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Authors: Glen Tate

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BOOK: 299 Days IX: The Restoration
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One of the infantrymen, Kenny Barlow, was looking through the Nibs, as they called the night vision binoculars.

“Yep,” Barlow said. “One, two, three … seven armed men are coming down that street. About 350 yards.”

“ID?” Sap asked him, meaning could they be identified as good guys or bad guys.

“Negative,” Barlow said. “But they have various weapons. Looks like AKs and ARs.” Everyone was quiet so Barlow could concentrate.

“Whoa,” Barlow said. “They’re passing a container around.” He looked some more. “Nope. It’s actually a bottle. They’re passing a bottle around.”

Good, Grant thought. The unit’s first kills would be easy ones. Hopefully.

 

Chapter 296

Coyote Bait

(January 1)

 

 

Jim Q. was up on the fourth floor since the radio reception was better and it was the hub of activity.

“Make sure HQ doesn’t know of any friendlies around here,” Sap said to him. Jim Q. started talking into his radio in his weird language. One word of English slipped out: “brewery.” Apparently there was no word in their language for a brewery, which made sense, given what part of the world his people were from.

“Still walking down the street,” Barlow said. “Right in the middle of the street, not even trying to take cover. Just strolling down the street and getting ripped.”

“No known friendlies in the area,” Jim Q. said. “But, then again, HQ doesn’t claim to know where everyone is.”

“They’re kicking a garbage can,” Barlow said. “There’s no way they’re ours.”

By now Ted had raced up the stairs. Sap told him what Barlow was seeing.

“Pretty obvious, isn’t it?” Ted said. “We got people out there. Squad 4, right?” Ted asked Sap. Sap nodded.

“They got a radio?” Ted asked. Sap nodded again.

“Tell them to take these jackasses out if, but only if, they come towards us,” Ted said matter-of-factually. “Tell everyone else to be on alert. Once the bang bang starts, we’ll attract a lot of attention, which is what I’m trying to avoid.”

Well, then, Grant thought. This was it. A hot engagement. They got lucky in Frederickson and didn’t have to start shooting. But now, with these drunken jackasses strolling toward them, they were on the edge of their first real combat. Months of training were about to be tested. At least they were taking on a handful of drunken thugs. “Always avoid a fair fight,” Ted used to tell the Team before the Collapse. This certainly would not be a fair fight. Good.

“Two hundred yards,” Barlow said. “They’re at the intersection.” Grant knew exactly where the drunken Limas were. During peacetime, he had gone through that intersection – Capitol Boulevard and North Street – a thousand times on his way home. It was near the Baskin Robbins where he used to take the kids. That felt like a lifetime ago.

“They’re turning left and going down that street,” Barlow said with great relief. That meant they were going down Capitol Boulevard, the big main street that went straight to the capitol campus, which made sense. HQ said that was where the Limas were concentrating. Those clowns must be reinforcements, drunken reinforcements. The Limas were really hurting.

“They’re getting away!” Corporal Sherryton exclaimed. She had come up to the fourth floor observation point after reading the kids bedtime stories.

“Avoiding a fight is a good thing,” Ted replied. In the Special Forces world, where they are usually operating covertly behind enemy lines, avoiding a fight—and thereby remaining undetected—was the goal.

“Sgt. Malloy, could I see you over here?” Grant asked. Once they were out of earshot of the others, Grant said, “I disagree, Ted.”

Grant looked out the window of the fourth floor and could see the drunken idiot Limas at the intersection. “Those guys are going to hurt people,” he told Ted. “They’re a walking time bomb. They’re going to the capitol to reinforce the Limas. We need to take them out. What if they end up killing some of us or other Patriots or civilians? Especially civilians who are unlucky enough to run into them. These thugs might just knock on someone’s door and start killing and raping. We need to take them out. That’s my strategic call. Whether it’s possible and how to do it is your tactical call. So, to be clear, it is ultimately your call. But I want to take them out.”

Ted thought about it and knew that Grant was right. Ted’s years of training and experience of avoiding fights when a unit is trapped in a jungle or desert didn’t apply here. Sure, avoiding a fight was always best, but not if it meant letting those violent bastards walk down the street to kill people.

“Yep,” Ted said, after very little hesitation. “This'll be easy. A nice little training mission for our green unit,” he said in a whisper.

“Yeah,” Grant said. He knew it sounded sick to be glad they had some easy kills so they could get some blood on their hands, but these Lima gangbangers deserved to die. And the 17th needed the experience.

Grant shrugged. “So what if the Limas know we’re in this brewery? They’re pinned down at the capitol. They can’t do much about us. This isn’t like the kind of war you’ve been trained for where the bad guys can call in an airstrike on your position if it gets known. Besides,” Grant said, “killing douchebags like this is why we came here.” He wasn’t being macho, just telling the truth. Killing shitbags like this was, indeed, exactly why they’d come here.

“Roger that,” Ted said with a nod. “We’re the ‘good police’,” Ted said, referring to the story he heard about Pow’s talk to the kids a few hours before.

Grant and Ted went back over to the group of observers on the fourth floor.

“Okay, we’re going to take them out, despite their best efforts to avoid us,” Ted said.

“How?” Barlow asked. “They’re walking away from us.”

“Coyote bait,” Grant said. Everyone looked at him like he was insane.

“When I hunted coyotes,” Grant quickly explained, “we’d use bait to bring them toward us.” Grant and Ted had worked up this idea about a month ago. Using “bait” to get bad guys to come to them.

“What bait?” Barlow asked.

Grant and Ted looked at Corporal Sherryton, a very attractive twenty-something woman. She was in civilian clothes so she didn’t look like a soldier.

“Sherryton,” Grant said, “you wanna be the bait?”

“Yes, sir!” she said without a pause. She had been eager to get even with thugs after what they had done to her family back in Chicago. It was a different gang, but all part of the same thing. They were the bloodthirsty bastards that the “legitimate government” allowed and even encouraged. She wanted some payback. “Go out there and act like you’re drunk and horny,” Ted said. “They’ll come over to you. Run back toward Squad 4 and they’ll chase you. Once you get them within fifty yards or so of the squad, find some cover and plug your ears.”

“Yes!” Sherryton yelled as she jumped up. She got her coat and looked around for instruction.

Sap said to her, “Follow me.” The two of them ran down the stairs and out to Squad 4 and quickly told them of the plan.

Sap pointed to a big utility box on the street that the Limas would be running down toward them. “That’s your cover.” Sherryton nodded.

“Put your rifle over there behind it,” Sap said. “Go!”

Sherryton took off her AK-47 and hid it in the bushes by the utility box. It was one of the sweet Century Arms C-39s they got from HQ. She made sure the safety was off. She didn’t want to mess with that in a critical time.

She looked up at the intersection and felt a surge of adrenaline. This was it. It was what she’d been working so hard for the last few months. Payback time.

 

Chapter 297

Anne’s Revenge

(January 1)

 

 

“Wahoo! Hey! Over here boys!” Sherryton was yelling, in a drawn out slur. She was doing a magnificent acting job.

She started to run toward six or seven heavily armed men, who were drunk and above the law. She was a very brave soldier.

She quickly arrived at the intersection and was in the street lights, yelling down the street to the men. She yelled, “Come and get some, boys!”

The Limas turned around. They couldn’t believe their eyes. She was hot, and drunk or high. They looked at each other, smiled, turned around and ran straight toward her. Some crazy drugged out chick wanted them, and they were happy to oblige.

This was semi common for them. Women who wanted protection or food would let them have their way with them. It was partying; it was business. It was both nowadays.

She let them get closer. When they were close enough for her to see them, she became terrified. They were civilian gangbangers. They all had rifles and looked sinister. She could sense the pure evil in them. They looked just like the gangbangers who came after her family. She was having flashbacks to Chicago.

In an instant, she snapped out of it. She turned and ran. She couldn’t even feel her legs under her. All she knew was that she was running faster than she’d ever run.

She got to the intersection, turned right and headed down the street and toward Squad 4. She looked right at where the squad was and couldn’t see them. Had they left? Was she all alone with them chasing her?

She looked behind her and saw the gangbangers a hundred yards behind her. They were also running as fast as they could.

She saw the utility box coming up and tried to slow down. It was hard to slow down, but she did. She grabbed her AK and took cover behind the utility box.

This is it, she thought. This is payback. She put her sights on the closest one.

“Boom! Boom! Boom!” Gunfire everywhere – a thunderous wall of gunfire came from behind her. She could feel the explosions in her chest. It was extremely loud. She had always trained while wearing hearing protection, so the loudness of the gunfire surprised her.

She saw some of them in her sights and felt the recoil and muzzle blast from her AK. She was firing at their shapes, not really aiming. She was pretty sure she hit one. Everything was happening in slow motion.

In a second, all the shapes were gone, but she kept her rifle pointed on target anyway.

It was silent except for the ringing in her ears. She started to shake, but it wasn’t fear. It was like there was a drug in her. There was. Adrenaline. She felt stronger than she’d ever felt, like a super human.

There was no movement where the gangbangers had been.

“Cease fire!” Sap yelled. More silence. Nothing was moving.

“Check ‘em out,” Sap yelled as he walked toward the bodies. He had his rifle pointed at them and all of Squad 4 was covering him. He had a weapon light on his AR so he could see them.

Sherryton felt another surge of adrenaline. She jumped up and went toward where she’d been shooting. She kept her AK aimed at the bodies of the men strewn in the street. Her training kicked in. She remembered “search and assess.” She started scanning all around with her rifle for anyone who might be sneaking up on them. Slowly, the members of Squad 4 started getting up and doing the same. They were a few yards behind her.

Sherryton got up to the first body which was torn to pieces and looked like it had been blown up. He must have been shot several times. She came up on the other bodies. Same thing. The crimson red blood looked purple in the streetlights, and it was slowly flowing down the street. It was amazing how much blood six or seven men had in them.

“Still alive!” Sap yelled. “One of them is still alive!” Sap had his rifle aimed right at him.

Sherryton ran up to the wounded man Sap was yelling about. She could see him moving slowly on the concrete. She clicked the safety on her AK and slung it over her shoulder. She walked up to the wounded man and got down on her knees over his chest so his face was right under her. She didn’t even realize what she was doing, but she took out her knife, an old M7 bayonet.

That face. She hated that face down there. That gangbanger’s face that smirked while he was raping helpless women and girls. And shooting their fathers in front of them, like back in Chicago.

She knew what to do. She gripped the knife, which felt cold in her hand. In one quick movement, she plunged it in his face. He winced and tried to scream, but he had too much blood in his windpipe to make any sound.

It felt magnificent. She kept stabbing him, faster and faster. She couldn’t stop.

“That’s for Ashley!” she yelled. “Lydia! Mom! Especially Mom! And Dad, too!” She kept stabbing until she heard the tip of knife hitting the pavement. She realized she’d stabbed right through his whole head.

She looked at that ugly face. Or, at least, what was left of that ugly, ground up, bloody, former face. She stood up and looked down at him. She had her knife out and was standing there like she’d take on anyone else.

Sap just stood there and watched her. He had nothing to say. He couldn’t stop her and he didn’t want to. She would be better now that she got that out of her system. Or she’d have nightmares of that mangled face for the rest of her life.

Sherryton looked at her knife that was covered in blood. A tremendous amount of blood had splattered on her. It was all over her sleeves and her face. She wiped off her knife and tried to remove the blood from her hands. It was useless. She was just making a mess.

BOOK: 299 Days IX: The Restoration
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