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Author Topic: MamaLiberty's new story  (Read 62529 times)

gaurdduck

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Re: MamaLiberty's new story
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2010, 03:56:27 am »

This has to be the most excitement that ever occurred in Nebraska... Aside from the State Fair.
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Re: MamaLiberty's new story
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2010, 12:26:24 pm »

good stuff ML...keep it up.    :notworthy:
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coloradohermit

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Re: MamaLiberty's new story
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2010, 04:46:14 pm »

good stuff ML...keep it up.    :notworthy:
+1  Hooked and ready for more.
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MamaLiberty

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Re: MamaLiberty's new story- chapter 5
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2010, 05:03:40 pm »

Finders Keepers

Just like the replay of a bad movie, Charlie saw the blind curve and vacant factory building came into sight. Cathy and the boys were flat in back again, though not sleeping this time, and everyone looked grim. Nobody had any idea what to expect.

They crept up to the point of yesterday's attack and then came to a stop just beyond it. The spike strips were tossed off to the side, and a makeshift barrier of saw horses and 2x4s spanned the road instead. Weatherbeaten old men armed with farmer's rifles and shotguns were guarding it . They were obviously not bandits or goblins, but they didn't look welcoming.

Bradshaw stepped out of the hummer with his hands high, leaving his rifle behind but clearly armed with the holstered pistol. He stood still and let the men look him over, wondering what they thought about the faded camo and combat gear, not too much different than many of the bandits had worn. He was clearly not a cop or regular military, and right now even they were not apt to be too welcome much of anywhere.

A middle aged man in overalls and a straw hat stepped forward of the barrier. He wasn't exactly pointing the rifle at the Sergeant, but he wasn't exactly NOT pointing it at him either. His gaze bored into the vehicles, and then froze on the hummer as Cathy got out with the boys. Charlie didn't want to let her go, but she was adamant and would not be held back. She just stood there silently, waiting for whatever might happen. Somehow, her intuition had insisted that this was necessary for everyone to understand each other before there was a tragedy.

"Who are you, and what do you want?" The man directed his question to Cathy, his voice gruff with resolve, but the suspicion was fading from his expression and Bradshaw slowly lowered his hands. The old man lowered the muzzle of the rifle at the same time, and everyone took a deep breath.

"We were rescued from a city in Iowa," she said, her glance taking in Charlie and the boys. "These men have saved our lives." She went on gazing into the old man's eyes, but had nothing more to say.

The Sergeant moved slightly, drawing the man's attention and said, "We just need to get over the rails and back on the highway. We're going to our place in Wyoming. Would you please let us through to the crossing?

The man looked thoughtful, and then rubbed tired eyes as he made up his mind. "You see," he said in a whole different tone of voice, "we're sort of in a bind here and maybe you folks could help us." He almost smiled as he said it, but they could all see that he was suddenly very near to tears.

"Many of our young men are still overseas in some Islamic rat hole or another, and this town has been torn apart by all these filthy criminals who crawled out of the cities when things crashed. They've killed a lot of our folks, and there wasn't much we could do about it, but we've just learned that some women were taken captive and are being held down town. It may be a fool's errand to rescue them, but we'd sure like to try and 8 more men might just get the job done."

By now the barrier had been moved aside. Everyone had dismounted from the vehicles and all were gathered around the HumVee. The townsmen moved closer, most slinging their rifles, but the ever vigilant Mutt and Jeff kept their guns at the ready, scanning the surrounding buildings and open spaces carefully as they casually took opposite sides of the street .

"We can't stay here in the open," said Bradshaw, and the old man nodded. "Follow us," he said, and went to an old pickup truck that had been parked in an alley. 

Bradshaw's group remounted, and the rest of the townsmen piled into the truck bed, rifles back in their hands and at the ready.

The old truck pulled out and went west, then abruptly turned left onto a light industrial park. Another turn took them toward a shipping dock complex under two of the buildings, and they snaked around several abandoned 18 wheelers and assorted loose trailers until they were all parked in the gloom at the bottom of the ramp. The trucks and trailers topside were evidently being used as a screen because there were none in the underground area that was bordered on both sides by closed shipping doors.

Inside the office portion of one building, maps, sketch pads and pens or markers littered a big conference table. The building evidently had its own generating plant because some women with hot coffee and sandwiches appeared rapidly as they settled into the room. One older lady led Cathy off to find a rest room, and the boys were engaged with paper and markers at another table soon after they came back.

This time, Charlie took a chair at the council of war, having left the last of his reluctance and self doubt at the old RV park that morning.  He and his family had been rescued, and now it was time to pay that debt forward if it was at all possible.

The lead elder introduced himself as Luke Benson, a local farmer and county commissioner. Each person around the table introduced themselves, but only Bradshaw added a few words to indicate his former occupation and experience in the Marine Corps.

Luke said that most of the people in town had evacuated to the farms and were probably safe out there, but that his wife had been in town with him when the goblins hit and they'd been separated in the madness. She had been worried about a group of people who had insisted on staying in the old church and she might have tried to reach them. He hadn't seen her since.

Looking at the maps while this was going on, Charlie compared the topographical to an excellent detailed street view, and was delighted to see one of the new aerial view sort as well. Within a few minutes he was more familiar with the layout and features of the town than most of those who had lived there all their lives. For this was Charlie's gift. He had a photographic memory and perfect recall of it. He seldom had to look at a map a second time to know exactly where he was and how to get to where he needed to be - or to direct others to a desired destination. His memory worked just as well for other things, but was especially keen for maps and the geographical features of any landscape.

His eager study of the maps had not gone unnoticed. The Sergeant grinned, probably remembering Charlie's talent, and then turned to address Luke again. Charlie smiled too and relaxed into the nice chair, swirling the dregs of his coffee in the thick mug.

"Where did you say you thought the women were being held, Luke? Sarge said. Luke just wrung his hands and told them that his son Jake had gone out last evening to see if he could locate them. But he had not returned and was feared lost.

Bradshaw probably was not aware of the fierce look on his face and the eager tilt of his jaw, but it was not lost on anyone else in the room. The townspeople murmured to each other, casting hopeful glances at the newcomers. Nothing had been promised yet, but nobody really doubted now that the attempt would be made.

The morning seemed to be going by too fast to measure, but by 10 AM they were ready. Extra radios had been brought out, batteries and function tested, and pouches loaded with anything else they thought they might need. The boys wandered from group to group, alternately being cosseted and scolded, but enjoying all of it until, too tired to go on, they fell asleep at their mother's feet and were carried off by loving hands for a nap out of the bustle.

Charlie stood beside a large window in an empty office and watched the clouds in the south rising to fantastic heights, trailing showers and lightning across the prairie. A deep black bank of clouds on the horizon promised serious rain later. Cathy stood silently beside him, obviously not happy that he was going to leave without her, but accepting his desire - his need - to "pay forward" his debt to Bradshaw and the others. Charlie and two others had been chosen to do the scouting, to see if they could locate the women being held captive. She knew that Luke's son, who had gone on that mission the night before, had never returned so the risk was not small.

*****
The jeep had been chosen for this mission, and the man made cavern echoed slightly as the men shouted to each other over the sound of the engine and the occasional bursts of thunder. Bradshaw had just given the order for the recon team to mount up when a lone man came in out of the rain. He was soaked to the skin, and his long hair hung in strings around his face, but there was no menace in him.  He was young, not obviously armed, and wore the typical jeans and t-shirt, moving with fluid grace.

Luke and Bradshaw stepped forward together, and Luke took the young man's hand as it was extended wordlessly. "Did you find them? Luke said.

Turning to the Sergeant, Luke introduced the newcomer as his only son Jake.

"Yes, Pop, I found them. Was pinned down for a while, but finally got away." Jake was clearly almost exhausted, but excited with his news. "They're in the Manor House Motel on Main and 2nd St.," he said. "Those guys are starting to come off their drunk, and they're getting real ugly. We got to DO something fast!"

"Did you see your mother? Luke said sharply, but Jake just shook his head. "I couldn't get close enough to see anything much, but I know that's where they are... the ones who are still alive anyway... They took the women from the church and killed everyone else"  His voice trailed off and his eyes burned with hate. Luke put his arms around him saying, "These men are going to help us rescue everyone possible. We've got to let them get going."

Bradshaw nodded, and then turned to address the three men in the Jeep who had been ready to go looking for the women. "This changes everything, now that we know were they are. Hold on a moment and we'll all be going with you!"

"Saddle up! he shouted to the rest of the convoy. They'd all actually been ready to go, so it was only a few moments until all three vehicles roared up the ramp and headed out into the sporadic rain. Charlie had returned to the HumVee, and was now the navigator in the front passenger seat. Mutt was behind in the truck with his team, and Jeff brought up the rear in the Jeep with his group.

The wrecked and abandoned cars on the streets made progress very slow and Bradshaw noted that the gutters were already flowing from the passing thunderstorms. When the main rain hit, the streets would soon be flooded and travel would become even more hazardous. He hoped to be done and out of the open by then.

A block from the motel, they left the vehicles. Sarge sent two of the men to scout further on foot. They needed a better idea of what they were getting into. They had seen no signs of guards or watchers on the way in, but that didn't mean they hadn't been spotted. They just had to take the chance that the enemy was either too drunk or too hung over to mount a watch.

He was very worried that the bandits were being led by Emmanuel Perez, Millwright's demented lieutenant, as implacable an enemy as had ever lived. His serious lack of intelligence had always kept him in the shadow of his evil master, but his skill with any sort of bladed weapon was legendary among those who knew him. Bradshaw was as sure as he could be that the knife wounds Millwright had died from had been inflicted by Perez. Nobody else could have gotten close enough to the old tyrant anyway, but why Perez had killed him was a whole other unanswered question. He figured he's probably never know.

The scouts returned quickly, moving fast through another cloudburst. Jeff climbed into the back seat of the hummer to give Sarge report, and the other man returned to the Jeep where he had been before. Jeff's soggy clothing dripped on the seat and the odor of sweat and wet leather was heavy for a moment while he caught his breath.

"Not too many guys outside the Motel," he said. No telling how many inside, really, but they're still pretty drunk and very loud. I heard women screaming too, and wanted to go in there real bad, but here I am." He looked very grim, and took a second to swallow hard. "Lots and lots of doors, of course, being a motel. It's going to be a nightmare to clear the place of goblins without killing the hostages! The main building with the office, cafe and store are pretty messed up, but I didn't see any signs of fire. We could blow the place for a diversion, but I'm not sure what good that would do. They are just too screwed up to be predictable at all.

The Sergeant nodded, and then shared his fears about the identity of the goblin leader. Jeff took a deep breath and held it a moment, jaw tense and eyes very wide. "Oh God," he said, and swallowed hard again. Charlie had never heard of Perez, of course, but he felt the hair on the back of his neck rise in response to the fear demonstrated by the others.

"A personal challenge to fight might bring Perez out," said Bradshaw. The others looked at him silently. They certainly didn't have anything better to offer, and they knew the Sarge understood their enemy the best. What they didn't have was anyone even remotely qualified to take the crazy criminal lieutenant on in hand to hand combat. The did know that he would not agree to anything but knives.

"Sniper shot when he comes out?" Jeff suggested. "Maybe we could get him to come out?"
 
Charlie cleared his throat, and the others looked at him curiously. "Ah, are these guys like a gang outfit? How would they react if a rival gang came along and challenged them?"

Bradshaw just shook his head. "Not enough of us for that, but you did give me an idea Jeff. Hmmmm, I wonder where all of the big guns and vehicles from the Armory went to...  Sure wish we could see this burg from the air."

His eyes went immediately to a tower on a building on the block just beyond the motel. If they could manage to remain undetected and get up into the top of that structure, they might be able to see better, and they'd be in a much better position for sniper fire too.

Speaking to Luke on the radio, he soon determined that there was a way up the tower, probably locked, but not impossible to penetrate as the building was quite old. He also said that he thought the National Guard vehicles and guns had been loaded onto the train that had derailed east of town. He would send a group of men to determine if any could be recovered. Bradshaw instructed him on placement of any he was able to salvage, cautioning him to take great care not to be discovered by the bandits.

The pickup truck was left with one man as guardian of some very special ordinance. Mutt patted it as he set it up on the back of the truck and hoped to have the chance to use it. The HumVee and the Jeep went around several blocks to the big old church with the tower. It didn't look as tall when they got to it, but it was obviously the tallest structure in town and would give them some advantage anyway.

Getting into the tower was a matter of breaking one lock and climbing a long winding staircase to the top. The old clock mechanism occupied a closed area in the center, and a narrow window on each of the four sides let in plenty of light. Luckily the one on the side facing the motel had been broken out recently, so they didn't need to do anything but set up their equipment and wait. Monsoon rain and heavy wind came with the black clouds as three men were finding other rooftops around the motel to establish sniper points.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2010, 10:19:31 am by MamaLiberty »
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MamaLiberty

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Re: MamaLiberty's new story 5, continued
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2010, 05:05:04 pm »

The Sergeant shook his head and muttered to himself, while Jeff adjusted the scope on his big battle rifle to get a clearer picture of the most likely target. The rain and wind made a good clean shot almost impossible, he knew, but he'd do his best. Charlie looked out over the downtown area, trying to spot anything that might help them. They all had field glasses, and Charlie had a powerful spotting scope, temporarily mounted on the ledge of the old tower window. Something drew his attention to an old grain silo and feed mill on the far western edge of town, but he didn't have time to think about it much.

Suddenly, a car came out of the motel parking lot and stopped in front of one of the rooms. Everyone in the rescue party came to instant attention, and Jeff got serious about his aim. Lady luck might visit them, but she wouldn't stay around to give them a second chance. 

A small, dark man in a rumpled uniform staggered out, several other men crowding out behind him. Bradshaw touched Jeff's shoulder, and the sniper grew very still for just a moment before the rifle spoke. One man in the group fell, but it was not the right one, and the rest scattered fast. Two went back into the room, and three entered the car which sped off to the north. The Sergeant spoke into the radio, and a few moments later the car was hit with something rather larger than a bullet and came to rest in flames against the burned out hulk of a truck about a block away. Small arms fire was heard for a moment, but there was no movement from the wrecked car. The SMAW had come in handy, and their placement of it had been pure blind luck.

A stream of men came out of all the rooms, but nobody on the rescue team could see that as anything but a good thing. Gunfire rattled from many directions, and the drunken men in the street began to fall like bowling pins. They couldn't see anything to shoot at, of course, but that didn't stop them from shooting wildly into the surrounding buildings. That had to be stopped as quickly as possible, since the motel rooms behind them might be filled with hostages.

The snipers placed their shots carefully, in spite of the rain and wind, and the bandits in the street were quickly all accounted for. That left an unknown number still in the rooms, and the women were still hostages. While the situation had improved some, the telling point would be the presence of Perez. If he was dead in that car, the rest of the goblins might be killed or convinced to surrender. If Perez was in that room, a successful rescue was far from sure.

The radio signaled an incoming report, and the Sarge heaved a big sigh of relief to learn that Perez was almost certainly dead. He really ought to go down there to make a positive identification, but he doubted that there were two men here who would fit the description. Perez had a face that would stop a clock, full of old scars from knife fighting.

The rain intensified, and the afternoon began to grow dark. Luke had not been able to salvage any of the National Guard trucks, but they had a good number of guns and lots of ammunition. They had gathered a dozen men from the farms, and agreed to surround the motel to rush the buildings as soon as everyone was in place. There just wasn't any other way they could see to effect the rescue now.

Leaving Jeff in the tower, and at least three others on various rooftops around, the men assembled behind the old church and out of sight of the motel. Rain fell in sheets, and everyone was soon drenched, but their spirits were high and their resolve rock solid. The older men arrived and gave sandwiches and hot coffee from thermos bottles to the young warriors. A few men took a quick smoke in the doorway of the church, trying to stay out of the wind while Bradshaw and his team leaders conferred with Luke.

Then, after a quick huddle to be sure everyone knew their part, each man carefully made his way to an assigned position and waited for the signal to attack. Lightning once again began to flash through the storm clouds, and the rain continued. Charlie pulled the hood of his poncho over his face and checked again to be sure his rifle was covered. He hoped this would be over soon because he was just as exhausted as he'd been the day before and he didn't know how much longer he could go on. But he knew that he'd gone on much longer than he'd ever dreamed was possible, even back in the city, so he put it out of his mind and waited patiently, just as they'd taught him in the Marine Corps years ago.

He almost didn't see the signal anyway. A blinding flash of lightning and instant crack of thunder mostly covered the sound of the opening volley of gunfire. Charlie joined others rushing the motel rooms, kicking in the doors if they were locked, and taking out any resistance. There was surprisingly little, but the shock of seeing the condition of the women they found was more sickening than the toll exacted by having to kill their despoilers. It was all over very quickly, with a few men detailed to make sure all the goblins had been accounted for. Then the task of helping the women out to the waiting vehicles began. Nobody knew exactly how many women had been taken alive originally, but only 11 were found in the motel rooms. Luke helped with bowed shoulders and grim face, knowing his wife was not among the survivors.

Through the rest of the afternoon and evening, the men checked out all the other motels and  buildings in the town, finding nothing more than widespread destruction and many corpses, fortunately mostly goblins - except for the men and children in the old church sanctuary. It was sorrowful and crushing work for the townspeople.

A restless night's sleep in the old shipping center had been followed by a quick breakfast and brief good-bye speeches from the town elders. They would ever be grateful for the help they'd received, but they declined to follow the Sergeant and his party to relative safety in Wyoming. They were resolved to rebuild their town and resume their lives the best they could.

Bradshaw, Mutt and Charlie, with Cathy and the boys in the HumVee led their little convoy across the tracks and back onto the highway at the crossing north of town early the next morning. They still had a long road home.

Next chapter: The Kiss of Lady Luck
« Last Edit: April 28, 2010, 08:01:04 am by MamaLiberty »
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Re: MamaLiberty's new story
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2010, 09:02:47 pm »

Again...love it and keep it coming.



Just a small editorial note.   The stinger missile (used to blow up the car) is a surface to air missile and would not be used for that application.  A better choice would be the SMAW, a Marine specific,

S-holder launched
M-ulti-purpose
A-ssault
W-eapon.

Basically an updated, more powerful, re loadable bazooka.

Just sayin.   Ya know, for when you publish.   :thumbsup:
« Last Edit: April 28, 2010, 12:59:30 am by Who...me? »
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gaurdduck

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Re: MamaLiberty's new story
« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2010, 09:27:40 pm »

I'm not going to pick any nits, two thumbs up!

 :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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socalserf

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Re: MamaLiberty's new story
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2010, 05:53:43 am »

A better choice would be the SMAW, a Marine specific,

S-holder launched
M-ulti-purpose
A-ssault
W-eapon.

Basically an updated, more powerful, re loadable bazooka.



Can I buy of of those at the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms convenience store?
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Re: MamaLiberty's new story
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2010, 07:29:42 am »

LOL probably not in Kalifornia...sorry.   ^_^
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MamaLiberty

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Re: MamaLiberty's new story
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2010, 07:54:27 am »

Again...love it and keep it coming.
Just a small editorial note.   The stinger missile (used to blow up the car) is a surface to air missile and would not be used for that application.  A better choice would be the SMAW, a Marine specific,

That's great, and I'll change that. I have no idea about any of this hardware. And remember, I'm not writing this, really! The ghost who is driving my typing must not know a lot about such hardware either. LOL
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Zookeeper

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Re: MamaLiberty's new story
« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2010, 01:36:37 pm »

M.L.  You have me hooked. More Please.
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Re: MamaLiberty's new story
« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2010, 01:53:23 pm »

Hehe...no problem.   Just one of those things I get anal about.   :rolleyes:

If your ghost ever has any questions about stuff like that just shoot me a PM...my ghost is a weapons and hardware buff.   :mellow:
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"If you are in a fair fight, Your tactics suck"

"The kind of man who demands that government enforce his ideas is always the kind whose ideas are idiotic." - H. L. Mencken

MamaLiberty

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Re: MamaLiberty's new story
« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2010, 02:22:12 pm »

I read through the whole thing so far last night, and there seem to be quite a few big holes in it... so today I started on a sort of "prologue" that will plug a lot of them. We'll see if I'll be allowed to write it, and what new mysteries may be revealed!

This is the most bizarre writing experience of my life. :) I usually do careful plot outlines, character sketches, research the locations, and so forth... but not this time. Not kidding you guys at all. When I sit down to write this I have absolutely NO idea where the story is going or what's going to happen. 

In any case, please do send me any real gripes or problems with either hardware or tactics - or inconsistencies of any kind. We shall see if the ghost allows me to do anything about it!!

Probably will not be ready to post any more until some time tomorrow. Stay tuned!
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gaurdduck

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Re: MamaLiberty's new story
« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2010, 07:22:42 pm »

Will do! I look fo'ard to yer next post.
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MamaLiberty

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Re: MamaLiberty's new story
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2010, 09:56:28 am »

The story seems to have a title now. Here are the missing pieces. A small edit has been made to the second chapter as well, tying it in. Others are, no doubt needed, but for now this is it. My ghost needs another cup of coffee. :)

Consequences

All choices and actions have consequences. This story illustrates some of the consequences possible for the choices and actions Americans have taken since 1776. I sincerely hope I'm wrong.

Prologue

Betty slowly took the headphones off, placed them on their hook by the radio, and then put her head down on her arms to sob. Roger Bradshaw came into the radio room just then, and gently rubbed her neck while he rescued the notebook under her arms. He continued to rub her neck and back while he read the notes she had taken from their ham contacts in the east and California.

None of it really surprised him, but he was still dealing with some shock that it had all happened so fast. Four weeks ago, the US dollar had at last joined the scrap heap of history without anything to replace it, at least not on an international level. Imports had stopped arriving, including food and the oil so desperately needed for the transport of basic food and supplies.

Martial law had been declared across the country, and Washington DC had been burned to the ground within the next few days. It was not known if the President or Congress, etc. had died, but Roger didn't suppose the country had been that lucky. The criminals of DC had had their rabbit holes prepared for a long time - at least for the chief rabbits.

Soon, rioting had broken out in the big cities, and it had been obvious from the start that the various law enforcement agencies were woefully inadequate to stop it, even in those places were National Guard troops were sent in. The cutbacks and budget woes of the last year had made that inevitable, and they were simply outnumbered regardless of superior firepower. Thousands, on both sides, were dying every day.

Now, the latest reports from ham operators in Iowa, along the Mississippi, and California were coming in. Large groups of desperate, lawless men, including released prisoners, were beginning to infiltrate farther and farther into the center of the country, looting and burning as they came. One of the most disturbing things to Bradshaw was a confirmed report of a National Guard commander in Nebraska who had deserted with his picked troops. Unfortunately, nobody knew where they had gone when they left Omaha. Roger knew this man personally, and he greatly feared their paths might cross again.

Betty stood up and put her arms around her new husband. Her sobs were controlled, but the tears continued to fall on his broad chest. He gave her a hug, then took her hand and led her out the door. Soon they stood before a small group gathered in the lounge of their community building - a former "dude ranch" headquarters and main house.

Twenty three adults, another twenty not quite out of their teens, and a large group of young children who were mostly sleeping on bed rolls along one wall. Three grannies watched them, while half a dozen older women worked in the adjacent kitchen packing food and other supplies into backpacks and boxes.

Every adult in the room had a sidearm, and racks full of rifles nearly filled the far wall next to the outside door.

"You know why we've gathered," Roger said, after reading the latest reports to them. Their faces were generally stoic, though there was a glint of tears in more than a few of their eyes. They had been preparing for just this day for a very long time. Two of the ladies came up and took Betty to a seat at one side, silently comforting her.

"We also have a few members not present here, as you know. Betty's brother Charlie and his family did not get out of Iowa in time. Why that happened is not really important now, I think, and I suspect Charlie and Cathy are very aware of the errors they made. The question before us is what to do about it, if anything."

They were all silent for a few moments, remembering the events of the last few weeks. They had expected Charlie to roll in any time, but it had become evident that Cathy was not as committed to the move as she had seemed to be during earlier visits, and she was not really willing to leave her family in Sioux City, Iowa. They, unfortunately, had not been willing to even consider leaving the city.

The last communication from Charlie, just before the cell phone network went down, had confirmed that he was ready to "fort up" in his home and had prepared the best he could with supplies and ammunition. He had indicated continued hope in a peaceful outcome, or at least a restoration of order by the police. But he hadn't sounded as if he believed it much... And he'd been mighty sorry they couldn't come out for the wedding.

Six young men stood by the back door, as if they were not completely sure of their welcome yet. Their haircuts and manners identified them easily as Marines, and the faded BDU uniforms gave silent testimony to their recent experience. They had come with Roger, all being discharged in the final and hectic days ending the "war" in the Mideast. Thousands had finally been released from their long "stop loss" extensions of expired enlistments, and most of them had refused the offers to join various law enforcement and National Guard organizations. They'd had a belly full of the lies and abuse from their "government."

The oldest of the former Marines, Jeff Sutton, stepped forward and addressed his former Sergeant. "We can just go get them," he said, grinning. The others nodded agreement. Charlie was one of their own, a former Marine, even though these 6 had never met him.

"We'd be leaving our community a tad light on security," Bradshaw commented, but the combination of scornful and defiant looks from the rest of the people made him laugh out loud. They all chuckled with him then, realizing that he'd been pulling their legs.

"Anyone object to us doing a rescue?" Bradshaw asked. We've got our own vehicles and supplies, of course. No need for anyone to go with us. You might want to see to it that the cabin Charlie built here is ready to be occupied.

Nobody had any objections, but there was plenty of discussion later as some of the folks joined Bradshaw and his troops in the planning session. The maps and notepads were stained with coffee and marking pens, empty plates and cups pushed to the side to make room for them.

"Not too many large towns between here and Iowa," Jeff said. "If we stick to smaller state highways and county roads, we should be ok. We don't know how well or if these towns are prepared to deal with invaders, and we'll have to be mighty careful not to get mistaken for goblins." Bradshaw rubbed the back of his neck, easing the tension, and said, "I sure wish we had Charlie with us because he's a whiz with maps in strange territory, but we'll have him on the way home." Standing up, he said, "We've got the route mapped, so unless someone has something to add, I suggest we get some sleep and head out at first light."

Yawns and grins greeted this prospect without objection, and one by one they left to find their various bed rolls while Bradshaw rolled the maps and tucked them in his tote bag. He turned out the light and went down the hall to the room he shared with Betty.

Tomorrow was going to be a very long day.
Logged
The lust to control the lives and property of others is the root of all evil.
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