Volunteers Fiction





This is a work of fiction I dabble with from time to time. Mostly just an exercise in character development and trying out different things. The basic premise is a declining United States due to failing economic policies and peak resource issues, following a course of increased socialism, redistribution, government tyranny and oppression.

In short pretty much a continuation of what we have been experiencing over the last five years followed to it's natural conclusion.

The "County" which I haven't named as yet is simply any given generic rural Mid-Western county with needs and attitudes shaped by those needs that do not follow the progressive ideals of the more populated urban areas.

It is a story of the people fighting back against the raids and incursions by the Federal alphabet agencies and their hired mercenaries.

Keep in mind it is a work in progress and one that at this point resembles something blasted with No. 9 bird shot. It is all over the place. If I get details wrong, misspellings, grammar, what have you feel free to let me know. I am not overly editing or doing more than brainstorming really so there will be many mistakes.

I will make individual posts of the short stories to my blog usually on Sundays and then after a short while will copy and paste them here.

I hope you enjoy reading them.


Sara

Everything was still covered in dew as the sun began to break over the budding hardwoods and cast it's orange glow across the fields and fences. What few cattle remained on the small farm were already at the pasture gate waiting to be fed.


Sara could hear them protesting as she slipped out of bed and gathered up her clothes.


Don's side of the bed was already empty, he had awoke hours earlier and slipped out the door heading for the back of the farm. A fence was down and he needed to have it fixed before they could move the cattle from one pasture to the other. Don had taken all the materials he needed to fix the fence out yesterday so there was no need to take one of the vehicles this morning. He would walk and then pick up the tools later when it was time to put a bale of hay out with the tractor.


Both gas and diesel were in short supply so combining trips was a necessity.


Since matrial law had been declared almost a year ago everything had been rationed. Sara and Don's place barely qualified them as a "working" farm so the government goons had allowed them to stay on their property. Many of the locals who had houses scattered around in hidden pockets had been forced to relocate to an approved city. No matter how much land you owned if you had a job somewhere else or didin't work your land directly the government would not allow you to stay.


Sara and Don's nearest neighbors, the  Hendersons had lived barely a mile down the county road and they had been forced off their land for that very reason. They had owned almost 200 acres but leased out some of it and collected Department of Ag "CRP" money off other parts by not planting anything. When the economic problems struck Mr. Henderson was one of the few who had held on to his full time job at a bank, now nationalized,  in a nearby small city. Under the new rules only those who directly worked the land were allowed to reside in the rural countryside. Many local college and government employees who fancied themselves country dwellers had a rude awakening when they found out they no longer had the right to own land under the new government rules.


What the government was going to do with all the small (and large) private estates and land they had confiscated was as yet unknown.


Sara didn't really feel a bit sorry for them actually. They had always been part of the problem. They wanted their own property and houses away from the cities but still aimed to benefit from the taxes of others. They voted in the politicians that promised more spending just so they could keep their pensions and cushy jobs. Good riddance to em. They didn't belong out here anyway.


As Sara exited the house to start the day which began with shutting up the complaining cattle,  she glanced over at the fence line running between the yard and the small hay field. Sure enough the fist sized piece of limestone was sitting right on top of the third fence post from the Western corner.
She had expected that.


Two days earlier the Feds had hit the Hubers' farm not 5 miles North up County Highway J. Sara didn't know the Hubers personally but news of the "raid" traveled fast. It certainly hadn't been the first one around here this Winter.


Sara didn't know which specific government agency had done it. Rumors flew of course that they were looking for guns or other contraband but the truth was Sara couldn't keep all the different agencies straight anyway. At nearly 60 years old she wasn't going to go grab a rifle and take off across the countryside no matter how much she wanted to so keeping track of the specific agencies was useless to her anyway. Don was in no shape for guerrilla warfare either for that matter. Their days of physical resistance were past but they could still help.


That stone meant that once again their help was being asked for.


Officially Marion county had been pacified but unofficially the government had never let out that they had lost two complete "teams" this Winter alone. Once a raid went down or news of one surfaced the local militia would activate or so Sara imagined. She had heard rumors that other sympathizers located close to heavily traveled roads would tip off the militia when a convoy was moving. Other times she had been told that the local militia would set up ambush traps or wait close to farms they thought were likely to be raided.


Don had mentioned last Fall that air assets in the form of helicopters and such had never materialized in this part of the country. The government thugs needed those elsewhere it was assumed but such things were outside Sara and Don's knowledge.


The less Sara knew about the particulars the better she felt. She didn't know any of the militiamen. That fleeting image that melted into the woods two months ago that reminded her an awful lot of her own great nephew could have been anyone really. Neither her sister nor her niece ever mentioned Zack joining the militia and that was exactly where Sara wanted the matter to rest.


It was enough for Sara to know that the Limestone rock showing up on that particular fence post meant the militia was asking for supplies. The government enforcers had tax payer funded MREs and trained support crews. The local militia had only what they could get locally.


Sara would not let the boys down.

Don

Even in the pre-dawn dimness Don could see the limestone rock had been moved. Limestone had a peculiar quality, it almost glowed when any ambient low level light was around, especially early dawn or late evening sunlight. It's greyish, milky quality made it stick out when the light was dim and then seem to fade as the light became more intense but yet campfire or focused light didn't seem to have the same effect on it. For that reason Limestone was good for marking things like walkways, flower beds and covert signs.


First things first however he had to get that section of the back fence fixed and most of the preparations during daylight would fall on Sara anyway. Don's job would come later.


Don knew considerably more about the local Militia than Sara did and much more than Sara would be comfortable with him knowing. Even at 64 with bad knees and shortness of breath Don had volunteered to join the Militia, at least on a local basis. He certainly wasn't sure about packing up, leaving Sara to fend for herself and going on some long term campaign as a light guerrilla fighter but Don was more than willing to help protect his neighbors and their county from these government thugs. As a married landowner the Militia had actually turned him down. Well not really turned him down but the gentleman who acted as the local liaison and supply officer explained to Don that he was much more valuable where he was.


These days after more than a year of government raids, property seizures and intervention there really were not any government sympathizers left. A few informants had been smoked out and dealt with but almost everyone still around were connected by family ties or were connected somehow. The old two steps removed rule came into play.


Information and intelligence leakage was not a problem within the Militia or the resistance in general unless someone was "arrested" and questioned and when that happened the Militia usually knew about it before the arresting team made it to the nearest "safe" area. Occasionally the Fed teams would hit the right house and actually capture a Militia member. It happened unfortunately, but the Militia leaders had prepared for that as well.


The city bred government thugs didn't know a whole lot about modern day farming or the rural population in general for that matter. They seemed to have some notion that each landowner had their acreage in one big square with little or no contact between their neighbors throughout the day. In point of fact so many farms had been broken up over the years due to tyrannical government inheritance and restrictive property taxes, then sold into parcels, that a true map of just who was farming what parcel would look like a patchwork quilt if viewed from the air. Maybe things were different out West but around here the gravel and dirt roads were busy as the farmers moved equipment from one field to another.  Even with the gas and diesel rationing the government had to supply the gas to the farmers if they wanted to eat and very little was trucked beyond local areas these days. It wasn't unusual for the larger producers to be working 40 or 50 small fields separated by a mile or more each or a cattleman to have his herd spread out in three or four different locations across a few miles.


Nestled in between all these scattered agricultural pockets were scores of small houses and two or three acre lots, many of which were owned by those who commuted to work in the cities but didn't want to live in them for obvious reasons. Most of those types along with the retired at 45 public employees had already been removed "For the Common Good". Their houses now sat vacant.


What this set of circumstances had produced was the perfect line of secure communication for a population brought together by mutual distrust and fear. No place on earth was as immune from prying ears and technological oppression as standing in the middle of 40 acres of soybeans or chatting next to a diesel tractor cooling off. Especially when the vaunted government drones were needed somewhere else.

Hanging cameras in trees didn't seem to get much of a payoff out here.


Don would more than likely pass a half dozen locals on the stretch of road that ran next to his small pasture before the sun was halfway across the Winter sky this morning. By tomorrow any word or news started on the other side of the county would be relayed to all the farms on this side of the county and vice versa. Word got around and it was usually delivered by someone you had known for decades and trusted.


This also meant that Don knew quite a bit about the local Militia, all by word of mouth through his neighbors. Nothing official mind you just general gossip with a ring of truth to it.



Essentially there were three teams in the County Militia.  An Eastern Team and a Western Team. There was also the support team.  At most there were maybe forty men and a couple of women who were actually active in the Militia. Outside of those few brave souls there were hundreds like Don who could be called up if it came down to a situation that needed real numbers.


Thankfully it had never gotten that far.


Due to the nature of the government raids usually only one team was needed for an ambush at the most. Most of the members of one team did not know the members of the other team, at least through Militia channels although they probably did know them personally. Several active members were in deep hiding as well because they had been compromised or positively identified but not picked up.



The support team was a very jealously guarded crew. They rarely came together as a group and usually consisted of not more than one or two individuals active at a time moving donated supplies from a drop off point to another collection point. Sometimes they would run messages and move signals around like the rock on the fencepost.


Don knew his great nephew was a member of the support team.


The only real leader anyone knew for sure was Paul Rackers. He was the face of the Militia and the leader of the support team. He was also a ghost as far as the feds were concerned. They knew he was out there, they looked for him everywhere but they could never find him.


Don had to chuckle about that because he saw him at least once or twice a week in general. Any resident out and about was liable to see Paul. He would drive by on one of Underwher's old tractors one day or be seen riding on the back of a four wheeler a few days later. Always traveling, never staying in one place two nights in a row but always doing his job recruiting and gathering supplies for the Militia.


Paul Rackers was the most wanted man in the State it was said.


"We all have our jobs to do" Don said out load to himself.


After he finished fixing this fence, Don would go put the finishing touches on his delivery container and complete a few other tasks he had been asked to do.


By this time he had walked the distance to the back line and began checking to see which posts needed replaced and how much wire he needed to run out.


It was going to be a busy day.

Fed Route One

Cursing softly to himself Jason once again lowered the binoculars he was using and quickly wiped the water droplets off the front of the lenses.

The light drizzle and cold North wind blowing into the position really sucked. He wished there had been a better location for this particular observation and early warning post but that simply had not been in the cards.

There were many ways in and out of the county by road. Paved and gravel roads were everywhere, or so it seemed at first glance but the rugged terrain and frequent creeks meant that 99% of them went only a short distance off the main roads. If you looked at only the main arteries, the roads with well constructed and maintained bridges,  the numbers fell dramatically. If you counted the small county maintained gravel roads and low weight limit bridges or low water crossings that connected the main roads, keeping track of the coming and going might seem impossible. Until those connecting roads were destroyed that is.

It was doubtful the Fed teams operating in the area really understood just what had been done to the local infrastructure. It had taken weeks for each Militia unit to work out and a few residents had been a bit inconvenienced but arrangements had been made.

There were more than a few farms and isolated houses which could now only be reached by four wheeler or tractor and many of those required the vehicles to traverse over their neighbors private property to get past damaged sections of road. It had taken a bit to work out permissions and explain the need but everyone agreed to the need before the damage had been done.

Besides with the gas rationing so many locals were using their feet or horses to travel a road being impassable to vehicles hardly mattered to them. Only the bridges were really an inconvenience.

A few blown bridges here, trees felled there, some backhoe work that looked like a wash out and any wheeled excursion into the county was limited to a very few major choke points. Major choke points that were also corridors miles long with century old oaks and hickory trees pressing close in many places.  Over looking these long corridors the Militia then placed the observation posts.

This particular post that Jason was assigned to along with a partner in three day shifts was situated along a State maintained secondary single lane highway designated Highway Y. It ran roughly East/West but snaked along like a serpent while doing so. About ten miles to the East it met another two lane road designated Highway MN and Highway Y ended while MN now went North/South. Five miles to the West Highway Y left the county and within about a hundred yards crossed over a major US Highway before entering a bedroom community town of the Fed's regional stronghold city. Now mostly abandoned.

Highway Y was one of only four vehicle entry points into this half of the county and it's positioning made it the primary entry point for most raids.  The Militia quickly began referring to it as "Fed Route One". It's fifteen mile length had perhaps two dozen gravel roads crossing it North and South as it ran along the top of a ridge line before ending at Highway MN. However most of the roads that crossed it only went a mile or two before ending at either a major impassable creek to the South or another ridge that had never been breached to the North. Only three roads (One North and Two South) crossed the natural obstacle in either direction and all three of them had been destroyed basically turning Highway Y into a fifteen mile corridor the Fed teams had to travel to get into other parts of the county.

The same destruction of similar side roads in other parts of the county meant that a Fed team had to travel miles into the county and then back out along another route just to cover only a mile or two in actual distance. It also gave the Militia response teams time to mobilize and move to prearranged ambush sites. It wasn't fool proof of course but over the last few months the Militia had gotten better at guessing the approximate destination of the Fed Teams.

The observation post was placed inside a tree line facing Northwest as Highway Y came around a long right turn dropping about ten foot in elevation as it traveled along the other side of a ten acre hay field. After about two hundred yards the road then hit a long sharp left turn and disappeared  as it looped around the wooded area.

Inside the tree line the "Op" was a hand dug pit about four and a half foot deep shaped in a "T" the front of which had been built up with sand bags hidden behind a fallen tree that had a convenient branch coming off it at an angle heading up. This top portion was the support for the overhead cover and contained a papa-san pillow cover stuffed with old insulation sandwiched between dead limbs and covered with leaves, dirt and sticks. This insulated cover nestled inside the oak thicket which didn't drop their leaves in Winter blocked any heat signature of the men from overhead. The front observation slit and the back entrance also had emergency foil blankets sewn into camouflage material hung over them to block lower angle thermal views.

Out the back of the OP ran about four hundred yards of commo wire which lead to a basement of an old farm house off to the Northeast.  On a top shelf seemingly discarded with dozens of old phones and radios the commo wire came in and connected to an ancient field telephone.  Below the shelves at an old scared and battered desk sat an even older, scared and weathered man.

He was rolling a cigarette of home grown tobacco using paper he had pulled out of a phone book dated 1972. On the desk in front of him set a device that looked like something out of a wild west movie with wires that ran up the opposite wall from the field phone.

The old man finished rolling his cigarette and lit it with the candle he had burning on the desk.  As he pushed himself away with more strength than he looked capable of producing the wheel chair he sat in became obvious.  He rolled over to the small pile of wrist sized logs and tossed one into a potbellied stove then while picking up a "Popular Mechanics" magazine dated almost two decades earlier he said out loud.

"It's going to be another long day, might as well get comfortable"

Fight or Flight Part 1

Jason looked over the small berm in front of the OP holding back the poncho liner covering as he scanned the ground to his front using the cheap Gen 1 night vision monocular they brought with them. It was a good night for such a device. Newly fallen snow and a bright moon almost three quarters full lit up everything to his front in the green view finder. The hay field, road and trees across the road were eerily illuminated. Not 30 minutes ago Jason had watched a pair of red fox walk casually across the field with a view so crisp he could see one of them was carrying a mouse in it's maw.

"Psssst, Jason"

Jason looked over at the slightly darker spot within the overall blackness that was the inside of the observation post.

"What is it now Kid?"

The Kid's name was Austin. Austin Miller. He was all of maybe 18 or 19 years old but had become a member of the Militia after his family was "disappeared" by a DHS task force team early last Summer.

The team had hit hard and fast in the middle of the night while Austin was out with some friends violating the mostly ignored curfew laws and those of his parents as well.  No one could say for sure what had happened or why Austin's family had been targeted but from the accounts of the aftermath Jason had heard, there was little doubt Austin's parents at least were no longer among the living. What happened to his sister was still not known but a neighbor did report seeing her being loaded into one of the SUV's on her own two feet while two other bodies were wrapped in sheets and assumed to be Austin's parents.

Austin had no other family within the county and when a close family friend went to town to ask about his sister that friend disappeared as well. From that point on Austin had become a Militia member. Constantly on the run and assumed to be KoS (Kill on Sight) by the Federal teams and agents. Not even Austin had any clue as to why.

That particular raid was also the one that decided the destruction of the side roads. The team had passed the OP but turned off and crossed Hawthorn Creek to their target before the Militia could mobilize and get a handle on where they were heading.

"What did you do in the Army" Was Austin asked next.

"I was a turret mechanic for M-60 tanks over in Germany"

"Oh. Then you didn't ever have to actually shoot anyone back then did you?"

"We weren't in any war back then kid, and you better get some sleep."

Austin had spent a month after the raid and loss of his family training at the Militia basic camp off to the East towards the very center of the county. Jason kinda knew where it was although he had never been there in person. Jason had joined the militia long before the need for secret training camps were around.

Not a bit sleepy yet, Austin then asked "Do you think we will need to shoot anyone from here?"

"This mission and OP is for sounding the alarm and letting the West camp know if a Fed convoy or assualt team enters the county from here" Jason responded. "It isn't for armed defense or starting a firefight. You know that. You were at the same briefing I was."

" I know, we are to watch and report only. But what if some Fed troops discovered our position or something? Would we fight back then?"

" You were briefed on that as well. If our position is compromised we defend ourselves, crank the field phone once, cut the wires then bug out taking the phone with us and dumping that gallon of fuel oil in the hole and lighting it if we can. Old Ed back in the house knows to wind the wire back up if no one is talking after the field phone goes off and we are to bug out South through the woods away from the house and proceed to the low water bridge to the Southwest and await a hook up there."

"I would also recommend each of us take one of these sewn up poncho liner/emergency blanket combos to cover up in just in case the Fed guys have their drones back now." Jason continued.

"I know all that" Austin replied "I am just not sure I can shoot someone."

Jason thought long and hard about his answer. He wasn't worried nor did he think less of Austin for having doubts. Hell all of them had doubts.

Finally Jason said "Just imagine your target was one of the guys on that raid that took your family and you will find the resources you need kid."

"But if you have more than one target how do you decide which one to shoot first?"

"I always make it a point to shoot at the one shooting at me." Said Jason. "Or if they haven't started shooting yet I always lead with the ones who had been Marines before joining the Fed agencies."

"How do you know which ones had been marines?" Austin asked.

After a few seconds Jason turned his head towards the black spot and said " Whether they are good guys or bad guys. Asshats or brothers in arms, one thing is always the same with ex-marines Kid. They will always let everyone within earshot know they were in the corp before they ended up here like everyone else. Always."

 Austin fell silent and Jason was once again appreciating the calm and quiet when he heard the sound of engines coming down the road fast and could see the headlight splash lighting up the ice crystals in the air above the trees across the road. Jason didn't hear any sirens but he could tell there was also a flashing light showing above the trees and mixing with the headlight glare. From the sound of the engines who ever or what ever was coming was going entirely too fast for the curve they were about to suddenly come up on.

Taking down the caution signs along the road had been Jason's idea too.

                                                     ..............................................................

Lavideous Clay was just a common street thug, gang banger from the South side of St. Louis around the Forest Park area. During his teenage years he had amassed an impressive number of minor theft and drug charges spending a couple of years in juvenile facilities hosted by State tax dollars. During his last stint Lavideous' mother managed to get approved for section 8 housing and had moved herself and her remaining three children North into Florrisant. When Lavideous had gotten out the last time he began staying with his mother occasionally and picking up contacts up that way eventually hanging out with a group of like minded "Youfs" at the local outlet mall.  Lavideous decided one day to impress his friends by sucker punching an old White dude. Try as he might however he couldn't find a old man suffeciently alone, in the open and unaware enough to be safely attacked so he switched targets to any "YT" available and eventually settling on a slightly over weight woman who had made some comment about him and his friends blocking the entrance on her way out.

Didn't that bitch know not to look at or speak to him?

As she waddled across the parking lot Lavideous swiftly caught up to her from behind after getting his groups attention and swung as hard as he could into that "bitches Face" knocking her down and cutting her forehead open with one of his rings.

Lavideous danced his way triumphantly back to the group enjoying their laughter and catcalls when he heard the siren behind him. In his haste to take that "White bitch out" he had not noticed the police cruiser rolling slowly between the rows of parked cars. He turned around and was surprised to see a local officer coming towards him fast while the officer's DHS companion leveled an M4 at his chest and telling him to freeze.

Lavideous could now add assault to his long list of crimes and to make matters worse his victim turned out to be the lesbian "partner" of a local activist judge. Lavideous had finally run afoul of a group more protected than his own and no longer a minor was swiftly sentenced to three years at one of the new work and re-education programs out in the sticks.

It wasn't all bad though. Mostly they assigned him work details mowing the lawn at parks around the university or cleaning buildings. He could stop work and try and get the little White sluts to talk to him and had managed to even score some weed occasionally when he wasn't being supervised directly. The councilors and guards were only there to draw a pay check anyway. Lavideous was surprised to find out most of them were just like him only a couple of years older and shared the same hatred for Whites in general as he did. His "jailors"  had just learned to scam the system at a greater level and pick up nice pensions at "YT's" expense while doing so.

Everything got crazy once again when Lavideous had spied out a young White girl and started a conversation up with her as she was leaving the building he was working in. He got a bit agressive attempting to get her to go downstairs with him to the basement and the girl broke away screaming for help.

With his supervisor/guard no where to be seen Lavideous fled out the back of the building and stole a shiny new Jeep SUV a few blocks away after pulling some bitch and her kid out of the front seat while they were parking. He then just drove not really knowing which way to go or even where he was for that matter.  After several hours of driving around without knowing where he was going Lavideous finally found himself on a highway heading South long after the sun had went down. Finally he turned onto another small highway and planned to drive until his gas ran out then find some place to hole up and get his bearings. Shortly after leaving the large highway he blew right through a combined police/DHS checkpoint and was now being pursued by one of the cars and two officers that had been manning it.

Lavideous pushed the gas peddle all the way down hoping to lose the police on the twisting road. As he came up a steep hill and started around the curve  he had no idea how fast he was going and no clue just how sharp that turn actually was.

Fight or Flight Part II

Why do I always get stuck with this dickhead? Was what Eric was asking himself as he downed another cup of coffee and stamped his feet in the slush trying to wake up.

Eric had always wanted to be a small town cop ever since he was a kid. After getting through high school he had joined the National Guard and became an MP. With basic and AIT under his belt all he had to do was go to drill each month, get a part time job and wait to take his state law enforcement course for certification. At twenty one he was offered a spot almost automatically with the local department. The turnover rate was pretty high in those days because the pay wasn't all that good.

Eric didn't care he was doing what he loved. After almost 15 years on the force the locals all liked him and he was assured of  landing the chief job when the current one retired or more likely found a higher paying position somewhere else. Eric had learned his lesson after the last time and even went and got his Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice so the asshole politicians didn't have a convenient excuse this next time around.

"Fucking Mayor" He said out loud.

Until then here he was, the official Ashton Police Department officer on loan to the regional DHS task force. Eric hated these damned so called task forces. Once long ago he had been talked into taking a slot with a regional drug task force made up of personnel from all the departments around the area. They were  given full SWAT gear and each department of course got some Federal money, which was the real reason the chief at the time was all for it. Eric just wasn't that type of officer and quickly moved aside when the extra money allowed the department to hire another three officers. There was no end to applicants that just wanted to be armed thugs back in those days and Eric couldn't stomach the one knock with a battering ram raids and dog shooting parties the other officers seemed to enjoy.

The last raid was what did it. Up North in the college town they had a warrant on an alleged meth house. As it turned out they were indeed cooking meth in there but no one even bothered to ask about children and when the stack went in knocking the door off it's hinges they about killed a four year old girl. They didn't even know she was under the broken door until all of them had tramped over her. She didn't die, which saved the task force some bad press, but she was never going to grow up to be a healthy woman that's for sure.

Eric still had nightmares about it and he knew with cold certainty not one other member of that task force even cared or remembered it.

So here he was on another joint task force just outside Ashton. His town. At least there were no raids because the Fed guys looked down on the locals and only used them to set up these check points that were manned by a couple of National Guard guys, a local law enforcement representative and a DHS thug. The idea was to check anyone coming or going into the off limits areas and if an arrest or pursuit took place the DHS agent and the local LEO would do it in the locals patrol car and leave the National Guard guys at the checkpoint.

It really wasn't a bad gig. These days there wasn't much traffic in or out of the off limits area but it meant spending time with a dickhead or in this case Agent Anthony Delgado aka dickead.

At the moment agent dickhead was over telling one of the National Guard guys how in the Marines they made the top gunner constantly scan 360 degrees at all times while at a check point.  The poor kid standing up through the open turret on the Hummer manning the SAW just kept saying yes sir and swiveling around as fast as he could.

When Eric had had enough he broke in saying "Have there been any red flags radioed in tonight Agent Delgado?"

The kid on top of the Hummer looked at Eric with obvious relief as dickhead turned to focus on the question, puffing up his chest in imagined importance. Eric gave the soldier a quick look and winked.

'Ya some dirtbag escapee stole a car up near the university and assaulted a couple of chicks. That was a few hours ago so I doubt we will see anything of him." He said "If the scumbag was coming this way he would have passed by here a long time ago."

It was then that Agent Delgado noticed the headlights coming down the road from the West.

"Heads up guys" is all he said as he stepped out into the road to wave the red SUV down.

The checkpoint really wasn't set up to stop traffic. It had one simple 2"x4" saw horse type arrangement across the road and that was it. The driver of the SUV gunned the engine and damned near did the world a service by running over agent Delgado but dickhead managed to jump out of the way at the last second, all the while screaming at the soldier on the SAW to fire.

Eric had no clue what was wrong with the SAW he glanced up to see the National Guardsman fiddling with it but it never did fire. The other guardsman did begin popping off with his old M16A2 but Eric doubted if he hit anything.

The driver of the SUV didn't know what he was doing that much was obvious. He had ran right over one of the upright supports for the barrier and by the looks of it had shoved one leg of it up under the vehicle hard enough to get stuck there. Eric chucked his coffee to the side of the road and moved to his patrol car while dickhead was screaming to get after him as he got up and made for the passenger side of Eric's patrol car.

They were 50 yards down the road and only about two tenths of a mile behind the jeep in justa  few seconds.

"Shit I left my M-4 hanging on that damned HumVee"  Delgado said. "Is your shotgun unlocked down here?"

Delgado was looking down and reaching under the seat trying to remove the old 870 Eric's department assigned to each patrol car so he didn't see the tail lights of the Jeep suddenly rise into the air and then spin end over end to land upside down twenty yards into an old hay field.

Agent Delgado did curse loudly when the top of his head bumped hard into the handle attached to the car's dashboard as Eric slowly pumped the brakes to come to a safe stop.

"Remember to buckle up. It's the Law" was all Eric could think of in reply to Dickhead's cursing.

Eric was not the slightest bit surprised the jeep went off the road at this particular spot. Over the years many a drunk driver had done exactly what this guy did. Not a few of them were being pursued by Eric in this very car as a matter of fact. With the warning signs missing, the lack of snow removal and the speed the jeep was traveling this outcome was a done deal in Eric's mind before he had even started his pursuit. No reason to let Dickhead in on that though.

As Delgado fumbled with the 870's safety release Eric aimed the spotlight towards the wrecked jeep and was surprised to see a figure dragging himself away from the wreckage towards the treeline on the edge of the field.

"Now let's get that son-of-a-bitch" Delgado stated as he climbed out the passenger door while simultaneously working the slide of the 870.


Fight or Flight Part III 

Jason could quite plainly see the lights coming towards them. The white glare was quickly followed by the tell tale flashing rotation of the police cruiser's lights so he knew there was more than one vehicle and it was a pursuit situation. Of course he had no way of knowing who or what was being pursued but the current circumstances automatically put Jason into a mood to defend anyone running from the police/homeland security thugs.

Next to him Austin was getting noticeably excited. "What do we do Jason?"

"Get ready to take a report. We need number of vehicles, types, speed, and any other noticeable information. Everything. Then we will get on the field phone and let Ed know what's afoot and give him our report to forward over to HQ."

Just as Jason finished giving Austin these instruction the first pair of lights topped the hill coming around the curve and promptly lost their grip on the road rolling end over end almost fifty feet out into the hayfield in front of the OP.

Jason had mentioned several months back that this particular hay field had a reputation, and the often patched fence, of being a drunk drivers end but no one really thought drunk drivers were anything to really worry about these days. None-the-less here they were with an overturned SUV and a local Ashton police cruiser now stopped less than 100 yards to the very front of the militia's forward observation post. And it had to happen on Jason's watch  complete with the most green assistant he could have possibly drawn.

"Some guys have all the luck" Jason whispered under his breath.

"OK Kid." Jason said to Austin in a low voice. "Don't do a damned thing unless I tell you  and take your finger off that trigger."

Jason couldn't actually see if Austin had his finger on the trigger but he was pretty sure he did.

"Let's just see where this leads. We got a pretty good view as they are still below us and that spotlight isn't in our eyes."

The driver of the SUV had begun crawling, limping, falling his way directly towards the wood line at a slight angle that would have taken him in maybe 20 yards or so North of the OPs position. The injured driver however barely made it a few yards before the two officers from the police cruiser had walked all the way up to him. One of the officers carried a shotgun while the other had only his sidearm, which was still holstered, and a flashlight.

To Jason's surprise the officer with the shotgun walked up to the injured driver and began kicking him and prodding him along with the muzzle end of his weapon yelling for him to move faster. The officer with the flashlight could be heard arguing with "Officer Shotgun" and telling him to settle down. After a few more yards Officer shotgun stopped and allowed the driver to crawl a bit further. At this point they were within range for Jason to make out what they were saying.

"You can't just shoot him Delgado" The Officer with the flashlight said. "County dispatch says they have an ambulance on the way and your own people are sending a fast reaction team in, they should be here within 15 minutes".

Jason recognized officer flashlight from his voice now. That was Eric Jungmeyer one of the only descent cops Jason had ever had dealings with.

"Ok Kid we are going to have to drop that guy with the shotgun." Jason whispered. "Don't do anything at all I am going to try and not have to shoot the other cop with the flashlight. As soon as this is over we are going to have to cut the line and scoot though so get ready."

It was about then that Officer Shotgun said loudly "That looks like it is far enough" and quickly shouldered the 870 taking aim at the injured driver who was now leaving a noticeable stain in the snow as he crawled away.

"This is how we take care of scumbags in the corp" Delgado pulled the trigger and blew most of the driver's top half of his head off. Before he could lower the shotgun to enjoy his sport however Jason's Chinadoll M1A barked loudly and sent a round through Delgado's throat just above his ballistic vest, as if it would have made a difference.

Before the echo of his shot had ended Jason quickly adjusted his aim and laid the front site directly on officer flashlight's  center mass.

"Don't so much as twitch" Jason yelled out.

"Put your hands on your head and stand perfectly still and drop that flashlight".

Jason then told Austin to walk out and disarm Eric but to be damned sure he didn't get between them.  After walking Eric back to the OP Jason had Austin take Eric's own handcuffs and cuff his hands behind his back then while Jason held their prisoner in place Austin began the emergency bug out procedures.

Four Hundred yards away in the basement of the little farm house Old Ed began winding in commo wire. He then sent a quick emergency gram down the telegraph letting the militia HQ know he was going dark and the OP had initiated the emergency bug out protocol. He also mentioned shots had been fired but not enough to sound like a full blown firefight. After all this Ed then spun around in his wheelchair grabbed a hammer and turned the old field phone into so much scrap plastic, canvasse and metal. Gathering up the pieces he opened the door to the little wood stove and tossed them as far into the back as possible adding a few sticks of wood on top.

He could clean out the wood stove later and no one would be searching it now until it burned itself out.

As Jason and Austin packed their way out leading/pushing a blindfolded officer Eric Jungmeyer between them. They crossed a few snow free gravel roads before heading out into the covered fields to eventually work their way under another stretch of woods with over head cover,  Austin surprised Jason with one comment.

"You were right they do always let you know they were in the Marines"

Jason had to chuckle a bit and surprisingly so did the blindfolded prisoner.




Half a mile away Jason could see the lights as another vehicle came over the ridge and into the curve on the scene of the wrecked SUV, abandoned patrol car and two dead bodies. Jason turned back and followed Austin and their prisoner into the underbrush disappearing into the darkness.



Paul

The back room of the dairy barn was so warm you could see the heat waves warping the air as they escaped out into the cold each time the door was opened. Gazing out the window Paul could see the remains of the dairy herd standing out in the lightly snow dusted field, some with their heads stuck through the portable hay rack as they grazed on the round bale left there for them. There were only about 20 or so Holsteins left from a herd that Paul knew once numbered in the hundreds.

Sad, they had lost so much.

The dairy barn stood out on top of a slowly rising hill surrounded by open fields. Not the ideal place to have a meeting of this type. It was way too open and in daylight no less. If the Feds had any drones or other high altitude eyes up there they would all be sitting ducks and there was plenty of open ground for helicopters to land a strike team or worse, for several helicopters to land all at once.

No helicopters, drones or other aircraft had been seen in months however.

Inside the steel covered structure with all the metal racks and equipment any type of snooping or surveillance was almost impossible. Still Paul didn't like being this exposed. He had placed several teams of listening posts around the dairy farm and the slightest hint of chopper blades or engines would trigger an immediate evacuation.

This farm was the middle point of the county and a fairly well known landmark with easy access for the leadership of both militia teams.  Secondary access roads coming in from every corner of the compass and a wood line in every direction about half a mile out. Once you got off this exposed hill there were multiple escape routs open.

As he waited for the other leaders to show up Paul allowed his mind to wander. He was not the person he would have picked to be the leader of this rebellion or whatever you wanted to call it.  As far as military experience went Paul had very little. He had done one stretch in the Navy as a radar technician on the Valley Forge and after that was over he transferred his reserve requirement to a State National Guard maintenance unit. No command experience nor had he ever seen combat outside some blips on a radar screen in the gulf,  but he did seem to have a good head for this type of guerrilla defense he had been leading.

What really set Paul above others at first was actually the saddest part of his life. Paul's wife Jesse had died of cancer about one year before all this had started.  Of their three children one, his eldest son,  had been killed in a car accident years ago and the other two, a boy and a girl,  were out of the country. His younger son had taken a job with an oil company some years back and was, last paul had heard, still in Nigeria. When things started looking bad Paul had told him to stay put and as far as he knew he had. Paul's daughter had married a German national she met while attending university in Europe during a Summer exchange program so she was safely out of the picture as well. All Paul had for local family were five sisters and too many nieces and nephews to count but not a one of them shared his last name now and so far none of them had been targeted by the Feds either.

When it came time to resist the never ending chain of regulations, rules and crackdowns Paul really felt he had nothing to lose. In fact he was so out spoken about his refusal to comply he was really throwing it back in the Federal faces so to speak. They had to act especially after one of the local television stations did a piece on him. After that Paul had scattered his stock among his inlaws, hid his expensive and/or sentimental possessions in various locations and left his house, barn and out buildings abandoned. The feds had burned the house and buildings during a raid out of nothing more than vindictiveness since he wasn't there.

If Jesse were still alive Paul wouldn't be here. He knew that with cold certainty.

Essentially Paul was untouchable except by direct physical attack and his defiance had moved people everywhere to sympathy for the cause. When the county citizens had cried for justice the Sheriff had surprised everyone and declared the entire county independent from Federal regulations and promised no support would be given to any federal agents inside it's boundaries. The Sheriff had been picked up the next day with a list of made up Federal charges. The county citizens then refused to hold another election and most of the few deputies had resigned and joined the militia.

Not to be out maneuvered the Federal agents found their patsies among the county commissioners and judges. They had some stooge appointed as Sheriff although he had never set foot in the county as far as anyone could tell but instead stayed safe in the regional Fed headquarters.

The first few months had been tough. Hiding in forgotten wooded hollows and abandoned barns while houses were raided, families moved out by force and property seized. Sympathizers would leave food and other provision out for him. All Paul had to do was make sure they saw him at the edge of the woods and after nightfall things were appear.

Eventually others joined him. Some like Paul had no close family, others had seen their families taken, still others had been absent when the feds showed up and had no clue what had happened. With each raid the resistance grew and they were not always within this particular county either. All across the State the various Federal agencies were raiding and enforcing their regulations .

As the resistance grew and learned to fight back the raids died to a trickle. The Federal boys had their hands full all over the country and were feeling the pinch of being spread so thin. In the last three months there had not been one excursion into the Militia's area of operations and Paul, along with a few others in the group were beginning to think it might be time to take this fight to the Feds instead of waiting around.

That's what this meeting was all about.


Old Ed

Ever since the night the alarm had gone off Old Ed had been out of the loop. Not that he had ever really been in the loop before as anything more than a relay station but at least then he had felt important.

Edward Merritt was too old to really get worked up about much these days. He spent most of his time in his wheel chair but could manage to go up or down the steps from his basement once a day or so if the need arose. He had a cot tucked over in the corner if he didn't feel like going up stairs which he hadn't done in almost a year now anyway. Ed had to stay nearby to man the field phone, at least until recently.

No one had ever come to investigate the house after the night of the crash and shooting. Someone had showed up and investigated the remains of the OP the militia had set up. Someone had also removed the patrol car but the neighbor boys said the wrecked SUV was still in Ed's hayfield. Not that Ed really cared he had leased his land out years ago and these days it provided him and his wife Rose with their food, firewood and the odd job assistance in stead of cash. The neighbors worked the fields and they sent the food and loaned out their children for  whatever jobs needed doing. The arrangement worked so far and around here people took care of their own.

After destroying the field phone Ed just couldn't bring himself to remove the telegraph wire that had been run over the now dead phone lines that connected him to the Militia communications site, wherever it was located. It was pretty obvious Ed hadn't helped run the line himself to say the least, but as far as he knew it was still operational.

Lately all Ed took to doing was scanning the shortwave and HAM radio bands listening for news both from within the US and around the world but two days earlier something strange had happened, most of the broadcasts from within the US had suddenly stopped.  The traditional user bands sounded as if they were being jammed or constantly filled with open mic  static while the public broadcasts, even the well known religious ones, were just gone. The international broadcasts were extremely hard to get in clearly as well but Ed had managed to catch brief parts of several different ones and heard reports of mass riots, marshal law and open warfare throughout the United States.

From what little Ed could make out apparently things outside their county had deteriorated quickly over the last several days. The occasional International broadcasts were pretty general but ever so often he would find an operator broadcasting on some of the higher frequencies. One particular guy out of Oregon had claimed the electricity was off everywhere and most major cities were in flames due to economic sanctions put in place against the U.S. for human rights violations. The Government in turn was attempting to block all civilian radio communications and the internet had been shut down as well. Ed had listened to the Oregon guy for a couple of hours until his broadcast suddenly stopped late yesterday morning since then there had been nothing but static everywhere he tried.

After taking in all the Oregon guy had to say and thinking it over Ed had asked the neighbor's boy to go take a peek at the Fed checkpoint just a  few miles up the road. The boy had returned later in the afternoon and reported the checkpoint was unmanned. The simple 2x4 barriers were still there but no vehicles were around or men manning them. Ed had then asked the boy to check again this morning and had just been told the checkpoint was exactly the same today that it had been yesterday.

It seems the situation outside their little rebellion had changed and Ed decided it was time to see if his telegraph link still worked. If things had broken down as bad as Ed suspected outside their little county the militia may soon have bigger problems than scattered Federal raids.


Doug
Doug Jarvis scanned the field out in front of his families small campsite. The morning air was chilly as it was still early April and Spring had not grabbed hold of this part of the Midwest yet. He rubbed his three day old beard and wondered how far he could push his family to walk today. At 37 Doug had worked almost his entire adult life as the sanitation department head for a small Midwest bedroom community in Eastern Kansas. A good job if you could get it and one of the few areas of local government that still managed to stay relatively all Male, for obvious reasons.

Doug had the expanded waistline and over confident bearing that usually came with such a secure position up until he had lost all three anyway. These days Doug's only concern was getting his family, wife and small daughter, back to his parent's place in North Central Missouri.  Neither his wife nor daughter had been happy about it, in fact they hadn't been happy about much of anything for almost a year now.  Amber, his daughter had complained constantly and had one day refused to walk and began screaming and crying. She wouldn't even allow Doug to carry her without a fight and finally Doug had lost his temper and struck the little girl.  Not hard by any stretch of the imagination but it had certainly surprised his daughter and Doug if you wanted to get right down to it.

Later that same evening after they had made camp and Amber was asleep, Ellen, Doug's wife, began arguing with him. He didn't need to have slapped the girl and Ellen started off once again on her long list of things Doug had failed at. Finally Doug simply told her if she didn't like it to pack up her bag and go he was done hearing about it. Doug had never spoken to Ellen in quite that manner before and he didn't think the reality of the situation they were in had actually sunk into Ellen's brain until that very night.

Since then Ellen and Amber had been much more agreeable, if not really happy and much less of an emotional burden on Doug's mind.

This morning Doug was feeling better about things than he had in years if you wanted to get right down to it. Sure they had little food and a long way to go and rumor had it there were even bandits and worse out here now, but Doug was also experiencing something he had never felt before.  He just couldn't quite put it into words yet so he thought back to how things had deteriorated over the last few years.

It was amazing how fast it had all happened, or well it seemed to happen quickly but if Doug really thought about it the signs had been there for months, years even. Doug had just ignored them and hoped whomever was above would get things sorted out.

You could follow the trend if you really thought about it. After 08 each year got progressively leaner. The city Doug had worked for stopped growing. The last few strip malls that had been built were still mostly empty almost eight years later. Banks closed most of their satellite locations with signs that read "For our customers convenience".

Shortly after that Doug had noticed that when a city employee left his or her position, especially those at the bottom strata, they were not replaced. Groundskeepers, park employees, traffic maintenance those types who remained kept getting more work piled on them. Of course the office staff never suffered from such shortages of manpower. The office meetings and senseless travel never seemed to decrease either but whenever the rare new employee was added it was always at a much lower rate of pay and without all the benefits Doug and his generation had been promised.

Town's people then began complaining. Potholes were not being repaired. Broken street lights stayed broken. rain water tunnels filled up with debris and flooded entire streets. Things deteriorated quickly.

Not that Doug cared as long as he got his.

His paycheck was guaranteed, locked in stone. A contract, by God.

As far as Doug knew right now there wasn't any city to hold to that contract any longer. The city limits signs were still up. People still lived there if you could call it that but no one ever showed up for work and the phones stopped ringing some time ago. There was still lots of money floating around, it was just there wasn't much you could buy with it. Once the stores stopped getting their shelves refilled each night there wasn't much coming in by way of taxes either. After that over half the property owners in the city missed their tax payments, then most of the city had their water shut off for lack of payment.

Confiscation notices were put out. Properties were condemned. Yet no one paid a bit of attention and the city had no way to enforce it's will any longer. The common cry among the home owners was "Why pay for something we aren't getting"?

After that people just stopped showing up for work.

The last desperate act by the Mayor and his cronies had been to instruct the police and meter maids to focus on tickets and fines hoping to bring cash in.  Most of those tickets were ignored and when police cars began taking damage from thrown objects all around town the crack down ended up costing more than it brought in. The final act happened one October evening when someone or group of someone's riddled a patrol car with bullets. No one was hurt but half the remaining police force didn't show for work the next day.

Shortly after that the office staff stopped showing up. A week or so later every window at city hall was busted out by bricks and as far as Doug knew no one ever fixed them.

By that time most all of the Federal authority had already been focused entirely on the larger cities around the country. What small amounts of goods could still be purchased and transported into the States was quickly gobbled up and sent to the cities in a vain attempt to curb the riots there due to shortages. The countryside was largely left to it's own except for federal agencies who still attempted to loot food and other raw materials. Doug had heard that several farmers in Iowa had set grain silos on fire after the government tried to confiscate the corn held in them or pay for it with useless dollars at fixed prices.

These days no one really knew what was going on. At first Homeland security had a detachment in Doug's city. It wasn't large but then it didn't need to be. Nothing much ever happened there and most of the residence worked in Kansas City anyway and were gone all day.  As a suburb Covington was never emptied out as the rural areas had been and the Fed guys left them alone for the most part. The problem was when the shortages began the Fed guys left em alone then too. By the time the first shooting occured the DHS detachment was long gone and never to return except once when they came and took all the remaining fuel in the tanks at the local stations promising a shipment later.

When the first refugees began coming out of Kansas City Doug had made up his mind to head for his folk's place but it was then December and there was no way Ellen and Amber could travel that far on foot in Winter.  Gasoline had become almost a thing of the past by then as well, the Fed had even stopped issuing the useless ration vouchers for it. The end of the food vouchers came soon after that and then the travel restrictions started becoming more strictly enforced.

By the first of March they were out of food, had no heat or electricity to speak of and Doug was getting desperate. The last few days before they left Doug had actually killed the family cat along with two others he managed to catch from the neighborhood.  Doug skinned and cleaned the animals as best he could and cooked them in a soup pot in the backyard. He told Ellen and Amber it was squirrel. By that time neither seemed to care what it was.

They set out on foot carrying what little food they had left right after that. Doug brought the only weapon he had, an old Remington bolt action .22 that had belonged to his grandfather. The rifle had originally had a magazine that held about five of the little rounds but Doug had misplaced it years ago and never bothered to get a new one. He now had to load each bullet singly to shoot the thing and it required a certain amount of finger dexterity to get the bullet inside the chamber. Doug had already lost a couple of rounds he had dropped while trying to load the rifle. Still the gun was better than nothing and so far it had managed to keep them fed as there was plenty of wild small game around. Mostly squirrels. It just took half the day to get one although he had been getting better at it.

The hardest part had been trying to stay off the roads. It was almost impossible to do in Kansas and had proven totally impossible now in Missouri. There were simply too many fences to cross, streams to navigate or impassable gullies and thorn thickets. Eventually Doug had settled for using the small single lane highways and railroad tracks but they met far too many other that way.

Eventually their luck was going to run out.
 Doug Part II

Sitting silently hidden in the brush Doug had to shake his head to keep awake. By the look of the sky to the East Doug knew dawn was not far off but that didn't fill him with any particular feeling of ease. Daylight right now would bring with it more problems if you got right down to it because it would awaken Ellen and their daughter Amber.

Doug said a silent prayer while crossing himself, something he hadn't done in decades before he and his family started this nightmare trip back to the home of his youth.  Smiling Doug thought that at least his mother would be happy he had found religion once again and took an interest in his Catholic upbringing, selfish as it maybe considering the circumstances that reminded him of it after all these years.

The fact was Doug couldn't believe they were still alive. The first few days had actually been the easiest traveling of the entire journey. He figured they had managed to walk almost fifty miles in about three days before the nightmare started. Doug had been smart enough to insist they skirt well North of Kansas city. They had crossed the Missouri river at Atchinson using the old railroad bridge since the regular one had been guarded. As he suspected the quickly crumbling Homeland security forces were still guarding places like bridges and major highways detaining anyone they caught on the roads.

After crossing the first major obstacle in their path Doug had allowed them to continue following the roads steadily East for a few days although he made them stay on gravel or narrow secondary paved roads.  No highways.  They had managed to find some abandoned vehicles and gear here and there which allowed them to scavenge some gear and camp each night but no matter how much his wife and daughter complained Doug had insisted they move at least 100 yards or more from a road, house or building before settling in for the night.

This insistence was the only thing that saved their lives and allowed Doug to get a quick hard lesson on survival in this new world they had entered.

After about two weeks on the road they had set up camp early in a tree line some 200 yards South on top of a slight ridge line off the small county road they had been following. Just through the tree line and down across a field Doug could make out where the gravel road intersected with a paved highway running North to South. It had been a warm afternoon for late March and Doug had actually managed to bag them a squirrel with his (now) single shot .22 rifle within a few minutes of picking a camping spot. There was plenty of dry wood laying around and the breeze was conveniently coming out of the Northeast so no fear of the smell or smoke giving their location away to anyone who might be on either of the roadways.

By this point in their journey Doug was starting to get worried. They had seen many signs of violence or general mayhem along the roads. Maybe about one in ten houses were burned or looked as if they had been ransacked. Cars with bullet holes and shattered windshields were not uncommon and they had occasionally come across bodies laying along the roadside. The houses or buildings that were not abandoned or burned often looked like defended camps, with old cars parked blocking the yards or driveways and Doug could feel eyes watching them from the darkened windows. One house they had come on that sat next to a wide black topped highway they had to cross looked as if a war had taken place around and through it. The house was half burned and still smoking in several places. Doug made Ellen and Amber hide in the brush and he went forward to investigate.

Doug counted  ten bodies outside the house and another three inside, two of which were badly burned.  It looked like whomever was defending the place had put up a good fight but somebody had obviously ransacked the remains of the house and carried off most of the useful gear and firearms from the bodies both inside and out. Despite the mess and destruction Doug was able to find several useful items and even a bit of canned food and a few .22 long rifle cartridges stuffed in a drawer.

After going back and moving the girls further into the brush away from the road to set up a cold and silent camp Doug began to realize they had been extremely lucky so far. They were still within fifty miles of the Kansas City suburbs and although the houses were beginning to become more spread out it was still rare to ever be outside line of sight from one along any road they traveled. There were other refugees on the roads as well but most seemed lost and afraid to approach strangers too closely but it was obvious there were some out here who made a point of preying on others.

From then on Doug had insisted they stay off paved roads entirely and they tried but the obstacles against overland travel were almost impossible to navigate. There seemed to be hundreds of streams, runoff ditches, fence lines and impassable thorns no matter which path they tried to take. They would walk for hours attempting to find a way across a six foot deep trench only to discover the easiest way around was a road they eventually came to. The very thing they were trying to avoid. Several times they heard shots and zings as bullets passed close by through the brush. It just proved impossible to travel any way except along the roadways. Steadily however paved roads did begin to lessen and gravel became almost the norm until one would cross a small State highway like the one Doug was looking down on this morning.

They settled in for the night but a few hours ago distant screams had brought Doug wide awake. He had sat and listened for a long bit until he was sure the screams and laughter were well away from his families position and then slowly crawled to the spot he now laid hidden in.  There was very little light to see by now but earlier there had been a fire and Doug could see that at least one woman had made a grave mistake by staying too close to a paved road.

Doug had counted at least four men but where they had gone now he could not be sure. He could still see splotches of light colored items laying in and along side the road, but what they were he could not be sure. At this point Doug thought his best strategy was to sneak back to camp as soundlessly as possible and make sure Ellen and Amber were awakened and warned before they started making noise. Doug could then resume his watch as they stayed hidden and make sure the coast was clear before they moved on.

Doug Part III.

The fire crackled and popped in the old wood stove set against the Eastern wall. Doug looked around at his childhood home in amazement at just how small it seemed to him now. Amber was sleeping on the old threadbare sofa under so many blankets you could hardly see them move when she shifted under their weight.

Ellen and Doug's mom, Norma, were in the kitchen while Doug's father Richard, Rich for short, was out forking hay to the few head of cattle that remained on the farm. In a few hours Doug and Rich would go out and start threshing a few more of the wheat sheaves that were stacked in the old barn. The was no fuel to run the combine so hand threshing and willowing was all they had left. Rich and the neighbors had cut the wheat by hand and tied them into bundles then transported them to the barns by horse drawn wagons and small tractors until the fuel ran out.

After passing through the Northern suburbs of Kansas city the trip, which took them almost a month to complete, got steadily easier. The next few days after witnessing the attack at the crossroads Doug had been even more determined to keep off the roads. It took them almost another week just to make it a scant 20 miles but after crossing I-35 Doug had seen a familiar exit sign for a small two lane highway he knew would lead him to within a few miles of their destination. As they turned and began traveling more North the land opened up and the houses began thinning.

The fields became more easily traveled but the rivers and streams became more of a problem. Even the simple ditches turned into mighty canyons that could not be crossed on foot. However farmers needed to get to their fields and if one looked there was always an old, rutted dirt track to follow. Keeping out of sight now became almost impossible as well but those who would prey on others also seemed to disappear. They were approached on numerous occasions by armed men but had always been allowed to pass. On several occasions they even been offered some food or over night shelter but were always strictly warned not to attempt to stay.

Towards the end of April Doug, Ellen and Amber stumbled onto a farm field he recognized as belonging to the family of his first grade school girlfriend Denny, As Doug remembered it that was short for Denise . An average sized farm less than 12 miles from his own families land.  Before Doug and his family had made it halfway across the large wheat field Denny's Father and Brother were already watching them from the yard of the farm house they cautiously met them at the field edge with guns leveled but quickly lowered them once Doug identified himself.

The three of them spent their first night in a warm house in months, listening to the stories and tales of how the locals, names Doug still recognized, had fared. That was the first time Doug had heard of the rebellion down South that had went on before the final collapse as well. Oh there had been rumors but nothing Doug had ever heard officially. The rural areas had all begun to form local militia units now. There was actually a loose communication line set up between most of the rural counties and pledges of mutual aid if needed. So far the rural areas had managed to put a quick end to any looters or bandits that came into the countryside but the areas around the larger cities and towns were still dead zones in many places. Rumor had it that things were much tougher the further South one went because the forested areas were harder to control.  As things stood right now the rural areas had a big advantage but no one knew what was going to come next especially with Spring finally coming on in earnest.

They were finally home but the future was far from certain.
 Bravo Company, 6th Battalion, 102nd Homeland Division St. Charles Missouri

Bam!!

Captain Hanford slammed his palm down hard on the desk.

"This is no way to run a company" He said out loud to himself. Hanford, or Han for short, was a dark haired man with a rather severe receding hairline and an above average sized nose. He had joined the Army reserve while in college 10 years earlier and then contracted ROTC to get a commission in the finance corp. He had skated by in the reserves assigned to a unit near Philadelphia until one day he got orders to report to a local Pennsylvania National Guard armory.

Han had never married and didn't really enjoy his nowhere job as a local manager for a major international bank chain anyway so he wasn't all that unhappy about the orders. In fact he had tried on several occasions to go active duty and had been denied a slot for years.  As it turned out Ryan Hanford also knew that his particular branch of the US United Bank was already scheduled for closing within a month. Han was kinda feeling like he had dodged a bullet. Being unemployed with all the troubles going on right now was not a prospect he was interested in. Now the government would take care of him.

The National Guard armory had been taken over by Homeland security and all military personnel were answering to the DHS boys now it seemed, at least from the top down. The matter of fact way a young DHS secretary took his name, rifled through a stack of large manila envelops and then handed him one with his name on it should have tipped Han off to the fact that things had changed but he didn't notice.  Han had it easy so far. The tables where all the people coming into the armory's gym/muster hall sat had individual cards taped to the front.  There looked to be five spots marked for enlisted, two for NCO, and only one for officers. Han had been the only officer in line.

The curt secretary then pointed towards a set of double doors and instructed Han to go through them, down the corridor and enter the first office on the left. When he arrived Han was greeted by a female Lt. Colonel who occupied the office all alone. No secretary or any other personnel appeared to be present. The Woman was not unattractive and to Han's surprise appeared to be no older than his own age of 32. Lt. Colonel by her early 30's Han thought to himself, she must be doing something right.

Without the benefit of being announced or having a secretary or orderly as a go between Han was a bit unsure how to approach this sudden face to face with a more superior officer. He immediately jumped to attention and saluted while apologizing for not knowing he would be meeting with a colonel. The Woman waved his apology aside and told Han to take a seat.

"Lieutenant Hanford" The Colonel said "I am Lt. Colonel Monroe assigned as the local liaison officer between DHS command and the Army reserve/National Guard. As you may or may not be aware The President by executive action has activated the 102nd ARCOM  under general DHS control to keep the peace inside the Continental United States. To that end several reserve and National Guard personnel are being mobilized and assigned to the new units being created to hash out the 102nd to full combat strength."

At this point Han was thinking he was going to be assigned to a new divisional financial detachment to help shuffle paperwork for the growing division. In the rear with the gear just where you want to be.

"What I am sure you are not familiar with" The Colonel went on. "Is that we are desperately short on officers of all ranks and specialties, especially combat arms, and so many Men and Women such as yourself are to be cross trained into combat roles. You are ordered to attend the junior officer emergency Infantry command school North of Pittsburgh and at the completion of the course will be given a promotion and command of a newly formed company with the 102nd Homeland division."

Despite Han's protests and pleading the Colonel made it very plain that refusal was not an option unless Lt. Hanford preferred a cell to doing his duty. Before the day was out Han was in a military van with three other Lieutenants, one Male and two Female, heading for his training camp.  Exactly one month later Han was assigned command of Bravo Company 6th Battalion of the 102nd Homeland Division and guarding a bridge over the Missouri river on I-70 just West of St. Louis. His emergency Infantry training had been 30 days of intense daily lectures, a loose leaf notebook of xeroxed pages of small infantry tactics, specs on infantry support weapons, TOE lists etc. At the end of his school there was no test, not even a  questionnaire, just an assumption that he knew what he was doing.

And a brand new set of Railroad Track bars for his uniform.

Captain Hanford had noted right away that the old 102nd "Rocking Z" patch inside the O had kept it's original colors but now had an H on it's side with the bottom line acting as the back of a D below it inside the O. He guessed that stood for Homeland Division. His Battalion Commander was a Full Bird Colonel named Lipscomb, Brenda Libscomb to be exact and she didn't appear to be a day older than the Lt. Colonel Han had met back in the National Guard Armory in Pennsylvania.

His first day of command Han noticed his company only appeared to be at half strength during the muster in a motel parking lot just South of the bridge that had been turned into the company command center and billet. On checking the personnel roster and consulting with the XO and First Sergeant Han came to realize about 20 of his "men " were assigned special duty at Brigade headquarters, another ten were on maternity leave (Men and Women), almost two dozen were simply AWOL and third platoon was assigned permanent guard duty at battalion HQ which was suspiciously billeted right across the street or around the corner from Regimental, Brigade and Divisional HQ's near the waterfront district inside St. Louis. Aside from these loses there were also the typical absences of about a dozen who reported for sick call and another fifteen or so on light clerical duty only who were also it appeared making themselves useful at one HQ or another.

Captain Hanford's company it appeared could barely field 80 warm bodies at any given time even on paper and he hadn't even seen them on the ground for the most part yet.  While all this was sinking in Han could hear his duty sergeant on the phone saying "Yes Mam, we will send some soldiers right away, no problem".

Han had no idea how bad it was going to get..

15 comments:

  1. Recently found this blog, and I must say the little stories (charater developements) are terrific and I keep checking back for new ones.

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    1. JF - I try and do at least one new entry each month and would like to do two. Every other Sunday but with Summer coming on that may not pan out.

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  2. Waiting on your next part to this story

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    1. I been mulling some additions yes. I got busy on a project in December that ate all my time up so I need to get back to the fiction now that I am finished.

      Thank you for reading!!!

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  4. interesting turn of events with this new Captain.

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  5. Will the next chapter be ready soon?

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  6. Just discovered your blog and this story.

    Looks like it has been a while since you have posted more story line. Hope you will pick it up soon.

    Will be checking back on your blog on a daily basis.

    Bob
    III

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  7. I will start writing again come Winter. Spring to Fall are just crazy around here.

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  8. Not bad, being a writer myself. One correction I will make is a slightly overweight woman does NOT waddle. If she's moving too slow to get out of the line of punch, you might say "settling on a hefty mound of woman" or "...settling on a slow moving female of large hips and small feet" or "...settling on a heavy, fleshy woman who moved across the parking lot like an ocean liner in rough seas." Let her have a little color if she's going down:P

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  9. Is this ever going to be finished?

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  10. Hey...we have not heard anything new in a long time

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