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 Post subject: An Unwelcome Development
PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 6:03 pm 
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The Unwelcome Development

This is a work of speculative fiction. The events, places, and people are all fictional. Any resemblance between any real events, real places and real people, and those that appear in this work is strictly coincidental.



We waited too long.
Not that we had much choice. We were in no position to exploit our victory. We needed time. Time to consolidate and take a breath. Time to gather intelligence so we could be smart and careful about our next steps.

But as I sat in the bush on the hillside overlooking the storage facility where the Kirwan Terrace gang kept all the food and other loot that they had collected, my thoughts turned to Dunkirk and how different things would have been if Germany had kept the pressure on.

I mentally shook my head to clear it of random thoughts and concentrated on the matter at hand. The compound that contained the storage facility occupied a couple of acres and was surrounded by an eight foot tall chain link fence. Concertina type razor wire topped it, held by angled arms.

The compound held three steel buildings. The one we were interested in was nearest the road, nearest the housing community which was a short block away. Up on the hill, Frank and I were on the far side of the compound. We'd found a hide site that gave us a view of the main gate, several entrances and shipping docks of various businesses. I noted that the battery store where I traded for the solar panels seemed to be intact.

Most importantly, we could see the front of the building the gang bangers were using. And this is how I knew we'd waited too long.

Lavell's patrol returned from their reconnaissance mission the previous morning. He debriefed me and the other team leaders and we started our planning. Plans and contingencies in place we geared up and headed out last night. We drove, using the abandoned vehicles that the 'bangers had no use for any longer, to within half a mile. Juice and his men stayed with the vehicles while we walked the rest of the distance. As we neared, we split up and moved to our various kick off spots.

Yesterday, according to Lavell's intel, there were only seven people guarding the facility. Looking down on them now, it was plain to see that in the last 24 hours they'd been reinforced.
Or had they? I noticed a couple of red splotches here and there, a couple on the wall of the building and a several more on the ground.
“Whatcha make of that?” I asked Frank, keeping my eye to the scope, my check cradled on the gorgeous walnut of the Winchester model 70's comb.
“The blood stains? Looks like there might have been a change in management since yesterday.”
“That's what I was thinking. Now I'm wondering who we're dealing with.”
“Does it matter?” Frank replied from
“Sure. Is it someone we want to pick a fight with?”
“Why wouldn't we?” he answered a question with a question.
“One, they might be better than us. Two, they might not be enemies.”
“They look like friends to you?”
I looked at the sagging and bagging pants, enormous T shirts, and prevalent amount of red on display. They were well armed, Aks replacing the Ars we were used to seeing. This was a totally different group. Discipline was none existent. Two separate groups were huddled around joints, getting high.
Four others walked along the inside of the fence line. You could tell their hearts weren't really in it. They would stop and talk when they met each other, sometimes for minutes on end, before resuming their patrol.
Five hung around the entrance of the building, lounging indolently.

We had waited too long and another group had moved in while we sat at home making plans. Playing it safe. I beat myself up over taking too long, of being too cautious.
Did it matter? I wondered. I ran the numbers and the odds, trying to work out likely outcomes.

I laid there, watching through my scope, taking the measure of the opponent. So what if it was a different gang? Did it matter? There might be an advantage in that they were new to this ground. I watched and evaluated. There were seventeen of them that we could see. Four on patrol, seven smoking weed, leaving five hanging at the entrance and two in a makeshift shed by the gate. They looked the least happy. The shed did little to keep the tropical sun off of them and they were baking in their poorly conceived shelter.

The bush grew right up to the fence on the outside, even using it for support in some places. Over the course of many difficult hours, Lyle's team had snaked their way through the dense foliage until they just a few yards away. Their job would be to neutralize any patrol, cut their way through the fence and infiltrate when the distraction occurred.

Stan's team occupied a small abandoned house diagonally across from the gate. Lavell's reconnaissance had shown the house to have been empty long before our current troubles. Many windows were missing, so getting inside would be a breeze. Stan would follow on and follow up on Juice's breach of the gate.

Except we'd waited too long. Our not so enormous prisoner who was shedding weight like an iceberg in our Caribbean waters, was waiting with Juice. At the appropriate time he would drive Shocka's black Expedition with Juice's team hidden in back, up to and through the gate.
We hoped that the surprise of seeing their long lost comrade, in their boss' vehicle would get far enough inside the guards' OODA loop that they would do something silly, like let him in.
If not, Juice was prepared to encourage our prisoner to drive on through the gate.

So much for that plan. This was a different gang, they might know our prisoner, but they'd know him as a rival, and enemy, a member of the gang whose warehouse they had just taken over.

“Sierra, Lima, Juliet, this is Zebra Six, opfor has changed, understood, over?” I let go of the push to talk button and waited for the replies. I got three sets of double clicks.
“Hold in place until I re-evaluate. Roger?” The three sets were repeated.

“Now what?”
Frank's question annoyed me, mainly because I didn't have a answer. We had enough men to take the gang bangers. I wasn't worried about success. I was worried about blood.
Ours. I wanted our casualties limited to as few as possible. For any number of reasons I couldn't afford any injuries. I thought about the people I had available. Lyle, by the fence, his team armed with the HK UMPs. One of his men had a Benneli M4 and one of the grenade launchers. Lyle had the silenced Glock. I trusted him to take out the sentries quietly.

Stan had another of the grenade launchers and the rest of his team had Ars. Juice didn't have a launcher, but he did have the other Benneli auto scattergun loaded with 00 buck. The other three men with him had the rest of our UMPs. Stocks folded, they were easier to deploy from the vehicle.
The vehicle it didn't look like we'd be using.

I'd worked through several different scenarios, cursing my intuitive mind that made working out linear progressions as difficult as holding onto a greased anaconda. I'd get two or three steps into a plan and lose focus.
It's while I'll never be more than an mediocre chess player.

Intuitively I kept coming back to one iteration of the plan that felt like it had a good chance of success. I started formulating how I would communicate this to the team leaders when Frank interrupted me.
“Hear that?”
I didn't hear anything. But then I'm a firearms instructor in his mid fifties who spent too much time at loud concerts and working with a chainsaw, so I wasn't surprised that I didn't hear anything. But I trusted Frank. Blessed by the gods, he's naturally athletic with incredible reflexes and senses to match.
I'm not sure which of us gets more frustrated when he points out something for me to see which I’m not capable of unless I have binoculars.
So when he said he heard something I believed him.
“What is it?”
“Truck. Diesel”
I waited a few seconds and then, sure enough, I heard it too. The noise got louder and louder and finally we could see the box type delivery vehicle turn off the main road two blocks away and head towards us, red bandana flying from the radio antenna.

I cursed as all the mental effort I'd just put into planning flew out the window. “All teams, this is Zebra six, we have a truck inbound. Stand easy. Over.” I got the clicks that I'd expected.
As the truck approached, the gate guards ran and opened the barrier so the truck wouldn't have to wait. They quickly closed it behind it and resumed their positions. The truck lumbered across the yard, turning and then backing up to the loading dock.

The large bay door rolled up and two men exited the building. Men we didn't know existed. They waited on the dock while the men from the truck joined them. They dabbed up and bumped knuckles and chests all around, big grins on their faces. One of the men that had been in the building gave orders and soon the indolent idlers were hard at work, shifting items from the building into the truck. They didn't mean to hold this facility, just empty it.
I wondered how much they gone with already. Not much I could do about it now. All I could do was stop the hemorrhaging.
The time for waiting was over.

1638

“All teams, we're about to kick things off. I will initiate. Juliette, start heading this way, slowly. Head for the front gate when you hear the shooting start. Over.”
“Roger that Zebra, what about the prisoner.”
“Secure and bring with.”
“Understood.”
“Sierra, can you take the gate guards from your location?”
“Yeah Zebra, no problem” Stan whispered
“Let Juliette take the gate with the vehicle and follow on behind him. Use the vehicle as cover.”
“Got it.”
“Lima, make your move as you see fit. Sentries first, but my guess is that they will all run to the gate. Breach the fence and join the party.”
Being the closest to the enemy, all I got in reply was two clicks.
“Rule 4 brothers! Watch your fields of fire and let's avoid friendly fire”

The loading of the truck held the attention of almost all the gang members. Even the gate guards were watching. Human nature. We're easily bored and crave action. We will look at the most interesting thing available. Right now it was men carrying boxes to the truck.

The leader, the person that came out of the building with him, plus the two that came from the truck were on the loading platform observing the process.
“I'll take the leader, you take the passenger of the truck.”
“Got it. . . I'm on him.”
The group was facing away from us. I put the scope's reticle on the the spine of the leader about where the fifth rib attached to it. Aim small, miss small. I shifted the fore end on my pack as I tracked his small movements. Left hand held the butt into my shoulder, right hand relaxed so the index finger could do it's thing unimpeded.

I was worried about how much attention we were focusing on those individuals. And as if he could hear my thoughts, the leader turned around and looked right at us. Busted! I almost took a snap shot at him before he could sound an alert, but before I could his eyes slid right past us. After a second he shrugged his shoulders and turned back around.

Never dismiss that little voice in your head. Or the feeling in your gut. Never.

“On three. One...Two...Three” Both rifles fired simultaneously. The leader dropped like a sack and the passenger collapsed on top of him a fraction of a second later. Running the bolt was second nature, started before the recoil was finished. Frank's rifle barked again. We'd spent so many hours competing against each other in training that I felt it when he got his shot of before me. Of course he had an advantage, shooting a semi-auto AR.
Bolt forward and down, time to play catch up. The view showed a third body on the platform. A portion of my attention registered other gun shots. Stan's team was taking out the guards.
While part of my brain processed that, the part that was in the scope noticed movement. The forth 'banger was making a run. Hunter instinct kicked in. Running animal equals prey. He was inside the building but I could still see him. Quartering away from me I led him about a foot.
“Baboom!” Both Frank's and my rifles fired almost simultaneously again. Frank's was first, and I knew I'd hear about it later. The runner pitched forward under the dual impact and slid a few feet on his chin, his momentum carrying him forward. He left a bloody smear to mark his passage.
I ran the bolt looked for targets

The movers dropped their loads and ran into the warehouse. They were used to being shot at, if maybe not quite so well, so there was no hesitation, no bewilderment. They ducked down and made for cover.
Frank tagged one, and I saw another one get hit but not go down, shot by one of Stan's people.
I pulled my eye from the scope to get a broader view of what was happening just in time to see the Excursion hit the gates. Whether it was the lock or a link in the chain that gave, I don't know, but the gate flew open and the truck drove in. Stan's team, crouched almost double, ran along behind it. They were past the guard shack and paid it no mind.

Once again my attention was pulled by movement. One of the two guards that had, moments ago, been lying in a heap, seemingly dead, now jumped up and ran out the gate. It took a few precious seconds to find the running man in the narrow field of view of the high magnification scope. He was running awkwardly, left arm held close to his body.
I whipped off a shot but flubbed the deflection. The bullet must have screamed past the left side of his head, based on the way he jinked right like a someone had stuck a cattle prod in his ear.
I lost him again while I ran the bolt, chambering my last round. I found him in scope again, just as he rounded a corner. Running right into the heart of the housing project. I opened the bolt and caught the chambered round and thumbed it and three more rounds pulled from a wrist cuff into the magazine of my rifle while I stared at the corner where the runner was lost to sight.

There was a brief flurry of shots from the perimeter and a second later a couple of the patrol sentries ran out into the open, looking wildly behind them. They realized there mistake when Stan and Juice's men opened up on them. Frank didn't even bother taking a shot. We both watched as the danced, jerked and tugged by the gun shots.

Their attention removed from the storage room, the 'bangers inside got bold and fired on my men, one of whom dropped his UMP, his hands coming up to a head wound caused by a round skipping off the bodywork of the big Ford. He dropped, along with the rest, behind the vehicle. Frank put a couple rounds into the dark opening of the storage room, shutting down the shooting for the moment.

Juice scooted over a couple of people to get to his wounded man. He was sitting up, back to the car, and was still conscious so I guess the wound wasn't too bad. Juice ripped open the man's IFAK and used what was in it to put a quick patch on his head.

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Last edited by zengunfighter on Mon Aug 31, 2015 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 6:04 pm 
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“Lima, Zebra, you copy?”
“Lima copies.”
“We have a breach at the front, eight or nine 'bangers down, including the two that ran from your area. What's your situation?”
“Eliminated two of the sentries patrolling the fence. Started cutting through same. Almost done. Estimate one minute”
“Understood, two enemy down, almost through the fence. Do you have eyes on the back of the building closest to the road?”
“Affirmative”
“Is there a door, window or other exits?”
“Affirmative. One door, four windows. Windows are barred.”
“Understood. When you get through the fence I need you to cover the rear of that building. There are approximately ten 'bangers inside the building. Keep the back bottled up.”
“Will do. Lima out”

The muzzles of a couple of Aks appeared around the corner, pointed vaguely in the of the big Ford twenty yards away from it. They ripped off a magazine each to little effect, only a couple of the rounds even hitting the Expedition. They were quickly suppressed by our much more accurate return fire, bullets hitting the edge of the door way around the exposed rifles. They quickly disappeared from view.

The spray and prey fire coming from the 'bangers was replaced by somewhat more accurate fire coming from the depths of the building. AK rounds started impacting the the Ford's sheet metal, some of them passing all the way through. The vehicle was quickly becoming concealment rather than cover.

Juice and Stan conferred, made a decision and gave orders to their team.
Stan was by the front axle and the engine compartment and about eight feet back. Juice was by the rear bumper, keeping the same sort of distance from the Ford. They'd remembered the demonstrations we'd done in training about the path of bullets skipping off of hard surfaces like car hoods. Stan turned his AR sideways and put the butt on top of his shoulder, magazine pointing out to the right. This put his red dot sight right in front of his eye.
More importantly, it removed sight off set as an issue when shooting over cover. Juice had switched his AR to his left shoulder to present as small a target as possible when shooting around the back of the vehicle.

Rounds were still impacting the Expedition, the men flinching as they passed. The large SUV was rocking, much more than could be explained by being hit by small bullets. Then I remembered our prisoner was still in there. I guess he wasn't too happy at the moment.

At a command, Stan and Juice eased out just enough and started firing into the warehouse. As soon as they did, the rest of the team ran in different directions, finding better cover in different parts of the yard. As soon as they reached them, they took over the suppressive fire, covering the two team leaders as they sprinted to better positions.

Waiting for them to settle in, I got on the radio.
“Sierra, Juliet, this is Zebra. Sitrep?”
“Zebra, Juliet, one minor injury. Stalemate at the moment. Estimate eight to ten inside the building. It's dark in there so we can't see to shoot in. Sierra and I were shooting at muzzle blasts.”

The call was interrupted by a flurry of shots at the back of the building. As quick as it started, it stopped.
“Hold one Juliet. Lima, they try a break out?”
“Yeah Zebra, they poked the door open, soon as they saw the crack, a couple of my men took it under fire. They pulled it closed again. Sounded like a bar dropped in place to lock it. Over” Lyle sounded somewhere between disappointed and disgusted. His mens' lack of fire discipline was a problem. If the enemy had been allowed out, at least a couple of them, we could have thinned the ranks.
Oh, well, we'd cover it in the after action meeting. No need to harp on it now.

A stalemate benefited the 'bangers more than us. They were in a defensable position with plenty of food and water, and we were in the open, in unfriendly territory. We needed to wrap this up soonest.

“Juliet, does your grenadier have more than one CS round with him?”
“Affirmative”
“Have him load one.” I looked around before I continued. Juice jumped in before I could.
“He's ready to drop it in the warehouse.”
“Wait one!” I warned and continued my scanning. I was lookeing for two things; wind direction and the proper target. I found what I was looking for and got back on the radio.
“Ok, listen up. Do you see the yellow house across the street to the north west?”
“Yes, I have it.”
“Have your grenadier lob a round at it. I want the round outside the building. Doesn't have to hit anything, but I need to see the grenade when it lands.”
“Understood.” Juice was bright enough to figure out what I was doing. I didn't have to spell it out for him.
“Make sure he sees this as practice”
“Will do.”
While we had two of the grenade launchers with us, the people carrying them had never used them before. We didn't have so many rounds that I felt that we could waste them in practice. A less than optimum situation.

The sharp “bloop” sound alerted me to pay attention. The round went a little short, hitting the ground ten feet in front of the house. It bounced and hit the wall of the building, missing a window by less than a foot and falling to the ground at the base of the wall. Frank and I watched it through our scopes as copious amounts of thick white smoke issued from the canister. The smoke eddied, dancing, caught in the corner of two walls, wafting to roof level where it was snatched by the prevailing wind and blown away from us.

“See any flames?” I was still in the scope, as the last trickle of smoke came out of the canister.
“No”
“Me neither.” Relieved that we wouldn't be chucking incendiary devices into a closed room containing a valuable commodity.

“All teams, we're going to try to flush them out by pumping a CS grenade into the warehouse. Be ready to dump them as they come out.”
“This is Juliet. Do you want prisoners?”
“Only if you can do so safely. I'd rather that our people are unhurt than to have prisoners. One last thing. Tell your people to wait. Don't shoot them as soon as you see them. We need them all out of the building. Let them come before we engage.
“Everyone clear on that?”
“Roger that”
“Roger”
“Got it” Juice always had to be different.

“On One. Three...Two...One..” There was a slight pause as Juice relayed my order. The familiar 'bloop!' sounded and numerous eyes watched the trail of smoke following the grenade describe its trajectory into the the warehouse. Even at this distance I could here the metal canister hit the concrete floor. It looked like a good shot as the smoke trail disappeared into the depths of the building.

Nothing happened for seconds, seconds when I wondered if we had a dud. I was just about to call for a follow up round when first one, then two, and finally eight gang members came out of the building.

They came out fast and low, rifles in one hand, shirts held over their faces with the other. One jumped off the dock and ran for the truck door. My round took him in the lower spine, punching all the way through and burying itself in the truck's body. He folded like a cheap card table, arms flailing and legs gone dead from lack of signal.

The sound of my report was the signal everyone was waiting for. I ran my bolt and looked for targets of opportunity, a fresh round nestled in the chamber a couple inches in front of my nose waiting to be let loose to fly screaming toward another life. I swung the scope back and forth casting about for a target while keeping track of the fight. Frank's rifle was barking at an unhurried rate at my side as he serviced targets.

I worried about only seeing eight people exit until I heard the secondary gun battle from behind the building. Hopefully Lyle's people learned from their first premature engagement.

What was left of our eight hadn't made it far. Some of them hunkered around the truck, one was behind a stack of pallets, another pair behind some drums that were quickly leaking their contents. Their muzzle blasts as they returned our fire, was awfully close to some of those streams of liquid and I idlely wondered if it was flammable.

Bursts of fire shown in the darkness under the truck where one of the bangers had slithered trying to find shelter from the storm of the battle. He couldn't wield his rifle in the tight confines, the big magazine demanding that the gun be held sideways. It was obvious he'd never done this before, unable to get the butt to his shoulder he contented himself with firing it by holding the pistol grip and fore end. We were in little danger from his bursts.
Then his hammer fell on an empty chamber and I watched, amused as he tried to get the spare mag out his pant's pocket and switch it with the empty one. The chuckle next to me told me that Frank was watching the same slapstick comedy.

After struggling mightily he finally had the new mag on and was reaching for the bolt handle when I skipped a round off the pavement and into his guts. He was really unhappy about the new development and frantically tried to get out from what at first had seemed like a smart place to fight from. Frank followed my shot with three of his own, stilling the 'banger's struggle.

The barrel boys, realizing that their cover was turning into concealment with every leaking gallon, made a desperate break, sprinting all out for the gate. They wanted out. Our bullets chased after them and they jerked and twitched with impacts, but their legs kept pumping.
The one on the left got shoved off his feet as if pushed by a giant hand, a large gout of goo exiting from the front of his chest. Juice's Bennelli gunner must have performed a select slug drill, slapping the runner to the ground with a ounce of lead three quarters of an inch diameter at fifteen hundred feet per second.
The other runner had his leg knocked from under him. He pitched froward, curling up into a ball hit the ground and rolled and came back up on his feet, limping but still running. My man must have played some ball.

I felt bad, knowing the heart that put out that level of effort. My finger was frozen, unable to add the last pound needed to get the trigger to trip. Part of me was rooting for him, wanting him to make it.
Through the magnification of the rifle scope I could see as his clothes were plucked from his body by the near misses. His arms pumped as he skip stepped ran, a jerky uneven movement that probably contributed to his longevity.
But finally he zigged when he should have zagged and one of our bullets at last found the off button. He fell to his knees, looked around him and then up to the sky, and then toppled over. Dead.

The rate of fire had slacked off to a desultory pace, a trading of shots as if misers were pulling the triggers. And misers maybe they were. We all had a limited amount of ammo. As far as I could tell, there was only one of the 'bangers left alive, the one behind the pallets.
The rough sawn oak was doing a good job of protecting the gang member from our smaller 5.56mm rounds. Splinters flew, as rounds hit, and I had no doubt that given enough time and ammuntion, we'd chew our way through to him.
But we didn't have unlimited amounts of either. And I wasn't shooting a little .22.

Studying the stack I picked my point and launched a 168 grain bullet toward it. The round did what the AR bullets wouldn't, penetrate a bunch of wood. As I closed the bolt on a fresh round the 'banger lurched from behind his cover, clutching at his left breast. He took another five or six shots in less than a second and he collapsed in an untidy heap.

There was not shooting for the first time since this fight had kicked off. Things were back to me.
“All teams, Zebra. Lima, status? Over.”
“Two tried to come out the back. We let them. One dead, one prisoner.” I wasn't expecting that, but OK.
“Injuries, Lima?”
“None to us. Over.”
“Roger that. How's everyone else? Any injuries? Over”
“Sierra's clear”
“Team Juliet is OK”
“Cool. We need to move in and check things out.” I was going to let them work out how that would work, but learned it's easier to just tell them. “Sierra, provide over watch. Juliet, clear the area and the building, make sure there are no surprises. Be careful in the building. Lima, sit tight.”

They acknowledged my orders and Frank and I watched them leave their places of cover and move forward. They moved carefully, guns at the ready, where eyes looked, muzzles followed.
A possum, tired of playing dead or tired of being alive, jumped up and ran. The Bennelli spoke, once, twice, swatting the runner to the ground. The gunner crammed new rounds in the magazine to replace the ones he'd expended.

Gun muzzles were touched to eyes to see if they flinched. If they did the barrel was correctly indexed to see that it wouldn't happen again. That proved to be unnecessary.

I policed up my precious brass, panicked when one eluded my search. A gold gleam gave it away under a clump of grass and I grabbed it greedily. Brass safely stashed I knelt by my pack. I fished a twenty round box of shells from an outside pocket.
Handing the Model 70 to Frank along with the extra shells, I stood, shouldered my pack and slung the shorty AK in front of me. I ran a chamber check on the Krink and let it hang.
“Hang here, keep an eye on things.”
“In case you need me to reach out and touch something.”
“Long distance.” I started.
“The next best thing to being there.” Frank finished the phase the sniper community had shamelessly stolen from the phone company. “No worries. Leaving the radio with me?”
“Yup.” I pulled it out of it's pouch and snaked the ear piece and external mic from under my shirt and handed it to him, then worked my way down hill, through the bush, to the compound.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 8:37 pm 
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You a sneaky devil! I almost passed right by this! Hahaha love the double post now I have to work extra hard to get caught up at work!

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:00 am 
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Woot!

Great start to book 2...Happy Thanksgiving indeed!

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:13 am 
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Ah since I commented on the other site this is posted does that mean I should here to?Ok I will, great update.LOL. :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:42 am 
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I'm in.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:01 am 
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Thank you ZGF

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:20 am 
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Thank you!!!

Great uppdate!!

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:27 am 
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YAY! :clap: :clap:

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 10:00 pm 
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Thank you!


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Excellent! Write some MOAR!

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Great read! Thanx for posting it.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:21 am 
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Good Stuff.

What happened with the two guys coming off the beach, or did you remove that part from Book I?

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MOAR!!!!! Great job! Keep up the work!


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Sliding downhill, fighting a much harder battle with the catch-and-keep than the one with the 'bangers, I came out on a driveway. I looked up at the house it served, didn't see anyone, dangerous or benign, so I jumped down to it. It passed next to southern edge of the compound. I jogged, now that the way was easy and less than a minute later was passing through the busted gate of the storage facility.
A couple of Juice's men were guarding it, keeping an uneasy eye up the street toward the projects. As far as I knew, we'd destroyed the gang that called this place home, but it was still troubling to be on their turf.

Men had been detailed to gather up all the useful items and there was a growing stack of Aks, pistols, ammo, and assorted other odds and ends with varying levels of value.

Lyle had brought his team around to join the rest of the crew who were congregated a short distance from the door of the warehouse. An unhappy gang member lay on his side, hog tied. The pavement was hot and he was straining to keep his face off of it. His neck would get tired and his head would droop, further and further, closer and closer until contact with the hot surface made him quickly lift his head again. He tried to shift his position but a boot from his guard wouldn't let him.

“This one of the guys tried to make it out the back?”
Lyle took a step closer. “Yeah, he was first through the door. As soon as the second 'banger cleared the door, Edwards hit him with a bean bag from the Bennelli. His partner brought his AK up so we didn't have a choice with him.”
“That's cool. Good work. I looked at Edwards whose boot it was on the prisoner's side, preventing him from moving.
“Should I let him up?”
“Nah, not yet. I don't think he's done yet.”
“loose me, muddaskunt!” Edwards' boot moved and pushed the 'banger's face to the pavement and held it there, the prisoner squirmed to get out from under it. I nodded to Edwards who removed the pressure.
“You rest easy brother, I'm sure you've had a rough morning. We'll talk later.”
“I ain't telling your nothing!” he spat back at me predictably.

I turned to my team leaders. “What's the deal?”
Lyle answered, “The warehouse is full of the CS, we only have two masks. I sent Jordan and Richie in to clear the place, make sure there weren't any surprises and to open doors and windows to get some ventilation. It'll probably be a while, maybe a half hour or so before we can go in with out masks.”
“OK, cool. Stan, take your team and go get our vehicles and bring them back here. Juice, Check out this truck and see if it will run. I don't think it took too many rounds, but it only takes one, right?”
He nodded, waited to see if there was anything else and when there wasn't, moved over to the truck and popped the hood and started his mechanic's poking and prodding.

I detailed the rest of the men to set up defensive positions. I wasn't sure yet, how long we'd be here, and wouldn't until I got a look inside of the warehouse to see what we were dealing with. Meanwhile, keeping the men busy at something useful served a few purposes.

“Hey Zed! Come take a look!” Stan was standing by the open door of the Ford, looking inside. I suddenly remembered what had been left in there and dreaded looking. I walked over anyway.
“Not a scratch on him! Can you believe that?”
“Yeah, I can, actually.” I looked in at a very unhappy prisoner.
“What should we do with him?”
“Drag his ass out and put him with the other one. Make sure they're both secure.”
“Aren't they from rival gangs?”
“So?” I shrugged and smirked. “Get him out of there, or leave him in, doesn't matter to me, just go and get our vehicles.”
Running footsteps got my attention and I turned in their direction to see Lyle. As he neared he held out his radio for me. “Frank want's you.”
I took the proffered radio from Lyle and keyed the mic. “Foxtrot, this is Zebra. What's up?”
“Zebra, you've got visitors. Group heading your way. Came out of the project.”
“Foxtrot, can you take them under fire? Hold them off us?”
“Affirmative, can take them under fire. But group appears to be unarmed women. Still want me to engage?”
“Now what?” I thought to myself. “Wait one, Foxtrot.
“We got visitors!” I repeated Frank's warning loud enough for everyone to hear. I ran to the fence line where I could get a view down the road. Two blocks away was a handful of people walking toward us. I couldn't make out any detail so I loosened the right strap of my pack and swung it around front of me so I could pull the binoculars from a pocket.
The group jumped ten times closer to me as my fingers turned the wheel to bring them into focus. It was a group of women, as Frank said. But neglected to tell me about the gang banger with them. It was the same one that had escaped.
He looked a bit worse for wear, his eyes nearly swollen shut, blood running from a scalp wound, limping as he was pulled along. Three women had ropes around his neck, like leashes and his hands were tied behind his back.
The woman in front was West Indian of indeterminant age. She could just as well been sixty five as forty. She was stout and with a proud carriage. Hawking up a lougie, she launched it at the 'banger that had done a runner, the one I couldn't bring myself to shoot.
Her bona fides established, I went to the gate to meet her. “Cover me, but keep your eyes out three sixty. This could be a diversion.” Sliding the radio into the pouch I watched them come on.

“Good Morning” She greeted when the group had reached social distance. That caused me to shoot a quick glance at the sun, surprised to see it less than three hands above the eastern horizon.
“Morning.” I returned.
“You Mr. Zed?” My second, somewhat larger surprise in a matter of seconds.
“Yes, Ma'am. How can I help you? And, um. . I guess I'm a bit curious to how you know who I am.”
The woman gave a deep chuckle and a broad smile, showing me that her upper left incisor was covered in gold. She was obviously pleased that she had one over on me and had the advantage over me.
“Wern't hard to figure out. Not too many white boys going 'round kicking gang bangers' asses. 'Sides, this one here,” she tugged on the lease for emphasis, “Seemed to think it was you. All he could say was 'Zed's gang this and Zed's gang that!' I think you done impressed him, yes sir.”
“No sense in denying it then, is there? Guilty as charged. But you can drop the 'Mr.” Zed will do just fine. And you are?” I extended my hand. She took it, and instead of the dead fish I was expecting, she gave me a firm handshake with a strong dry hand.
“Name's Blackwell, Zelda Blackwell.”
“Pleasure to meet you Ms. Blackwell.”
“Now we're not going to play it that way, no how. If you 'spect me to call you Zed, then you better look like calling me Zelda.”
I winked and gave her my most rakish grin. “You flirting with me, Zelda?”
All the women tittered at that. The 'banger just stood there, trying to be unobtrusive.
“Well, I might, if I thought it would do me any good. But I don't think Miss Sadie would put up with it, and I don't think your missus is someone I want to cross.”
“No ma'am, I don't suppose she is. Look, it's kinda warm out here in the sun. I guess you wanted to come talk to me. Come on in and let's find some place in the shade.”

I met them at the gate and led them in. I was going to have them leave their prisoner with our two, but as we neared them, Zelda stopped short for a second, letting her lease drop, then she ran as fast as her considerable girth would let her over to our original prisoner. He saw her coming and his eyes got wide and he started trembling.
Without a word she commenced to wailing on him. Kicking and punching for all she was worth. The prisoner covered up as best he could, going fetal, so her blows were mostly symbolic. The newer prisoner scooted as far away as he could.
I let her go until she ran out of steam. “Where'd you find this one?”
“He and some of his gang tried to attack some good friends of ours. He was the only one that survived. He's the one that told us about this place.” The newer prisoner shot him a withering look gang members reserved for snitches.

“Whatchu gonna do wid him?”
“Hadn't really figured it out. We're pretty much done with him. I thought we'd use him today as someone his gang would recongnize. We didn't know there'd been a change in ownership. Why? You want him?”
“How much you want for him?”
“Well, I hadn't really considered it, so let me think on it. Meanwhile let's talk about some other matters.”

I lead the ladies up to the second building in the compound and found a unit that's door stood open, broken in. We entered, past a counter, continuing in until we found an office. It had been ransacked, but soon I had enough chairs corraled so everyone was seated.

“Now, tell me what I can do for you ladies?” The other two seemed content to let Zelda do all the talking.
“We're here about the food.”
“Ok. What about it?” I wanted her to go first.
“Whatchu planning on doing with it?” straight to the point. But I wasn't ready yet.
“the Kirwan Terrace Crips were controling it, weren't they?”
“They were indeed. Yes they were. Why?” She narrowed her eyes and looked at me suspiciously.
“I'm just trying to get an idea of what was going on here. Get some feel for the history. What were they doing with the food? Did you have access to it? Were they handing it out?”
One of the other women snorted. “Oh yeah! They handin' it out all right. Long as you were handin' sumtin' else out.”
“So they were making you pay for the food then?”
“That's right. That what you fixin' to do?” the second woman answered. “Or you just plannin' to take it all wid you?”
“Gracie!” Zelda scolded. At least I had a name to put to the heat.
“It's alright. I get it. Rough times for everyone and the strong taking advantage. We come tearing in her, just like any of the other gangs and take it for ourselves. I can see where Miss Gracie's coming from.”
“So you not gonna take de food?”
“I didn't say that either.” I smiled to forestall their anger. “Alright. My turn. Things are messed up. We're in bad trouble, all of us.”
“Mmmm,hmmm” the third woman agreed. I took that for what it was, and kept on with my homily.
“My wife and I saw hard times coming and tried to get ready for it. But we'd got it all wrong. We thought we could hold up at home and let the trouble go on around us, thinking we could avoid that.” I had there attention, so I kept going.
“When the trouble finally came, we quickly realized we'd miscalculated, and that for a number of reasons we needed to work with our neighbors.”
“We've heard some of that. Whatcha dun 'round your home.” Zelda said. I thought it was interesting that the coconut telegraph was still working even with our current conditions.
“We've done some good, got ourselves sorted out, got ourselves stabilized. But our neighborhood is just a bigger form of my family, or Sadie and I. And it, by itself, isn't enough to get by.
And I guess, that, more than the food in the warehouse, is really why we're here today.”

There was a pause while they digested that. Zelda was quick to follow the tracks. “You lookin' to expand your territory.” a statement, not a question. I pursed my lips, eyes down and left while I thought.
“Yes and no. We're not looking to take over, to take anything that doesn't belong to us. What we would like to do is help you, and anyone else interested, in learning how to deal with the new world we find ourselves in. We've already got people in our neighborhood that have started new businesses, that are working, producing, living. Let me ask you, what are people doing around here? How are they living? Like, how are they getting food and things for their families?”
“Lot's a folks had a least a little something put by. You know, some canned goods, some dry goods, things they'd had for hurricanes. But somes don't and somes want more, so they've been dealing with the gang.” She spat the last word. “Trading them what they had for what they wanted.”
“Some of that trading was pure ugly. Evil, Mr. Zed.” Gracie picked up. My imagination provided the images of what some of those trades looked like.

“Understood. See, here's my concern. There's food and other things in this warehouse. If I just turn it loose, someone with take control of it. Might be you three, might be someone else. It will depend on who can hold it against the next group that wants it.”
“So you are going to take it.” the third woman accused me. Zelda hushed her.
“My concern is that even if good folks like you control it, and no one comes and takes it, before too long, it'll all be gone. And then where are you?”
“So whatchu suggestin' Zed? What is it you think we ought to be doin'?”

“If. If you are interested, we'll help your community get on your feet. We'll help you protect what you have. More importantly, we'll teach you to protect it your ownselves.” The women looked at each other at that. I went on. We'll work with you to get you working again. Providing for yourselves. Providing for your community. I'm picturing that you get to the point were you are hardly using what's in the warehouse. I'm picturing where you are producing enough that you can start trading. There will be things you make, or grow, that we'll want, and we can start trading back and forth. That sound like something you'd be interested in?”

“Yes sir. It is.”
“Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm guessing that you hold some sort of leadership position in the community?”
Zelda nodded. “I was the president of the community. Such as it was. What the gang let me do, anyway.”
“Tell me. We've been fighting with the gang from here for a while. Last week we lured them into a big battle. I was trying to finish them. Are there any of them left here?”

Zelda shook her head. “No. There were a handful left guarding this place, but they got taken out by the Bloods. Some their people still here, woman and children, but most of those took off about a week ago. They went off to OHC with their men.”
“So, if I left you a team of say, half a dozen of my people, they'd be able to help you keep control of the community. Until we can get you set up?”

She nodded thoughtfully, “How long 'til we's ready to do it ourselves?”
“I'd want to get started on that right away. In a week you're people could start to help out, a week or two after that you could handle more of it.”
“We ain't got no guns or bullets.”
I smiled. “don't worry, I'll hook a sister up.” All three of them burst out laughing at that.
“So. We got a deal?”
Zelda looked first at Gracie and then the third woman. Reciveing nods from them she turned back to me. “Yes sir. I believe we do.”

We stood and shook hands all around. The mood was much lighter and I could tell that a weight had been lifted from these woman's shoulders. They saw a way forward, one that they would have some control over.
That's all most people need to feel satisfied.

“So what's next?” Zelda led the way out of the building.
“Next, we take an inventory of what in the building. We need to know what we're starting with. Then I'm going to have to go home and talk to my people and plan out what our relationship will look like. Some of them are going to want to come and talk to you. Survey what you have here, and work with you to come up with some ideas.”

We'd reached the dock outside of the unit we'd been in and Zelda could see out outsized prisoner again. She stiffened and looked like she was going to attack him again.
“He do something bad to one of yours?”
“He done something bad to plenty a people. But yes, he raped my sister's grand baby. Like I said, he done hurt plenty, but that makes it personal.”
“I'm so sorry. We saw evidence of his crimes when we took him. Made us sick. Worse now that I can put a face to it. You want him? Or you want me to take care of him?”
She looked at me, surprised. “You'd give him to me? What you want for him?”
“I don't own him. You can have him. I used him while he was useful. I was always planning on putting him down when I was done with him. I'll still do that, If you want.”

“No sir. I appreciate the offer, but I think my people could get some closure if we dealt with Mr. D'von James our own selves."
Now that I was rid of him, I finally learned his name.
Didn't make me feel any different about him.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 12:08 am 
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GREAT entry!

Mr. Zed's become pretty damn hard...wonder what he's losing of himself as he gives to the community?

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Very good! Exciting to see the development of the island outside of Zed's community, and very glad to see manwhale getting busted up for being human waste. Keep it going! :clap:

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Not slowin down none with this new book!!! I like it!

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An update!! We be HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY...now that's over...MOAR!!

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zengunfighter wrote:
Good Morning” She greeted when the group had reached social distance. That caused me to shoot a quick glance at the sun, surprised to see it less than three hands above the eastern horizon.
“Morning.” I returned.
“You Mr. Zed?” My second, somewhat larger surprise in a matter of seconds.
“Yes, Ma'am. How can I help you? And, um. . I guess I'm a bit curious to how you know who I am.”
The woman gave a deep chuckle and a broad smile, showing me that her upper left incisor was covered in gold. She was obviously pleased that she had one over on me and had the advantage over me.
Wern't hard to figure out. Not too many white boys going 'round kicking gang bangers' asses. 'Sides, this one here,” she tugged on the lease for emphasis, “Seemed to think it was you. All he could say was 'Zed's gang this and Zed's gang that!' I think you done impressed him, yes sir.”.

:awesome: told y'all he was considered a legend.

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subscribing!! :mrgreen:

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subscribing!! :mrgreen:


Ditto.

Still getting over the stress and anxiety of "Unwelcome Sign" reading this in short order has left me needing...

MOAR!!

Thanks for the extra helping OP!

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Jordan came out of the warehouse quickly, clearly in a rush. We brought our weapons up thinking there was a threat. Richie stopped like he'd run into a brick wall when he saw all those muzzles pointed at him. In truth, we were lucky we didn't have a blue on blue shooting.
Jordan ripped the gas mask off of his face and vomited, spewing breakfast all over the loading dock. He fell to his knees and wretched again, then once more, producing less each time. Richie came the rest of the way out, pulled off his mask which revealed a quizzical expression on his face.

Several of us ran up to the loading dock, warily eying the dark interior, noses crammed into elbows to provide some protection from the smell of the puke and the remnants of the CS gas still lingering near the entrance. Juice who had a stronger stomach than the rest of us was next to Jordan, offering him a water bottle which was thankfully received.
I moved closer to get some answers. “Did the mask leak? Not work?” Throwing up is, after all, an effect of exposure to CS gas. I looked to Richie with a question but he just shrugged his shoulders.

Jordan shook his head and took another mouthful of water, swishing it around and spitting it out. He stood, steadied by Juice and moved away from his mess. He didn't like smelling it anymore than we did.
He probably didn't want to be reminded of it and everything it represented, either.

I waited, trying to hide my impatience, until Jordan gained his composure. He looked at the entrance of the warehouse and shivered, soul deep. A deep breath another drink and he pulled himself together.
“We cleared the main area and moved to the back and opened the door and the windows to clear the place out. There was a large room in the back, off to the left with a closed door. We went over, I was leading, Richie covering me. The door was locked on the outside, but just with a dead bolt. I threw it and pushed the door open and stepped back, you know, in case some one was in there. I didn't think so, not really, because of the lock on the outside, you know?” Jordan looked at us for approval of his thought process. I tilted my head and pursed my lips, thoughtful, nodding, like I was considering his logical deduction, assuaging his ego and signaling him to continue.

“I pie'd the corner, just like you taught us. I saw the edge of a mattress, and I thought that was odd, you know?” Another look at us with haunted eyes, streaming tears. He looked to us because he didn't want to be alone with whatever he'd seen. Juice put a hand on his shoulder and the connection bucked him up. He stifled a sob, took a shuddering breath and continued. “Another step and then I could see the foot, a rope around the ankle. I didn't want to look, but I couldn't no look, you know what I mean?”
Another look for confirmation which I provided. And I did know what he meant. We can't help ourselves, we're draw to look at things we know we probably would be better off not foisting on our psyches.
“I wasn't so worried about tactics anymore, I guess I kinda just forgot about it, I went right to the door so I could see, thinking I could do something. But I was too late.” A sob caught in his throat and he fell to his knees again, muzzle of his rifle clattering on the pavement, hung head pouring tears on the concrete that evaporated them before they could leave a spot.
I looked to Richie who shrugged his shoulders. “I didn't see. I didn't go in. When he ran out I followed him. We're supposed to stick together, right?” that last, worried, like he'd done the wrong thing.
I gave him two quick nods so he knew he was cool. I was about to say more when Jordan looked up and saw our prisoners. The change was as dramatic as it was sudden. Sorrow was replaced with fury as he launched himself towards the bound gang members. We were way behind the curve and Jordan had landed several serious butt strokes to the 'banger Zelda had brought us, before we could restrain him.
“You bastards! You sick demented pieces of shit!” He punctuated the last with a kick that would have been brutal if it had landed. Richie and Juice had him under the arms and was pulling him back so the blow missed by a scant inch.

I suddenly got a bad feeling as my mind started to make connections. I ripped the mask from where it dangled in Richie's hand, forgotten, and ran to the warehouse. Half tripping on the stairs in my haste, half blinded by my efforts to get the mask pulled over my head. I stopped at the entrance long enough to make sure it was seated, blowing out to test the seal. Satisfied I went inside.

There were stacks and stacks of boxes on pallets. Untidy piles of unidentified objects laid against the walls. I moved diagonally across the main space, until I stood in front of the door. I steeled myself menatlly for what I was about to see and stepped inside.

The good news is, we didn't kill them. The thought that spurred me to run in here was that we might have killed captives with the CS gas. Turns out I didn't have to worry about that.

No, the three girls inside the room were already dead when we flushed out the 'bangers. So there was that, at least. I didn't have these deaths on my head, more ghosts to visit me in the quiet moments. Then I scolded myself for my selfishness, realizing what these poor creatures had endured before their release.
For the stark evidence of their torture was plain to see. The bodies of two young women, hell, children really, were tied to filthy matresses on the floor. Bad enough that they'd been badly used, but the cuts, the bruising, the cigarette burns were too much for me to process.
I started to gag and pulled the mask up. I managed to keep my gorge down and discovered that the air in the room was clear. The only opening was the door and it must have kept out the gas. I walked around to the far edge of the matresses and discovered a third little body. A girl who hadn't made it puberty yet. Her lifeless eyes stared at the ceiling above her.

The bowie made short work of the rope and I picked up the first body, wrapping it in a filthy sheet, embarrassed I couldn't find better for her and disgusted at what I was coming in contact with. She hadn't been dead long, her body was still somewhat limber. I carried her out, laid her gently on the loading dock and repeated the process with the second.
I went back into that hellish room a third time and knelt by the body of the youngest girl to scoop her off the floor. Her body offered no resistance but wasn't showing the first signs of stiffness that the others had. Tears of anger, tears of pain and anguish ran from my face as I cradled her body in my arms, looking down on that lifeless face that should have been filled with youthful innocence.
One of my tears fell, landing heavily on her check, and I almost dropped her when her eyes blinked.

This was way above my pay grade so I hustled her over to the three women. They gasped simultaneously when they saw her, whether from surprise at her being alive, or because they knew her, I didn't know.
“Oh no! What have they done to you baby girl?” I was starting to hand the child off to Zelda but the third, nameless woman interceded and took her from me. “Oh my poor, poor child! Don'tchu worry none, you'll be Ok now. You'll be OK.” She repeated, trying to convince herself, not the child, who appeared catatonic. Beyond the initial eye blink I hadn't seen the shadow of an expression cross that girl's face.
I followed as they took her to a picnic table where employees used to eat their lunches. The woman eased the child on the table and started dabbing at her with her skirt. I dropped my pack and handed her a water bottle and a spare handkercheif. From what little I could see, the child hadn't been as badly abused as the other children. They started to undress her and she gave no resistance whatsoever. It was like she wasn't even there. Nobody's at home.
Zelda turned and took me away, I guess to preserve the child's modesty. Frankly I was too dazed to know what was appropriate or I would have done it myself sooner. Movement shook me out of it.
“I'm sure you've got other things to do Zed. You just let us handle to the lil' one.”
“Do you know her?”
She cocked her head, surprised at the question. Surprised that I cared, maybe? I looked into eyes that bore the weight of ages in them stoicly. “Yes. Yes, we know her.” Zelda nodded over her shoulder. “That's S'Hammie's youngest niece. She been missing for two days. Her daddy took off 'bout deh same time. We just thought he done take her wid him. Now we knows. He musta traded her to deh gang fo tings he want 'fore he leave.”
I just shook my head. What do you say to that?

“I'm sorry.”

“Ain't you who done dis. Use the one got her back. We got her now. We take care of her. You goan 'bout your work now.” I noticed her slip into the local dialect providing the comfort of home she needed at that moment. I put my hand on her forearm. She let me. Then I turned back to what needed doing.

“Foxtrot, Zebra. You still cool up there? Need someone to spell you?”
“I'm good for a while longer Zebra. Give me a shout in a couple hours.” Knowing that Frank was still on the job, providing overwatch was comforting. He didn't miss much, and with the .30-06 he could take care of things up to a half mile away.
“Mary, this is Zebra, you gotta copy?” There was a pause of a couple of seconds then Maria came back to me.
“Roger Zebra, I can hear you fine.”
“Tell your boss that everything is going good here. No serious injuries, we control the objective, and made contact with local people. Over”
“Understood. Will relay that. Anything else?”
“I'll call again in a few hours with more. Zebra out.”


Stan and his team were back with our vehicles. I told them to put the Expedition, the biggest thing we had out on the street, sideways, a hundred or so yards away to act as a simple road block. The rest of the vehicles we set up for a quick get away if needed.

Now that I had a better idea of what we were doing here, long term, I put the men to work putting together more solid fighting positions. We hobbled the prisoners and gave them the heaviest work, hauling pallets up to the roof of the building.

Leaving Juice to monitor the work, I headed back to the warehouse. On the way across the yard, Zelda and Gracie's path converged with mine. We were headed in the same direction.
“We mus' take care of dees other chil'ren” Gracie explained.
“Can we please get some help burying them Mr. Zed.” Zelda, all formal.
“Oh course you can, Miss Zelda.” Which led me to another thought. “There's more work here than we can do ourselves. Would you know some people that would be willing to work? We can pay them.”
“Whatchu ha' to pay dem wid?” inquired Gracie.
I nodded to the warehouse. “We'll pay them out of what's in here. We're going to have to do it soon anyway. It's how we got things started in our community.” That seemed to satisfy them and I could tell they were thing of the best candidates.
“Soons we ge' deez chil'ren taken car'a respectfully, we get you some help.”
“Thanks Gracie. I appreciate it.”

I felt uneasy about my place here. These women seemed to accept the change in the power structure without missing a beat. I felt like an interloper, an usuper, out of place, but what was the option? Leave this place alone for someone else to take advantage of? It represented a lot of power.
Was I willing to leave that power laying around for someone else to pick up? To possibly use against us?

I was here, so I guess I answered my own question.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:24 pm 
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Nice little update!!! Hero Zed always doing the right thing

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