The Long Walk Home Part III -Retribution

After getting the latest from Jeremy, Ralph headed over to Sammy’s to check in and find out what else was needed. He still had a lot of questions he needed answers to.
Sammy greeted him at the door “Hell of a homecoming eh”?
“Yea” Ralph replied, “and I have stuff scattered from the river to Brenner”, Ralph moaned as he told Sammy of the return trip.

“You didn’t pack that coffee pot yet did you darlin” Sammy joked.
“No honey, that’s an essential” Helen replied.
“And the Irish” he asked?
“In your condiment drawer” she laughed.
“It’s not Jeremy’s belly burner is it”? Ralph asked
“Naw but you’ll have ta settle for Johnny Walker” Sammy joked.

Ralph and Sammy sat at the table pouring over cache maps, and deciding what was left to be done and moved. “We have supplies all the way up to the Beaver pond, but covered only.Haven’t had time ta bury ’em yet.”
“Well” Ralph added as he pulled a map out of his vest “you may want to copy this, it’s where I have cached some buckets, not a lot but, it’s there if ya need it.” “And we have a bit more to move” Ralph said “I have about a hundred buckets in root cellar, rice, beans, flour, yeast, salt and such”
“S***” Sammy quipped ” I thought my pantry was a load to empty.” “Well we can probably move it with a coupla wagon loads. But where to?”
“Is that old logging shack still there” Ralph querried?
“Yea” said Sammy “no glass in the windows, and the door is half off, but it has walls and a roof that doesn’t leak too much. We can board up the windows, not so sure bout tha roof tho”.

“Well” Ralph asked “how many can we count on”
“Jeremy and Allen are out patroling near the main road, Fred packed up and left” Sammy informed him. “You know that crazy Cajun he says he is gonna git the family down to his dads place at Lake Maurepas, says if they show up there he and the family will turn them into gator bait” He laughed. ‘That leaves me, you, Jeremy, Helen and Allen. His wife and kids are with his mother in Breaux Bridge”.
“What about tha Ward boys” Ralph asked?
“You know them” Sammy scoffed, “they won’t take or give help, especially us, remember me and you ran them off at gunpoint fer hunting on your land”
“I can still see Lucas’ face when he heard that bolt go forward and looked up at your AK” Ralph laugheda
“And you on the other side with that damned FN” Sammy added.
“Hope they aren’t looking to settle a score” Ralph muttered.
“Well I’ll git tha horses hitched and we can git a load of buckets moved before nightfall” Sammy replied.
As they both headed out Ralph couldn’t help but think – five people, not much defensive firepower, as big of Aholes as the Ward boys were, there were three of them and they would be a lot of help.

As they took the wagon down the logging road Sammy filled Ralph in on what had happened the week it took him to get home. Seems the attack came three days after he left to go hunting, he had been there five days not knowing the excrement had hit the oscellating device. There had been some looting in town, and a few gangs, younger men,the ones who didn’t work or ran/used drugs. They were either run off or planted, but a lot of folks, especially the elderly were hit hard by them. Wakefield wasn’t very big and everyone pretty much knew each other, at least the long time residents, so they managed to pull it together somewhat. But without electricity the hospital ran out of gas for the generator and most of the sick passed away. Then the day before he got back the “Army” moved in. The Mexican army, and they were there to clear out the national
guard armory, confiscate weapons and any “excess supplies”. And they were in no mood to argue, neither were the residents, there were a lot of casualties on both sides.
“I’m worried about my horses” Sammy lamented “the quarter horses and those three adopted prairie horses can live on grass, but my thoroughbreds won’t make it well without grain, and I have enough about two months”.
“I can help with that” Ralph informed him “we have plenty of people food since there are only six of us, and I have ten thirty pound buckets
five wheat, five oats that we can use for them. They are after all our transportation”.
“I had been planning to mix my grain with grass seedheads from the right of way and make it go a bit further” Sammy added.
After returning from the shack they decided to move as much as they could night and day as they could. There was no telling when
they would be visited, and they had no illusuions about being able to hold off regular army troops. The next two days were hectic and busy as the root cellar was cleared out, along with about half of Sammy’s horse feed, scattered it seemed everywhere. The shack, the beaver lake, the old Heston place, it had long ago fallen down, but the old lumber made a good ground floor and cover, no one would think of looking there.

That night as they all sat around Sammy’s table they discussed what they should do. It didn’t take long for them all to realize that holding out with only five of them was a pipe dream. They would have to delay and run. The wagon would be kept packed with some clothing, the extra tack, grain, water, and backpacks. Helen would be in charge of hitching the wagon, and taking off down the logging road with the extra horses. Sammy would saddle the mounts needed to run, Jeremy would help Helen. Ralph and Allen would buy the time, charges were set, Ralph’s crank field phones would trigger the steel wool detonators, then mount up and run like all Hades was after them, cause it would be.

With their spare time Ralph and Sammy mixed fertilizer, deisel fuel, packed plastic pipe and fuzed it. Jeremy took the now useless power lines and strung them across the road.
Allen notched some trees near the road, behind the opening rigged some of the homemade charges in the tops to drop them. Four propane tanks were rigged to the homemade charges covered in rocks and duct tape, placed, and covered in trees near to the opening where the road crossed from the powerline right of way , four more were placed in the trees facing the powerline right of way thirty yards inside the woods, to cover against a flanking move through the woods. It wouldn’t stop them, but it would slow them down enough to make a getaway.

Jeremy kicked Debbies flanks as he headed full speed for Sammy’s, Allen called in “the fights here” and headed for the woods and keep contact with the column they saw approaching the road. Just as drilled Hellen, Sammy, and Jeremy headed for the barn. Ralph mounted up on Molly (one of the prairie horses) called Allen to get to the roadblock and headed that way. Allen arrived first and took up his position in the woods to the right. Ralph headed for the field phone on the left. Both were back in the woods, out of sight, but they would be able to see vehicles as they came down the road.

The Ward’s were at home when the column rolled down the road. Stoping in front of the sprawling farm complex they turned two APCs towards it, two squads moving up in covered rushes, as the squad on the right sprinted toward one of the out buildings gunfire erupted from the house and four of them fell. Immediately the APCs opened fire on the house as other vehicles targeted the remaining dwellings. It was all over in a matter of minutes as heavy weapons and high explosive projectiles mangled buildings, bodies, and left only burning hulks of what had been three houses, and the three families that were inside of them.
After the two dismounted squads made sure there were no survivors the column rolled down the road towards the crossings.
“Well I guess we’re next” Allen called over his radio.
“Looks like it” Ralph replied “Are you moving yet Sammy” he called.
“Give me two miniutes” he answed.
“That’s about all I can promise” came the answer.

The APCs made short work of the wire barricade rolling right over it. Rolling down the road, they stopped as they approached and a squad split into fireteams and approached the woods as the vehicles moved forward. As the APCs eased into the restricted opening between the trees and the road after the fireteams had entered the woods.
“These boys have some talent” Ralph noted. When the fireteams were within range Ralph radioed to Allen “fire three”. The explosions and gasballs lit up the woods as rocks, metal, and wood penetrated everything with devastating effect. “Fire two” he hollared, The road cylinders did the same, exposed gunners shredded by all manner of shrapnel.
“Fire one” he called as the lead APC reached the treefall. Four trees fell across the road, one on top of the APC. “Ride like hell” was the last command as they took off through the woods to join the others.

It was a good five miles from the crossings to the old Heston place, all had made it, but Ralph and Allens horses were in need of a rest.
“I need a fresh mount” Ralph said “better go look and see if anything is chasing us”. “Jeremy” Ralph called “Mount and fix bayonet, you just drew short straw, your with me”.
Now Jeremy was one of those old country boys of whom it had been said didn’t have too many forks in the family tree. But he hunted Hog with only a spear and bowie knife, and could sneak up on a nervous rabbit. A better choice for a recon partner I couldn’t have.
We circled around and came up between the woods and the powerline. making a wide sweep we found all our houses burning, and the troops scouring the woods arond them. Heading back for the Ward place we peeked in on the ambush site. It was erily quiet as we slowly swept it. The APC that had been hit by the tree was gone, but the remains of the nine soldiers caught by the tree mines still lay in the woods. As we approached the Ward Farm (or what was left of it) there were only bodies, seven soldiers, and the burned bullet ridden corpses that were the Wards. Then something caught Jeremy’s attention. “Wait here” he said as he rode down the road and into the woods. A few miniutes
later the radio blurted “you better git over here – quick” Riding up I found Jeremy holding a body, it was Sarah Ward, she had been in the barn when the fighting broke out, she had been hit by a stray bullet in the leg. I put some quickclot and a bandana around it, we loaded her on with Jeremy and headed the long way back.

The sun was setting as we headed back, and one last look saw the troops loaded up and heading back to Wakefield. It was almost eight P.M. before we made it back to the rally point. Hellen took Sarah, administered some proper first aid, and did her best to comfort her.
Puzzled Sammy looked at us “how the hell did you find your way back here on a moonless night”?

“Easy I said”, then told him of finding the soldiers in the woods, and at the Ward place, and held up six night goggles. “one of them is thermal ta boot” I exclaimed. We each had a pair of M4s as well.
“Couldn’t salvage much, the tree mines did one hell of a job”, I said nearly gloating.
“Scavanged about twenty grenades, a dozen mags, four pistols and some magazines as well, you can bet that when they find that stuff missing this place will be crawling with troops and gunships.” I Surmised.

“Well then, I don’t think we outta be here tommorrow” Sammy injected.

After digging through the Heston cache and adding some stuff to the wagon we headed out. The night move wasn’t bad at all, except for the rain which I was thankful for as it would make it harder to track us. We covered probably twenty plus miles. We held up at first light so all, man and beast alike could take a well earned rest. As close as I could figure we were somewhere west of Kentwood, and I-55. If we were going to find any juicy targets that would be a good place to start looking.

Jeremy and I headed out in the afternoon, keeping to the woods and moving slow. There didn’t seem to be an army presence in the area. Were they sticking to the built up areas I wondered. Just about dark we spotted a light, a campfire from the looks of it. As we got closer it got bigger, who other than an army unit, or an idiot would build a big fire at night? Sure enough it was the latter. Looked like about twenty or so, if theses idiots get spotted the army will be too close for my comfort. Doubling back we had made it no more than a few miles when we heard the helicopters going that direction. I almost felt sorry for those poor fools, but with that type of opsec they weren’t going last long
or be very effective anyway. By the time we got back the group was loaded and ready to go. Sarah was better, physically, but still was not talking. we headed south, there near Lake Maurepas we knew there were friendlies,and a chance to trade for what we needed, didn’t want to go the direction we just scouted. Too much traffic. we would soon need batteries for the night vision, or even better a charging system. The wagon was not a thing we could move easily during daylight hours, and woods with it were impossible.
This living on the run was getting old quick, especially with three noncombatants. Sammy and his wife were 70+, Sarah was wounded, the discussion that day was spirited,
Sammy wanted to fight, but it was pride, he knew in his heart he couldn’t do much. Hell – I was even borderline myself, but I had the tactical knowledge that was needed. It was a hard decision for all, but:
Sammy had some good friends near Pine Grove he had met some years back through his horse breeding association, now if they were still there. Another night march brought us to the isolated horse ranch of Rene’ Broussard, Sammy’s buddy. It was a relief to get a real bed to sleep in and a meal that didn’t come out of a bucket. In addition to leaving Sammy, Helen, and Sarah we left the wagon, the thoroughbreds, and a lot of supply. The three prairie horses we decided to ride, the three quarter horses were traded in for pack mules. It took a few days for Rene’ to build the panniers for the mules. So Jeremy and I took the time for an extended patrol. Movement with just horses was quick, easy, and stealthy.
We made it all the way to Independence and Amite. There we found what we had been looking for, a transportation hub and lots of stuff ta make go kaboom. Heading back we were surprised, well I was anyway, by hogs in the brush. It didn’t take Jeremy long to isolate, take, gut, and quarter. we were heroes when we got back, Rene’ even broke out a keg of homemade beer for the occasion. “Enjoy it” Jeremy told me “It may be our last for a while”.
As I drifted off to sleep I thought of the days ahead, would we ever get back to days like this, to what we once had? With a little luck, a lot of hard fighting, and a smile from the man above I figgered our odds better than even.

The pack was ready and it was time to go pick a fight. Two mules each with 220 lbs of supplies, three horses, this would allow us to move fast and far, we had supply points back home, here in Pine Grove, and whatever we could scavange from the enemy. As we said our goodbyes, and wished each other good luck, Sarah came running up. Threw her arms around Jeremy’s
neck and told him “thank you, please come back”. This was the first words anyone had heard her say in three days. Her next words almost made me fall off my mount. Walking up to me she took my hand and said “Promise you’ll bring him back to me”.
What could I say except “I will”.
First Strike

Traveling east toward Independence we passed the area that we had seen that bonfire, they had not even bothered to bury or collect the bodies, several were hung from trees, bruised, cut, and with burn marks, I guess that tells us surrender is not an option. That evening after dinner the subject of what we had seen came up again, as some of the bodies were no more than 14 or so years old, including two of those tortured and hung. Obviously mercy was not a trait of our enemy, but should we be the same? After surprisingly little discussion we arrived at a decision. Torture was out of the question, barbarians we were not.

Our creed would become —-
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary ……….
Let the revolution begin, let freedom spread like a wildfire, fanned by the winds of liberty until this tyranny has been burned from our land
Go home, send no more, we will kill all you send.

When your enemy is arrogant or sloppy it makes life a lot easier. While scouting out one night we all met back up to share info and decide on a target. Jeremy was late showing up.
When he finially did he had the biggest S*** eating grin. Seems he had found an un-or-laxly-guarded vehicle. There in his bag were seven remote detonators, and a remote detoThe Escape

After getting the latest from Jeremy, Ralph headed over to Sammy’s to check in and find out what else was needed. He still had a lot of questions he needed answers to.
Sammy greeted him at the door “Hell of a homecoming eh”?
“Yea” Ralph replied, “and I have stuff scattered from the river to Brenner”, Ralph moaned as he told Sammy of the return trip.

“You didn’t pack that coffee pot yet did you darlin” Sammy joked.
“No honey, that’s an essential” Helen replied.
“And the Irish” he asked?
“In your condiment drawer” she laughed.
“It’s not Jeremy’s belly burner is it”? Ralph asked
“Naw but you’ll have ta settle for Johnny Walker” Sammy joked.

Ralph and Sammy sat at the table pouring over cache maps, and deciding what was left to be done and moved. “We have supplies all the way up to the Beaver pond, but covered only.
Haven’t had time ta bury ’em yet.” “Well” Ralph added as he pulled a map out of his vest “you may want to copy this, it’s where I have cached some buckets, not a lot
but, it’s there if ya need it.” “And we have a bit more to move” Ralph said “I have about a hundred buckets in root cellar, rice, beans, flour, yeast, salt and such”
“S***” Sammy quipped ” I thought my pantry was a load to empty.” “Well we can probably move it with a coupla wagon loads. But where to?”
“Is that old logging shack still there” Ralph querried?
“Yea” said Sammy “no glass in the windows, and the door is half off, but it has walls and a roof that doesn’t leak too much. We can board up the windows, not so sure bout
tha roof tho”.

“Well” Ralph asked “how many can we count on”
“Jeremy and Allen are out patroling near the main road, Fred packed up and left” Sammy informed him. “You know that crazy Cajun he says he is gonna git the family
down to his dads place at Lake Maurepas, says if they show up there he and the family will turn them into gator bait” He laughed. ‘That leaves me, you, Jeremy, Helen
and Allen. His wife and kids are with his mother in Breaux Bridge”.
“What about tha Ward boys” Ralph asked?
“You know them” Sammy scoffed, “they won’t take or give help, especially us, remember me and you ran them off at gunpoint fer hunting on your land”
“I can still see Lucas’ face when he heard that bolt go forward and looked up at your AK” Ralph laugheda
“And you on the other side with that damned FN” Sammy added.
“Hope they aren’t looking to settle a score” Ralph muttered.
“Well I’ll git tha horses hitched and we can git a load of buckets moved before nightfall” Sammy replied.
As they both headed out Ralph couldn’t help but think – five people, not much defensive firepower, as big of Aholes as the Ward boys were, there were three of them and they
would be a lot of help.

As they took the wagon down the logging road Sammy filled Ralph in on what had happened the week it took him to get home. Seems the attack came three days after he left
to go hunting, he had been there five days not knowing the excrement had hit the oscellating device. There had been some looting in town, and a few gangs, younger men,
the ones who didn’t work or ran/used drugs. They were either run off or planted, but a lot of folks, especially the elderly were hit hard by them. Wakefield wasn’t very big
and everyone pretty much knew each other, at least the long time residents, so they managed to pull it together somewhat. But without electricity the hospital ran out of gas
for the generator and most of the sick passed away. Then the day before he got back the “Army” moved in. The Mexican army, and they were there to clear out the national
guard armory, confiscate weapons and any “excess supplies”. And they were in no mood to argue, neither were the residents, there were a lot of casualties on both sides.
“I’m worried about my horses” Sammy lamented “the quarter horses and those three adopted prairie horses can live on grass, but my thoroughbreds won’t make it well without grain,
and I have enough about two months”.”I can help with that” Ralph informed him “we have plenty of people food since there are only six of us, and I have ten thirty pound buckets
five wheat, five oats that we can use for them. They are after all our transportation”. “I had been planning to mix my grain with grass seedheads from the right of way and
make it go a bit further” Sammy added. After returning from the shack they decided to move as much as they could night and day as they could. There was no telling when
they would be visited, and they had no illusuions about being able to hold off regular army troops. The next two days were hectic and busy as the root cellar was cleared
out, along with about half of Sammy’s horse feed, scattered it seemed everywhere. The shack, the beaver lake, the old Heston place, it had long ago fallen down, but the old
lumber made a good ground floor and cover, no one would think of looking there.

That night as they all sat around Sammy’s table they discussed what they should do. It didn’t take long for them all to realize that holding out with only five of them was
a pipe dream. They would have to delay and run. The wagon would be kept packed with some clothing, the extra tack, grain, water, and backpacks. Helen would be in charge
of hitching the wagon, and taking off down the logging road with the extra horses. Sammy would saddle the mounts needed to run, Jeremy would help Helen. Ralph and Allen would
buy the time, charges were set, Ralph’s crank field phones would trigger the steel wool detonators, then mount up and run like all Hades was after them, cause it would be.

With their spare time Ralph and Sammy mixed fertilizer, deisel fuel, packed plastic pipe and fuzed it. Jeremy took the now useless power lines and strung them across the road.
Allen notched some trees near the road, behind the opening rigged some of the homemade charges in the tops to drop them. Four propane tanks were rigged to the homemade charges
covered in rocks and duct tape, placed, and covered in trees near to the opening where the road crossed from the powerline right of way , four more were placed in the trees
facing the powerline right of way thirty yards inside the woods, to cover against a flanking move through the woods. It wouldn’t stop them, but it would slow them down enough
to make a getaway.

Jeremy kicked Debbies flanks as he headed full speed for Sammy’s, Allen called in “the fights here” and headed for the woods and keep contact with the column they saw
approaching the road. Just as drilled Hellen, Sammy, and Jeremy headed for the barn. Ralph mounted up on Molly (one of the prarie horses) called Allen to get to the road
block and headed that way. Allen arrived first and took up his position in the woods to the right. Ralph headed for the field phone on the left. Both were back in the woods,
out of sight, but they would be able to see vehicles as they came down the road.

The Ward’s were at home when the column rolled down the road. Stoping in front of the sprawling farm complex they turned two APCs towards it, two squads moving up in covered
rushes, as the squad on the right sprinted toward one of the out buildings gunfire erupted from the house and four of them fell. Imediately the APCs opened fire on the house
as other vehicles targeted the remaining dwellings. It was all over in a matter of miniutes as heavy weapons and high explosive projectiles mangled buildings, bodies, and left
only burning hulks of what had been three houses, and the three families that were inside of them.
After the two dismounted squads made sure there were no survivors the column rolled down the road towards the crossings.
“Well I guess we’re next” Allen called over his radio. “Looks like it” Ralph replied “Are you moving yet Sammy” he called. “Give me two miniutes” he answed.
“That’s about all I can promise” came the answer.

The APCs made short work of the wire barricade rolling right over it. Rolling down the road, they stopped as they approached and a squad split into fireteams and approached
the woods as the vehicles moved forward. As the APCs eased into the restricted opening between the trees and the road after the fireteams had entered the woods.
“These boys have some talent” Ralph noted. When the fireteams were within range Ralph radioed to Allen “fire three”. The explosions and gasballs lit up the woods as rocks,
metal, and wood penetrated everything with devestating effect. “Fire two” he hollared, The road cylinders did the same, exposed gunners shredded by all manner of shrapnel.
“Fire one” he called as the lead APC reached the treefall. Four trees fell across the road, one on top of the APC. “Ride like hell” was the last command as they took off
through the woods to join the others.

It was a good five miles from the crossings to the old Heston place, all had made it, but Ralph and Allens horses were in need of a rest. “I need a frest mount” Ralph said
“better go look and see if anything is chasing us”. “Jeremy” Ralph called “Mount and fix bayonet, you just drew short straw, your with me”.
Now Jeremy was one of those old country boys of whom it had been said didn’t have too many forks in the family tree. But he hunted Hog with only a spear and bowie knife, and
could sneak up on a nervous rabbit. A better choice for a recon partner I couldn’t have.
We circled around and came up between the woods and the powerline. making a wide sweep we found all our houses burning, and the troops scouring the woods arond them. Heading
back for the Ward place we peeked in on the ambush site. It was erily quiet as we slowly swept it. The APC that had been hit by the tree was gone,
but the remains of the nine soldiers caught by the tree mines still lay in the woods. As we approached the Ward Farm (or what was left of it) there were only bodies, seven soldiers,
and the burned bullet ridden corpses that were the Wards. Then something caught Jeremy’s attention. “Wait here” he said as he rode down the road and into the woods. A few miniutes
later the radio blurted “you better git over here – quick” Riding up I found Jeremy holding a body, it was Sarah Ward, she had been in the barn when the fighting broke out, she had
been hit by a stray bullet in the leg. I put some quickclot and a bandana around it, we loaded her on with Jeremy and headed the long way back.

The sun was setting as we headed back, and one last look saw the troops loaded up and heading back to Wakefield. It was almost eight P.M. before we made it back to the rally
point. Hellen took Sarah, administered some proper first aid, and did her best to comfort her. Puzzled Sammy looked at us “how the hell did you find your way back here on a moonless night”?
“Easy I said”, then told him of finding the soldiers in the woods, and at the Ward place, and held up six night goggles. “one of them is thermal ta boot” I exclaimed. We each
had a pair of M4s as well.
“Couldn’t salvage much, the tree mines did one hell of a job”, I said nearly gloating.
“Scavanged about twenty grenades, a dozen mags, four pistols and some magazines as well, you can bet that when they find that stuff missing this place will be crawling with
troops and gunships.” I Surmised.
“Well then, I don’t think we outta be here tommorrow” Sammy injected.
After digging through the Heston cache and adding some stuff to the wagon we headed out. The night move wasn’t bad at all, except for the rain which I was thankful for as it
would make it harder to track us. We covered probably twenty plus miles. We held up at first light so all, man and beast alike could take a well earned rest. As close as I
could figure we were somewhere west of Kentwood, and I-55. If we were going to find any juicy targets that would be a good place to start looking.

Jeremy and I headed out in the afternoon, keeping to the woods and moving slow. There didn’t seem to be an army presence in the area. Were they sticking to the built up areas I
wondered. Just about dark we spotted a light, a campfire from the looks of it. As we got closer it got bigger, who other than an army unit, or an idiot would build a big fire
at night? Sure enough it was the latter. Looked like about twenty or so, if theses idiots get spotted the army will be too close for my comfort. Doubling back we had made it
no more than a few miles when we heard the helicopters going that direction. I almost felt sorry for those poor fools, but with that type of opsec they weren’t going last long
or be very effective anyway. By the time we got back the group was loaded and ready to go. Sarah was better, physically, but still was not talking. we headed south, there near
Lake Maurepas we knew there were friendlies,and a chance to trade for what we needed, didn’t want to go the direction we just scouted. Too much traffic. we would soon need
batteries for the night vision, or even better a charging system. The wagon was not a thing we could move easily during daylight hours, and woods with it were impossible.
This living on the run was getting old quick, especially with three noncombatants. Sammy and his wife were 70+, Sarah was wounded, the discussion that day was spirited,
Sammy wanted to fight, but it was pride, he knew in his heart he couldn’t do much. Hell – I was even borderline myself, but I had the tactical knowledge that was needed.
It was a hard decision for all, but:
Sammy had some good friends near Pine Grove he had met some years back through his horse breeding association, now if they were still there. Another night march brought us
to the isolated horse ranch of Rene’ Broussard, Sammy’s buddy. It was a relief to get a real bed to sleep in and a meal that didn’t come out of a bucket. In addition to leaving
Sammy, Helen, and Sarah we left the wagon, the thoroughbreds, and a lot of supply. The three prairie horses we decided to ride, the three quarter horses were traded in for pack
mules. It took a few days for Rene’ to build the panniers for the mules. So Jeremy and I took the time for an extended patrol. Movement with just horses was quick, easy, and stealthy.
We made it all the way to Independence and Amite. There we found what we had been looking for, a transportation hub and lots of stuff ta make go kaboom. Heading back we were surprised,
well I was anyway, by hogs in the brush. It didn’t take Jeremy long to isolate, take, gut, and quarter. we were heroes when we got back, Rene’ even broke out a keg of homemade beer for
the occassion. “Enjoy it” Jeremy told me “It may be our last for a while”.
As I drifted off to sleep I thought of the days ahead, would we ever get back to days like this, to what we once had? With a little luck, a lot of hard fighting, and a smile
from the man above I figgered our odds better than even.

The pack was ready and it was time to go pick a fight. Two mules each with 220 lbs of supplies, three horses, this would allow us to move fast and far, we had supply points back home,
here in Pine Grove, and whatever we could scavange from the enemy. As we said our goodbyes, and wished each other good luck, Sarah came running up. Threw her arms around Jeremy’s
neck and told him “thank you, please come back”. This was the first words anyone had heard her say in three days. Her next words almost made me fall off my mount. Walking up to
me she took my hand and said “Promise you’ll bring him back to me”. What could I say except “I will”.
First Strike

Traveling east toward Independence we passed the area that we had seen that bonfire, they had not even bothered to bury or collect the bodies, several were hung from trees, bruised,
cut, and with burn marks, I guess that tells us surrender is not an option. That evening after dinner the subject of what we had seen came up again, as some of the bodies were
no more than 14 or so years old, including two of those tortured and hung. Obviously mercy was not a trait of our enemy, but should we be the same? After surprisingly little discussion
we arrived at a decision. Torture was out of the question, barbarians we were not.

Our creed would become —-
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary ……….
Let the revolution begin, let freedom spread like a wildfire, fanned by the winds of liberty until this tyranny has been burned from our land
Go home, send no more, we will kill all you send.

When your enemy is arrogant or sloppy it makes life a lot easier. While scouting out one night we all met back up to share info and decide on a target. Jeremy was late showing up.
When he finially did he had the biggest S*** eating grin. Seems he had found an un-or-laxly-guarded vehicle. There in his bag were seven remote detonators, and a remote detonator box.
Inbred rednecks are worth their weight in gold.

Pushing south we finially spotted our first target. Railroad tracks, a railyard, and a dozen big flamable fuel tanks. The next two days were spent looking, recording guard schedules. When they changed, when they smoked, when they went behind the building to take a leak. They must have been short on men, each guard shift was six hours long. Bad Idea, the average guards efficiency drops fifty percent after four hours. This would work to our advantage. At midnight we moved forward, after the guard rounded the tank for his nature break
Jeremy and I slid under the wire, as Allen provided watch and cover fire if needed. His surprise at finding us when he emerged lasted as long as his life, the blink of an eye.
Quickly putting on his coat and helment I resumed his well worn path around the tanks. Jeremy placed the charges under the valves on the discharge pipes, and made his way to the pump shed, and set another charge. His final stop was the tool shed, there he retrieved two spike pullers, and returned to the tanks, placing the guards jacket and helmet back on we leaned him up against the fuel storage tank, opened the valves and ran like hell.
Taking cover in a treeline about 500 yards away Jeremy (well he scavaged em so he got first use) fired them off. The explosion took the pump house full of fuel apart. The tanks ruptured and sent a river of fire down towards two other storage tanks. We didn’t wait around to see what happened next but ran to the horses and rapidly left the area. we didn’t even slow down until we were miles away, but even from there we could see the glow and hear more explosions. It wan’t a bad nights work, and we still had four detonators and over a dozen pipe bombs remaining. We rode to the northwest rest of the night and several hours the next morning.
When we stopped for a meal, a rest, and debreifing we decided this would be the best way to fight. There would not be (if we could help it) any stand up fights. Infrastructure destruction was probably a strike more conducive to a long life, and a return to Pine Grove. We also decided that it was best to keep moving, not strike in the same area as this would increase our chances of confrontation. A good next strike would be Wakefield, a good three or so days ride. The Wards needed vengeful retribution.

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