You stupid son of a bitch,” Daan said, his fury coming over the line like lightning.

“Calm down,” Saladin said. “What’s wrong?”

“You sent men over the Sierras to attack Sacramento without consulting me first?”

“I still command my own men,” he said, sweat breaking out on his forehead.

“Yeah, well that wasn’t too bright,” Daan said. “How did that operation do?”

“I should be hearing from my commanders any time. They should be out of the mountains by now.”

Daan laughed sarcastically. “You don’t even know, do you?”


“Almost half of your men are dead, and the rest are stuck in those mountains with no way out.”

“That’s impossible. There was no force around large enough to pull that off.”

“Didn’t take a large force,” Daan said. “Ivan’s team used a choke point. Blew a small bridge, then trapped your convoy when the leaders got there. Hit their ranks with automatic grenade fire.”

“It can’t be,” Saladin said.

“Those men were working the General Hogan campaign,” Daan said. “You’ve just given him a huge gift. It might be our undoing.”

“Nonsense,” Saladin said, loosening his collar. “It’s a minor setback at best. I’ll get some men up there to retrieve the survivors.”

“No you won’t,” Daan said. “They’ll all be dead by the time you get people there…and the citizens will be strong enough to take them on. You just closed one of the few back doors we have into California. Closed it tighter than a drum.”

“We’ll make up for it in the south,” Saladin said, “unless you think Ivan can come up with a million men.”

“He won’t need a million men,” Daan said. “The Federal Government is headed for trouble, and I’m sure the military knows it.”

“I heard that there’s another coup attempt in the works. No matter, the real power isn’t in the United States anyway.”

“That real power you refer to is beginning to fear the US Navy and Air Force using their full capability without fear of Washington,” Daan said. “We’re in a lot of trouble. The EU Leadership has ordered me to sideline you. You are to report to the base at Capital Reef.”

“And if I refuse?”

“I’ll have you killed,” Daan said.

“My forces will turn on you,” Saladin spat.

“I wouldn’t count on that.”

“I’m going south to run the operation. Everybody’s waiting for me.”

Daan chuckled. “Seriously, don’t do it. Go hide out in Capitol Reef. This will blow over after a while, and then we can attempt to pick up the pieces.”

“Who’s going to run the operation, then?”

“The lower-level commanders have already been notified, but we need you to verify it.”

“Why would I do that?” Saladin asked.

“Because you know that’s the only way you’ll survive, and be able to get back into this battle.”

“There’s nothing I can do at Capitol Reef that hasn’t already been done,” Saladin said.

“We’re getting intelligence reports about the Militia. There’s been overtures made to them by General Hogan’s forces. We need somebody there to hold our alliance together.”

Saladin closed his eyes, fighting his emotions back. “That is important. I can make the case to them. I was the one who brought them in originally. I’ll do as you ask.”

“Good,” Daan said. “Take the men you’re leading south.”

“They aren’t needed for the border operation? That’s nearly two hundred thousand men.”

“We have over seven hundred thousand converging on the border, and another couple hundred thousand on the way as we speak. The EU Navy is helping with that effort now.”

“You’re afraid we’re going to lose California,” Saladin said.

Daan was silent for a moment.

“You still there?”

“If we can keep the US Navy’s air power out of this, we’ll probably win. Yesterday morning I believed they weren’t going to be an issue. Now I’m not so sure.”

“That was part of the reason I wanted to keep up the pressure in Northern California,” Saladin said.

“Finally some honesty,” Daan said. “If we lose this, neither of us will survive. Even if we get out of the country. Our own side will kill us.”

“I’ll disappear into the woodwork. I’ve done that before.”

Daan laughed. “Good luck with that.”

“Where are you?”

“North of Arizona,” he said.

“Understood,” Saladin said. “Talk to you later.”

“Maybe,” Daan said. The call ended.

Saladin looked at his driver. “Turn around, and get on I-15. Go northeast.”

The driver looked at him nervously and nodded, as Saladin focused on his phone, sending texts.


The Saloon in Dodge City was filling up fast, the windows open again, letting in the heat of late afternoon. Ji-Ho was working the audio-visual with Clem, others gathered around chatting. Seth and Kaitlyn were in front of their laptop on a table against the back wall, Angel, Megan, Trevor, and Kaylee sitting with them, eyeing the growing crowd nervously.

“Wonder what’s up?” Trevor asked.

“My uncle looks nervous,” Kaylee said. “I don’t think he’s feeling all that well, either.

Garrett came in with Anna and several others, followed by Ed and Tyler. Sam brought in Mia, Erica arriving a few minutes later with Sarah, Yvonne, and Sid.

Ji-Ho stood before the crowd. “Thank you all for coming. We expect conference call with Ivan and others in five minutes. Just relax. Find seats. Make room for others.”

“The fire department wouldn’t like this,” Willard cracked from behind the bar, a grin on his face. “Too bad I’m not serving. Make a pretty penny.”

“Oh, shut up, you old goat,” Susanne said.

“Be nice, honey,” Elmer said.

“You shut up too,” she said, sitting next to him. “Like living with teenagers.”

“What’d you do now, guys?” Garrett whispered.

“I heard that,” Susanne said. “They found more booze down in the tunnel. Decided to mess with that instead of fixing my lights. Want me to use flames down there to work by?”

“We’ve got enough modern weapons now,” Elmer said. “We don’t need you to be breaking your back loading black powder rounds anymore.”

“Yeah, we’re good, until we run out,” she said. “I’m still gonna keep working.”

“Okay, we have people coming on now,” Ji-Ho said. The screen came up, split three ways. Ivan was on the left, Ben Dover in the center, and Jules, Ted, Sparky, and Tex crowding into the right.

“Well I’ll be damned,” Sam said, looking at his old friends. “How’s it going, guys?”

Ted smiled. “Figures. In a bar. Some things never change.”

“We’ll have some social time soon enough,” Ivan said. “We need to get this over with quickly. Everybody hear me okay?”

“No problem,” Ji-Ho said.

“Same here,” Jules said.

“We hear you,” Ben Dover said, a few members of his team popping their heads out behind him.

“Okay, here’s the situation. We all know that there’s three quarters of a million enemy troops massing south of the border, on foot. They’ve got about two days of walking to get to the California border.”

“Yeah, been watching them,” Ed said. Others agreed, in the Saloon and on the screen.

“We’ve also got a couple hundred thousand on the way south from Northern California,” Ivan said. “That’s the bad news.”

“There’s good news?” Sam asked.

“We’ve got nearly that many recruits on the way,” Ivan said, “but thanks to your handiwork early in the war, it’s not easy to get them from where they are to where we need them.”

“You’re talking about the pass we blew up,” Sid said.

“Precisely,” Ivan said. “We need that opened up, and have a convoy of earth movers and massive bull dozers on the way to the scene as we speak.”

“Got a month?” Sam asked.

“You don’t understand,” Ivan said. “We’ve got enough equipment coming to get rid of that stuff in a few days.”

“Where did you get it?” Sid asked. “I know what we’d need, and it’s a lot, trust me.”

“San Diego County had everything that we needed, including the crews who are experienced with this sort of problem.”

“Okay, so we take three days to clear that out,” Ed said. “That will be just in time for the enemy troops to use it as a gateway into San Diego.”

“You’re right, we won’t have that mess cleared before the enemy gets over the border,” Ivan said. “All that means is that we’ll be fighting them on our home turf, and we’ll have some help.”

“Help?” Ji-Ho asked.

“The US Navy’s aviators are going to join us,” Ivan said. “In large numbers. We’ll get help from the Marines as well.”

“How much do they have that’s not out on a carrier someplace?” Ted asked.

“A lot more than I expected,” Ivan said. “And there are two carriers on the way into the general area as we speak. The carriers might be a little late to the party, but we probably won’t need them.”

“What general area?” Ji-Ho asked.

“The Pacific,” Ivan said. “Don’t put that on the internet, please.”

There were murmurs in the room.

“So, what’s our role?” Sam asked.

“We’d like to set up Dodge City as a way station and supply depot for this operation,” Ivan said.

“That puts a big target on us,” Garrett said.

“That’s why we’re talking,” Ivan said. “It does, but you won’t be alone, and you’ll have capability that is vastly superior to what you have now. We are about to terrorize the enemy as we destroy them. This is the beginning of the end.”

“And where will you be during this?” Sam asked.

“There with you, if you’ll allow it,” Ivan said. “Jules and his team are also on the way to you.”

“Old home week,” Sam said.

“What does that mean, daddy?” Mia asked.

“It means some dear friends are going to join us, sweetie,” Sam said.

“You’ve got a daughter, partner?” Tex asked.

“Yep,” he said.

“Social later,” Ivan said. “I do not command you people. I’m running this by you all. Are there objections to the moves I’m suggesting?”

“I’m for it, as long as it work,” Ji-Ho said. “If help doesn’t really come through, we just opened back door to enemy. Millions of innocents are in danger.”

“If we don’t beat the enemy, they in danger anyway,” Jules said. “They just march to I-8.”

“He’s right,” Sam said. “Highway 94 isn’t even half the capacity of I-8, and there’s nothing to stop the enemy from getting on that and going full bore into San Diego.”

“I’m not hearing any objections,” Ivan said.

“Me neither,” Garrett said. “I’m for it. Let’s do this.”

“I agree,” Tex said.

“Me too,” Sam said.

“Okay, then let’s make some detailed plans,” Ivan said. “We don’t need to have the whole group together to do that.”

“Hey, everybody,” Seth said, raising his hand. “Something’s going on!”

“Who’s that?” Ivan asked.

“That’s Seth, our data guy,” Sam said.

“What do you see, partner?” Tex asked.

“Those two-hundred thousand enemy fighters from the north turned around. They’re going northeast. Most of them are on I-15 or heading in that direction.”

Ivan laughed.

“What’s so funny?” Sam asked.

“I think I know,” Jules said, a sly grin on his face.

“Well, are you gonna tell us?” Sam asked.

“My guess is that Saladin has been called back to the Utah base,” Ivan said. “He pulled a very stupid move last night, and it cost him a couple hundred thousand fighters.”

“What happened?” Sam asked.

“We happened, partner,” Tex said, a look of glee on his face.

To be continued…


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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 142 – Jacumba Hot Springs

Doug Westin looked at the border fence from his trench, right behind Old Highway 80, west of Jacumba Hot Springs. It looked like a tall picket fence – vertical metal bars with sheet metal on the top quarter, making it harder to climb. He raised the binoculars to his eyes and stared, panning from west to east. He was a large middle-aged man with graying hair, receding from his forehead, and a goatee. Another man approached, a younger Hispanic with a medium build and jet-black hair, clean shaven. Doug looked over at him and smiled.

“Jorge, there you are,” Doug said.

“See anything?” He got down into the trench next to Doug and lifted his own binoculars, scanning the area.

“Nope,” Doug said. “Wish we had these apps. It would help. We could have a thousand enemy fighters right south of those hills.”

“Do those apps really exist?”

“People I trust said so,” Doug said. “That damn fence isn’t going to slow anybody down for long.”

Jorge chuckled. “At least we can see through it, man. Even if we had the big wall you wanted, they’d just blast through it, and we wouldn’t be able to see as well as we can now.”

Doug looked at him and smiled. “Funny how this worked out. We fought like cats and dogs over the border wall. Now look at us. Comrades in arms.”

“Keeping my people out is one thing,” Jorge said. “Keeping out enemy Islamists is something very different.”

“True, my friend,” Doug said. “We get any more people? I heard there’s been a bunch of recruitment happening on the internet.”

“Yeah, my kid brother said we have a lot of people coming from all over,”

“Hope they get here soon,” Doug said. “Our three hundred men won’t last long.”

“True that,” Jorge said. His phone dinged. He pulled it from his pocket and looked, eyes getting wide.


“My kid brother Luis,” he said. “There’s twenty thousand citizens in Jacumba right now, armed to the teeth. A lot of them have military weapons.”

“Thank God,” Doug said. “We might just live through this. Where are they coming from?”

“Wow. All over…as far north as LA County. He said they were recruited by Ivan the Butcher.”

“It’s about time that guy noticed we’ve got a problem on the border,” Doug said. “Are they coming here?”

“Yep, they want to be in the spots where the border is closest to a road, and this stretch is one of the best.”

“When will they be here?” Doug asked.

“Any minute,” Jorge said, sending a reply. After a few seconds, his phone dinged with a reply. “Oh, God.”


“Some of those guys have these apps, and they showed Luis. There’s half a million Islamists about sixty-five miles from the border.”

Doug’s forehead broke out in a sweat. “Say again?”

“You heard me, man,” Jorge said.

“We’re dead. Maybe we should take off, and live to fight another day.”

“Look, here comes a big line of vehicles,” Jorge said. “Let’s go meet them.”

Doug nodded and they climbed out of their trench, rushing to the road. The lead vehicle was a commercial bus. Doug and Jorge rushed towards the door just as it opened. A large middle-aged man in camo came down the steps, his hawkish eyes scanning the area, then walking towards them. He set down the weapons he carried-an M4 and an M60.

“You Doug and Jorge?” the man asked.

“You found us,” Jorge said. “You talked to Luis?”

“Yeah,” he said, shaking hands with them. “I’m head of the resistance in San Bernardino. Conrad Kowalski.”

“You were recruited by Ivan the Butcher?” Doug asked.

“His recruitment leader, Ben Dover,” he said, a smirk on his face.

“Oh, yeah, that guy,” Doug said. “Saw that video of him on the TV show. Love to shake his hand.”

“Me too,” Jorge said. “There really half a million enemy fighters out there?”

“Hey, Conrad, where do you want us?” shouted a man from the second vehicle – a stake truck with men jumping out of the bed. He was much younger, with the look of an army recruit.

“Let’s move the vehicles off the road, and bring up the K-rail tenders. Place them about five feet apart, all up and down the road as far as we can. Got it?”

“You don’t want them flush, so there’s no gaps?”

“We don’t have enough,” Conrad said. “Stake them down, too, but place them first, okay?”

“Yeah, okay,” the man said. “I’ll pass the word.”

Conrad waved the man off, then pulled his cellphone out, fired up the long-range app, and showed it to Jorge and Doug. “See all these icons here?”

“Yeah,” Jorge said. “Holy crap.”

“That’s one way to say it,” Conrad said, smiling. “I’d use a little stronger language.”

“How’d you get this?” Doug asked.

“Go on the recruiting site and sign up, and you can download it. Worth it. What’s your email addresses?”

They both told Conrad what they were, and he sent them emails with the link to the recruitment page.

“Thanks, man,” Jorge said.

“How many people we got coming?” Doug asked.

“Not enough yet,” Conrad said. “I know of about eighty-thousand on the way, but they might not make it here in time. Obviously, that’s not enough. The only way we’ll survive is to get a whole lot of people here from San Diego. They started recruiting there last night, and I hear the response is huge.”

“Good,” Doug said. “Ah, the app finished loading.”

“Mine too,” Jorge said. “I’m gonna forward this link to everybody on our team.”

“Yeah, you do that,” Doug said. “I’ve got the long-range app up now. There’s gonna be more than half a million. I see a long trail of icons stretching up from the south.”

“Yep, I’ve heard it could be as many as seven hundred thousand,” Conrad said. “Take a look to the north-east.”

“In Mexico?”

Conrad smiled. “I wish. California.”

Doug moved his fingers around, his brow furrowed. “Highway 78, almost to Salton Sea. How many is that?”

“They’re pretty stretched out, but I’ve heard about two-hundred thousand.”

“Hell, man, they’ve got almost a million men on the way,” Jorge said. “We can’t counter that.”

“There’s ten million people in LA County. Over three million in San Diego County, and almost that many in Orange County. Riverside and San Bernardino each have over two million. We can field over a million citizens, easy. Look at what was done in Texas, and Northern California, and Portland.”

“But in what amount of time?” Jorge asked.

“Well, I won’t kid you guys. We might be overrun and killed before this starts rolling, but these heathens aren’t going to win the war. No way, no how. We’ve already taken back Northern California, you know, and we own LA and Orange Counties.”

“Where the hell are the Marines?” Doug asked. “Camp Pendleton is nearby.”

“Maybe they’re still on the side of the Feds,” Jorge said.

“They’re not,” Conrad said. “I’ve heard they’re being used to make sure the Navy base doesn’t get overrun. I agree that they ought to be helping us down here. It’s in their interest, after all.”

“Some Navy planes could be helpful too,” Doug said. “There aren’t enough Marines here to hold off a force the size that we’re seeing.”

Cars were leaving the road now, backing up and heading for the large flat areas between their position and Jacumba. Then two huge tenders rolled past them, and crews used the built-on cranes to lift K-rails onto the right shoulder of the highway.

“This is gonna take too long,” Doug said.

Jorge chuckled. “See where the enemy is right now? There’s no roads there. These folks are on foot. It takes a long time to march sixty-five miles on foot, man.”

“Yep, that’s why we’re taking the time to do this,” Conrad said. “Here’s a good rule of thumb. Infantry can march about twenty-five miles per day. We’ve got two and a half days before the main enemy force gets here. Oh, and by the way, our recruits can drive here. It’s all about the recruiting at this point.”

Jorge’s phone dinged again. He looked at it. “Luis. Another twenty-thousand citizens just got to town.” He laughed. “The traffic is a frigging mess. Maybe we’ll be okay after all.”

“We’d better have them park around there and walk here,” Conrad said. “You know the right people to call about that?”

“Yeah,” Doug said, pulling out his phone.

“I got to go check on some stuff,” Conrad said. “Nice to meet you guys. I’m sure we’ll see each other a lot in the next few days.”

Jorge and Doug watched as he walked away with several of his men.


“This waiting is driving me nuts,” Shelly said. She was sitting at the dinette in their battle wagon, watching the high-res app on her laptop. “Hey, honey, we’d better run the generator for a while so I can charge this up.”

“No problem,” Jules said. He flipped the switch on the dash to start it. “How close are they?”

“The lead is right by Lake Putt,” she said. “The tail is just past Emigrant Gap.”

“How far apart are those two places?” Sparky asked.

“Just a sec,” Shelly said, typing on her laptop. “They’ve tightened up nicely. It’s only four and a half miles.”

“Perfect,” Sparky said. “The entire group will be in the kill zone before the first of them hit the busted bridge.”

“Yes, this almost too good to be true,” Jules said.

“That’s what worries me,” Dana said. “We’ve got a multitude of enemy fighters coming at a small number of folks.”

“We not stand and fight all,” Jules said. “Never plan. Stop them from coming to Sacramento. Kill a bunch, then get away clean. That’s objective.”

“I agree, but I share Dana’s concern,” Sparky said. “As soon as the first vehicles go over the side, you know messages are gonna be sent to the vehicles behind them, right?”

“We can attack the back end as soon as this starts,” Shelly said. “If we disable enough vehicles back there, it’ll be hard for them to escape.”

“That job of off-roaders by Baxter,” Jules said. “Place more there than at Crystal Springs road.”

“I think they’re speeding up,” Shelly said. “The leaders just passed Whitmore Road.”

“Won’t be long now,” Sparky said.

“We still gonna back up there?” Dana asked.

“Probably best way, so we can leave fast,” Sparky said. “How do you feel about driving there backwards, Jules?”

“Piece of cake,” he said. “New back end armor keep us safe until we can get into siege mode.”

“We shouldn’t go right to the edge,” Shelly said. “We’ve got the range to hit them from a larger distance.”

“True,” Jules said. “Off-roaders do a lot more damage. Send text to Robbie – only go far enough to see enemy, not all way to edge.”

“We’re doing too much on-the-fly in this operation,” Sparky said. “Ought to be by the numbers.”

“We by numbers where need,” Jules said. “We aren’t important group, now that bridges down. Baxter group important, and strategy worked out well there.”

“That’s where Ted is, right?” Sparky asked, a sly smile coming on his face. “Say no more.”

“Yes, he handle,” Jules said. “He always handle.”


Ted and Stacey sat at the dinette opposite Haley and Brianna.

“Where are they?” Ted asked.

Brianna pulled out her phone and clicked the Find My Friends app. “Still on the eastbound side of I-80,” she said.

“Well they’d better get to Kearsarge Mill Road in the next five minutes, or they’d better get off into the woods on the side of the road,” Haley said, watching the high-res app on her laptop. “The lead group of enemy vehicles is getting pretty damn close to there now.”

“There’s guard rail all along there,” Stacey said, “until they get to the off-ramp for Drum Forebay, and they’d better turn right and go down a ways, or they’ll be seen.”

“How do you know that?” Brianna asked.

“The map program,” Stacey said. “Street view.”

“Oh,” she said, “That’s smart.”

“Says the woman who came up with using Find my Friends to track our off-roaders,” Ted said, smiling at her. “So impressed. You made my job much easier.”

“Seriously,” Haley said.

“We all used that, before the war,” Brianna said, her babyface turning red. Stacey looked at her, the affection showing to everybody.

“This is gonna be close,” Haley said, refreshing her screen to see the new position of the enemy. “They’re three miles from Kearsarge right now.”

“And the off-roaders are a mile and a half, but they’re slower,” Brianna said. “Not that much slower, though.”

“Thank God for that,” Haley said. “This makes me nervous as hell.”

“Tell me about it,” Brianna said.

“Dammit, I wish we’d get past this part,” Stacey said. “They there yet?”

Brianna looked at her phone again. “They can probably see the sign for the off-ramp right now.”

“Enemy’s less than a mile away,” Haley said. “Geez.”

“We’re gonna make it,” Ted said. “There’s no traffic light at the top of that off-ramp, is there?”

“Stop sign,” Stacey said. “No traffic, either, so they’ll be able to get around that corner in a hurry.”

“The first of them made it up the ramp!” Brianna said.

“You can’t tell where the end is, can you?” Haley asked.

“Nope,” she said. “Should’ve talked to whoever was going to be last.”

“How close are the enemy fighters?” Ted asked.

“Less than half a mile,” Haley said.

“Arrrggg,” Stacey said. “C’mon, guys, make it!”

“Quarter mile,” Haley said.

Brianna’s phone dinged. “They’re all past the right turn.”

“Yes!” Stacey said, leaning back in his seat, taking a deep breath.

Haley smiled. “And there go the bad guys, racing past it.”

“So now we wait,” Ted said. “Is the enemy convoy still looking like about five miles long?”

“Four and a half,” Haley said. “How can this be going so well?”

“Don’t say that,” Ted said.


“They’re past Kearsarge,” Robbie said, watching his app.

“Did the off-roaders make it where they needed to be?” Morgan asked.

“I don’t know. Hope so.” Just at that moment, their phones dinged. Morgan got to hers first.

“Ted. Off-roaders got out of sight in time. Waiting for rest of the enemy convoy to get past that spot, then they’ll get on the westbound side of the road and head down.”

“That’s going to be very dangerous,” Robbie said. “Wouldn’t want to trade places. They have no armor.”

“I know, it’s scary as hell,” she said. “They’re fast, at least.”

“Doesn’t help that much when you have machine guns firing at you,” Robbie said. “The only thing that will protect them is the trees at the side of the westbound lanes. Thank God there’s no guard rails along there, so they can get into the forest before they have to engage the enemy.”

“Yeah, could you imagine if it was the eastbound side, and they were trapped on the highway? That would be a shooting gallery for the enemy.”

They just passed the Baxter overpass,” Robbie said.

“So Ted and Justin can probably see them.”

“I hope they can only hear them,” Robbie said. “These battle wagons are well known to the enemy now.”

“Good point. Where’s the tail end of the enemy convoy?”

“A good mile east of Kearsarge,” Robbie said. “They’ve compacted a lot, though. Good chance they’ll be completely inside the kill zone before we have the front end flying off the bridge here.”

“What could go wrong? What should we worry about?”

“Too many of them getting out of their vehicles and overpowering us,” Robbie said. “They have the numbers. The leaders just passed Crystal Springs Road.”

“Won’t be long now,” she said. “Glad we’re just going back far enough to get a clean shot at the road.”

“We’ll have to watch for RPGs,” Robbie said. “Hopefully we can hit the first few rows with enough grenade and mini-gun fire to shock them into submission.”

Morgan glanced over at him. “We won’t be able to use the rear machine guns as well from where we’ll be.”

“They’ve got plenty of range and a good targeting system,” Robbie said. “We’ll use them to good effect, trust me.”

“How close?”

“Any second now,” Robbie said.

Suddenly they heard the crash of vehicles flying off the road, hitting the broken cement below, and the squealing of tires as vehicles tried to stop in a panic.

Robbie and Morgan looked at each other. “Time to go!” Robbie said, getting behind the wheel. He fired up the engine and backed up quickly. “Tell me when you have a clear shot in that target reticle.”

“You got it,” Morgan said as she pulled out the tray and brought up the reticle. “Keep going, but slow down a little bit.”

“Jules is moving.”

“Watch the mirrors, not him,” Morgan said, “and be ready to angle like we did before.”


“There, angle a little more towards the left.”

Robbie adjusted. How’s that?”

“Perfect. Get us into siege mode.”

Robbie nodded, stopping the coach and hitting the siege mode button. Morgan opened fire, hitting several of the front vehicles right through the windshields.

“That got their attention,” she said.

Jules’s coach fired the rear machine guns too, as Robbie waited for the M19 and mini-gun to rise into place. As soon as the grenade launcher was up he opened fire, shooting a half dozen of them into the stuck trucks in rapid succession, Jules doing the same. Men were leaving their vehicles, trying to run for cover, when the off-roaders fired from the side of the road, blowing up the next several rows of trucks, gas tanks going, spewing fire all over the place.

“It’s gonna be tough to hit much more with these rear guns,” Morgan said. “We’ve wasted just about everybody that I can see with the sight.”

“I’ve got a ways to go with the grenade launcher,” Robbie said, firing off another half dozen further back, the explosions taking longer to sound. Machine gun fire hit the rear of the coach.

“They’re finally shooting back,” Morgan said, getting back on the target reticle. “Stupid.” She fired, hitting several men who were lying between ruined vehicles close to the edge of the road. Several of them were hit, the others trying to crawl backwards as Jules landed two grenades right on top of them, body parts and blood flying into the air. Morgan leaned back from the target reticle. “That was gross.”

“Those off-roaders are still causing havoc, pretty far back there,” Robbie said. “Can’t see, but I can hear the grenades going off.”

“Most of those folks must be out of their vehicles by now, if they haven’t been hit. You haven’t even fired the mini-gun yet, have you?”

“Nope, and neither has Jules,” Robbie said. “Can’t see back far enough now.” He fired the grenade launcher several more times, aimed high so they’d fly far. “Hell, I hate using this thing without actually aiming at a target.”

“Those trucks are so close together that you’re hitting something with almost every shot,” she said. More bullets hit the back of the coach, and she fired again, hitting a group of three Islamists who were firing from prone position behind some of their own dead. Robbie saw them and landed grenades on them again. Then a text message came in.

“Who’s that?” Morgan asked, eyes glued to the target reticle.

“Ted. They’ve got the off-ramp completely blocked with broken trucks, and the off-roaders back there are almost out of ammo. He’s getting on the escape road.”

“Good,” Morgan said. There was another ding. “That Tex or Jules?”

“Tex, same thing as Ted, they’re leaving.”

“Maybe we’d better go too, before more of these folks start climbing out and get a lucky shot at our tires or something.”

“Text Jules,” Robbie said. “I’m going to light up the end with a bunch of grenade fire and get ready to go.”

“On it,” she said, sending a quick text to Jules. He replied right away. “They’re ready too. He says we should both be firing while we take down siege mode, until we get out of sight.”

“Yeah,” Robbie said. “Keep their heads down.” He flipped the switch for siege mode, lowering it as he fired up the mini-gun, sweeping lead across the front of the damaged road, firing a few grenades as well. Then he drove forward quickly, a few stray bullets hitting the back before they were around the bend, Jules right behind them.

“Wow,” Morgan said. “Think that did enough good?”

“We’ll find out,” Robbie said. They squeezed by the roadblock, which the CHP officers had already left behind.

To be continued…


Bug Out! California Book 1 is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”


Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 141 – Towle Bridges

Morgan was driving the battle wagon, climbing into the Sierra foothills on I-80, the generator purring softly to keep a good charge on Robbie’s laptop. They’d been on the road for just over an hour. Robbie was sitting in the passenger seat, computer on his lap.

“Bingo!” he said. “I think I finally found a good place.”

“How far?” Morgan asked.

“Twenty minutes, assuming we can keep this speed. Towle, Alta and Baxter.”

“That’s three places,” she said.

“We’ll need to blow a bridge at Towle, and have a couple battle wagons at an off-ramp at Crystal Springs Road, and another couple at Baxter road.”

“Oh,” she said, glancing at him for a moment. “Sounds complicated.”

“I wish we had another three or four battle wagons, but in this situation the off-roaders might be better anyway. I need to get Jules on the phone. You can shut down the generator now. This thing has enough charge for the rest of the operation.”

“Okay,” Morgan said, reaching to shut it off. Robbie pulled out his cellphone and hit Jules’s contact, then put it on speaker.

“Robbie, what got for me?” Jules asked. “Sparky in coach too.”

“Hey, Robbie,” Sparky said.

“Hi, guys. I found a good place, but it’s gonna require that we handle three locations.”

“Uh oh,” Sparky said.

“No, I expect,” Jules said. “Where, kid?”

“We blow a bridge at Towle. It’s in a place they can’t get around, unless they’re before the off-ramps at Crystal Springs Road or Baxter Road.”

“I get,” Jules said. This be long caravan. We stop detour. I like.”

“Doesn’t that cut us a little thin?” Sparky said. “We only have six battle wagons.”

“We’ve got all the off-roaders,” Robbie said. “In this terrain, they’re probably better than having a bunch more battle wagons. We can roll down the side roads, blasting all their vehicles with the M19s from behind a fair amount of cover.”

“I like,” Jules said. “How long?”

“We’ll be there in about twenty minutes,” Robbie said.

“Pretty good plan, Robbie,” Sparky said. “Those three locations stretch out a little under two miles. It’s doable.”

“What about this off-ramp at Kearsarge Mill Road?” Dana asked.

“Look at where that leads,” Robbie said. “If you get off there, the alternate from the right side of I-80 just dumps you back onto westbound I-80 or back east, and if you go under the interstate and try to take the roads on the left side, they all dead end except one.”

“What about the one?” Jules asked.

Sparky laughed. “I see what he’s saying. That route leads you all over some pretty dicey roads for big vehicles, and when it dumps back to I-80, they’ll be blocked by the fallen bridge at Towle. Genius, kid.”

“Okay, relay info to the rest of the team,” Jules said. “Put together demolition team. We blow bridge as soon as we get to Towle. Where enemy?”

“Just about to Imlay, Nevada,” Dana said.

“When do they get to Towle?” Jules asked.

“Over three hours,” Dana said. “We’ll have two and a half hours to blow the bridge and get set up at the other off-ramps. It’ll be tight, but not too tight.”

“Perfect,” Jules said. “Thanks, Robbie. We spread word.”

The call ended. Morgan looked over at him. “Nice job, honey.”

“Thanks,” Robbie said. “Hope nothing goes wrong.”

They drove the next fifteen minutes with very little conversation, Robbie watching the high-res app. The enemy continued their relentless drive west, but their speed didn’t increase.

“You’re getting nervous,” Morgan said, glancing at him.

“Just trying to broaden my thinking,” he said. “The enemy force is still stretched out a long way.”

“You’re worried that when the first group gets to the ruined bridge in Towle, there will be forces far enough back to turn around before they get stuck.”

“Exactly,” he said. “We have geography in our favor, though. There’s a place they can turn around before Kearsarge Mill Road – Whitmore Road, but they can’t continue west from there. All they can do is switch over to the eastbound I-80.”

“How far back is that?”

Robbie looked at his computer screen for a moment. “About six miles.”

“And how far spread out are the enemy right now?”

“More like ten miles,” Robbie said. “It’s better than it was, though. Before it was about fifty miles, so they are tightening up.”

“Maybe we should send another team east to bottle up the road, then,” Morgan said. “To keep them from escaping. Doesn’t have to be something permanent. Just enough to hold them there while we destroy them.”

“I don’t know if we have enough ammo to do that. If they’re all stopped, we’ll have a couple hundred troops getting out of vehicles and shooting at our off-roaders.”

“Dammit,” she said. “So, we should just do what we can, and then get our people out of harm’s way?”

“That’s what I’m thinking. If we can nail a good part of their forces and stop them from using I-80, their job becomes much more difficult.”

“We’re almost there,” Morgan said. “You gonna bring this up with Jules?”

“Yeah,” Robbie said. “Get off at Morton Road, and we’ll take Casa Loma Road to the bridge.”

“Will do. What if half their force turns around and goes east on I-80. Is there another way they could come west?”

“I’m looking,” Robbie said, eyes glued to his screen. He chuckled. “No, they’re really screwed, since we control most of Northern California now. They could get on Highway 395 and go way north, then cross over to I-5 and head into Sacramento that way, but I don’t see them doing it.”

“Why not?”

“It’s way out of the way, and they’ll need to get fuel for their convoy, in areas that we control. We’ll blow them away.”

Robbie’s phone rang. “Jules,” he said, hitting the speaker button.

“Hey, Robbie, don’t take off-ramp. Pull to side of I-80 before bridge. We fire at enemy from there.”

“Oh, okay,” Robbie said. “Glad you got us. We were about to get off onto Casa Loma.”

“Dead ends, too low to fire at enemy on I-80.”

“Okay,” Robbie said. “I assume most of the battle wagons and off-roaders are going on. How are they getting home?”

“Dana work out. Baxter Road to Alta Bonnynook Road,” Jules said. “Long out of way. We be home before them, if plans go well.”

“What’s to keep the enemy from following that way?” Morgan asked.

“We ruin their vehicles on off-ramps at Crystal Springs and Baxter, plus stop up I-80 with broken trucks too. They eventually get through, but take long time, after many killed. I think they turn tail and go east again.”

“We’re coming up to it already,” Morgan said, pulling to the side of the road.

“Do K-turn and back up to bridge,” Jules said. We high-tail west when done, get onto westbound side when can. Got? Talk to you soon for other details.”

“Yeah, we got it,” Robbie said. The call ended. Morgan looked in her mirror. “Good thing there’s no traffic on this road. She turned on the wide highway, pulled over to the right shoulder, and backed up.”

“Here comes Jules,” Robbie said, watching him make the turn and back up on the left shoulder.

“We should angle these,” Morgan said, looking out the window. “Otherwise the mini-gun turret will block the grenade launcher turret.”

Robbie looked outside and nodded in agreement. “Do that. I’ll text Jules.”

He sent the text as Morgan adjusted the position of their coach, and then they both got outside. Jules angled his coach and joined them.

“Good point, kid,” Jules said.

“That was Morgan’s idea,” Robbie said.

“Really? Very impressive.”

“Thanks,” Morgan said. Shelly, Dana, and Sparky came out.

“We’d better get to one side or another so the rest of our rigs can get through,” Sparky said.

Jules nodded, and all of them came to the right shoulder next to Robbie and Morgan’s coach.

“Who’s going where?” Robbie asked.

“We stay here,” Jules said. “You too. Please keep eye on the laptop and let us know status as operation runs.”

“Will do,” Robbie said.

“Tex and Cody stay at Crystal Springs Road. Ted and Justin go on to Baxter Road. We distribute off-roaders between the three areas and on the roads in-between and past Baxter.”

“Here comes more of our folks,” Sparky said, pointing as two of the battle wagons and several dozen off-roaders raced by. Six off-roaders pulled up next to them.

“We ready to blow the bridges?” asked one of the men after lifting the face screen on his helmet. “We’ve got the explosives and stuff in our saddle bags.”

“Yes, do, westbound side first please,” Jules said.

“You heard the man,” the off-roader said. “Let’s go back to Casa Loma road.”

“Maybe we should blast this guard rail with a grenade or two,” said a second man. “We could get down there with ease. It’s not even steep.”

“No,” Jules said. “Save grenades for enemy. We have lots coming.”

“Roger that,” the lead man said. They turned their off-roaders and raced back, staying to the shoulder as more off-roaders and the last two battle wagons raced by in the left lane.

“Sure those guys know what they’re doing?” Sparky asked.

Jules smiled. “Yes, did jobs for Ivan before. Top notch.”

“Do we even need to blow the eastbound bridge?” Robbie said. “That center divider is pretty tough.”

“Yes, do,” Jules said. “They be in panic to get to other side. Ram with vehicles to knock over, or use explosives. We need both sides down.”

“Yeah, I agree,” Sparky said.

“I go get ready,” Jules said. “Get into siege mode. You should do same.”

Robbie nodded, and climbed into the coach behind Morgan, who went to the driver’s side and flipped the switch for siege mode.

“Should I raise the guns now?” she asked.

“Wait,” Robbie said, as he pulled out the machine gun tray in front of the passenger side. “Let’s see if we’re angled so we can hit the westbound side of the road with the rear guns.”

“Good idea,” she said, watching as he looked through the target reticle. “You know what, it’s about perfect where it is. We can hit the westbound and eastbound sides with it right now.” He pulled out his phone and sent a text to Jules, then picked up his laptop and opened the high-res app. Morgan set up siege mode and raised the weapons.

Robbie’s phone dinged. “Jules is doing the same thing.”

“Yeah, I see him jockeying around,” Morgan said, looking through the main sight. “Wonder if the enemy will drive all the way up here or stop dead in their tracks when they see our rigs?”

“Good question,” Robbie said. “Maybe we ought to be hidden instead of sticking out like a sore thumb over here.”

“We’d have to go down a ways to be out of sight, wouldn’t we?”

Robbie looked at his map program, zooming out. “There’s a nice curve not very far back there. Maybe we ought to go past it, and wait for a tip-off from the off-roaders.” He typed the message to Jules, who called after a moment.

“Robbie, that good idea,” Jules said. “Let’s come out of siege mode and do that. See how many enemy vehicles fly off end of road. I tell other coaches to get out of sight too. We pack them in tight.”

“Excellent,” Robbie said. “See you around the bend.”

Jules chuckled and ended the call.

“Okay, take us back out of siege mode,” Robbie said.

“Good.” Morgan flipped the switches to get them back into travel mode and they drove forward, Robbie watching through the sight. They went around the bend and up another fifty yards, Jules catching up with them after a couple minutes.

“Okay, this ought to do it,” Robbie said. He looked at the laptop again.

“Where are they?” Morgan asked.

“The first of them are getting into Sparks. It’s just east of Reno.”

“Wow, they’re making good time,” she said. “Oh crap.”

“What?” Robbie asked, looking up, seeing two CHP cruisers roll up next to Jules’s coach. “Uh oh.”

Two officers got out of each cruiser, walking up to meet Jules, who was walking towards them. They shook hands warmly. Robbie chuckled.

“I’ll bet he called them in to put a roadblock out here,” Morgan said.

“That’s what I’m thinking. We made some good friends at their headquarters after we helped them, I suspect.”

The officers got into their vehicles, rolled back to where the last off-ramp was, and set up a roadblock. Jules sent a text, which Robbie read.

“Now we won’t have unwelcome guest,” the text read. Robbie sent a quick reply and then went back to his laptop.

“I was a little worried about that,” Robbie said. “Kept forgetting to bring it up.”

“Yeah, I know, me too. I guess we just wait, now.”

There was a loud blast, vibrating the road beneath them, then another. They could hear chunks of cement falling. Robbie raced out the door and looked to the east. A grey cloud of dust was rising, and a few whoops and hollers could be heard.

“Wow,” Morgan said, coming up behind him to look. “That made a good rumble.”

Jules came out of his rig with a big grin on his face, followed by Shelly and Dana. “Nice show, no?”

“Damn straight, man,” Robbie shouted back.

“Where enemy?”

“Just east of Reno and coming fast,” Robbie said.

“Fire in the hole!” somebody yelled to the east, and there were two more massive explosions, raising more dust, the road under their feet vibrating.

“We should’ve waited for a few minutes before we moved,” Shelly said. Dana looked at her and laughed as Sparky came out to join them.

“I’m gonna go inside and get back on the laptop,” Robbie shouted. He and Morgan climbed into their coach.

“Well?” Morgan asked as he looked at the screen.

“They’re just past Reno now. Looks like they stretched out more, though. Some of them slowed down.”

“Maybe that’s bad,” Morgan said. “How far back are the last of them?”

He looked at the screen, then smiled. “Lockwood. They’re still only ten miles from start to finish. We’re gonna get most of them.”


Clem, Sarah, Sid, and Yvonne were coming home from Dulzura, after shopping all morning for electronic surveillance gear, food, and clothing.

“I’m surprised they had so much good surveillance stuff,” Clem said. “Should just open a tab with that place.”

Sid snickered. “What kind of guy names his electronics store Scooter’s?”

“Seriously,” Yvonne said. “Sounds like the name of a bar, not a geek store.”

“Hey, watch that,” Clem said. They all cracked up.

“Want to stop anywhere else?” Sid asked.

“We’re burning daylight,” Clem said. “We probably should spend the rest of the day getting the cameras set up by that fence break.”

“No rest for the weary,” Sid said.

“I can handle it if you’re tired,” Clem said.

“I’m joking,” Sid said, “and I’m not letting you go out there by yourself. Hell, I’m not letting anybody go out there by themselves. Remember what happened to Ed?”

“Ed,” Clem said. “Maybe we should see if he wants to take us in his hovercraft. Probably make better time.”

“Is it fixed?” Sarah asked. “Haven’t heard it for a while.”

“As far as I know,” Sid said. “We need to bring some heavier tools. I think the Jeep might be better.”

“Probably right,” Clem said. They made the turn onto Campbell Ranch road.

“Almost home,” Sid said. “Another ten miles to town.”

“Yeah, well don’t go too fast,” Yvonne said. “I heard somebody almost hit a cow the other day on this road.”

“You seem awful nervous, honey,” Sid said, glancing at her for a moment as the Jeep bounced along.

“We have seven hundred thousand bad guys on their way across the border,” Yvonne said, “and another couple hundred thousand on their way down from northern California. This is the makings of a clusterfuc…”

“Stop!” Sarah said quickly, putting her hand over her mouth. “Sorry.”

Sid and Yvonne laughed, Clem showing a sheepish grin.

“I guess I don’t need to use crude language all the time,” Yvonne said. “Sorry.”

“Oh, it’s just me,” Sarah said. “I used to do that to John. Surprised he put up with it all those years.”

They rode quietly for a while, seeing a couple of vehicles racing to the highway, and a few cows off to the right side of the road, pausing from their grazing to watch them go by.

“You really want to see if you can stay here, Clem?” Sarah asked.

“Here?” Yvonne asked. “Please.”

“I like it,” Clem said. “Nice folks, cool surroundings, lots to do. I could get used to it.”

“Where do you want to go after this is over?” Sarah asked Yvonne.

“Don’t know,” she said. “I don’t think I can go back to the Dulzura RV Park.”

“Me neither,” Sid said. “Maybe a reservation? Either my tribe or yours?”

“That’ll take some thought,” Yvonne said. “I left for a reason.”

Sid sighed. “I know, so did I. Maybe it’s time to get lost in an urban area again. Been a while.”

“We’re not going back to Hawaiian Gardens,” Yvonne said. “It’s got to be someplace nicer than that.”

“What?” Sid asked.

“How about Newport,” Clem quipped, which got a hearty laugh from Sid.

“Hell, like they’d let us in there.”

“If you had the money, I’m sure they would,” Yvonne said, “and therein lies the problem.”

Everyone’s phone dinged with a broadcast text.

“Uh oh,” Yvonne said, pulling her phone out of the glovebox. “Meeting again.”

“Saloon, I hope?” Sid asked. Yvonne elbowed him. “Hey, I’m driving here.”

“Yep, it is the Saloon,” Clem said. “Goody. I could use a beer. It’s not too early this time.”

“I think I know what this is about,” Sid said, looking at his rear-view mirror. “Look back there.”

They all looked, seeing a new battle wagon on the road about a hundred yards behind them, followed by two semi-trucks and a long line of additional battle wagons behind.

“Geez,” Clem said. “Where’s all this money coming from?”

“Ivan and Ji-Ho are both quite wealthy, apparently,” Sarah said, “but I’ll bet there are lots of interested parties who want to help this cause.”

“You got that right, honey,” Sid said.

“Here comes Sam’s Jeep and a couple of Ji-Ho’s,” Sid said, pointing. “They’re obviously going to meet them.” He slowed to a stop as the oncoming Jeeps did, Sid getting his window next to Sam’s.

“Get what you needed in town?” Sam asked. Mia waved to him from the back seat.

“Hi, darlin,” Sid said, waving back to Mia, then looking at Sam. “Yeah, there’s a great electronics joint there. Is the meeting about the delivery?” He nodded behind him.

“I wish,” Sam said. Erica looked over from the passenger seat, fear in her eyes.

“Oh, crap, what now?” Clem asked.

“Good news and bad news,” Sam said. “On the good side, the Islamists coming from the north did go east. They’re going to avoid us.”

“What’s the bad news?”

“Five hundred thousand Islamists are massing at the border, and we don’t have enough people there to stop them.”

“Oh, God,” Yvonne said. “This is what I was afraid of.”

“It might not be too bad,” Sam said. “Ivan contacted the US Armed forces in San Diego. Both the Navy and the Marines. There’s no agreement on them getting directly involved yet, but we have been allowed to recruit civilians in western San Diego County. That might be enough.”

“We’d better go, honey, so the caravan doesn’t get held up too much,” Erica said. “That meeting is soon. We need to be involved.”

“Got it,” Sam said. “See you guys in town.”

He drove off, and Sid started moving again.

“Well, this could be worse,” Clem said. Sarah glanced at him, then out the window as the Jeep got back to full speed.

To be continued…


Bug Out! California Book 1 is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”


Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 140 – Two Fronts

Ben Dover was in his social media control room, pacing, waiting for Ivan’s call. His friends, many with him since his days at UC Santa Cruz, were watching him, worried. The phone rang. Ben leapt at it and hit the answer button on the speaker.


“Yes, Ben, sorry for the delay. Is there a problem?”

“We’re not getting enough response in Eastern San Diego or Imperial counties.”

“How many commitments so far?” Ivan asked.

“Just barely sixty thousand. It’s not that the people aren’t willing, it’s just that the population is low, and there are a lot of retired folks who don’t use the internet much. Word of mouth helps with that somewhat, but it takes time.”

“I see,” Ivan said. “I thought San Diego County had a large population.”

“It’s huge, but most of the people are in the area near the city, and the US Navy and Marines have that locked up pretty tight.”

“You have a proposal, don’t you?” Ivan asked.

“I want to expand our operation to LA, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties,” he said. “I think I can make a case that it’s in their interest to join the battle.”

“You want to tell them that if Saladin brings in more people through the southern border, they’ll eventually be attacked,” Ivan said, “and that’s true. They’re going to see it. Go ahead.”

“You know there’s a mix of folks in LA county, right? There are people there who prefer the stability of martial law. Crime is up there because the state government fell apart. Some parts of Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties have a similar issue.”

“Look at the Bay Area and Sacramento. You did well there.”

“I know, Ivan, but that was right after the women told everyone about the UN Peacekeepers and their rape operation. It’s been a while. People have short attention spans.”

“What do you want from me?” Ivan asked. “There’s something. I can tell by the tone of your voice.”

“The optimum place to recruit is western San Diego County.”

“Oh,” Ivan said, silent for a moment. “I’ll need to open a line of communications with the US Navy for that to work. They’re avoiding direct contact with the resistance.”

“I’m asking that you work that. Meanwhile I’ll work those other counties.”

“How many people do you think we need down there?” Ivan asked. “Saladin only has two hundred thousand on the way.”

“Have you been watching Mazatlán?” Ben asked, shooting a glance at his friends, who were hanging on every word.

“Haven’t been paying much attention since that’s so far south. What are you seeing?”

“The enemy is pumping Islamists into that port like crazy,” Ben said. “If it keeps up, we’ll be back to the seven-hundred thousand level like we were before half of them headed southeast.”

“You don’t think our people down there can stop them, do you?”

“Two of my guys came from that area, and know the terrain. If the enemy lines up that many fighters along the border just about anywhere, they’ll walk right in. Bottling up I-8 will stop them from moving trucks up north, but they can go through this area on foot like a frigging hurricane, take over, and then choose any road they like to go north.”

Ivan was silent for more than a minute.

“You still there?” Ben asked.

“Yes, I’m thinking,” Ivan said, silent again for a few minutes. Ben’s team eyed him. You could hear a pin drop in the room.

“Okay, you’ve got me convinced that we have a problem,” Ivan said. “I need to get on the horn with some folks. Start working everywhere except western San Diego county. I’ll see if I can start up some dialog with the US Navy. Good enough?”

“Perfect, boss, thanks!” Ben said, smiling at his crew.

“Thanks for bringing this to my attention. You’ve got talents I didn’t realize. Talk to you soon.” The call ended. Ben’s team cheered, rushing to him and patting him on the back.


Robbie woke up before the sun rose, Morgan still snoring softly next to him. He snuck out of bed, dressed, and went to the dinette, sitting in front of his laptop, moving the mouse and waiting for the screen to wake up. When it did, he looked at the high-res app. His eyes got wide as he scrolled east on I-80.

“Dammit,” he said, pulling his phone out and sending a text to the leadership. Then he switched on the coffee maker and went into the bedroom. “Morgan. We’re about to have company. Might want to get dressed.”

She rolled towards him, half asleep. “What?”

“The enemy is coming this way. I just sent a message to Jules and the others. They’ll be here any minute.”

“Oh,” she said, sitting up quickly. “I’ll get dressed. You turn on the coffee?”

“Yeah,” he said, turning to leave. Somebody knocked on the door. “They’re here.” He rushed out to open it. Jules, Ted, and Sparky came in. Before they all got inside, Tex trotted over.

“Enemy move west on I-80?” Jules asked, leaning against the kitchen counter.

“You got it,” Robbie said.


“How far, partner?” Tex asked.

“They’re almost to Elko. That’s about a third of the way.”

“I was afraid of this,” Sparky said.

“We need to hit them in the mountains,” Ted said, “and we need help from the locals. There still two hundred thousand?”

“Less came across the border than that,” Robbie said. “Looks like it’s closer to a hundred and fifty thousand.”

“What happened to the others?”

“I need to check my history,” Robbie said. “They aren’t on the road, so they’re probably back in Salt Lake City.”

“We have to leave now and attack,” Ted said. “We’d better wake everybody up.”

“Kid, start looking for good spot on I-80 where we can hit from side-roads,” Jules said.

“Yeah, and see if you can find one where there’s a bridge we could blow,” Ted said. “So we can get them bottled up.”

“I’ll get on that right now,” Robbie said.

“Okay, guys, let’s get everybody going,” Tex said. “We better leave in a half hour. No longer.”

“I agree,” Jules said. The men left the rig. Morgan came out of the bedroom.

“You hear that?” Robbie asked, eyes on his laptop screen.

“Yeah,” she said. “Keep working. I’ll get you a cup of coffee and a bar.”

“Thanks,” he said.


Clem was up early, looking out the window of his Dodge City Hotel room. The western street below was waking up. A horse-drawn wagon rolled by, carrying feed in the back, the driver seeing him and waving. His mind was on the surveillance task he’d be working later, when the others were up. There was a knock on the door. He answered it. Sarah stood before him.

“Oh, good, you’re up,” she said. “Heard you’d be going into town to get some electronics. Want some company for that?”

“Sure,” he said. “Come on in.”

She shot him a funny glance, and he laughed.


“You looked nervous about being in my room. Sorry, Sarah, but that ship sailed quite a while ago. I just need to put my shoes on, and then we can get some breakfast. I smell something coming from downstairs.”

“Oh,” she said, looking embarrassed. “I didn’t mean anything, really.”

“I know,” he said. “Just a sec.” He sat on a chair by the bed and pulled on his walking shoes, lacing them slowly, his hands not moving as fast as they used to. “You staying here too?”

“I’m in the boarding house with Garrett’s sister and a few others,” she said. “She’s a riot.”

“Susanne. Fine woman. I’ll bet she runs Garrett ragged.”

“Well, Elmer, at least,” she said. “Her on again, off again boyfriend.”

“I heard that the on and off cycle is about every four hours.”

Both chuckled as Clem stood. “My back is gonna be killing me tonight.”

They went down the stairs. There was a continental breakfast laid out, with coffee in a large canister pot, and a sign saying Help Yourselves.

“Well isn’t this nice?” Sarah asked.

“This breakfast is more John’s style than mine,” Clem said, wishing he could take it back when he saw the sadness in Sarah’s eyes. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be silly,” she said. “I do miss him so.”

“Me too,” Clem said. “Knew him for over forty years.”

“I was married to him for thirty-five,” she said. “I thought you were scary at first.”

“Me? I’m a pussycat.”

“I know that now, but you were older than the rest, and a little stern.”

He smiled as he drew himself a cup of coffee from the canister, taking a tentative sip. “It’s pretty good.”

They sat at one of the round tables near the wall. Elmer walked in, smiling when he saw the spread. “Good, I was hoping that’d be here.”

“Where’s Susanne?” Sarah asked. “Oh, and good morning.”

“Good morning to you,” he said as he got coffee. “Susanne’s a working fool. She’s down in the mine already, pushing the ammo loading team.”

“You don’t work with her on that operation?” Clem asked.

“Oh, hell no,” he said. “You think I’d let her boss me around like that? I only allow that if it’s in my interest.” He shot Clem a naughty glance. Sarah cleared her throat.

“What’s your job here?” Clem asked.

“Contractor,” he said. “Built a lot of the town with a crew of folks. Helped them get up to code, too, after the first debacle.”

“Oh, you didn’t build the stuff that was torn down for that?” Clem asked.

He chuckled. “Nah, that was before I joined the group. They tried to build this place like a barn-raising. That’s okay for a barn, but if you’ve got people living in it, the state cares very much about how the construction is done.”

“I’d be surprised if the state would even cut you slack on a barn, actually,” Clem said.

Elmer stuffed the last of a Danish into his mouth, chewing it quick so he could respond.

“Take your time,” Clem said, catching a smirk from Sarah.

“Sorry,” Elmer said. “Kinda looks like I was raised in a barn, I reckon.”

They all laughed.

“But you’re right,” Elmer continued. “The damn state has rules for anything you build now – even the stuff that really don’t matter. Sick to death of it, but I know how to work the system to get things done. They hired me to help, and I kinda fell in love with the place.”

Susanne came stomping into the lobby. “Where’s that old goat Willard?”

“What’s the matter, honey bun?” Elmer asked.

“That’s for the guests,” she said, eyeing the Danish in his hand.

Elmer smiled at her and took a bite. She growled at him.

“What do you want Willard for?” he asked.

“Those damn lights that he strung up in the mine shaft quit working,” she said. “I need them on. We’ve got a quota to make.”

“Okay, I’ll grab Willard and drag him down there. He needs to know how to do that right. I’ll show him, okay?”

She looked at him for a second. “Why was he doing it instead of you, anyway?”

“I was busy working something for Garrett, remember?”

She thought for a moment. “Oh, hell, I don’t remember what you’re talking about. No matter. Grab him and get down there pronto. Oh, and if you find more booze down there, tell me about it this time.” She left in a huff.

“She’s always going full speed, isn’t she?” Clem asked.

“Brother, you don’t know the half of it.” He washed down the second Danish with coffee and left, tipping his hat.

“Wow,” Sarah said, shaking her head.

“I kinda like it here,” he said. “Call me crazy. Wonder how you become a permanent resident?”

“Are you serious?”

“It’s not like we can go back to the RV Park in Dulzura,” he said, sadness in his eyes. “I miss Harry and Nancy.”

“And Connie and Hank too,” Sarah said, eyes tearing up. “And my John.”

“Let’s change the subject or I’ll be blubbering like an old fool.”

“You aren’t an old fool,” she said.

Sid came in with Yvonne. “Oh, there you guys are. Meeting in five minutes.”

“With who?”

“Ji-Ho is calling it, and they’re setting up the audio-visual stuff. I think they might need your help, Clem.”

“Okay, done with breakfast anyway,” he said. “Where?”

“Saloon,” Sid said.

“Good, about time for a beer.”

“Now you’re talking,” Sid said, both women rolling their eyes. They all left, walking down the wooden sidewalk to the saloon, which was already full, with people still arriving.

“Somebody open windows,” Ji-Ho said, “so overflow crowd can listen.” He was up front next to the TV. “Oh, Clem, good, come help please.”

Clem nodded, making his way through the crowd.

“Hi, Auntie Sarah,” Mia said, rushing over to her.

“Well hi yourself, sweetie,” Sarah said, stroking her hair as she watched people coming in.

“Is this gonna be scary?”

“If it is, I can take you for a walk to see the horses,” Sarah said.

“That would be fun,” Mia said.

“She’s not bothering you, I hope?” Erica asked, walking up with Sam.

“No, of course not. I told her if the discussion got too scary I’d take her to see the horses.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Erica said.

“I wouldn’t mind a bit.”

“Wish this place was bigger,” Sam said.

“It’ll be good enough,” Garrett said, coming out of the back of the saloon with Anna and Willard. “I’ll make sure all my men hear about it. A good number of them are out on patrol, and that’s just where we need them.”

“It ready,” Ji-Ho said. “I’ll send text to Ivan.”

People found places to sit, lean, or just stand as the TV came on, Clem coming out from behind the screen with a laptop on a long HDMI cable. He set it on a bar stool facing the crowd, open so the camera could pick up at least half of the people in the saloon.

Ivan walked onto the frame, wearing his pin-striped suit and fedora, sitting to face the camera. “Hello, all. Can you hear me?”

“Yep,” Clem said. “Should I patch in Ben Dover now?”

“Yes, please,” Ivan said. Clem typed on the laptop, moving his finger on the touch pad a couple times, and then the screen split into two, with Ben Dover on the right pane and Ivan on the left. Ben’s hair looked like he just got up, and he was wearing a t-shirt with a stretched neck.

“You hear me?” Ben asked.

“We do,” Ji-Ho said.

“Yep, I can hear both of you,” Ivan said.

Ji-Ho smiled. “Okay, we set. Go ahead.”

“Hello, all, thanks for your attention,” Ivan said. “Ben has been working recruitment for your area. In the process, him and his team came to some conclusions, and they convinced me to act on what they were telling me. Ben, please tell the team what you see.”

“Have any of you seen the buildup of enemy forces through the port at Mazatlán?” Ben asked.

“I have,” Seth said. “It’s got me worried.”

“It should,” Ben said. “Last time I checked, they were up to about five hundred thousand fighters.”

“There’s more off-shore,” Seth said. “Another two hundred thousand at least.”

A gasp went up in the room.

“We can’t take on that many fighters,” Susanne said. “I’m having a hard time keeping ammo production high enough for the current scale of battle.”

“So, we have to stop up I-8 and the other routes across the border,” Angel said.

“That won’t be enough,” Ed said, his face grave. “With those kinds of numbers, they can march over the border on foot, kill everybody around, and choose the northbound route they want to take.”

“He’s exactly right,” Ben said. “We’ll have to recruit our way out of this, and we’ll need coordination when the volunteers arrive, plus a place for them to stay until the battle, and a method for them to get to the battle.”

“How can we recruit that many people?” Kaitlyn asked.

“We have to recruit from all of the counties in Southern California,” Ivan said. “Especially LA and Orange counties. That’s where the numbers are.”

“What about western San Diego county?” Sam asked. “That’s not as large as LA county, but it’s larger than Orange county and closer, too.”

“We’re trying to contact the US Navy to make that happen,” Ivan said. “It’s difficult.”

“I know some people,” Sam said. “I can work that with you.”

“That would be very much appreciated,” Ivan said.

“What are we gonna do?” Trevor asked. “How can we help?”

“Here’s my proposal,” Ivan said. “We go after all the recruitment we can, including San Diego county if we can get agreement with the US Navy. We use your Dodge City as a staging area. Is it large enough for the number of people we’re talking about?”

“And then some, if you’re just talking land,” Garrett said. “Food and shelter will be something else again.”

“We’re working that,” Ivan said. “Tents and food as well as military weapons to arm people, so they don’t have to go against such a huge force with hunting rifles.”

“I pledge whatever help we can provide,” Garrett said. “Anybody object?”

“Hell no,” Willard shouted.

“I’m for it of course,” Elmer said.

“Me too,” shouted somebody else.

“What about more battle wagon and off-roader?” Ji-Ho asked. “Still come?”

“Those have been on the way for a couple days,” Ivan said. “They’ll be there soon. We also sent military small arms and ammo – enough to outfit a force of a thousand men. We’ll obviously have to expand this quite a bit for the new recruits.”

“Where are you getting all this stuff?” Trevor asked. “Never mind, I don’t want to know.”

Ivan chuckled. “Some of the weapons will be AK-47s and other European weapons, by the way. When we kicked those cretins out of the Bay Area and Sacramento, we captured a lot of military hardware.”

“No problem here,” Sam said. “AKs jam less often than M16s.”

“You have anything else to say, Ben?” Ivan asked.

“Yeah,” Ben said. “Don’t destroy any more roads down there. You’ll need them to access the enemy.”

“Roger that,” Sid said.

“Okay, anything else before I go work this?” Ivan asked.

“Good luck, and let us know if you need help from us,” Sam said.

“Yes, we do anything,” Ji-Ho said.

Ivan smiled. “I know, guys. It’s an honor to serve with you. Talk to you soon.” With that he and Ben Dover left the screen.

“Wow,” Seth said to Trevor. “This is gonna be insane.”

“Seriously, dude,” Trevor said, Angel nodding in agreement.

Clem finished unhooking the audio-visual stuff. Sarah walked over. “You still doing the surveillance task today?”

“Yep,” he said. “More important than ever, in my estimation. This is about to become ground central for the California Resistance.”

“I think we’d better nix that idea of putting land mines out,” Sid said. Yvonne laughed.

“You got that right, brother,” Clem said.

To be continued…


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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 139 – Southern Routes

Jules finished backing the battle wagon under the massive cover structure at their base. The other rigs were doing the same, and off-roaders rushed into the big quarry’s lot like a swarm of hornets.

Shelly looked over at him, eyes sleepy. “We don’t have a bunch of stuff to do, I hope? I’m so tired.”

“Me too,” Jules said as he shut down the engine. “I go do hook up. Get into bed, I’ll join soon.”

“Okay, honey,” she said, getting out of the passenger seat and walking to the back of the rig.

Jules went out to hook up the power and water. Tex was doing the same on his rig in the next space.

“Hey, partner, you been listening to the news?”

“No, Tex, what I miss?” Jules asked as he opened his utility compartment.

“Portland. The EU Navy ship steamed up there, ready to unload sixty thousand UN Peacekeepers. There was a huge battle, with a couple hundred thousand patriots flooding the dock area.”

“Oh, really?” Jules asked. He pulled out his power cable and plugged it into the mast, then flipped on the breaker. “Sounds like somebody was on social media.”

“Probably,” Tex said, pausing to connect his water. “It gets better. A US Navy ship was following it, and just as the EU ship was starting to use its weapons on the citizens, it got hit with three missiles. Blew up the ship and killed all of the UN Peacekeepers.”

“Gee, that too bad,” Jules said, shooting Tex a wicked grin. “Bet Daan isn’t happy right now.”

“Of course, the news media is portraying this whole thing as a frigging tragedy, but bottom line is that the enemy has lost Oregon.”

“That battle only, not war,” Jules said.

Tex chuckled. “The citizens went on a rampage. They rounded up all of the crooked political hacks who put martial law in and shot them.”

Jules froze. “Shot them? Maybe we do win there, then.”

“The radio announcer was expressing hope that the EU or the UN will come in and install order.”

“Yeah, we know what kind of order they talk, no?”

“Exactly,” Tex said. “If this event didn’t cause so much loss of life, they wouldn’t have covered it, partner.”

“They cover CHP hit?”

Tex laughed. “Nope. Thanks for making my point.”

Both men cracked up. Ted walked over with Sparky.

“You guys talking about the Portland thing?” Ted asked.

“Yes, Tex just fill me in,” Jules said.

“The worm has turned there,” Sparky said. “Hopefully Seattle will be next.”

“Bigger nut to crack,” Jules said.

Robbie came over. “You guys talking about what happened up north?”

“Yes,” Jules said. “You hear?”

“I had the radio on, caught the gist,” Robbie said. “No need to go back over it, unless you have some inside info from Ivan or something.”

“Nope,” Jules said.

“Something’s on your mind, partner,” Tex said.

“We got back a little before you guys did,” Robbie said. “I’ve been back on that new high-res app. I think we’re gonna get a flow of enemy fighters coming in from Nevada.”

“Where do you see?” Jules asked.

“There’s a well spread-out group coming from the Salt Lake City area, along I-80,” Robbie said. “They weren’t there before we left.”

“Wonder if they want to take Oregon back?” Sparky asked.

“No way,” Ted said. “If they were going to Oregon, they’d be going up I-84.”

“There aren’t enough people in Oregon for them to make that kind of move,” Robbie said. “Not after we’ve whacked them so bad in the northern half of California.”

“He smart,” Jules said. “They lost top third of California, along with LA and Orange counties in south. They do two things. Send big forces to open I-8, and try to take back Sacramento and Bay Area. They must do fast, too, or they have no chance.”

“What about the battle with General Hogan?” Sparky asked.

“General Hogan forces retreat from Utah,” Jules said. “Head for Kansas. Ivan told me. Maybe Saladin thinks enemy is on run.”

Tex took off his cowboy hat and scratched his head. “Something doesn’t add up here. You think the enemy leadership is starting to lose it?”

“Maybe the enemy leadership figured out what my dad has done, and now killing him isn’t the priority it once was,” Robbie said.

“That possible,” Jules said. “Still must defeat General Hogan forces to win war.”

“They already know they’re in trouble,” Ted said. “This could be a Hail-Mary for California. You know how many troops are on the way, kid?”

“A lot,” Robbie said. “They’ve spaced them out, like I said, but I’m seeing about two hundred thousand.”

“Crap,” Sparky said. “We need to get ready for this.”

“Robbie, keep tracking,” Jules said. “How far closest group?”

“None had passed the Utah border as of a few minutes ago,” he said.

“That’s good and bad,” Ted said.

“What mean?” Jules asked.

“It could mean that there are more than two hundred thousand on the way,” he said. “They might not have left the huge base in Salt Lake City.”

“Assuming no stop-overs to rest, that’s nine hours,” Tex said, looking at his phone.

“It’s actually ten hours,” Robbie said. “Remember the time-zone change.”

“Oh, yeah,” Tex said. “They aren’t gonna drive straight through, though.”

“Don’t be so sure, they probably have more than one driver per vehicle,” Ted said.

“I go call Ivan,” Jules said. “Talk later. Robbie, keep up good work.”

“Hey, partner, where’s the Islamists that are headed south?” Tex asked.

Robbie turned back to him as he was walking away. “Settled in for the night. The group who’s made it the furthest is in Warner Springs.”

“Crap, they’re going to link up with the big group in Julian, and go on a rampage,” Tex said.

“Keep eye on that too,” Jules said. “We won’t be able to help as soon as I thought.”

Jules left the others, climbing the steps into his rig.

“You coming to bed, honey?” Shelly asked from the bathroom.

“Soon, must call Ivan,” he said. “New development.”

“Good or bad development?”

“Not sure,” Jules said, sitting on the couch. He pulled out his phone and hit Ivan’s contact, then put it on speaker. It rang twice, and Ivan picked up.

“Jules, nice job at the CHP headquarters,” Ivan said.

“Thanks, boss. Robbie see something. We should talk.”

“Uh oh,” Ivan said. “What?”

“Large group of Islamists heading west on I-80,” Jules said. “Coming from Salt Lake City.”

“We’ve been watching,” Ivan said. “They haven’t left Utah yet.”

“Yes, that what Robbie say. What you think? Should we stick around up here?”

“I need more information,” Ivan said. “We’re working that now. We saw a mass of fighters rush into Salt Lake City; we thought they’d be heading to Oregon after what happened there.”

“Oregon not worth squat,” Jules said. “Only reason UN Peacekeepers go there is we shut down landing spot in Bay Area.”

Ivan was silent for a moment. “We’re starting to think the same thing. It’s not a good development. We need you guys in the south. Ji-Ho and Sam have a firestorm coming their way, and they haven’t the resources to handle it yet.”

“You work recruitment, no?”

“Ben Dover’s got a sub-team on it, but it’s just getting started, and we’ll have a harder time with weapons distribution than we have up north.”

“Why?” Jules asked.

“Can’t use San Diego. It’s controlled by the US Navy.”

“They’re on our side, no?”

“Yes, Jules, but they aren’t advertising it, and their attitude is that any increase in distribution of weapons down there is likely to bite them in the ass. And by the way, they’re right to worry. If Ji-Ho’s team is destroyed, the weapons will be used to attack eastern San Diego county, and they’ll work their way west quickly. Remember what the US Navy is dealing with now.”

“EU Navy,” Jules said. “Dammit.”

“Don’t worry, it’s not all bad,” Ivan said. “They’ve lost Oregon for good, provided they don’t win the larger war in Texas, the southwest, and California.”

“They have to win all three?” Jules asked.

“Yeah, and they’d have to get it done before the people in the mid-Atlantic, New England, and the upper Midwest throw off the yoke of martial law. The clock is running on that.”

Jules chuckled. “Okay, when you put like that, not so bad.”

“There’s one other issue going on,” Ivan said. “I’ve got only a sketchy account of this – I’m trying to get more info but we don’t have much intelligence on the EU.”

“You want me to put feelers out?”

“No, Jules, leave it alone for now. In a nutshell, the UN is pushing for more money to stay in the battle, in places like California, New England, and the Mid-Atlantic. The EU isn’t budging on funding – they’re already picking up the slack since the USA has had to pull back.”

“Daan is having a nightmare over this, I bet.”

“That’s what we think,” Ivan said. “We’ll see what happens.”

“Wish UN would pull back. No RFID makes them harder to deal with, even though they don’t fight as well as the Islamists.”

“One more thing, Jules, then I’ve got to go.”

“Go ahead, boss.”

Ji-Ho’s group got attacked by enemy troops using a shielded vehicle like you found in that parking garage next to the CHP headquarters.”

“Really? How many snuck in?”

“Very few, in only one van, with UN Peacekeepers driving in the unshielded part of the cabin. They have a person looking for lead dealers in California. We may want to have your data person chat with this kid. His name is Seth.”

“You want Robbie to chat with him? Okay, we can make that happen. I send message to Ji-Ho to set up.”

“You do that, Jules. Now rest a while, but have somebody watching the long-range app. Don’t let the Islamists from Utah catch you with your pants down.”

“Understand,” Jules said. “Good bye.”

The call ended. Shelly stuck her head out of the bathroom. “Interesting conversation.”

“I turn up loud so you can hear,” Jules said. “What doing in there so long?”

“Primping a little,” she said. “Can we go to bed now?”

“Why rush?”

“I’m still in my fertile period, remember?” she said, coming out of the bathroom wearing nothing but a smile.

“You don’t have to ask me twice,” Jules said, following her into the bedroom.


Sam stepped out of the tiny shower in the battle wagon, reaching for a towel. It was quiet in the coach. Erica tip-toed to the bathroom and put her finger to her lips.

“Mia’s asleep?” he whispered.

“Yes, and I don’t want to wake her up,” she said. “You want anything to eat from the fridge or the pantry?” I’ll grab something and bring it into the bedroom if you want.”

“Any of those Greek yogurts left?” he whispered.

“Yeah,” she said softly. “I’m going to grab what’s left of the pita chips too, and a couple of water bottles.”

“Perfect,” Sam said. She snuck away. He finished drying off and slipped quickly into the bedroom.

“Well, I’m glad she fell asleep,” Sam said. “That attack last night shattered her feeling of safety here. Hope she can get it back soon.”

Erica nodded, taking off her robe and sitting on the bed in her nightgown. “I think she’s gonna be fine. The times she’s had with us aren’t nearly as bad as the times she had before we got her.”

“You’re right about that. I’ll never forget her face when she was tied up in that grocery store. Hope those experiences won’t impact her life later on.”

“She’s got a lot of strength,” Erica said. “Do you think we’ll be able to stay here?”

“For the duration of the war? I doubt it.”

“You think it’ll be destroyed?”

He looked at the worry in her eyes. “No, but I don’t think we can finish the fight from this location. We need to stop the enemy from opening that new route from Mexico. We screwed up this area for them already, with our destruction of the pass on Highway 94.”

“Where will we have to be?”

“Look at the spots on the map where I-8 is very close to the border, and look at the area around Calexico. Those are going to be the battle zones…and perhaps across the border from Yuma.”

Erica picked up her phone and navigated her map program to those areas. “Okay, I see what you mean. You don’t think they’ll continue to hit us here just for revenge?”

“They’re in enough trouble that they can’t afford the luxury of revenge,” Sam said. “I don’t know this Daan Mertins, but I do know Saladin. He’s a strategic thinker. He’ll get pissed enough to throw a small number of men into a vendetta, but only if it won’t hurt the larger mission. He figures if he can attain his goal of getting another six or seven hundred thousand enemy fighters over the border, he’ll be able to take over this whole end of California, and be ready to attack the US Navy stronghold in San Diego.”

“And if he knocks the US Navy out of San Diego, he can use the port to bring in even more Islamist fighters.”

“Yeah,” Sam said while he pulled the foil top off his yogurt. “Moving men in by ship is a whole lot easier than moving them through the desert.”

“So how long do you think we’ll stay here, then?”

“We need to watch the apps,” Sam said. “Watch the area around Julian, for example. If they build up a lot of troops there, we’ll get hit here.”

“I thought you said he didn’t care about revenge.”

“If he can take us out, either by driving us north or killing us, he’ll have a free hand to set up his supply routes. If he doesn’t bring a bunch of his folks into Julian, it’ll be because he wants to avoid fighting us until he has a lot more men.”

“You know where his men are now?” Erica asked.

“Spread out over hundreds of miles, but the furthest I’ve seen is Warner Springs.”

“Crap, that’s really close to Julian,” Erica said.

“They’ve been there since this afternoon, sweetie. They might take Highway 78 east to Highway 86, which leads down to I-8 near El Centro. From there he could go east or west on I-8 to one of the two southern most spots, or go straight down to Calexico, as I just mentioned.”

“What would you do?” Erica asked.

“Tough call, but I’d probably take Highway 78 east and avoid fighting us for now.”

She grabbed the bag of pita chips and took out a few, then handed the bag to him. “I hope you’re right. I’d rather chase him down someplace else than have him attack here.”

Sam ate a few pita chips, then handed the bag back to her.

“Do you agree?” she asked.

“I want him to do whatever is most likely a mistake,” Sam said. “To me, that would be gathering everybody up in Julian and trying to hit us.”

“Dammit, I really don’t want to be on the run again, especially with Mia.”

“We might be able to fight them and win,” Sam said.

“Not if they have two hundred thousand fighters.”

Sam chuckled. “Ivan’s recruitment team is focused on our area now, after pulling off a genius play up north. Twice. No, actually three times, although he wasn’t solely responsible for the third.”

“Not sure I get it.”

“They recruited all those citizens for the battles in the Bay Area and Sacramento.”

“What was the third one?”

“Portland,” Sam said, “although there was a lot of local help in Oregon for that effort.”

“Heard Karen and Dana talking about Portland. Still, two hundred thousand people? Could we really get that many?”

“Oregon is less populated than California, and they were able to get nearly two hundred thousand to join in the battles there.”

“When will we know?” Erica asked.

“We’ll just have to keep watching the apps. See if they continue south or head east. It’s possible that they hang out for a while and do nothing, you know. Been watching the enemy troop movements in Mexico?”

“No, not much,” Erica said. “What’s going on?”

“About half of the original force has taken off, moving pretty quickly to the southeast. I think they’re headed for Texas.”

“That’s good, isn’t it?” Erica asked.

“For Texas, not so much. It was good for us.”


“Yeah, Seth talked to us a few minutes before we left the Saloon.”

“You didn’t say anything to me?”

“Mia was with you the whole time, remember?”

Oh, yeah,” Erica said. “So?”

“Seth and Kaitlyn expanded the range of that history program. There’s been new troops arriving at the port at Mazatlán. They appear to be heading north-west, towards the California border.”

“How close are they?”

“Not very, but they’re in a country where there’s nobody to stop them. They’ll be to the border in three or four days. I’m sure Saladin would like to lay out the welcome mat for them. It’s more important for him than dealing with Dodge City.”

She leaned back, laying her head on her pillow. “How am I supposed to sleep now?”

He looked into her eyes, rolling towards her, kissing her tenderly.

“Oh, God,” she whispered.

“Think you can be quiet?”

She nodded yes, her arms going around him.

To be continued…


Bug Out! California Book 1 is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”


Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 138 – The Battle of Portland

A huge crowd ringed the Swan Island Basin in Portland, Oregon, many with signs, most wearing all black with masks covering their faces below the eyes. Behind them were several hundred Portland PD officers, in riot gear, attempting to stay between them and a growing number of counter-protesters.

Nathan watched the water nervously as the big EU Navy ship cruised slowly towards the dock. He turned every few seconds to watch the counter-protesters, holding signs that said NO UN along with American flags. He was only twenty-five, medium build, tattoos covering his upper arms and neck, large round earrings stretching his lobes.

“Hey, Sean,” he said quietly. “This makes me nervous. There’s only one way out of here, and that’s more counter protesters than I’ve ever seen before. Why is the Portland PD letting them get so close?”

Sean’s eyes turned his direction, his cheeks rising under his black bandana, eyes smaller as he laughed. “Rednecks and retired people. I’m gonna break some heads as soon as the UN Peacekeepers show themselves.” He was smaller than Nathan, holding a long stick with finishing nails sticking out a few inches on either end, his medium-length blonde hair shining in the sun.

“I’m hearing bad rumors,” Nathan said, looking back at the ship as it slowly moved towards the dock, a crew there now to grab the ropes. A UN flag rose on the flagpole over the bridge, and a cheer went up from a few thousand black-clad people.

“Watch those Nazis crap themselves when the UN Peacekeepers come down the planks,” Sean said.

“The reactionaries outnumber the police now,” Nathan said. “At least two to one, and they’re still showing up.”

“And we’ve got sixty thousand UN Peacekeepers getting off that boat,” Sean said. “You worry too much. As soon as we get rough with those right-wingers, they’ll turn tail and run… and even if they don’t we’ll be protected by the police as usual.”

“The public is starting to see through this, you know.”

“So go home, little boy,” Sean said.

“Hey, we’d better get out of here!” cried a woman in black with a mask, her stringy brown hair hanging around her shoulders. “Look at this.”

“Shut up, Emily,” Sean shouted.

“What do you see?” Nathan asked, rushing over. She held her phone in front of him. It was news-chopper video of the area. There was a vast multitude of people heading in on all streets, crossing North Willamette Boulevard. “My God. How many people is that?”

“Let me see it,” Sean said, rushing over and looking. He laughed. “You guys are assuming that they’re not on our side.” Emily and Nathan looked at him like he was crazy.

“We know the community,” Emily said. “If there was this many people coming, we’d have known about it days ago.”

“Well run along home, then,” Sean said, turning back to the ship. It was tied to the dock now, and the gang plank was being rolled up.

“Oh, God,” Emily said, looking at her phone again. “Is that another warship. See it? Just getting to Kelley Point Park.”

“There’s more than one ship in the EU Navy, you idiot,” Sean said, looking over at the counter demonstrators again. Several black-clad thugs were rushing past the police line, attacking counter protestors as the police stood by and watched. Suddenly the number of counter demonstrators increased and the police loudspeaker warned all the protestors to go back to their sides. Sean ran towards them as Nathan and Emily watched.

“Moron,” Emily said. “Want to go? No paycheck is worth this.”

“Dressed like this, we’ll never make it past Willamette,” he said. “C’mon, let’s jump the box factory fence and get on one of the semi-trailers in the yard. We can watch from there, then slip out in the confusion.”

“Okay,” she said. They pushed their way towards the fence as most of the black-clad thugs headed to the counter-demonstrator lines. The police began to fire tear gas at the growing crowd of citizens, ignoring the thugs who raced in and attacked them.

Nathan climbed the fence, turning when he was on the far side to help Emily up. They both hit the pavement of the box factory lot and raced towards the row of semi-trailers parked at the loading docks.

“There’s one we can get on,” Nathan said, racing towards it, Emily struggling to keep up. He leapt onto a dumpster next to one of them, and jumped, getting a good hand hold and pulling himself up on top. “C’mon, I’ll grab you.”

Emily looked at him, scared to death, frozen in place.

“Now, dammit!” Nathan shouted.

She snapped out of it and ran, jumping onto the dumpster, taking Nathan’s hand. He pulled her up, and they both stood.

“Holy crap,” Emily said, watching the hand-to-hand fighting between the black-clad people, citizens wearing casual clothes, and police, who were firing bean bags at the counter protestors now.

“Look, UN Peacekeepers!” Nathan said, pointing. “They’re coming down the gang plank in a hurry! That’ll show the reactionaries.”

Emily turned to Nathan, horrified. “They’re lining the deck with their guns out.”

“Show of force,” Nathan said. “Good. That battle is getting out of hand.”

“Our people are getting the crap beat out of them,” Emily said, watching as more and more citizens rushed in, trampling the protesters, kicking them and punching them as they tried to fight back with their clubs, sticks, pepper spray, and bags of urine.

“Look, the police are running away,” Nathan said. “Dammit. What are they doing? There’s still too many counter-protesters here!”

“Damn Mayor’s office,” Emily said. “This is complete lack of coordination.”

Suddenly gunfire erupted from the deck of the ship, UN Peacekeepers firing into the fighting crowd, hitting both sides of the battle.

“No!” Emily shouted, watching people hitting the ground. Then there were screams and yells as the area flooded with thousands of armed citizens, taking aim with their rifles and firing at the ship, killing several of the Peacekeepers as the rest dropped behind cover in shocked horror. Automatic fire started up from several groups of citizens, bullets hitting the gang plank, knocking down the Peacekeepers who were trapped there.

“Those are military weapons!” shouted Nathan. “I see M60s and M-16s! Where’d they get those?”

“You know how those white nationalists are,” Emily said, tears running down her cheeks.

“They can’t own those,” Nathan said. “Somebody gave those guns to them for this event.”

“Those sailors are uncovering the weapons on the boat,” Emily said, her eyes wide as they opened fire on the crowd, strafing with machine gun fire. One of the citizens with an M60 fired back, hitting the men behind one gun, another gunner hitting the man. Several more citizens with M60s rushed up, firing from behind cover now. The UN Peacekeepers were back, firing, hitting citizens, but also taking fire from every direction around the dock, many of them hit.

“This is horrible,” Nathan said.

“Here comes that other boat,” Emily said. “Crap, that’s a US Navy ship!”

Just as the words left her lips, several missiles were fired, all of them hitting the EU ship, blowing the top half of the ship into pieces, silencing the machine gun fire. A cheer rang out from the multitude, sounding like a huge roar.

“We’d better get out of here,” Emily said.

“Take off that outfit,” Nathan said, taking off his black shirt.

“I can’t, I don’t have anything on underneath,” she said.

“Look, there’s more of them,” shouted an old man holding an M-16, leading a group of citizens into the box factory lot. Those were the last words Emily and Nathan heard.


Daan looked out his apartment window, down at a quiet night in Brussels. He had more work to do. The UN refused to continue pumping men and materiel to the states without additional funding, and the EU leadership refused to do anything. His cellphone rang. It was the UN Secretary General. He let it go to voicemail, then walked to his bar and poured himself some whiskey. Leverage. He needed leverage. His phone rang again. Dammit. He looked. Saladin. His heart started to pound.

“Hello,” he said as he sat on his couch.

“Still in Brussels?” Saladin asked.

“Yeah, but I’ll be coming back soon.”

“Have you seen the news, or talked to any of the team?” Saladin asked.

“Oh, crap, what happened now?”

“We had a really bad day on several fronts,” Saladin said.

“Can’t be much worse than what’s happened here,” Daan said. He drank down his whiskey and got up to get another, leaning against his bar. “Let’s have it.”

“We sent a team to take out the CHP headquarters in Sacramento. They were defeated.”

“Dammit. By whom?”

“Ivan’s people in their blasted motor homes and off-roaders, and about sixty CHP officers. Somebody armed them with military weapons. They knew we were coming. Like I suspected, they broke your RFID chips.”

“That remains to be seen. They had to expect we’d try to hit the CHP before they could get rolling. All the leadership was there, and it’s a state-wide organization.”

Saladin chuckled. “So why did you okay that operation, then?”

“Hey, it was your idea, remember?”

Saladin was silent for a moment, his breath quickening on the mouthpiece.

“Sorry,” Daan said. “Don’t get pissed. We both thought it was a good idea.”

“Fine,” Saladin said, icy tone to his voice. “There’s more.”

“All right,” Daan said.

“This one should be all over the news, even there, so I’ll tell you the gist, and you can see the details yourself.”

“Go ahead,” he said.

“The EU ship bringing UN Peacekeepers to Portland was destroyed by a US Navy Aegis Cruiser. All our assets were killed, including the Peacekeepers, the sailors on the vessel, and many of our domestic operatives. Oh, and most of our people in the city leadership were rounded up and shot as well.”

Daan felt faint, gripping the bar. He moved to one of the bar stools and sat, leaning his head in his hands.

“You still there?” Saladin asked.

“Yeah,” he said, pouring another drink. “That means we can write off that state.”

“I agree,” Saladin said. “There was also action in Bend and several other of the inland cities. We lost in each location.”


“Ivan’s social media operation started it,” he said.

“Ben Dover,” Daan said. “We need to kill him. Make it a priority.”

“He’s in the middle of territory we no longer control. We’ve lost the top third of the state.”

“Dammit, we also lost LA and Orange Counties. What do we still control?”

“We don’t control any of California,” he said.

“You mean we should leave the state? Is there anywhere that the locals don’t control?”

“They don’t have control of the area from Merced south to about I-15. We still operate there, but it would be an exaggeration to say we controlled it.”

“Crap, there’s nothing there,” Daan said.

“Yes, there is. Much of their best agriculture is there, also their oil fields.”

“Yeah, whatever,” he said.

“The agriculture is more important than you think,” Saladin said. “Remember that the lines of trade aren’t in place now.”

“Except for that little body of water called the Pacific Ocean,” Daan said.

“The EU Navy is still strong off the coast.”

“And yet we allowed a US Navy ship to cruise right in and destroy one of their boats,” Daan said. “The parts of Southern California other than LA and Orange Counties are still in contention, are they not?”

“We are still active and powerful enough in those areas to keep working, but we must get that southern route opened back up. I-8 and the others. Everything depends on it.”

“On that we agree,” Daan said. “Is your caravan still proceeding south?”

“Yes, but I have them well spaced out, so they attract as little attention as possible. We’re still hitting at Ivan’s people down there. They think they have a safe place, but we attacked them there a few days ago. If we can force them to get on the move again, we’ll start to pick them off.”

“Those forces that caused us so much problems up north are still around,” Daan said. “What if they come south too?”

“Then we should try to slip people north to take it back over,” Daan said. “I could bring a lot of people in through Nevada.”

“Won’t that hurt your campaign against General Hogan?”

“Temporarily,” Saladin said, “but I no longer consider that as important as I did before.”

“Why not?”

“Like I was saying, they cracked your RFID chips. That makes Frank Johnson a less important target than before.”

“I still want him,” Daan said. “I’ll roast him alive, but I’m not ready to accept that he’s broken the RFID encryption. If he’s done that, we’d lose all our assets in Washington DC. You know that, right? If those people are safe, we can assume that the RFID encryption is still protecting us.”

“Is it possible that they only broke part of the system?” Saladin asked.

“What do you mean?”

“Is it possible they can track location but not have access to the data payload?” Saladin asked.

“Oh. Possible but unlikely. The encryption of the device is just as rigorous as the encryption of the data payload.”

“You don’t sound convinced by your own statement,” Saladin said.

“It’s been a long day, and it’s not over yet. Now I know why the UN Secretary General just tried to call me.”

“He tried to call you? Just now? I didn’t hear any beeps.”

“No, before you called,” Daan said. “I didn’t want to talk to him. Now I don’t have a choice.”

“What happened back there?”

“The UN leadership dug in their heels on increased funding to stay in the fight, and the EU leadership refused to cough up more money.”

Saladin laughed. “So, go work it harder. You know how that goes.”

“After what just happened, my job is even harder than before.”

“Mine too, my friend, but we have to roll with the punches,” Saladin said.

“All right,” Daan said. “Anything else?”

“Fortunately, no,” Saladin said. “Talk to you soon.” He ended the call. Daan grabbed the bottle of whiskey and his glass, and headed for the couch. He hit the Secretary General’s contact.


Seth and Kaitlyn sat at a table against the wall in the Dodge City Saloon. Most of their friends were up at the bar, having a drink and chatting.

“Go ahead,” Kaitlyn said.


“You brought the laptop for a reason. Plug it in and get it warmed up. Then you can monitor your new program while we’re here.”

“Okay,” he said. “You can go hang with Megan and the others while I check, and I’ll be along.”

“I’m with the person I want to be with right now,” she said, putting her hand on his arm. “Trust me. I’m interested in what your program is showing too, so fire it up. I’ll go get you a beer if you want.”

“Sure, that’d be great, as long as I just have one.”

“Nobody’s drinking a lot,” Kaitlyn said as she slid out of her seat. “Be right back.”

Seth put his laptop on the table and set it up, plugging it into a wall outlet next to him. After it was running, he took out his phone and activated the personal hot spot. The laptop connected, and Seth navigated to his server, hitting the report download button. Excel started, and his report populated after a couple minutes. Kaitlyn came back, holding two beers. He took his and had a sip.

“Not bad,” he said.

“Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised,” Kaitlyn said, sitting back down. “Is it still working?”

“Yep,” he said. “I downloaded a report into Excel. You could probably help with this part.”

“Let’s see,” she said, watching as he turned the laptop to face her. She studied it for a few minutes. “I see what you’re doing here. I couldn’t have done much better, honestly. Maybe I could automate it.”

“You see any quadrants where we’ve had RFID chips disappear?”

She studied it again for a moment, eyes furrowed, until she found the right column and understood what it was saying. “Yes, I do see something funny.”

“Crap, really?” Seth asked, getting up and looking over her shoulder.

“Is that what this means?” she asked, moving the cursor over a column.

“I set it up so at least four had to disappear without them being someplace else.”

“What if they just left?”

“It’s looking at a hundred square miles,” Seth said. “Unless they were right on the border of that, they couldn’t move out of range fast enough. He took a closer look. “This one is okay. The text would show up red if the rules applied. These folks were close to the border.”

“Can you move it to make sure?”

“Yeah, but I’ll have to run the report again.”

“Do it,” she said. “I’m interested.”

He nodded. “I’ll show you how, in case we need it run and I’m not around.” He walked her through the procedure, and they ran the report, moved over to pick up the area nearest to where the missing hits were.

“That’s them, isn’t it?” she asked.

“Looks like it.”

“We don’t have a problem, then?”

“Not yet,” Seth said.

“Why don’t you look at a larger area?”

“It’s harder to analyze,” Seth said.

“You see, that’s where I can help,” she said. “Let me mess with the reporting for a while. Can you set this to run for, say, a thousand square miles?”

“Sure, but it’ll take a while to run.”

“Dammit, I was due at the cinema in ten minutes,” she said.

Seth laughed, and she shot him a smirk. “Let me help you, okay?”

“Okay,” Seth said. “You know how to set the scope – go ahead and adjust the settings and run it again.”

“We won’t have history for all of it, though, will we?”

“Nope, but we’ll run it that way and start gathering the history,” Seth said. “Mind if I watch you? I could use better knowledge of Excel.”

“Be my guest,” she said. He pulled up a chair next to her and watched as she worked.


To be continued…


Bug Out! California Book 1 is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”


To be continued…


Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 137 – The Patriots of Bend

Tex was leading the small force to the apartment building across the street from the CHP headquarters in Sacramento. Jules, Ted, and Sparky followed, along with CHP Officers Teter and Goldberg. The building was pockmarked with bullets, a few residents coming out, more driving in to survey the damage, having left when the gunfire started.

“Who’s gonna clean this up?” Sparky asked. Tex shot him a smirk as they neared the door to the lobby.

“Where bodies?” Jules asked.

“Penthouse floor,” Goldberg said. “Middle of the building. Room 405.”

“Is it over?” asked an old woman, who was standing in the sidewalk with a cart full of belongings.

“Yes, but we’re going to check for any enemy fighters who might still be alive,” Officer Teter said. “Please stay out here until we’ve given the all clear.”

“Yes sir,” she said. “Thank you.”

The group went into the front door. “Want to check out their apartment first?” Goldberg asked.

“Might as well,” Ted said. “Stairs.”

“Yeah,” Sparky said. Teter lead them to the stairwell and they raced up, winded at the top.

“I need to be in better shape,” Jules said, huffing and puffing.

“You and me both, boss,” Sparky said.

They followed Teter down the walkway to the room, the door hanging open. “Watch yourselves. We killed these guys as the battle was raging. I’m assuming we got them all, but you never know.”

Jules nodded, and the group went into the building in two-by-two formation, aiming their M4s as they searched, getting to the living room which opened onto a balcony facing the CHP building. The bodies were there, lifeless, staring into space.

Tex and Sparky rushed over, kneeling next to them, checking their pockets.

“What are you guys looking for?” Goldberg asked.

“Car keys,” Tex said. “Bingo.” He stood up, key fob in his hand. Sparky was checking the last one.

“Nothing in the rest,” Sparky said. “Looks like that UN Peacekeeper was the driver.”

“What kind of key is that?” Goldberg asked.

“Mercedes,” Tex said, tossing the key fob to him.

“UN van,” Jules said. “Wonder if marked?”

“I suspect we’ll find out in a minute,” Ted said. “Let’s go to the parking garage.”

“Wonder where the residents of this apartment are?” Sparky asked. “Look at the décor. This was an old person, or maybe an old couple.”

“You’re right,” Goldberg said. “Looks like my grandma’s place.”

“You check the closets for bodies?” Tex asked.

“We checked them for hiding enemy fighters,” Teter said. “Would’ve seen bodies. Nada.”

“Okay, let’s go,” Ted said. The men left the building, Tex going slowly, falling behind as he looked at the floor of the walkway.

“C’mon, Tex, while we’re young,” Ted said.

“Hold it,” Tex said, looking at a small smudge of blood that turned into a thin trail, going into the next unit.

“What?” Jules asked, looking at the floor he was staring at. “Uh oh.”

“Yeah, uh oh,” Tex said, walking towards the door as the others gathered around. He stood to the side of it and knocked hard. No answer.

Teter and Goldberg glanced at each other, then approached, not standing in front of the door, but off to the side as Tex was doing. Goldberg pounded on the door.

“Highway Patrol,” he shouted. “Open up!”


“Let’s kick it in,” Tex said.

Goldberg nodded. “Yeah, I think you’re right.”

“I’ve got it,” Teter said, his massive leg kicking the door, breaking it open with the first try. The men got back into formation and went inside, aiming their rifles as they went.

“Oh, God,” Teter said, lowering his weapon. The living room floor was covered with bodies – a mixture of elderly, middle aged, and children, all with their throats cut.

“They must’ve killed everybody on this floor,” Sparky said, turning away from the carnage.

“Well, this side of the building, anyway,” Goldberg said. “Those sick bastards.”

“Time for us to take out the trash,” Teter said, fire in his eyes. “Can’t wait to kill more of these thugs.”

“Let’s check garage,” Jules said. “Afterwards send CHP officers to search entire building. This might not be only dead people.”

Goldberg nodded in agreement, and the men went to the stairwell, taking it all the way down to the underground garage.

“We’d better be careful when we go in here,” Sparky said.

“Yeah, back into formation, guys,” Ted said.

The men got their guns to their shoulders, and Teter opened the door, holding it as the others hurried through. He followed them. Goldberg took out the key fob and pushed the unlock button. There was a click, and headlights went on, around the corner from where they were.

“Over there,” Tex said. They rushed around the corner, staying in formation, their footsteps echoing in the cavernous garage.

“There,” Sparky said. “UN van without the insignia.”

“Just what I expect,” Jules said. The men trotted to it, guns still up.

Teter led the way, getting next to the side sliding door. “Get ready.” He grabbed the door handle and opened it. Everybody’s short range app went off, and a gunshot sounded. Jules opened fire, killing the lone Islamist before he could hit anybody.

“Son of a bitch, look at the inside of this sucker,” Tex said, sticking his head in. “Lead, lining the entire inside.”

“So, UN creeps drive, others in shielded back compartment,” Jules said. “This bad development, no?”

“How many could they have?” Ted asked. “Lead in this amount is hard to come by, and they could only shoehorn about eight fighters in here, max. They’d need hundreds of semi-trailers like this to field a usable force.”

“I call Ivan,” Jules said. “We might not be only team that see this.”

“Yeah, partner, you do that,” Tex said.


Jonathan was driving his battered pickup truck east on Oregon Boulevard, the traffic sparse for a late afternoon. Courtney was in the passenger seat, looking at her phone. She looked up.

“Why are we going this way? We hitting Jared’s place?”

Jonathan glanced at her, worry on his face. “I want to make sure he’s leaving. He didn’t answer my last text.”

“Maybe we better split. They might be looking for us right now.”

“They might,” Jonathan said. “Wish we had one of the long guns up here.”

“They’ll throw us in jail if they catch us with a gun up here.”

“They’ll throw us in jail if they catch us, period,” Jonathan said, “once we get out of Bend, anyway.”

“You don’t think the local cops would bust us?”

“No,” Jonathan said. “I know all of them. They’re on our side. They know what’s happening with the EU ship full of UN Peacekeepers. I think some of them will join us.”

They rounded the bend, getting onto Hawthorne Avenue.

“Look, roadblock, just past Hill Street,” Courtney said.

“Oregon State Police,” Jonathan said. “Dammit.”

“They’re not on our side?”

“Nope,” Jonathan said, slowing to a stop and parking on the curb, half a block from Hill Street.

“They’re gonna see us,” Courtney said, getting lower in her seat.

“No they aren’t. They’re all watching Jared’s house. They’ve got assault rifles out.”

“We need to go,” Courtney said.

“In a minute,” Jonathan said, pulling his phone out. He sent a text.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m letting Officer Peterson know that there’s three State Police cars at Jared’s house,” Jonathan said. His phone dinged with a reply.


“They’re already on the way,” Jonathan said, “with most of the force.”

Courtney looked shocked. “They’re going to fight the State Police?”

“They don’t want to be replaced by the UN,” Jonathan said. “They understand what’s going on.”

Suddenly four Bend Police cruisers raced by them, crashing through the barricades, as several more raced up the street from the other direction. Armed officers leapt out of their vehicles.

“Oh, crap,” Cortney said. Jonathan watched, his heart racing. “This is gonna be bad.”

One of the State Police officers came out with a bull horn. “Stop right there. This is out of your jurisdiction.”

“Stand down now!” yelled one of the Bend Police officers.

“We aren’t going to tell you again,” the man with the bull horn said. “We’re here under the authority of the Governor of Oregon.”

“Screw you,” the police officer shouted back. “We won’t allow the UN to come in here. No way in hell. Stand down or be fired upon.”

Several State Police officers pointed their guns at the Bend Police, all of whom pulled their weapons.

“Hold your fire,” the State Police officer said.

“Stand down immediately,” the Bend Officer shouted again.

Suddenly one of the State Police officers fired, hitting the Bend Officer. The first State officer dropped his bullhorn and looked at the dead man in terror, then turned to yell at the officer who fired. It was too late. Gunfire erupted from the Bend police, all the State Police officers in sight dropping, most of them dead.

“Son of a bitch,” Jonathan shouted.

“No!” Courtney said. They watched as Bend officers rushed into the duplex. Gunfire could be heard from inside, then silence.

“Geez,” Jonathan said. He watched as the Bend officers came out the front door, followed by Jared and several of his friends.

“Well, they’re still alive,” Courtney said. “They’re rounding up the State Police officers that are still alive.”

Jonathan sent another text. They could see an officer pull his phone and look at it. He turned towards their truck and motioned them over.

“C’mon,” Jonathan said, opening his door.

“You sure? What if more state cops show up?”

“There’s enough of our guys here to blast them,” he said, going to the truck bed. He opened the camper shell and grabbed his Mini-14.

“What are you doing?” Courtney asked.

“Officer Jenkins said to bring it.”

“Why, so they could take it away from you?” Courtney asked.

“Don’t worry about it,” Jonathan said. “C’mon.”

The two trotted over to the group of officers.

“Hey, Jonathan,” said Officer Jenkins, a man no older than him. “Thanks for giving us the heads up.”

“No problem,” Jonathan said. “Jared!”

Jared looked over and smiled, his right eye blackened, scrapes on his cheeks. “Hey, dude.”

“What happened to you?” Courtney asked, staring at his battered face.

“The Oregon State Gestapo,” Jared said, shrugging. “I didn’t get out fast enough.”

The radio in Jenkin’s car blipped. He rushed over and got it, then came back just as quickly. “They’re at your place now. You can’t go back there.”

“That means they’ll be here any minute,” Courtney said.

“You guys going with us to Portland?” Jared asked.

“We were,” Jenkins said. “Now we’re gonna set up roadblocks to keep the State Police away. We could use volunteers. Want to be deputized? I think a hundred thousand patriots in Portland is enough.”

“Deputize us?” Jared asked. “What is this, the old west?”

Jenkins laughed. “We can still do it…and this is at least the Wild West now. Gonna get worse before it gets better.”

“Wait a minute,” said an older man with a lieutenant’s uniform on, walking over. “You sure these guys are okay?”

“I’ll vouch for them, sir,” Jenkins said. “Known them all my life.”

“I was kinda looking forward to taking on the UN and the EU Navy,” Jared said.

The lieutenant studied him for a moment, then shook his head, shooting a side-long glance at Jenkins. “You’re sure?”

“Yes sir,” Jenkins said. “I know others too. In my gun club, for instance.”

“Okay, go ahead and recruit them,” he said, turning to Jared. “Look, son, there’s a difference to be made here. I suspect if you tried to go to Portland, you’d be shot on the way in.”

“We can’t let the UN Peacekeepers get a foothold,” Jared said.

“And they won’t,” the Lieutenant said. “My brother and sister are both in Portland. There’s more people getting involved than you know. It’s more like two hundred thousand now, and most of the city officials who put martial law in place have gone into hiding. All they have left now is the State Police, and not all of them are towing the line. We’re gonna take this state back, but we need to protect our family and our home. You’re here now and can make a difference. Stay and help us.”

“You guys can work recruitment for us,” Jenkins said. “You’ve proven yourselves to be pretty good at that, you know.”

The lieutenant nodded in agreement. One of the other officers rushed over and whispered in his ear. He picked up the bull horn from next to the dead State Police officer and put it to his lips. “Find some cover and get ready. State Police and some of their friends are on their way here right now.”

“Friends?” Jonathan asked. The lieutenant ignored the question and rushed off to attend to some others.

“C’mon,” Jenkins said. “They’ll head in here on Bend Parkway again.”

“I’d be ready for them to show up from any direction,” Jared said. “Gotta go get my weapon.” He ran off to the rear of his building.

“What should I do?” Courtney asked.

“Get in the basement of Jared’s duplex,” Jonathan said.

“No way, I’m gonna fight,” she said, “so get used to that. I saw what those women said on the video.”

“This is why I love you,” Jonathan said.

Her eyes grew wide. “You love me? You’ve never said that before. Hell, I’ve never said that before.”

He smiled, pulling her in for a kiss, then pulling back and looking at her. “I’m not the greatest communicator. You know that. Let’s go to the truck. You can use the 20-gauge pump. I’ve got about four boxes of shells for that sucker, and it doesn’t kick too hard.”

“I’ve shot it before, remember?”

“Yeah, you were better than me at the skeet range, as I remember,” Jonathan said, taking her by the hand and running to the truck. They grabbed the shotgun and shells, and more ammo for the mini-14. When they got back, Jared was there with a couple more friends, all of them holding M4 variants. They took up positions along the end of Hawthorne Street where it met Hill street, but there weren’t enough good spots.

“Hey, how about those box cars over there?” Jonathan asked, pointing at them on the tracks across Hill Street.

“Perfect, but make sure you don’t get seen from the back side,” Jenkins said.

Jonathan, Courtney, Jared, and several others rushed over there, getting behind the cars and underneath them, guns aimed up and down the street. State Police squad cars and white vans came into view.

“Look, that’s about twenty vehicles,” Jared said. “What’s with the vans? Never seen them before.”

“Look at the sides,” Courtney said, squinting to read. “Says UN in blue letters.”

“Crap, they’re in Bend already?” Jonathan asked.

“They must’ve been infiltrating us for a while,” Jared said. “Here they come. Lock and load.”

“Don’t try to hit them with the shotgun until they’re real close,” Jonathan said. “Better yet, save it for when they get out of their vehicles and start running.”

“I know,” Courtney said, as she fed shells into the gun’s loading gate.

Gunfire erupted from the other side of the street, hitting the first of the State Police cruisers, stopping them in their tracks. The other vehicles stopped in a panic, trying to get out as a hail of lead came at them.

“Get those vans!” Jonathan shouted. “It’s the UN!”

Now everybody was firing, the fronts of all the vehicles getting hit. The side doors of the UN vans opened, men running out towards them. Courtney smiled at Jonathan, then turned and started firing, hitting running men one after another until they figured out they’d better take cover.

“C’mon, let’s go towards them from behind the box cars,” Jared said. “Maybe we can get behind them.”

“Good idea,” Jonathan said. They ran behind the boxcars in a crouch, getting all the way to Irving Avenue.

“This is good,” Jared whispered. “See them over there?”

The three got down on their bellies and opened fire, the UN Peacekeepers and State Police officers looking for cover in a panic, not even trying to return fire. Courtney fired her shotgun with deadly accuracy, dropping several more. The remaining UN Peacekeepers bolted and ran, Jonathan and Jared picking them off before they got twenty yards.”

“I think it’s over,” Jonathan whispered, eyes scanning the area. Courtney was doing the same, taking a moment to top up her magazine with shells. Jenkins and several other Bend officers were coming down the street now, rushing from one bit of cover to the next, checking the vehicles.

“Is it all clear?” Jared shouted.

“Stay under cover,” one of the officers yelled as he moved forward. A shot rang out, and he dived behind a car, the fire returned from all the cops in the street along with Jonathan and the others by the tracks. Courtney saw several men get up to run, so she bolted forward, firing her shotgun as she ran, dropping several more, Jonathan after her, looking in all directions for more enemy fighters. There was silence for a few moments. Courtney got out of the crouch she was in and walked back towards Jonathan, a smile on her face. Then another shot rang out, and her expression changed. She crumpled to the street. Jonathan saw the UN Peacekeeper who shot her and fired, hitting him square in the chest, then rushing over to Courtney.

Her eyes were still open, a faint smile coming over her face as she saw him above her. “I got a little of our own back,” she said softly. “I nailed seven of them.”

“Don’t talk,” Jonathan said, his tears dropping onto her face as he watched her.

“I love you too,” Courtney whispered. Her body spasmed, and she exhaled, dying as he watched.

“Oh, no!” Jonathan cried, kissing her forehead, cradling her body as his friends looked on.


Bug Out! California Book 1 is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”


To be continued…


Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 136 – Roads and Passes

The battle near the CHP Headquarters in Sacramento continued to rage.

In the battle wagon, Robbie looked at Morgan, who’d just said that her rear machine guns displayed an overheat warning. “Hold off on the rear guns for a moment, then. I’ll watch with the mini-gun, you keep an eye across the river and use the front machine guns.”

There was still a high volume of fire coming from the CHP building, but it was almost all M60 fire, judging by how rapid the rate was. That tapered off after a couple of minutes. Robbie didn’t see any more enemy trucks coming at them from Tenth Street, and the north bank of the American River was covered with cruising off-roaders.

“I think we won,” Morgan said.

“Yeah,” Robbie said, scanning with his gun sight. “No movement.”

“Checking the apps,” Morgan said, looking at her phone. “Lots of hits. Can’t tell if their alive or dead.”

“What about the road in. Any more coming?”

“There’s three truck loads heading northeast as fast as they can go,” she said, looking over at him.

“Maybe we should chase them,” Robbie said.

“We should send a message to Ben Dover’s site,” Morgan said. “Warn people they’re coming. Maybe they can take them out.”

“Oh, you’ve been on that site, huh?”

“Yeah,” Morgan said.

“The enemy can monitor that too, you know.”

“There are private encrypted messages you can use,” Morgan said. “Just came on line this morning. You should check it out.”

“I will,” he said as she typed on her phone.

“Sent a message to Jules about that. Suggested that we send messages to Auburn and other towns along I-80.”

Robbie laughed. “He’ll ask you to do it.”

“I’m good with that.” Her phone dinged with a reply. She read it and laughed.

“I knew it,” Robbie said, watching her type messages on her phone. “Let’s get with the others and see what to do next.” He shut down siege mode and fired up the engine, then turned left, heading towards the CHP building. Other battle wagons and a lot of off-roaders were already there. As he pulled up, Tex parked next to him. The CHP Brass was just coming out of the building. Jules, Ted, Sparky, and Tex walked up to meet them, shaking hands. Robbie and Morgan followed, joined by Justin and Katie.

“I can’t thank you guys enough,” said a tall man in a CHP officer’s uniform, fifty-something with a dark complexion and bushy eyebrows. “I’m Kent Sherman, acting head of the CHP.”

“Hello,” Jules said. “I’m Jules.” He introduced the others, and Sherman introduced the CHP brass.

“You guys have the apps, no?” Jules asked.

“Yes, and we saw the problem coming. The three that were across the street weren’t visible to us until this morning. I’m wondering how the hell they got there.”

“Did you kill them, partner?” Tex asked.

Sherman nodded yes. “We killed them before their friends got here. There were three Islamists and two of those UN creeps. We found them, using that high-resolution PC version of the long-range app.”

“We need to search that building,” Ted said. “Something’s not right. You can’t make RFID chips disappear and re-appear.”

“Yeah, I agree,” Robbie said. “Something doesn’t smell right.”

Sherman glanced at him, then saw Morgan standing there, recognizing her from the video. He bowed at her. “It’s an honor to be in your presence.”

Morgan looked at him, not sure he was talking to her. He smiled. “Sorry. That video testimony really got to me. The whole state is proud of you and the others for what you did. It took courage.”

Morgan smiled, face turning red. “Thank you.”

“Let’s get over there and check this out,” Ted said.

“Maybe we ought to handle that,” Sherman said. “Might be dangerous. There might be stragglers alive.”

“Ted, Sparky, and Tex are former Special Forces,” Jules said. “I former Merc. We can handle. If you have such men, send with us.”

“Oh, sorry,” Sherman said. “We have a couple.” He pulled out his radio. “Teter and Goldberg, get down here. We need folks with Special Forces Training.”

“Roger that,” scratched a voice over the radio speaker. The two men showed up after less than a minute, both carrying M4s. Teter was a six-foot black man with a bald head and huge arms. Goldberg was just as tall, but thinner, with hawkish eyes and salt and pepper hair.

We going into that apartment building?” Goldberg asked.

“Yeah, we need to figure out how they snuck in there without touching off the apps,” Ted said. The men introduced themselves, checked their weapons, and took off towards the apartment building.


Clem rode shotgun with Sid in his old Jeep, Yvonne in the back with her rifle.

“Good idea to find the tracks,” Clem said. “That’ll help us focus our surveillance.”

“We also need to look for other likely places that they haven’t used yet,” Yvonne said.

“Yes,” Sid said. They cruised up the loose dirt rising above the pasture behind Garrett’s ranch house.

“It’s a shame those bastards damaged the barn,” Clem said. “Hope he didn’t lose much livestock.”

“He lost two milk cows,” Sid said. “Bastards.”

“That’s too bad,” Clem said. “There’s the tracks there. See them, behind where the mortars were set up?”

“Yeah,” Sid said, “but we need to get out and walk it a bit. There were k-turns and stuff here. I want to find where that thins out to one set of tracks.”

He pulled the Jeep over, and the three of them got out, walking towards the hills.

“I’m losing it,” Clem said, searching the ground in front of them as they walked.

“There it is,” Sid said, pointing ahead of them about twenty yards. “See. It looks like the vehicles came through that pass there, about three hundred yards out.” He pointed.

“Well I’ll be damned,” Clem said, shaking his head. “Injuns,”

Sid flashed him a sheepish grin. “Be nice.”

“I’m in awe,” Clem said, “and that’s the truth.”

“Let’s get back in the Jeep and follow it through the pass,” Yvonne said.

Sid and Clem nodded, and they went back to their Jeep and drove slowly, Sid’s eyes straining out the windshield.

“This pass is narrow,” Yvonne said. “Maybe we ought to bring some dynamite over here and blow it.”

“We’d have to get permission from Garrett,” Clem said. “This pass could be useful for grazing. Look at that pasture land over there. He might not want to cut that off.”

They were through the skinny pass and driving down off the hillside, still on un-grated dirt, rocks hitting the bottom of the Jeep as Sid sped up.

“Look, we’re getting to a fire road,” Sid said, nodding ahead.

“See it,” Clem said. “Wonder where that goes? Hope we can still see the tracks.”

“We will, if it’s not packed too tight,” Sid said. He slowed as they approached it, both sides of the road marked by a loose mound of dirt from the bulldozers that created it. He stopped and jumped out of the Jeep to take a closer look, the others following him.

“Coming from the right side,” Yvonne said.

“Yep, good tracks too,” Sid said. He turned and looked back towards where they came. “Look, you can see the pass from here.”

“I’ll be damned,” Clem said as he looked. “I see more horse tracks than tire tracks on the road.”

“That’s no problem,” Sid said. “Get in. Let’s follow this. We’ll be able to see where they came in.” They got in, and he drove over the hump of dirt on the side of the fire road.

“Wonder if Garrett made these roads?” Clem asked.

“They’re at least a few years old,” Sid said. “Don’t remember when I first heard of this place.”

“It’s been at least five years,” Yvonne said. “Maybe longer.”

Sid sped up.

“Can you see going this fast?” Clem asked.

“We’ll see if they got off the road,” Sid said. “The dirt on the side of the road will be crushed.”

“Oh, I get it,” Clem said.

“This road goes pretty far,” Yvonne said, squinting from the back into the sunny landscape.

“There’s trees up ahead about five hundred yards,” Sid said. “Wonder if there’s a creek there?”

“Looks like it,” Clem said. “Maybe there’s fish.”

Yvonne laughed. “Still a fisherman, eh?”

“Always a fisherman,” Clem said, turning his head back to grin at her. “Seems like a waste of time now, though.”

“Nothing left the road up to that next ridge,” Sid said after they crossed the five hundred yards of flat land. “I’m gonna get out and look.” He stopped on the road and jumped out, rushing in front of the Jeep and kneeling. The others stayed in the Jeep. He stood, looking around, then got back into the driver’s seat.

“Still there?” Yvonne asked.

“Yeah, but this incline had caused some water runoff, so it’s slightly rutted and packed a little better. The tracks are still there, but they might not be in a week.”

“Too shallow?” Clem asked.

“Exactly,” Sid said, putting the Jeep back into gear. They climbed the grade, the road going between clumps of boulders at the summit, then coming down, steeper than the other side.

“I’ll bet somebody had to dynamite boulders out of the way to build this stretch,” Clem said.

“Probably,” Sid said as he dropped the Jeep into a lower gear. “This drive wasn’t much fun at night, I’ll bet.”

“We must be close to the boundary of the property,” Yvonne said. “There’s barb wire ahead, to the left.”

“Garrett might own the land on either side,” Clem said. “I heard him say that they bought up several places over the years to give them what they have now.”

“I’d love to have this much land,” Sid said.

“Land ties you down,” Yvonne said.

Sid shot her a grin. “That’s what my dad used to say.”

“Look, the dirt on the left side of the road is crushed ahead,” Clem said.

“Good eye,” Sid said, slowing as they approached it. “There it is. Somebody took down part of the fence. See?”

“Son of a bitch,” Clem said. “We gonna keep following the tracks?”

“Hell yeah,” Sid said, turning the Jeep in that direction. “Tracks are pretty visible here.”

“Yeah, even a paleface like me can see them,” Clem said, his shoulders shaking as he chuckled. Yvonne rolled her eyes.

Sid slowed as he drove through the broken part of the fence. “Tracks are still strong.”

“What’s that, shining by the side of the road?” Yvonne asked.

“Good question,” Sid said, stopping the Jeep. He got out and trotted over to the reflection, coming back with a can in his hand. “Red Bull.” He tossed the can into the back, behind Yvonne.

“I can’t drink that stuff,” Clem said. “I get the shakes bad.”

“That drink is for the young,” Yvonne said.

Sid kept driving, the tracks still deep enough to see. The terrain was starting to descend slightly, as a small ridge rose out on the right side. They rounded it, and ran into an asphalt road.

“There we go,” Clem said.

“Stay in the Jeep,” Sid said to Clem as he got out, getting down on his hands and knees to look at the tracks near the road, and the asphalt. He got back behind the wheel. “They came in from the right-hand side.”

“You can tell that?” Clem asked.

“Yep,” he said as they started driving. “This is a private road. It’s not maintained very well. Look at the weeds coming up here and there.”

“Yeah, and the edges of the road are breaking up, too,” Clem said.

They road on the rough asphalt for about four miles, no structures in sight, and then the asphalt ended, the road turning to dirt. Sid stopped again and got out, kneeling again.

“Tracks?” Clem asked from his seat.

“Still here,” Sid said. “Nowhere else they could’ve gone, from what I can tell.”

“They must have looked at some good satellite photos to figure out their way in,” Yvonne said.

“That’s what I’m thinking,” Sid said as he got back behind the wheel. They went another several miles when his phone rang. He fished it out of his pocket, slowing down for a moment. “Ed.” He put it on speaker.

“Hey, Ed, what’s up?”

“You guys okay?”

“Of course,” Sid said. “Believe it or not, we’re still following the way the enemy came in last night. It was quite a trek.”

“Okay, then I won’t bother you,” Ed said. “I worry more in my old age, and I can’t afford to lose any more friends.”

“Got you,” Sid said. “We’re fine and we’re armed. It’ll take a while to get back, I suspect, unless this hits a highway that we can use to come back in the front way.”

“Clem with you guys?”

“Yeah, and Yvonne,” he said. “Clem was hoping to find a good place to put some surveillance equipment.”

“Oh, that makes sense. I’ll let you go.”

“Thanks for checking, Ed. See you later.”

Sid ended the call, then looked over at Clem. “You didn’t tell anybody you were coming with us?”

“Sam and Garrett,” Clem said. “Those two are probably wearing out their women.” He and Sid laughed.

“Oh, brother,” Yvonne said. “Minds in the gutter, as usual. Sam and Erica are probably spending quality time with Mia while we have a break.”

“I know, honey,” Sid said. “We’re just joking around.”

“How long does this road go, anyway?” Clem asked.

“There’s the highway up ahead,” Yvonne said.

“Your eyes are so much better than mine,” Sid said.

“Only for distance,” she said. “I can’t track like you. Never could, even when I was young.”

“That’s ten percent eyesight and ninety percent experience,” Sid said. “Do you guys recognize that road?”

“I don’t,” Clem said. “Unless there’s a stream around here, I probably never bothered.”

Sid slowed down as they reached the road, getting out again to look at the ground. He turned towards the Jeep. “Left turn. This looks familiar to me. I’ve been on this road before.”

“We need to find a sign,” Yvonne said.

“I know,” Sid said as he walked back over. He drove onto the road and sped up. After about ten minutes they found a road going off to the right, with a street sign.

“Honey Springs Road,” Clem said, squinting to read it. “Hell, I’ve been on this road a lot of times, just never this far back.”

“Damn,” Sid said. “This leads back to Highway 94, but it’s a long way. We’ll get home faster going back the way we came. Kinda makes sense, though.”

“Makes sense?” Yvonne asked.

“That the enemy would go this way. The junction with Highway 94 is close to Otay Lakes Road.”

“Wow, that is a long way,” Clem said.

“I get it,” Yvonne said. “It’s a long way northwest of Dulzura. They stood a good chance of sneaking in without being seen.”

“Yep,” Sid said. “Shall we go home?”

“Might as well,” Clem said.

Sid turned the Jeep around and they headed back up the highway towards the dirt road.

“Have any ideas on surveillance?” Yvonne asked.

Clem looked back at her and smiled. “Yeah, a couple ideas.”

“Let’s hear them,” Sid said.

“Step one – put some small motion sensor cameras in the area by the break in the fence. The kind with radio transmitters.”

“Okay,” Sid said. “What else?”

“Repair the fence, and put some of those landmines on the far side.”

“Far side?” Yvonne asked. “Why bother to repair the fence? Wouldn’t it be better to leave the break in the fence there, and use that to funnel the enemy over the mines?”

Clem laughed. “We’d have cattle going through there.”

“Oh, crap, you’re right,” Yvonne said. “Kaboom.”

Sid chuckled. “Not a bad idea, but we ought to look along that fence for other good places they might try.”

“I agree,” Clem said. “Those motion sensor cameras are cheap. We could buy about forty and stick them all over the place around there.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Sid said.


Jonathan was at his laptop, working the message board for Central Oregon on Ben Dover’s site.

“Hey, babe, should I cook a pizza?” Courtney asked.

“I guess it is dinner time,” Jonathan said, looking at her. She’d cleaned the kitchen and been very interested and helpful, after watching the video testimony of the California women.

“How’s the recruitment going?” she asked, sitting next to him, her arm going on his shoulder. He turned and kissed her, then looked back at the screen.

“I haven’t checked for a while. Been discussing it on the message board that Jared set up here. Lots of people seem interested. Let’s see if they put their money where their mouths are.” He clicked on the metrics link, and his eyes got wide. “Oh my God.”

“What?” Courtney asked, leaning in closer to the screen. “Does that say eighty thousand?”

“Yeah, and look at it ticking up. At this rate, it’ll be over a hundred thousand in the next ten minutes.”

“Wow,” she said.

“I’ve got to call Jared,” he said, picking up his phone. He hit the contact and put it on speaker when it clicked.

“Hey, Jonathan, how goes it?”

“Are you watching the metrics page?”

“Not for a while. We had six hundred people last time I checked.”

Jonathan chuckled. “Look at it now.”

There was silence on the line for a moment, and then a few expletives. Jonathan and Courtney laughed.

“No way,” Jared said. “I expected a decent turnout. This is insane.”

“Guess people are more pissed off than we thought,” Jonathan said.

“I’m cutting it by area code.”

“Good idea,” Jonathan said.

“It’s mostly 970 and 503. Crap, that’s Portland. Who did you contact out there?”

Jonathan chuckled. “All those death metal bands that I do sound for. Most of them promised to put links on their fan websites.”

“It’s gone viral,” Courtney said. “Wonder if we’ll get anywhere near this many folks?”

“That’s the real question,” Jared said. “Maybe we ought to leave earlier so we can help them organize.”

“Maybe we ought to get out of here before the authorities figure out who’s doing this,” Jonathan said. Courtney shot him a worried glance.

“Don’t worry about that, dude. The way this site is set up, all the info on the posters is encrypted. They aren’t gonna find out.”

“They might mess with some of the bands, though, since the info is on their websites.”

“Good point,” Jared said. “You’d better call them.”

“I’ll do that,” Jonathan said. “What time you want to leave?”

“Get some shuteye, and let’s leave at midnight,” Jared said.

“Okay with you, honey?” Jonathan asked, looking at Courtney.

“Yeah,” she said, still looking worried.

“Okay, Jared, I’ll talk with you later.” He ended the call, and then Jonathan tried to call one of the bands. He listened to it ring. No answer.

“Dammit,” Courtney said when he set his phone down.

“Don’t get too upset yet,” he said, turning to his laptop. He clicked on the link to the first band’s website. “Dammit, it’s gone.”

“You just called their phone,” Courtney said. “If the police have that phone, they now have your number.”

“Son of a bitch,” he said. “Throw some stuff in a bag. We’re leaving for Portland now.” He shut down his laptop.

She nodded and got up, running into the bedroom for their clothes. “Call Jared.”

“Yeah,” Jonathan said, hitting the contact. It rang twice, and Jared picked up.

“Leave now.”

“What are you talking about?” Jared asked.

“Can’t raise the first band, and the website is gone. Now they have my number because I tried to call.”

“Slow down,” Jared said.

“No, we’re leaving now. If they know who I am, they’ll figure out about you and the rest of our buds soon enough. Warn them and let’s blow this joint.”

“Crap,” Jared said. “You’re right. Are you taking guns?”

“What do you think?”

To be continued…


Bug Out! California Book 1 is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


Bug Out! Texas Book 1 is now just 99 cents in the Kindle Store! Free in Kindle Unlimited! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store – Book 1 is just 99 cents for a limited time!


The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”


Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 135 – Northern Recruitment

Jonathan sat in his Bend, Oregon apartment, next to his girlfriend Courtney. He was a well-built young man in his late twenties, wearing a t-shirt and board shorts, with tattoos on his arms and a shaved head. She was small and blonde, both ears covered with rings on the ends, tattoos on her upper arms and neck, with a hint of more beneath her ragged sweatshirt.

“Let’s go someplace,” Courtney said. “I’m bored.”

“In a while,” Jonathan said. “I want to see if they say more about those EU Navy ships.”

She stared at him for a moment, her eyes intense below her nearly invisible blonde eyebrows. “Looking to get arrested again?”

He looked at her and chuckled. “Yeah, maybe.”

“Well count me out, and don’t expect me to use my savings bailing you out again.”

He chuckled. “You like what you see going on in California? I don’t. Those EU ships are bringing over UN Peacekeepers.”

“They aren’t bothering us here.”

“As long as we keep our mouths shut and let them continue to castrate our society,” Jonathan said. His phone rang. “Jared.” He hit the speaker button. “Hey, dude, what’s up?”

“You see the reports of the globalist invasion?” he asked in a thin voice. People in the background chuckled.

“Who’s with you?” Jonathan asked.

“I’m gonna get something to eat,” Courtney said, getting off the couch and going into the dingy kitchen section of the room. She moved dirty dishes around the sink, clanking them as loud as possible, Jonathan shooting her a disgusted look.

“Well?” Jonathan asked.

“Cory, Noah, and Devin,” he said. “Okay?”

“Yeah,” he said. “You know we’re being watched, right?”

“Of course. Screw them. You see what I’m talking about?”

“I heard that there were some EU Navy ships planning to come up the river to Portland Harbor. They ought to get on well there.”

Jared snickered. “They’re being chased by the US Navy.”

“Bull crap,” Jonathan said, shooting a glance at Courtney as she sat down with a yogurt, rolling her eyes at the phone.

“No, really, man,” Jared said. “Did you see those videos of San Francisco and Oakland? The patriots won.”

“Funny, the news hasn’t said anything about it,” Jonathan said sarcastically. That brought another eye roll from Courtney.

“Yeah, it’s funny all right. The videos go up on YouTube, then come down, then get re-posted. I’ve got copies of all of them on my blog. Go take a look, man. It’s awesome.”

“What are you hearing about the ships?” Jonathan asked.

“I heard they were heading to San Francisco with sixty-thousand UN Peacekeepers, to replace folks that Ivan the Butcher has been taking out.”

Jonathan glanced at Courtney as she grabbed the remote and turned on MTV. “We need somebody like that here, or the whole damn state is gonna end up like Portland.”

“They laid Portland out in grids and have checkpoints set up, just like they tried in California,” Jared said. “They won’t call it martial law, of course. At least they’re being manned by the Portland PD instead of the UN.”

“Until now,” Jonathan said. Courtney raised the volume way up on the TV. Jonathan ripped the remote out of her hands, shut the TV off, and tossed the remote onto the battered chair by the opposite wall.

“Hey, dammit, I was watching that,” she said.

“Leave,” Jonathan said. “I’ve had enough.”

“Fine,” she said, stomping into the bedroom.

“Trouble in paradise?” Jared asked.

“She left the room. Mission accomplished.”

“When are you gonna kick her to the curb?”

“I don’t know,” Jonathan said. “Back to the ships. You believe they’re bringing the UN Peacekeepers here?”

“To administer Portland’s martial law? Doubtful. There are plenty of fascists running Portland already – and there’re plenty of their lackeys to keep a compliant population under control.”

“What, then?” Jonathan asked.

“I think they’re getting chased in here, like I was saying. It’ll be interesting to see if the US Navy follows them in.”

Jonathan’s phone dinged with an email receipt. “What’s that?”

“I just sent you a link to the recruitment page from California.”

“Recruitment page?” Jonathan asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “Ben Dover. Remember him?”

Jonathan snickered. “Love the name. That guy’s killer. What about him? They recruiting for California? We’ve got just as bad problems here.”

“Not really,” Jared said. “Not yet, anyway. We don’t have UN thugs pushing the population around. You see that video with the women? Talking about the UN rape operations?”

“Was that for real? The media says it’s fake.”

Jared laughed. “It’s real, trust me. That’s why I’m bothered by a boatload of UN punks showing up here.”

“Does Ben Dover say something about it?”

“He warned of them looking for a safe haven from the US Navy,” Jared said. “If they can’t go elsewhere, they might set up shop here – and I suspect they’ll be going to the places where there are still patriots in control.”

“Like here,” Jonathan said, his heart starting to pound. “What do you suggest we do?”

“Ben Dover’s site can help us. There’s an easy procedure to set up affiliates for recruitment in other states. I say you and I and our buds set up a central Oregon affiliate.”

“Why would we want to do that?” Jonathan asked. “We’ve still got control here.”

“I think we ought to organize a proper welcome for our friendly UN Peacekeepers.”

“If we go in there, we’re liable to get shot or thrown into prison.”

“Don’t be a wuss, Jonathan. With our low population, sixty thousand UN Peacekeepers could get martial law going in Central and Eastern Oregon. You know that.”

“Our local law enforcement might have something to say about that.”

“You know what they did in California. They sidelined the local authorities. Want that to happen here?”

Jonathan sighed. “No. You know I don’t. What do you suggest?”

“Use the link. I’m setting up an affiliate page right now. There will be a link on Ben Dover’s page in about five minutes.”

“What do you want me to do, exactly?” Jonathan asked.

“Spread the link around to all of the message boards you know about. We’re doing the same thing. Flood the internet with it. I’ll have one of my articles on the top explaining what’s going on with the EU Navy ships and the UN – I’ll also link the videos of the women in California and battle video from San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento.”

“Sacramento has been liberated?” Jonathan asked.

“Almost,” Jared said. “Understand?”

“When do we expect the EU Navy ships to show up?”

“Late tonight or early tomorrow morning. The snowflakes are planning a massive welcoming demonstration for tomorrow morning at ten. State sanctioned, of course.” There were chuckles in the background.

“How are we gonna get up there in time?” Jonathan asked.

“It’s only three and a half hours,” Jared said. “I say we get on the road no later than six tomorrow morning. We ought to have a huge crowd rolling towards there by then.”

“We aren’t going to get enough people from this part of the state,” Jonathan said. “We’re going to have to recruit a lot of the sane people in Portland.”

“I understand,” Jared said. “You have some inroads in that community. Use them.”

“Okay, I’ll get started right away,” Jonathan said. “Talk to you later.”

“Later, dude,” Jared said. The call ended, and Jonathan rushed to the kitchen table to fire up his laptop. He stared for a moment at the closed door of his bedroom, then logged on, getting to Ben Dover’s recruitment site in seconds. The Oregon link was already up, so he clicked on it, then chuckled at the cheesy graphics that Jared placed on the front page. The links to the videos were there. He clicked on the video of California women’s testimony and watched it in silence, his eyes tearing up, his fists balled tight. He wiped his eyes when it was over, then looked at that closed bedroom door.

“Hey, Courtney, get your ass out here. You have to see this.”

After a moment the door opened slowly, and she came out, brushing her long blonde hair away from her face. “What now?”

“Sit,” he said, getting out of the way. He clicked the link for the video, and watched as Courtney’s eyes got wider and wider.


Robbie sat at his laptop in the dinette of the battle wagon, watching the high-res long-range app. He was making notes on a pad of paper next to it. Morgan, Dana, and Karen came in, still chatting.

“Hey, honey, they put out some beer at the building over there, if you’re interested,” Morgan said. He looked up at her for a moment and smiled, then looked back down at his laptop.

“What’s he doing?” Dana asked in a hushed tone.

“I’m using this new high-res app,” he said, looking up at them again. “There’s some movement we ought to be keeping track of.”

“Uh oh,” Morgan said, walking to the dinette. “What?”

“See this?” he asked, pointing to a thin line of icons heading east on Interstate 80. “They’re trying to hide their numbers. See how they’re all spread out?”

“I thought the Islamists were all heading south,” Karen asked, walking over to look.

Dana followed her reluctantly, fear creeping over her face. “I thought we were gonna get a break for a while.”

“Do you think they’re coming here?” Morgan asked.

“No,” Robbie said. “If they were coming for us, they would’ve gotten on Highway 49 in Auburn. See?” He pointed at the screen.

“Not all of them have passed Auburn,” she said.

“True, but it’s not a huge group. I see just under a hundred.”

“Where’d they come from?” Karen asked.

“Nevada,” Robbie said. “The tail end was still on that part of the road when I noticed. They’re moving fast.”

“They’re going to Sacramento,” Dana said after looking at the map for a moment. “Maybe they’re going to attack the Capitol again. They’ve got to be pissed about losing it.”

“That’s not enough people for an assault on the Capitol,” Robbie said, “it’s still crawling with our people.”

“What, then?” Morgan asked.

“I don’t know,” Robbie said, “but the fact that they’re trying to hide themselves tells me they have an operation going. Maybe a kidnapping, or a hit on a small strategic target.”

“Zoom in on Sacramento,” Morgan said. Robbie nodded and did that. “Look. Three hits. Right there. See them? They’re faint. Maybe the people are underground.” He zoomed in.

“Crap,” Karen said, looking closely at the screen. “See what those hits are near?”

“Uh oh,” Robbie said. “The CHP headquarters. They’re going to hit that. I’ll bet what’s left of the leadership is there right now, because of the orders from Governor Hause.”

“He’s the speaker,” Dana said.

“Until we elect a new governor, he’s the governor,” Robbie said, pulling his phone out. “Jules needs to see this.” He texted Jules and asked him to come over.

“I’ll send a message to Tex too,” Karen said.

“Sparky was with them, so they’ll all be here in a sec,” Dana said.

Robbie got off the dinette bench and turned the laptop so it was pointing out into the salon. “Now we can all see it.” He sat back down on the other side of the dinette and grabbed the mouse, zooming out to show the stream of fighters coming in.

“We here,” Jules said, climbing up the steps, Tex and Sparky following him. “What happen?”

“There’s a stream of Islamists coming southwest on I-80,” Robbie said, “and a few hits near the CHP headquarters.”

Jules and Tex shot each other a glance.

“Dammit,” Sparky said. “The CHP is just starting to get back together. The leadership is probably all there right now.”

“I call Ivan,” Jules said. “We might need to show up.” He walked out of the coach with the phone to his ear.

“Glad I didn’t drink much of that beer,” Tex said.

“Seriously,” Karen said.

Jules rushed back inside. “Ivan said go. Get ready.”

“We’ve only got five battle wagons left,” Sparky said.

“We take off-roaders. Let’s go. Chop chop.”

The team was at the gate within minutes, Robbie and Morgan second in the line of coaches, the off-roaders all around them. Tex was in the lead.

“Wish we had more battle wagons,” Morgan said. “A hundred Islamists is a lot.”

“We’ve got a lot of firepower,” Robbie said as he drove forward. “It’ll be enough.”

Their phones dinged with a text message. Morgan brought it up. “There’s sixty CHP officers at the headquarters, and they’ve all got M60s and M4s. They’re setting up an ambush.”

“Excellent,” Robbie said as he drove. “We might not beat them there, you know.”

“I think we’ll be there before the battle starts,” Morgan said. “Assuming they won’t start the attack until the entire force gets there. Some of them are still as far back as Colfax.”

“Good,” Robbie said as they blasted west on Highway 50. It was late afternoon. More people were out than they were used to, now that the enemy had lost control of the area.

“The first of them just made the transition to Highway 160,” Morgan said.

“Does it still look like the CHP headquarters is the target?”

“Oh, yeah,” Morgan said. “That’s the way to get there, unless they want to run through a bunch of surface streets in Sacramento.”

They rode silently for a few minutes, both worried about the battle to come.

“Look, there’s Rancho Cordoba already,” Robbie said. “We’re making good time. Where should I get off?”

She didn’t answer right away. He glanced at her, staring at her screen.

“I think they’re setting up mortars or something,” Morgan said. “The first group stopped before the bridge. They’re on the far side of the American River.”

“Text the others, in case nobody noticed,” Robbie said.

Morgan nodded and did that, getting returns right away. “They see it. Jules plans to send off-roaders into that area.”

“Where should I get off Highway 50?”

“Still working on that,” Morgan said, her fingers pinching out on the screen to zoom in. “This sucks. Any way we go, it’s a slog through surface streets for some ways. I suggest getting off on Sixteenth Street. That would put us into position to fire on enemy vehicles as they come over the bridge.”

“Give me some warning when we get close, okay?”

“Of course,” Morgan said. “The second group just crossed the bridge.”

“Is the first one still across the river?”

“Yep, at about the closest point from which to lob shells,” Morgan said. “Second group just got on Vine street.”

“Where will that put them?”

“If they stay on it, northeast of the CHP building,” she said. “Here comes a third group.”

“On Vine?”

“Just getting onto the bridge,” she said.

“Oh,” Robbie said. “Our street is only two and a half miles away now.”

“Great, we’ll be there at a good time. These slugs have no idea what kind of hornets’ nest they’re about to hit.” She grinned at him.

“I’m worried about those mortars,” Robbie said.

“The third group is on Richard’s Boulevard. That’ll give them a force to the south of the CHP building.”

“Where are the original hits?”

“Same place they’ve been,” Morgan said. “Looks like an apartment building off Seventh Street, right across from the CHP headquarters.”

“Lovely. They’ve probably got weapons stored there, all ready to go.”

“They haven’t been there long,” Morgan said. “We would’ve seen them before.”

“True, they probably didn’t expect the legislature to re-start the CHP.”

“Exactly,” she said. “Another two groups heading over the bridge.”

“There’s our off-ramp,” Robbie said, watching off-roaders and Tex’s coach taking it. “Guess they figured out the way too.”

“Oh, no, it came out in that last message.”

“Maybe we ought to get on Seventh instead. That would put us to the west. Might come in handy.”

“We can get to the bridge before the rest of the force shows up,” Morgan said. “I think we ought to take this like they asked, because we can limit the attack by taking out the stragglers.”

“How many stragglers are we talking about?”

“A third of the force,” Morgan said. “Maybe straggler isn’t the best word.”

“Okay, I’m convinced,” he said, smiling at her as he took the off-ramp.

“The last of them are right by the Haggin Oaks golf course,” Morgan said. “This is gonna be close.”

They flew down the street above the speed limit, past residential neighborhoods and commercial areas.

“It’s pretty in here,” Robbie said.

“You’ll know we’re getting close when it gets more industrial,” Morgan said, eyes glued to the screen.

“Here it comes,” Robbie said, pointing to a factory building, then noticing the tunnel coming up, under the railroad tracks. “Crap, I hope that tunnel is tall enough.”

“It is,” Morgan said, “barely.”

Robbie held his breath as they rolled into it, but they passed through without any contact, coming out into a full-on industrial area. “Okay, where are the bad guys on this side of the river now?”

“Surrounding the CHP Headquarters on all four sides,” Morgan said. “Gonna be hard for them to use the mortars and not hit their own fighters.”

“Look, off-roaders and Jeeps going over the bridge.”

“Good,” Morgan said. “Tex just made a left onto Richards. See him?”

“Yep. He’s turning right into that Diesel shop parking lot.”

“We should go there too,” Morgan said. “Nothing will get past that bridge if we plant ourselves there.”

Robbie nodded and made the left, then a quick right. The next three battle wagons kept going, one moving over to Vine Street, the other two continuing on Richards. A horde of off-roaders followed, going up several of the surrounding streets.

There was a loud blast on the bridge, a truck exploding from Tex’s M19.

“It’s on,” Robbie shouted as they pulled up, seeing another pickup truck with men in the back racing over the bridge. He opened fire with his mini-gun, hitting the truck, knocking it right off the road. There were explosions to the north.

“Off roaders,” Morgan said. “The Islamists on the road just turned before they got to the bridge.” She laughed while she watched her screen.


“They are taking the on-ramp off the freeway. One of them just crashed head-on into a semi-truck. That’s gotta hurt.”

“Any others still coming over the river?” Robbie asked.

“Nope,” she said.

“Good, then let’s go that way.” He pointed down Vine street, which they could reach by crossing the parking lot of the tire dealership next door.

Morgan’s fingers typed on her phone. A ding followed. “Go, they’re okay with it,” she said. “Tex will stay here and guard the back door.”

Robbie nodded and backed up the big coach, turning it and crossing an access road onto the tire dealer parking lot to the northwest, then making a right turn onto Vine street. There was still gunfire across the river, and then a mortar round flew, hitting their side of the bank.

“Dammit,” Morgan said. “Get those guys!”

“Are they getting help from the enemy fighters who didn’t make it across the bridge?”

“You guessed it,” Morgan said. “Make a right turn on Tenth Street. That will put you in position to fire on the enemy over there. I’d go into siege mode, though.”

Robbie nodded, making the turn and driving past the last block before the river. He flipped the switches for siege mode, firing several grenades at the mortar team before the shields were all the way up, one of them hitting home.

“Nice shooting,” Morgan said as she pulled the console out and looked at the front and rear machine gun target reticle. “I think I can hit them from here.”

“Do it, but don’t hit our off-roaders.”

“I won’t,” she said, opening fire, sweeping it back and forth, taking out most of the mortar team. Machine gun fire hit the back of the coach, so she switched to the rear machine guns, nailing a truck that was roaring towards them.

Robbie laughed, looking through is sight. “They didn’t expect that.”

“Look, more men running up with mortars,” Morgan yelled. “Try to hit their ammo with a grenade.”

Robbie nodded, firing several grenades, one of them hitting the first ammo box on the left, blowing it up, men running away on fire.

“They’ve got willie pete,” Morgan said, firing at more enemy fighters who were rushing the back of the vehicle. Then there was thunder coming from M60s to the west.

“The CHP officers are on the roof!” Robbie shouted.

“Get those guys bringing up that new mortar,” Morgan shouted. “I have to stay on our rear.”

“Got it,” Robbie said, firing more grenades, then hitting them with several blips from the mini-gun. As soon as that mortar team was dead, another took its place. Then several off-roaders roared over the rolling hills, firing as they went, taking the next mortar team out and then going north to hit the trucks where the rest of the mortar teams were, blowing up their vehicles and chasing down the survivors.

“Yes,” Morgan said, taking a quick glimpse of them, then getting back to the rear sight and firing as yet another truckload of Islamists roared forward.

“Hey, honey, hit them with a grenade. Maybe we can bust it in the road and cut off their access. We’re getting more action than we can handle.”

“I’ll try,” Robbie said, swinging the M19 in that direction and firing, the cab exploding. He hit it again, the gas tank going up as Islamists in the back tried to escape, Morgan peppering them with machine gun fire.

“I’m getting a heat warning on the back guns,” Morgan said.

To be continued…


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Copyright Robert Boren 2016

Bugout! California Part 134 – Acting Governor

People on the main street of Dodge City hurried about to their jobs in the early morning light, as the leadership converged on the saloon for a meeting.

“We all know what happened last night,” Garrett said, “and we all know that there are nearly two hundred thousand Islamists heading this way.”

“Yep,” Trevor said. “They’re halfway between Mohave and Highway 395 at the moment. They’ll take that south, probably.”

Sam looked at his phone. “They might take the far eastern route. Head for I-40, then take Highway 95 south. If I were them I’d be afraid of having to go through San Bernardino. Lots of patriots there.”

“Good point,” Trevor said.

“We need to get on social media and round up a whole lot of citizens, if they’re really sending two hundred thousand fighters our way,” Sid said.

“Ivan working,” Ji-Ho said. “Just got text message. He knows what go on.”

“How are we gonna protect ourselves here?” Justin asked.

“Yeah, this area is big,” Ed said. “Too many square miles to cover.”

“Maybe we try to find their shielded vehicles and destroy them,” Trevor said. A few people chuckled.

“How are we gonna do that?” Garrett asked.

“Trevor has something there,” Sid said. “The amount of lead they need to mount a large attack isn’t that easy to come by. If they’re really tooling up to do this, I’ll bet we can find out where they got it.”

Sam grinned. “And when we find that out, we can find them.

“Exactly,” Sid said.

“But how we gonna find that out?” Garrett asked.

“Put Seth on it,” Justin said.

“Yeah, good idea,” Trevor said. “He’s great on the internet. He can figure it out. It’s not like we have a thousand sources. It’s probably more like ten.”

“Where is Seth, anyway?” Sam asked.

“He was up all night working that tracking program,” Kaitlyn said. “I let him sleep.”

“That’s going to help us too, you know,” Sid said. “When we see these slugs disappear, we’ll know what’s about to happen. Seth’s doing important work.”

“That’s a great point,” Justin said.

“You guys talking about me?” Seth asked as he walked in.

“You’re up already?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Yeah, once I woke up I couldn’t sleep anymore. I got that program finished last night.”

“Wow, really?” Kaitlyn asked.

“What does it do, exactly?” Garrett asked.

“I’m running the PC version of the app on my server,” Seth said. “It’s going to take a snapshot of the icons in the entire Southern California area every five minutes and save it to a database, so we can see movements and disappearing – reappearing hits.”

“That will tell us if they’re mounting an attack using shielded vehicles,” Sam said.

“If we aren’t too late gathering the data,” Seth said. “I can’t get history. I can only compile what’s happening since I turned this thing on.”

“If we couple that capability with the lead shielding investigation and our social media operation, it might solve most of our problems,” Sid said.

“What lead shielding investigation?” Seth asked.

“Funny you should ask,” Sam said. He took a few minutes to explain it to Seth. “Think you can help us with that?”

Seth smiled. “Yep, that’s right up my ally. When do you want me to start?”

“As soon as possible,” Garrett said. “Meanwhile we’ve got to figure out a band-aid for this place.”

“Hey, Clem, you got any ideas?” Sam asked. “You did pretty well at my RV Park.”

“Not well enough to save the folks,” Clem said, “but yeah, I’ve got some ideas.”

“Good, then start drawing up some plans,” Sam said, “and I’ll help however I can.”

“Let me know what supplies needed,” Ji-Ho said. “I get from Ivan. Also getting more battle wagons and more ammo and guns. Already on way.”

“More battle wagons?” Justin asked. “Seriously?”

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “And off-roaders based on Texas design. Help patrol area and use in attacks.”

“You guys are gonna make my cavalry obsolete,” Garrett said.

“No way,” Sam said. “I’d rather see your men with M4s or AKs than those Winchesters, but the cavalry is very effective in this type of terrain. You guys have saved us more than once. I’m impressed.”

Garrett smiled. “Thank you kindly,” he said. “Maybe we can get enough ammo from Ivan to switch our guns out. I’d be okay with that. I’ll kinda miss the smoke and the smell, though.”

Trevor laughed. “Hell, I think those cannons are awesome.”

A few people in the room chuckled.

“I’m gonna go get busy, if you guys don’t need me here,” Seth said.

“I’ll stick around and tell you what happened,” Kaitlyn said. Seth kissed her and left the room.

“We need to protect that kid,” Sam said. “He’s got skills.”

Kaitlyn smiled proudly. “He does, doesn’t he?”

“Maybe I should start working some surveillance plans,” Clem said.

“I think this meeting is about over,” Garrett said. “I’m going to keep the patrols going at a higher level until we get other things in place. Talk to you folks later.”

Everybody except Willard left the saloon.


Mr. White sat in the front of the bus, M60 across his lap, the back a mix of armed commandos and state elected officials. Machine gun fire and explosions could be heard as they approached the State Capitol area. He pulled out his phone and hit a contact.

“Ivan, others in place?”

“Yes,” Ivan said. “Seventy-thousand armed citizens are coming in to help the other commando team. The enemy is holding the Capitol grounds between Ninth Street and Thirteenth Street. They’re well-armed, but the commandos are wearing them down.”

“Still protecting capitol building, right?”

“Yes, they’re trying not to blow that building up. Are the other three buses still behind you guys?”

“Yes sir,” Mr. White said. “And hoard of off-roaders on way too. We really have seventy thousand civilians?”

“Yep, and there’s more behind them. Ben Dover is getting really good at this.”

“True, but people smell blood in water, which help him. People had enough. Rampage coming.”

“Yes, my friend,” Ivan said. “We’re gonna take the top half of the state back. Then the problem will be the south.”

“True that two-hundred thousand Islamists are on way?”

“True, and so far we’ve only been able to raise about a hundred thousand there with the social media blitz.”

“How long was effort?”

Ivan chuckled. “About half the time we spent working the Sacramento area, and that had a smaller population to work with, so I still have hope.”

“Good,” Mr. White said.

“Where are you?”

“Off freeway, just passed Sutter’s Fort on L Street.”

“Perfect,” Ivan said. “I’ll let you go.”

“Talk later, boss.” Mr. White put the phone back in his pocket. The white-haired man sitting behind him poked him on the shoulder.

“Sir, do we get to fight?”

“You elected official?” Mr. White asked.

“I was Speaker of the Assembly,” the man said. “Garrison Hause.”

“Too important to get shot,” Mr. White said.

“I’m pissed at these guys,” Speaker Hause said.

“Then be smart when back in office. Stop bad guys. Don’t help them.”

He sat for a moment, tears forming in his eyes. “I guess I deserve that.”

“Yes, do, but not over. Become great man. You can.”

“Mind if we move around, talk?” Speaker Hause asked.

“Be my guest,” Mr. White said. “You free man again. Do job.”

He nodded at Mr. White, then turned around. “Members of the legislature, let’s meet. Switch seats, come up here.”

Half the people on the bus got up and moved forward, the commandos moving to the rear.

“Thanks,” Speaker Hause said, sitting sideways in the seat so he could look at those behind him. “We need to discuss what we do when we get back on the job. I believe job one is to restore the bureaucracy and re-take control of all state offices.

The tall black man towards the back of the group laughed out loud.

“Senator Wilson, do you have something to say?” Hause asked.

“Are you ready to admit that we need borders, and that we have a right to keep illegal aliens and phony refugees out of our nation? Because if you aren’t ready to admit that and move forward against that policy, we might as well just shoot ourselves.”

“I think that’s a little extreme,” said a small Hispanic man towards the front.

“Yeah, I figured you’d say that, Assemblyman Lopez,” Wilson said.

Mr. White shook his head, his expression one of disgust. “You have everything, deserve nothing.”

“Yeah, he’s right,” Wilson said. “We’ve got a war going. We’ve got citizens being attacked and killed. The first thing we need to do is capture or kill every damn UN Peacekeeper in the state. That is job one. Then we need to capture or kill each and every Islamist thug. After that’s done, we can go back to bickering about sanctuary cities and Islamophobic speech.

“That’s not a very enlightened attitude,” Lopez said.

“Are you serious?” asked another man, a pasty-looking red-haired man with a face that didn’t fit the color.

“Yeah, Senator Reilly, the idiot is serious,” Wilson said.

“Stop the bickering,” Hause said. “It’s not helpful. We aren’t going to target Muslims in this state. I’m all for deporting the UN Peacekeepers. We asked them to come in and they failed. Now we can ask them to leave.”

Mr. White doubled over laughing. “That rich.”

“What do you mean?” Hause asked.

“UN occupying force, not helpers for time of need,” Mr. White said. “Islamists worse. Kill like the dogs they are.”

“There aren’t even many Islamists here,” Hause said. This time both Mr. White and Wilson laughed hard.

“You want to see size of Islamist problem?” Mr. White asked. He pulled out his phone and fired up the long-range app, then showed him the Islamic fighters on the way south. “You see this?”

“What is that?” Hause asked, as others got closer to take a look, flooding the aisle in the bus.

“Each icon is one Islamic fighter. They have RFID chips. You people need to catch up fast. Lot happened while you were locked up.”

“My God, how many men is that?” Lopez asked.

“Roughly two hundred thousand,” Mr. White said.

“What?” Hause asked, his eyes wide. “Where are they going?”

“They go south to re-open I-8 and other roads down south, so they can help seven hundred thousand Islamic fighters come into California from Mexico.”

Wilson chuckled. “So now can we get serious?”

“I’m almost afraid to ask,” Reilly said. “How many UN Peacekeepers are still here?”

“We not sure,” Mr. White said. “UN Peacekeepers no have RFID, so we can’t see. Less than Islamists. Citizens been doing jobs for you slugs. Retake San Francisco and Oakland already, kill many thousand Peacekeepers. Almost have Sacramento back. Final battle goes on at Capitol.”

“So, we really have no idea?” Lopez asked.

“Boss said EU Navy ships coming with another sixty thousand,” Mr. White said. “Was coming to Bay Area. Now going up north because Bay Area lost. We should sink boat.”

Hause showed an expression of disbelief. “The EU is in on this?”

“Why is that a surprise?” Wilson asked. “They want a global government with themselves at the top. Why don’t you get that?”

“Who else is against us?” Hause asked.

“Saladin and the Caliphate,” Mr. White said. “Funny. EU think they subjugate people together and live happily ever after. Islamists bide time, take over everything, impose sharia, kill infidel in mass numbers. EU very foolish.”

“What’s still left?” Hause asked.

“What mean?” Mr. White asked.

“National guard? Police organizations?”

“Disbanded or killed, mostly,” Mr. White said. “Some can be brought back. Citizens probably win before you get all back, but should try. That my advice. Call up National guard, and get police departments and CHP back to work. Give them real weapons, not pea-shooter. Understand?”

“Where did you get that phone?” Reilly asked.

“Normal phone with special apps from General Hogan’s team. Ivan have one for each of you. You get when we arrive. Oh, and by the way, look.” He moved the app to Washington DC and the Mid-Atlantic, showing a sea of icons.

“My God,” Wilson said. “You liberals have killed us all.”

“Stop,” Mr. White said. “You understand, so stop bicker and start work. Past arguments not matter. Survival. Liberty. All that matter now. Lay blame and argue later if must, but not today.”

“He’s right,” Lopez said. “I’m ashamed. We all should be. We need to redeem ourselves. We need to work for the people.”

“Now you think correctly,” Mr. White said. “Get ready. We close to hot zone. We pull on side street, building is set up. Phone banks, weapons, your cellphones, also documentation to get you up to speed, since you in stir so long.”

“We can thank Ivan for all of this?” Hause asked.

“Ivan and others,” Mr. White said. “Many patriots still out there. Give us fighting chance.”

The buses made a right turn on 17th Street and pulled to a stop next to a large building. Mr. White stood up. “Come, hurry, run into parking structure, we enter building from there, under cover.”

The buses emptied out, the elected officials and commandos rushing into the building as the gunfire continued, just two blocks away.


Jules, Tex, Sparky, and Ted sat in folding chairs under the corrugated metal stall between two battle wagons. Jules had a bandage around his forehead, which the doctor had put on half an hour ago.

“Hot today,” Tex said, wiping sweat off his forehead. “Wish we could have a few beers.”

“Yeah, that’d be nice,” Ted said.

“Probably could have one or two,” Jules said. “Ivan text. Sacramento fell. Legislature back in place…what left of, anyway.”

“How many survived?” Sparky asked.

“One third, give or take,” Jules said. “Some maybe escaped, will join later. Many died in prison or during capture.”

“Well, I hope they’ve learned something,” Tex said. “We ought to have a part time legislature here, like we’ve got in Texas. Keeps them under control a little better.”

“What’s our next objective?” Ted asked.

“Still wait for Ivan,” Jules said. “May be able to leave north half of state soon. Big trouble brewing in south. Ji-Ho and Sam need us.”

“What’s left up here to liberate?” Sparky asked.

“Bay area under our control from San Jose to Santa Rosa. Sacramento now. Boss say boatload of UN Peacekeepers on way north. US Navy chasing now.”

“How many Peacekeepers they talking about, partner?”

“Sixty grand,” Jules said. “Much smaller problem than Islamists now.”

“I’ve been watching the Islamists move south,” Ted said. “The first group is almost to Yucca Valley.”

“Dammit,” Sparky said, pulling out his phone. He looked silently for a moment, his teeth grinding. “It’s pretty obvious what they’re doing.”

“What’s that, partner?” Tex asked.

“They can take Highway 62 to Highway 95. That leads right down to the part of I-8 that’s closest to the border.”

“Wait, they’re that close?” Ted asked. “Do we need to airlift forces over to stop them?”

Sparky shook his head no, not looking up from his phone. “They’re really well spread out. The furthest I see them now is Landers, but it’s a small number so far. Some of them are still up north as far as Bakersfield. Some of them haven’t moved for several hours. Almost looks like they’re digging in, waiting for something.”

“Is it still a couple hundred thousand?” Tex asked. Sparky shook his head yes.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Ted said.

“You not kidding,” Jules said. “Look at numbers of Islamists over border, though. Changing last time I looked.”

“When was the last time you looked?” Sparky asked, as he moved the view south of the border.

“Before doctor get here,” Jules said. “Three hour.”

“Whoa,” Sparky said.

“What you see?” Jules asked.

“Looks like about half of them are moving southeast,” Sparky said, looking over at Tex.

“Crap,” Tex said, pulling his phone out to look.

“Governor Nelson see them,” Jules said, “got apps before us. They ready, trust me.”

“Hope you’re right,” Tex said.

“Hey, Jules, you might want to watch this,” Shelly said from the door of Tex’s coach.

“What?” Jules asked, getting up.

“Press conference starting in a few minutes,” Karen said, standing next to her. “California legislature.”

The four men got up and went into the coach, finding seats with their women. The camera was already on in the room, pointing at a podium with the California State Seal on the front.

“Wonder who’s speaking?” Ted asked.

“They haven’t said,” Haley whispered to him.

“It’s the Speaker,” Sparky said, watching Speaker Hause take the podium. Eight other members of the legislature came on the stage and stood behind him, a mixture of both parties.

“Hello, fellow Californians,” he began. “We have been in Folsom Prison since before Martial Law was declared, and are deeply sorry for the actions of the UN Peacekeepers and others who have been illegally oppressing California citizens during our confinement.”

He paused for a moment, on the verge of tears, composing himself to go on.

“I am currently the acting governor of our great state, because the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the President Pro Tem of the Senate were all killed by the enemy. The job now falls to the Speaker of the Assembly. I ask for your support as we bring California back under the control of the people.”

“A lot of this is his fault,” Ted said.

“Give him a chance, honey,” Haley said.

“Our first actions will be to bring the criminal UN and the Islamist Army to justice. I am ordering that all California Law Enforcement Officers return to their jobs for further instructions, and I am activating the National Guard as well. This will not be enough to beat the enemy, but we have a robust citizenry who have already taken up the fight, and are, in fact, responsible for our rescue. We will work together with them to bring the state back under control, and to defeat the enemy on all fronts.”

Is this going to be too little, too late?” Shelly asked.

“The citizens must join,” Jules said, his brow furrowed. “They must trust. It might not be easy, but we already in fight.”

“This is a good development,” Sparky said. “At least I hope it is.”

“Look, he’s done already,” Karen said, watching the men leave the stage.

“Do you want to watch the talking heads?” Dana asked. “I think I’ll go outside.”

“They partly responsible for problem,” Jules said, standing. “I go call Ivan.”

He left the coach, Shelly following him. They both froze as the gate of the compound opened.

“What’s that?” Shelly asked. Their battle wagon rolled through the gate.

“They fix!” Jules said. “We got home back!” They watched as the massive rig was driven in, making a K-turn and backing into an empty space at the north end of the row.


To be continued…


Bug Out! California Book 3 – Rebellion has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


Bug Out! Texas 9 – Patriots Unleashed has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


Bug Out! California Book 2 – Resistance has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


Bug Out! California Book 1 is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


Bug Out! Texas Book 8 – West Border Mayhem is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!


Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!


Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!


Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!


Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!


Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!


Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!


Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!


Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store


The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”


Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 133 – Folsom Blues

Seth was hunched over his laptop, sitting at the battle wagon’s dinette when Kaitlyn came in. It was late in the evening.

“Hey, honey,” Seth said, looking up from his screen for a moment, then going right back to it.

“What are you doing?”

“Acting on a suggestion in the meeting at the saloon,” Seth said, eyes glued to the screen.

“Am I going to have to keep asking you questions?”

Seth looked up at her and smiled, then leaned back in his seat. “Sorry.”

She came over to the dinette. “Move over.” He did, and she slid in next to him. “Okay, what?”

“We need a historical look at the RFID hits,” he said. “I was working on a program to record the hits every five minutes.”

“And how are you gonna do that?”

“It’s a little hinky, actually. I set up a macro on the tablet to run the long-range app on Southern California and send the results in files to my blog server account. Then I’ll create an excel model to display the data and do analysis.”

“I’m an expert in Excel, you know,” Kaitlyn said. “I can probably help with that part.”

“That’s right, you’re an accounting major,” Seth said. “That would be cool.”

“How late are you going to work tonight?”

“Not much longer,” he said, looking at her.

“Good. Watching you work is getting to me.”

“Oh, really?” Seth asked, looking into her beautiful face, her dark eyes dilated.

“Smart men turn me on,” she said, moving closer, kissing him.

“Quitting time,” Seth said breathlessly, closing his laptop. She giggled. Then Seth’s phone rang. “Uh oh, it’s Ji-Ho. I’ll put it on speaker.”

He set the phone on the table, answered the call, and hit the speaker button.

“Seth? Sorry to call late. It Ji-Ho.”

“No problem,” Seth said. “What’s going on?”

“I remember something Ivan told me about apps,” he said. “There is PC version. Much higher resolution than iOS or Android version. I talked to Ivan, he get permission from General Hogan to give to you. I send link. What email?”

Seth read it out to him, and a couple seconds later, the mail app on his laptop dinged. He opened it.

“Got it,” Seth said. “This will be helpful. I can set it up to run on my blog server.”

“It secure?” Ji-Ho asked.

“Yep, it’s very secure,” Seth said.

“Okay, I leave you to it,” Ji-Ho said. “Have fun. See later.” The call ended.

“Now this won’t be hinky anymore,” Seth said as he uploaded the software package to his blog server.

“Where is this server?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Outfit in Montana. I contract with them.”

“Why does this make things less hinky?”

“I can turn this thing on and schedule the running and information compilation,” Seth said. “It will run no matter where we are…actually it’ll keep going even if something happens to me, but I’ll need to give the rest of the team access.”

“You’re going to be up for a while, aren’t you?” she asked.


“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!


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 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.”


“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.


“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 Highw