> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Chapter 22: Regrouping

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10/15/13

Chapter 22: Regrouping

Slow-pokes and newbies, head to the chapter index for back chapters.


Chapter 22: Regrouping
             
Jack took a quick survey of the group and what little they’d been able to bring in their retreat from the convoy. It wasn’t much. Esme had been the only one with enough presence of mind to grab a bug out bag on her way out. Jack had personally helped the Ryan family pack their bags, so he had a good idea of the contents—a poncho, fire starting kit, fixed blade knife, small water filter, six thousand calories of food, a first aid kit and so on. Thirteen people and one bug out bag between them. Not good.
Jack had the kit he carried on his person, but in terms of survival gear, that was a couple of knives, a few lights, a pocket survival kit and a spare protein bar. With small children, two injured adults and minimal survival gear, escaping and evading in the woods for a few days was not a viable option.
Weapons-wise, they were better off. Kyle had his AR, Mike had brought along the suppressed Uzi and satchel of mags, and Jack, Tex and Barry all had their weapons as well. Somehow, even managing two young children and nursing her broken arm, Brooke still had her trusty side-folding Ruger 10/22. Esme and Fiona had forgotten their rifles in the rush, though Fiona still had her war belt, pistol and spare magazines. Jack hadn’t seen Amy’s AR and assumed it had been lost in the retreat as well, though her web gear and the spare mags that it held were intact.

Tex and Fiona—at her insistence—moved off to guard the impromptu rest point’s perimeter. Jack handed over his AR, which was set up similarly to the one Fiona had left behind. Jack hoped that she wouldn’t need to use it, but they couldn’t be sure the skinheads wouldn’t attempt to track them down and continue the fight.
Before heading off to guard duty, Fiona explained to the best of her knowledge what had happened on the road. Kyle and Amy had been guarding the rear of the convoy, Tex the front. Two men—owners of the gruff voices Jack had heard—had walked up on Kyle and Amy, yelling and waving guns. Someone had shot first—Kyle, she guessed—and then the bullets started flying; first, the two skinheads, and then more, from the front of the column. It had been a confused, panicked rush away from the vehicles. She’d grabbed one kid under each arm and made for the forest, with Kyle and Tex lobbing smoke grenades and exchanging fire with the enemy.
“Make sure to have that face looked at,” Fiona instructed, a feeble attempt at a joke as they parted ways.
“Hey, I thought you liked scars,” Jack tried quipping back. Neither laughed, but instead smiled weakly. They held hands, lingering for a moment. Then Fiona left, heading after Tex to find a good vantage point for an improvised observation post.
Brooke and Esme were doing their best to comfort the small children, who were a combination of exhausted and frightened out of their minds. Jack stole a moment to check on his two boys, Porter and Link. They were sitting together on a log, Porter with one arm comfortingly wrapped around his younger brother’s shoulder. His eyes went wide when he glimpsed the blood spattered across his father’s face.
              “Just a little nosebleed,” Jack said, taking a knee by his sons.
              “Were you picking your nose again?” Porter joked, managing a weak smile. Jack smiled back, impressed with his son’s resiliency. He would need it in the weeks and months to come.
              “You caught me, little man.”
              He reached out and hugged both his boys, happy to be reunited with them and thankful they’d escaped unscathed. Jack excused himself, leaving Porter in charge.
Mike was busy wrapping a splint around Barry’s broken leg. Barry was scratching his dog’s head absently, scanning the forest with his night vision goggles. The old warrior looked up at Jack as he approached.
“You’ve gotta get back up there, Jack-o. Finish ‘em off,” he said emphatically. Barry slipped off his helmet and the attached night vision goggles and handed them over. Jack took the offered helmet, holding it loosely at his side. He scanned over the group. All were exhausted to the point that they could barely stay on their feet. So was he.
              “I don’t think we’re in much shape to throw ourselves back into a fight,” he said. Barry huffed impatiently.
              “Well suck it up, because right now is the best chance we’re probably goin’ to get to clear that scum out.”
              Jack took up kneeling position at Barry’s side.
              “What do you mean?” he asked.
“Look—those Hitler groupies aren’t going to be able to resist looting our trucks. No chance of that. But they can’t move the vehicles, at least not with my truck in the way. If the engine ain’t all shot to hell, it’s got a hidden killswitch you gotta engage before the ignition will work. They’re not going to find it, so it ain’t goin’ nowhere. And with my truck in the way, none of the other vehicles are gettin’ by.”
“So, they’ve gotta move all that stuff out on foot. And my guess is they’re probably not going to leave it all sittin’ out in the woods for too long. They’ll at least look over it quickly and see what they can grab. So we know where they’re going to be and when they’re going to be there. Badda-bing, you got yourself an ambush.”
              “But won’t they expect that?”
              “So what? It’s not like they’ve got enough people that we can’t sneak up on ‘em in the dark.”
              Jack realized that the same could probably be said of their position, if the Neo-Nazis had followed their retreat and tracked them through the woods. They could be out there now, watching, moving into place and readying themselves for a final attack. The thought sent shivers up his spine.
              He shook his head.
              “Look, we’ve got to get everybody else to safety. We’ve got almost nothing in the way of survival supplies—“
              Barry held up a hand, cutting him off.
              “That’s my job, Jack-o. I’ll take care of the brood. I know one of the neighbors—a real old bird who lives a couple miles down the road. He won’t have much to share, but he’ll give the women and children a place to stay for a little while. I’ve got a couple caches we can hit, too. You go get some, I’ll hold down the fort here.”
              Jack didn’t respond, pondering over the revelation.
              “What’s in the caches? Anything we can use?”
              “A month worth of food for two people, survival equipment, a Sten gun, ammo and mags. Useful stuff. It’d help keep us alive, but it ain’t going to change our situation.”
“Look, you and I both know we gotta re-take the vehicles and the cabin at some point. We’ve got no real hand to play, otherwise. And now—right now—is our best option. We wait longer, they’ll have all our loot on their side, they’ll have time to re-group and fortify. Maybe time to come lookin’ for us. We’ve gotta hit ‘em now—right now.”
Barry was right. Without the vehicles, without the supplies and without the cabin, they were nothing more than refugees. Where would they go now if they turned tail and ran? Try to hike out and enlist the help of the local lawmen? They were miles from any kind of town where there might be a law enforcement presence. And even if they could track down someone, there was little chance that a local deputy would or could do anything to actually help them out. How many other gangs were out there, taking what they wanted during the chaos and anarchy? How many murders had happened in the last twenty four hours? How many people had been robbed?
              Jack didn’t delude himself into thinking that the situation would get better over the next few days, either. If anything, with the system collapsing, a tide of refugees spreading out from the cities and World War Three at their doorsteps, things could only get worse. Much worse.
They needed their vehicles and they needed the cabin, and they were on their own in solving the problem. It was that simple.
Even if it was just a quick hit and run attack, if they could just pick off one or two more of the Hitler worshipping scumbags and liberate one of the vehicles, it would be a huge improvement on their current situation. It would also buy the women and children some time and opportunity to make their escape. They had force multipliers—a machinegun, suppressed, fully automatic weapons, body armor, a pair of night vision goggles—and, if they attacked now, they had initiative. It was their best option, and while risky, the odds were in their favor.
“Barry, that’s crazy. We barely escaped that last fight—“ Mike started saying in protest as he finished up the bandage. Kyle’s voice, calm and controlled, interrupted from a few paces behind them.
“When are we heading out to finish those bastards off?” he asked.
Jack turned to look at his friend. The grief had been cleared from his face, replaced with a mask of stone cold murderous intent. Kyle was going back to fight, and Jack doubted he could talk him out of it if he tried. He wouldn’t need to. He sighed, knowing the gravity of the decision. They would fight.
              “We leave in two minutes. You, me, Mike and Tex. Barry is going to lead everybody else to a cabin down the road, where we’ll meet up afterwards. Let the others know and round up whatever spare AR mags you can find,” Jack said. Kyle grunted in confirmation, walking past them and getting to work.
              “Jack—are you crazy? I can’t leave my family out here alone!” Mike said, panicking. Jack glared at him.
              “They won’t be alone, Mike. I can’t make you come with us. But you’ve got to trust me. Barry is right—this is the best chance we’ve got.”
              “How about we get out of here and go get help! How about we take Amy’s body and bury it! How about we don’t do something completely suicidal to try to get ‘payback’ for what they did! This is crazy!” Mike protested, jabbing his hand wildly for emphasis.
 “Whatever, Mike. Sit this one out. Barry will need the help,” Jack spat back. He snatched the suppressed Uzi from Mike’s hands and relieved him of the satchel of spare magazines. Mike surrendered them without a fight.
“Look, you guys don’t have to do this—“ he said.
“Ya, we do, Mike. End of discussion.”
Infuriated, Mike stormed off. Jack watched him leave, shaking his head in disgust.
“Good to know he’s got my back, huh?” Jack muttered to Barry. The veteran ignored him, moving into tactics.
“Have Tex take up an over watch position with the RPD. You and Kyle move in with the hush puppies.”
Jack was going to ask what a hush puppy was, but Barry handed over handed over his suppressed grease gun. Jack took the clunky old weapon in his hands. It felt odd—heavy, outdated—compared to his AR.
“You’ll want that. There’s an IR laser on the side,” Barry said. Jack found the small boxy laser, latched to a small piece of rail that had been fastened to the side of the receiver.
“Visible when you’ve got the goggles on. Hard to aim the thing otherwise,” Barry explained.
Jack donned the helmet, taking a moment to adjust its straps before sliding the PVS-14 goggles down into place. He knew the familiar green tint to expect, but had never before worn a pair. He was surprised at how far he could see and how well he could make out small details. With the goggles on, there was indeed little way for him to use conventional rifle sights. He found the pressure switch for the IR laser and pressed it. The beam arced out, painting the side of a nearby tree.
“Got it figured out?” Barry asked.
“Yep,” Jack added. Barry ran him through the grease gun’s simple manual of arms and then handed over spare weapon’s magazines—six, fully loaded, plus the one in the gun. Jack squeezed the magazines into the two empty rifle mag pouches on his plate carrier. It wasn’t a great fit, but it would work.
“These might help, too,” Barry said, removing a pair of cylindrical grenades from his load bearing gearing and passing them over.
“Flash bangs,” the old vet explained. Jack stowed them in a pocket.
Jack put a hand on Barry’s shoulder.
“Wish you were coming with us,” he said.
“Me too. This leg o’ mine ain’t exactly up to runnin’ and gunnin’ at the moment. You’ll do fine without me, though. The wrath of God is on your side, Jack-o. Fear no evil.”
Jack finished up his goodbyes with Barry, getting directions to and a description of the neighbor’s cabin before parting. Then, Fiona was at his side and holding him close. She’d heard of the plan from Kyle.
“Be careful,” was all she said. Apparently, she was getting used to her husband dashing off into battle every few hours.
“I will be.”
He kissed her softly, hoping that it would not be the last. He left her with the AR-15 so that the group would have at least one long gun amongst them.
Tex had finished his parting words with his family, and now waited in the wings with Kyle, both ready to move. Jack joined them.
“Blackwell is staying behind?” Tex asked, gesturing to Mike, who stood off to one side with his family, not making eye contact with them. Jack handed Kyle the suppressed Uzi and magazines.
“Yep. He’ll have to live with that,” he said, matter-of-factly. Nothing else needed to be said.
Before parting ways, the group gathered for a brief prayer. Tex offered it, asking for blessings on both parties. Jack hoped it would help. Then Barry, using a stout stick for a crutch, limped off into the night, the group trailing behind him. Porter, holding his mother’s hand, waved sadly to Jack as they left. Jack struggled to offer smile and waved back. Mike walked at the end of the column, carrying Amy’s dead body across his shoulders.
As the group left, the three men quickly reviewed the plan and the rough details. It was a hastily coordinated plan, but it was the best they had. They would sneak back to the road together and then Tex would take up a fixed position with the RPD while Kyle and Jack moved in on an angle in a V-shaped sort of ambush. They estimated the enemy had four to six remaining fighters, and figured they would either surrender or flee after the loss of a few more. Whoever had the M60 was designated as their primary target, though they suspected he would not be strolling around in the open.
Finishing, Tex hefted the old Soviet machinegun, shouldering it with a grunt. Jack flipped the night vision goggles into place, the night coming to life in a green glow.
 “All right then, who’s ready to go kill some Nazis?”

22 comments :

  1. Glad to see you took my suggestion for a quick counter attack. Not ideal but under the circumstances it was the best option. They need to go in carefully because there is no guarantee that the skinheads don't have night vision of their own or some other form of early warning device (heck even sentries). If they lose the element of surprise somehow (everyone needs to be as stealthy as possible walking) they need to beat a hasty retreat as that really is there only advantage right now.

    Great story and I have really enjoyed reading it. Its up there with some of the best survivalist books I have read and would love to see a full novel by you on the same topic (either same characters or all new ones).

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  2. It's on! Great story and very well written. It is the first thing I read in the morning. Too bad none of the guys were former snipers. Then they could take out the skins one by one from distance. But, if they do not have NV that may not matter!

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  3. Have to say a counter attack is the only viable solution at this time for long term survival. Good call to get the women and kids a safe distance till later on. At this juncture this is the only way to solve things. I really hope the remaining ones can get the drop on the peckerwoods and take them out.

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  4. Mike is pissing me off. He has since the start. He doesnt get it... I love that his wife has more of a clue than him. Cant wait to see what happens next.
    Bob

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  5. Like the old saying goes..."There is one in every group"......the story would not be nearly as good or realistic if we didn't have people like Mike in the story......that being said, I too would like to shove a boot up Mike's a$$. I think Jack wants to as well, but he has the basic skill and understanding of a good leader and this tells him it not for he best of the group at this time. Man, I wish I had come across this story later.....now it makes me nuts having to wait a week to find out what happens next.......it was great when I first found it and could read like 10 chapters non-stop to catch up. This story rocks. It would make an awesome movie provided some liberal Hollywood wimp didn't get ahold of it. Can't wait to see what happens next.....fire fight, no fire fight.....does the group get to the cabin....will the owner help....is he even still alive since we know the skinheads are in the area. Man I love this story!!!!

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    1. That's a good point about the cabin's owner. Some of the skinheads' group could actually be occupying the cabin. The group had better be careful on approach. Surely, even in his injured state, ole Barry will think of that.

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    2. I had the same thought...skinheads could already be in place there. Surely the group is due for a break at this point, though...keep em comin !!

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  6. Mike has become a liability and needs to be relegated to low risk (risk of impeding/harming the group) duties like watching the kids, guarding supplies, cleaning, hauling gear, etc. He can no longer be allowed to be on point, on fire watch or patrol by himself. He is a risk and should no longer be part of Jack’s inner circle. He started this exodus with piss poor OPSEC which brought the terrorist to their Bug In. He barks about leaving the family but abandoned them to work his shift as an EMT in the middle of a SHTF situation. His wife was wounded defending herself and her kids while he worried about the safety of the unknown masses. And now he uses them as an excuse to avoid doing his duty and leaves his team one man down against a possibly superior force. Jack and Tex saved his family’s lives and he repays that debt by abandoning them in a fight. This needs to be dealt with soon least Mike grow balls at the wrong time (which is likely his specialty) and challenges Jack forcing a violent confrontation.

    -DB

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  7. I bet they'd give an eye-tooth for a Red Bull right about now !! Great, as usual !! Keep 'em comin !!

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    1. ^^^^^ This would be me. Them being LDS I dont think they miss it too much. :)

      No joke part of my BOB is a RedBull or 3...
      Bob

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  8. Counter attack / ambush is the way to go. Lets determine skinhead numbers, maybe catch them loaded down on their way back to the cabin and in the open. Either way, the skinheads have to be taken out before they can get back in cabin.
    As far as Mike goes, yeah he has made some serious mistakes. Lets remember, these folks are not a bunch of former SF people.
    Two have just taken a "carbine" course a week before SHTF. Didn't see any indication of any other gunfighter training.
    The Blackwells are the least prepared of the lot. Jack brought them in for Mikes paramedic skills, knowing he was not a gun guy. Mike just recently brought his first 22 rifle according to the story and was at work when SHTF. While ALL are suffering the effects of exhaustion, Mike may be the most affected having been at work before it all happened.
    With Brooke being a stay home mom, Mike's salary, after bills, is not going to leave a lot left over for prepping and all the toys that seem to go with these stories.( I can attest to stretching that dollar first hand)
    Based on what has been written, thinking that Mike would suddenly become a trigger man is not realistic.

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  9. Hoo boy ! ... Ol' Mikey is sure pissing people off around here isn't he ? (Me included).
    But I bet you have a lot of fun thinking of stupidass things for him to do.

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  10. Probably better that Mike didn't go, as he'd likely only get himself killed, and possibly give away their element of surprise, such as it may be. Jack's biggest concern at this point needs to be for Kyle, who is likely to go berserker and could attempt a suicide attack or some other reckless act. Hopefully Kyle has enough sanity left to follow direction. If they are successful, I expect Kyle to turn the BGs into grease spots on the road, maybe even heads on poles.

    It would be great if they could set up some sort of distraction so they could get the drop on the BGs. I wonder if they could wing a flash bang far enough that they could get the BGs to turn their backs to them. Jack's first task is to locate the lead units and put Kyle onto them while he flanks out and tries to catch the overwatch with the 60. Once Jack zots the 60 shooter, then Kyle and Tex could open up on the lead units and Jack could catch anyone attempting a retreat back to the cabin.

    A couple of well trained rottweilers would be real handy right now. The sound of big dogs snarling and growling as they bound through the dark woods, then someone screaming as they get tore up will demoralize any unit.

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  11. it would be and interesting twist if the guys got in a predicament with the skin heads and Mike ends up saving the day.

    I doubt it....

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  12. Another awesome chapter!

    I think Mike basically chickening out is more than realistic. If this wasn't a book there'd be a decent chance that the assault will be a total failure and all three men will end up slaughtered or worse. With them out of the picture their families lose their protection and everything else they could provide. Now don't get me wrong, in their specific circumstances I agree that immediate retaliation is really their best bet. They are in a dire situation for sure--certainly life or death. The cabin along with supplies the skinheads stole will mean the difference between freezing to death in the woods and living a relatively comfortable life. They basically have no supplies--no food, no meaningful survival gear--and they can expect zero assistance, from the government or from anyone else. And they likely won't last very long on the road as refugees. BUT that being said I can understand Mike's reluctance, especially after what just happened. Call him an idiot or a coward--and maybe he is those things--but he's not exactly Arnold Schwarzenegger in True Lies. None of them are. Granted neither are the skinheads--buts is a risky proposition for sure. This plan is their best bet but in real life they could all easily end up mowed down in a heart beat. At least with Mike staying behind the families will have another male around after the three Rambo's get blown away. He should have his friends' backs but I can understand where he's coming from.

    Very excited for the next chapter! And I hope its not over yet--I'm excited to see at least some of the coming nuclear war!

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  13. Once they get a little closer, Jack should scout ahead with night vision to get better plan of attack. Doubt the bad guys will expect them to return, but Jack should take caution in his approach just in case. Watch for trip wires, signal devices, etc.

    What's going to happen if or when they do kill the skin heads & find that the bad guys brought their families too? Jack cannot allow them to remain at the cabin because they will use any opportunity to kill members of the group. If he lets them wander off, they may come back & might bring friends. Very bad decisions will have to be made in SHTF senarios. I wouldn't be able to kill an innocent but the skin heads surely would & did. I would probably load them up in a truck & drive them as far away as I safely could so at least they couldn't walk back.

    Should have set up code words & challenges for catching up to family later. Need codes for knowing if someone is under duress when they get to cabin down the road.

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    1. "What's going to happen if or when they do kill the skin heads & find that the bad guys brought their families too?"

      Please don't give Mr. Wolf anymore ideas - LOL - my nerves are already shot wanting the skinhead portion of this to be over already!! If they brought their families, this could go on for weeks !! :-)

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    2. In regards to the comments if the Skinheads brought their own families/girlfriends, etc...once they're overtaken (if that does occur) I do agree w/ the idea of loading them up and driving them off well away from the bug out location (but covering their heads as not to remember any landmarks/losing their bearings) so they don't come back. It's either that or a firing squad. Harsh, but what are you going to do? There isn't a lot of latitude in a situation like this.

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    3. If you don't kill them, they will be coming back, and they will have recruited more BGs to deal with. It is barbaric, but such are the facts of life when reality kicks in.

      Kyle would say "Kill em all, let God sort em out". I'd have to agree. This isn't war, this is survival. You don't get to keep making bad decisions and live. Deal with it now, or it will come back to bite you in the a$$ later.

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  14. Nazis as the bad guys, never ever heard someone use Nazis before, very risky .

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