BigSurNight-2 : narrated by Will Scranton

Ladies and gentlemen - yeoman - all ships at sea and natives of any stripe ... lets go to press ...

All Ships at Sea

Laughter burst from the Hearst Castle swimming pool - - my ocean-hallway traps echo. An echo burst like Canadian import 76-mm anti-tank weapons. Overtones slightly out of phase two voices mebby three of the ten men. I'd wait them out.

Time flies. “Time for another shot,” snips Ms K. and rolls up my sleeve. No sutures there just a muscle. Surgeons had cut-out shrapnel last night and between opium, warfarin and penicillin I was a fuckin-A case. “Don't flinch. If the needle breaks you won't get laid tonight.”

“Can I feel it next time?” Testy, she punches where the needle has just bit, and my arm shrieks.

“It's Lots closer to me,” she responds packing away the meds. "Only gravity held on my chin." 'IT', the 43-mm depleted uranium anti-tank round that cut through the PICKET returning us from the Nepenthe battle-line. Plucked away from firefight reporting, we headed for SanSimone battle-control with film of the new Federal airglide thruster. Bloody combat behind, good luck ahead … a bunker-mounted road-sweeper had found us speeding south and laid in a shot just above the tank treads. Bulleted right through the lite ceramic and metal armour, clipped off Ms Ks chinstrap then chipping pieces of manganese steel exited into the blue Pacific surf. None killed; my A-4 shoulder-plate ate most chip-spray, but not all of it. An escorting PICKET had quickly pinpointed the bunker, and blown it apart with its 76-mm.

Militia Intelligence had snapped up the digicam, as we arrived though our live encounter with Federals was already world-wide on HRI. Both Canada and China claimed design and manufacture of each weapon, and ran blaring, expensive streaming-vid ads on HRI. No lookie without gold cookie; keeps out South American riff-raff, like Chile and Peru who are both fighting Cuba for control of the Panama canal. In fact both countries did manufacture and export artillery , though Militia tank parts come from an old Bakersfield Camaro factory redesigned to make Merkava style units.

Camoed troopers filter from the adjacent battle room. “Why are those fuckers swimming? There's a bloody-handed fire-fight … a dozen … ”

Harshly. “Colonal Banyard.”

“Never heard of him.”

“Her. Mississippi Flotilla, 2nd assault regiment. She kills you at night, from behind, in the mud, with a hatchet.” Her friend call her Creole Connie - - CC - - but I wouldn't.”

“What the fuck.”

“Husband was killed by Muzzi-wogs at the Little Tennessee. Weren't supposed to be there and slipped north of our pickets. She took over his Chattahoochee Volunteers, scavenged his tomahawk and massacred the rear-guard, both infiltrating Chechens and the Special Force Unit Obama had assigned to train them.”

“Race traitor whites killing their brothers for slut-nigger Obama?”

“Fought for the flag, just like the 1st Civil War. Even worse happened at Battle of Wilsons Creek. Missouri sharpshooters fought under both flags while musketmen slaughtered hand-to-hand. ”

“Tomahawks too … must be with lots of In'jun fighters still grinding black powder.” She's Cherokee?”

“Husband was a Red man. She's creole. Believes a warrior kills most ruthless when he is at peace. Thus the solemn Tabakee … Willies weed … a pool party, during the first string of engagements.”

“I heard laughing.”

“Scrum laughs. So does the Texan.”

“But, not you Banski son-of-a-bitch.”

“A pleasure to meet you again Ms K. You are too gorgeous for this news-mouse.” Four other newsmen, the battalion historian , two from black-sky and a priest all laughed.

“I better ignore that. He spanks me if I misbehave. Where's Battle Master set up?” We are walking to the guards perimeter. Far to the north big guns are howling. “If Federals can't stick to their holes, they'll get ruint.”

“I say the same for Battle Master. Everywhere, anywhere, this way. Command trusts it.”

We stop while I pass Banski images of a burnt-out PICKET. “Like this? You trust it. Not the dead men we talked to this morning.”

“Dead men don't win battles.”


Scrums 'copter had just taken off. Playtime figures, but, we don't follow to the first room or the second. They're packed with newly returned pickets, Agro drivers and a whole mobile company scheduled to attack east from Atascadero at 9:30 hours. Instead we take a tool-shed elevator 3 stories down. At the bottom a Russian guard pokes an 8-gauge Beretta at our faces, then lightens up when a computer panel sez BOO!

Experts and leaders stand around. “General Banski.”

“Don't call me General and I won't call you Boris …!”

Running supplies and gamers, Russian subs and Militia Black Widows have been busy. A multi-sex leige of byte-boys run Battle Master on a quad of 12-chip Xeons. Open access construction, the parts float in cold dry air. Their screen is wall-size and paired to four ganged water-cooled NVIDEA 1530s. If you know where to look, on the display from Carmel to Moro Bay one look spills every maneuver. Advance, retreat, dig-in … suicide mission … Battle Master is that good.

Our diversionary feints west at Big Sur/Nepenthe, south into Carmel Valley/Missionary Ridge and west across Interstate I-5 at Fresno have drawn modest responses from the Federals. Our dash against the bigSur coastline was the most expensive, most daring and most silly. A thousand parakeets could have defended that coastal ridge-line against Hannibal and Patton. Our harassment never ended. Most of our artillery and 30,000 North-west Militia attacked well designed enfilading fire enabled Carmel Valley bunkers and slit trenches. Three dozen 120 and 155-mm howitzers laid in slanted fire; Federals thought their imbedded concrete and heavy mortars invincible. Seattle and SanFran hoplites planned no suicide charge, but 4-A armoured ground in close , grenade against grenade, hatchet against tomahawk. Most of our heavy armor had joined Scrum at Yosemite and piled west surrounding Fresno. Narco.MEX controlling LasVegas could not afford that supply line cut, so they were bound to fight a raiding, slashing any-target mobile battle.

A Utah warlord, Mormon with seven wives, but he only brought the three ex-rangers. “Scrum said his hardware burned ass, and his people trained and supplied battle-ready.”


“Twenty-five trucks-loads of Salt Lake Militia, but they can only move at night!” Lots of diversion in places we never figured to control. A half-dozen commanders, dressed for battle followed us in. “Attention!”

Banski! Banski talked and pointed to the screen. “Notice the interior streaks crossing between original points-of-attack. Those are attempts at zero-cost re-enforcement, wasted shuffling and the Federals will pay for it.” Sub-screens appeared with images of anti-armour rockets striking targets.

“Where's the bleed from Nacimiento and Muzzi bunkers?”

Banski grunted. “On infra-red from the Black-Widows. See the columns-of-march heading north? And there … in the dry-wash. Too many boulders for fast passage and the single file got shot up!”

“No more than a light battalion. We'll lose as many at BigSur. “ Pointing to the lower right-hand matrix of data-quant. “BATTLE MASTER give us 78% chance of loss or stalemate.”

Banski shoots back. “I see it different. Federals trip over their own feet. No coordination. No sign Federals guess we intend busting their cherry by seizing Lake Nacimiento Dam and forcing a traverse on helium inflated rubberized air-boats. Twelve thousand battle tested Militia infantry hold the line between PCH and Route 101. On that vector we placed sixty tanks, a few 175 and 206-mm a day behind. Prepped 1000 Mobsters and half as many Agros, squad carriers and 90-mm armed Jeeps to clear out the chaparral between Atascadero and the lake.”

“What's the reporter doing here. Fucking Nazi. I should shoot him now.” An La. tank commander … old thick slow half-repaired, but deadly M-60s. I knew him, an ex-Hollywood producer lost both wife and daughter when ravaging Bantu burned Hollywood Hills. Our Militia dash to Lake Nacimiento will find his tank first; he points his 45-cal 1911 at my head.

Touchy. When a man or a society loses too much it gets touchy. “Late for that palsy. Mexican narcos produce 125-mm Chi.com SILVER FLOWERS in LasVegas. So much for multi-national progressive Makilodores.”

“Isolation is not on my list of options.” // tell that to your daughter I could not say //

“Nor mine.” The speaker, a tall, lank west-Texas rancher wore Spyders emblem of the 88-mm LongJohn Rangers. He thought some, then spoke freely. “We couldn't get LaRaza to join us against the Muzzi-wog smuggling Cubano. So Texas strapped on Cuba, then the Muzzis ... crushed them both in a sea-battle off-the-Keys. We then took as much Mexico as needed to become a nation. Killed lots of bandittos, narcos, LaRaza bitches, Cuban sex-slavers and mouth-piece American shysters. You have a problem with that senior?”

Pistol holstered. “Creole flotilla saved yo white ass.”

“Now we save yours.” The voices scratch torrents of words, raw and worn and stretched out-of-bounds. In-the-small unknown men fight as histories lions. Talk stops sudden. A new yellow marker has appeared on Battle Master screen.

“Whose feckin-A asshole is that?”

“Satellite feed from the Russians. They get a refueling and cannery base in the Aleutians. Our birds rarely cover that quadrant.”

“Not who, dingo. I mean the feckin-A twitchy yellow blotch.”

Running across high desert from Vegas the marker pulses , its yellow speckle length growing. Vector bearing east of Bakersfield. “Not our people. Mex if we're lucky; Muzzis otherwise. They skipped away from you Banyard, didn't they.”

“Like virgins from satyrs. Two thousand, mebby three skipped away. Cuban supply craft sunk?”

“Most! I thought Scrum owned every mobile in the Militia and Federal arsenals.”

“Samples of everything, and lots of them. But, his support scattered every which way, crossing Utah. Hamburger till tomorrow. Who has been assigned raider blocking for that sector?”

“Locals,” I yip. Roads pierce the southern Sierras during summer. “Richboy games for the 4-wheel-drive fanatics.”

A Lieutenant. “Any thrust from the Federals along that axis will threaten Scrums flank.

“Fuckin-A we only have a Ranger Company and heavy weapons platoon at Yosemite; they get brushed off like a mosquito. I asked who covers Scrums eastern flank?”

Says a wizened Captain from Wrightwood. “Two airborne Marine companies at Visalia, that deserted from Miramar. They have a few 105-mm and a rick of hillbilly Ford 250s.”


“With whatever they found at National Guard Armories. If they can hit silent and hit fast they match any raiding party. ”

“Including the ones with anti-armor weapons? When I said skins I mean skins.”

“Surface deflectors you mean … damnme you need to ask Hells Angles and The Bloods. They do most of our after-skinning at their La chop-shops. Got pals at Wells Fargo and Pinkerton.”

The A-2 jacket says Miami Herald. Man got shot in the throat when the Federals retook Tampa. So says the WebTab attached to the name. His voice-box squeaks. “What's to lose in this sandy wasteland? Tampa at least gave the Federals a shipping destination from Mexico? When we counter-attacked two weeks later the captured ammunition-filled barges stretched for a mile.”

“Think of it like tits. Every women has two; calibers and response to pinching vary, but without those 36s she goes nowhere. California has two too: Rt. 101 and I-5. We pinch them right here or wait for a Federal hoard to snap on the bra.”

Ms K. “That sucks, Scranton.”

Air rushes through the windows as a pair of Apache copters land close. Banski has strapped on his belly-plate and 45-cal Ruger. “Time starts now gentlemen. I'm with the Mobsters heading for Nacimiento. Anyone can grab an Agro sidecar. Anyone except you, Scranton. Take Ms K with you, cram a chopper to Fresno and see whether Scrums's getting his teeth kicked in. May get some shoot-'em-ups in between, but you're limited to a 3-A ! We have mobile units converging from across I-5 .. at least sixty Agros and eight supply crawlers. I need to know what really will hound my right flank.”

“Good luck, General.” And we burst apart, like a worn affair.

We jumped the Apache – 20-mm holes spotted the tail – and dirty looks from the pilot who would have preferred 40 more 33-mm bursters. Our digicam disabled while in-the-air. Crunched behind the pilots seat we wove up and over the coastal plateau at tree-level shooting east. After flame-balling two trucks , we bounce off an M1-A3, cross route 101 and follow clouds to 10,000 feet on the way to Fresno.

Once our helmets had wifi lock-in: “We gonna win Ms K.

“Sucks when you gotta interview another reporter. Answer lover-boy is … fuck no.”

“Name is Prim.” String of curses from the pilot. “You snowflakes talking lose? All the air-bosses tell me so. Even that Jew bitch from the Idaho Nazis and she runs more F-28s than anyone. Banski wouldn't listen. He's a philosophy prof, isn't he?”

“Physics.” Ms K has curled over me, with something like a headlock. “Better get what ya can while you have a chance!”

“Fuck's that?”

The pilot raps. “Banski misread the Federals. This battle's not gonna be Hastings without rain.”

“Hastings … England … 1066 …?”

“Yeah, that one this is not! BATTLE MASTER ranks the real-deal as #6, but soldiers been under fire know more. Federals won't sacrifice one wing to scatter our following army, but concentrate all unseen forces to the middle of their defensive lines. When Scrum is engaged by the mixed mobile Muzzi and Mex forces around Fresno … mebby 3000 rust-bucket RPG armed vehicles … he'll first move in to save the town. Blunder!”

“What's to save?”

“His supplies. Gotta drive and eat tomorrow as well as today. Then encirclement threatens and Scrum

need to retreat north-west. He's still trapped , being both the confining and raiding element on Branskis right flank. Militia have armed each valley west of Route 101, but a couple 90-mm RR and 50-cals won't stop twenty-five Mobsters and 100 sheet-metal Buicks; our defensive line vaporizes. Once broken through the Federals release their power against Scrums rear. He's squeezed, then crushed, then annihilated.”

“Banski can't move.” Prim passes back a fag … Camel Straight and Ms K. goes deep after my puff. Kill her lungs some day.

“Ever see a boat run? Then what's left of Federal mobiles loops west around Banskis flank. Still lots of convoy traffic moving north, but their not organized to defend a straight-on frontal assault. Units bend and break and run. Banski's alone! Supporting and manning the Lake Nacimiento crossing he's cooked goose. California is retaken by the Federals. Only the North-West Militia hoplites escape back to SanFran and Sacramento. EOF!”

“Where are you going.”

“If I can buy a day, get fuel and get under Canadian radar … ?”

“ Then you won't attack anything , you or your wingman. Mebby we should try to win?”

“Win? You been scratching your ass while I explained?” The Apache jigged a figure-eight while a rusted Nike Ajax followed our flare and exploded. Pilot wore a just-another-mission grin. “Au Contrair, padre. We'll depose every weapon as ordered, and if not ordered find our own Federal targets. Can't get across to the Canadians sporting a weapons signature. And they like fighters, not shy men. But, those weapons pips are different from the crafts code; crossing international borders they broadcast when asked! ”

“ You dodge.”

“Tornados dodge faster.”

“Oh.” Summertime rain in California Central Valley never happened. The black column of clouds spit us out at 13.000 feet. Ice covers all surfaces and the pilot twists into the spin to shake it off. Ms K. vomits without control. I do better. “Just for giggles, how many units could you call in for support … I mean max ground-attack aircraft of all types, armed with whatever they carry somewhere along I-5 ?”

“Long road … what's wrong Scranton? Hasn't happened yet, but Scrum in-a-crunch got you shitless? You think we don't figure these extreme cases? We BATTLE MASTERED every clusterfuck from airborn HIV to Nazis selling out to the Rothschilds or Scrums people refusing to come West of Grand Junction. ”

I know the Militia have exactly 4 Apaches West of the Mississippi. “Number!”

“Twenty-two, given four hour notice; thirty with a day. Plus six F-28s to cover against the Federal F-4s. Nazis rent airtime for cash only. ”

“Mercenary bastards.” Dropping to tree-tops takes forever. “You count forward units.”

Silence. “No.” Pilot turning about-face to Ms K. “We know you will die bad for the Militia cause. Don't let your heater get captured.”

An hour later we land at a feedlot beside the Fresno reservoir. Our approach runs low, scattered AA runs high and the reservoir airport quiet as a virgins pussy. Our pilots wingman unloads three female snipers, and the pair rap casual, joining to move quickly toward a mud-brick bunker. When fuelers arrive we are still thirsty and alone on the concrete tarmac.

“You the reporters,” asks a corporal?”

I say nothing. Ms K says, “Scranton and his easy lay. That's me.”

“Ms K. to everyone.”

“Feckin-A tango foxtrot crap I say. But, CO says you'll fly with Prim over the Route 190 anomaly. Broadcast directly back here since only you have a digicam. It does give mobile type, weapons and total number – separes wheat from ...”

Pissed. “Banski can't send an officer?”

“Not for you two.”

“You could shoot us and take it. Instructions built in. A Chicago chico can run it.” Nothing. “How big is an anomaly?”

“Jerk-off ain'cha!” Fuelers have run a plastic tube into the Apache and the flow gargles like mouthwash, but faster. “This one is twenty square miles. But it's squeezed, still being in the Sierra passes and some kind of fog hazes it.


“Six wheel trucks belch it out. An F-100 at 9000 feet got some blurred pics. Lots of action, at all vehicle sizes. Looks like a migration of buffalo and elephant with lion prides on their flanks.”

“Eat the weak.”

“That's your job.” It's noontime. We eat MREs made in Dallas. Hints sweep in of heavy gunfire to the north and south. Corporal and his buds listen close. “That's Scrum making his move by splitting forces.”

How the fuck does a corporal know? “Most often loses,” I respond. “Hitler at Moscow.” Two jeeps skid up behind us and the corporal snaps a salute.

A thug driver grunts, and the Lieutenant says. “Get in.”

We drive into the reservoir … just our Jeep to the hubcaps. Metal panels lift and seal tight around us … some kind of boat … and we move forward and sink into deeper water. “Can't have too much frag or too big a reservoir,” says the Lieutenant.

“Or enough money …?”

“That too.” Another five minutes, an elevator passage and short walk we stand on wood flooring beneath the reservoir in the biggest damned vehicle compound I've ever seen. People too … must be three brigades. And it's not just the rows of PICKETS, Mobsters and Agros that grab your balls, but the stream of Leopard-2s rolling to the compounds west end if my manual compass doesn't lie. “Got milk,” I snap at the Lieutenant?

His arm raises and a coreman with an ice-bag trundles by. “Regular or 2%?” Ms K. takes chocolate.

“Didn't believe the coptor pilot did ya … that's called an advanced organizer, truth as lie … one of Gen Banyards ideas. Oh, strap this around your ass.”

Rough worked leatherized C4 with the electronics inside. “Figures.”

“It blows up if we think Federals captured you. Pilots got one also, but he's supposed to do a last suicide run instead. Afgan war Teks installed 33-mm rotators. ”

Flash of somethings weird. “Figures.”

“Prim .. Prim,” I call to the pilot driving up on an Agro. “You're a sight for red eyes.” His wingman takes Ms K and we exit the reservoir into a copter shed before the Camel Straights die. Smell of Chordite, burning oil and C4 replace Virginia blend. There's steer hot-flash Valley smell also. Outside. It's a fucking long copter shed inside. We're surrounded by Israeli Kfirs. “Thought they only had 125 of these … nothing since the F-16s and F-35s got Cyprus as a base.”

“They built more. We paid them.”

“Who's we. The Militia I know can't rent a 1st class whore. Short on Apaches.”

“Jews have all the money. Take a crap while you can.”

“Fuck. Got a Wild Turkey?”

Ice cubes are free; we admire the hardware. Upload handshakes are agreed and programmed. But, we walk past the Apache and into the carry of an MI-35M. Slam-bam buckle over the A-3. Stink is cheap Russian lub. “Titanium buckets for all of us,” says Prim as his co-pilot takes the lower seat and the aircraft moves out of its hidy-hole. Wingman follows. The fierce rattle of local shelling defeats even the plexi-titanium skin. Fresno shudders. Somebody is trying hard to get in. A concrete-glass blast door swings closed behind us. Smells of dry desert surprise if wet vineyards were expected. War kills stuff, I think … Hundreds of distractor flares light up the bronze horizon, and we are sky-ward before the auto-seat restraints snap around our legs.

We are out an hour dodging flack in the low-Sierra foothills. “Got another snaps the co-pilot.” Below a six-wheel 22.5-mm spray-and-pray goes flaming into hell. It's our third. “Everybody knows there's a swarm of logging roads connecting routes 178 and 190 … at least in summer. The Muzzi-Mex used those.”

From 1000 feet to tree-top we scan them all, and raked hell with the MI-35M when AA targets us. Not that we're special, but Muzzis and MEX are getting slaughtered and it's fun-for-all. Monitoring data-flow gives one message, which Ms K. got back to HRI --- we hurt them!Them were firstly thousand of war-buses racked-out from pick-ups, SUVs and trucks. Vehicles armed with 50-cal to 30-mm line-of-sight ordinance and worked by killer monkeys wearing A-3s. “Meat for the grinder, and Militia ground-attack fighters tear-them-up.” By two-PM that optimism sifted into central command , and blazed out to and from HRI.

We had access to central data-flow through our direct-connect. Banski had indeed launched a dozen motor-rafts on Lake Nacimiento … but, pulled back the TSTs! Then had pivoted and were now streaming south-east … part of the hammer-anvil planned for the LosVegas ramblers! KFIRS dealt death on his flanks, as the Dodge and Chevy pick-ups tried forcing the Leopards into a more easily ambushed inverted-V. Like early Saxon tactics against the Norse they ignored mass and got slaughtered for their trouble.

Since Scrums concentrated sally from Fresno split the Federal light raiders , the cowboy shoot-'em-up on the Central Valley plain is favoring the Militia. At shoot-and-scoot nobody is better than Scrum, even whenThem can be more able … Scrums PICKETS, Mobsters and Agros gave equal to the harrowing they got … we estimated 2000 mobile fighters dead or wounded on each side. “Wait till Banski gets there,” sings Prim.

Worse for both sides was the Sierra Valley maze of logging roads. Illegal sawmills by the dozen, each holding a machine-gun, RR and mortar for one … or both sides if the men were drunk enough. That complex of asphalt and dirt joined between 178 and 190 … Rye Point Rallye the locals call it, for a moonshine cooking hillside about half-way through … where Militia woodsman, ranger and Special Force units from Yosemite, Bear and Mammoth Mountain engaged Tahoe runabouts and the 4&6 wheel drive Federal armor. RRs, RPGs & TOWS exchanged murder with 33-mm and 105-mm armoured cars and light tanks. Tree-mounted snipers fired against RAM 454s sporting M-60s and 60-mm mortar. Nobody could win. Kill and die, bleed and hide in that order. That rattlesnake paradise filled rocky pine gulch, 35 miles long and 10 wide turned to a plasterboard of burning pick-ups cooking-off ammo-trucks and shattered bodies.

“Charlie Tango we are going down: 36:42 North … 119:07 West. Altitude 700 feet and wobbling.”

“Ruski rotors won't let you spin. Can you reach the airport Baker Foxtrot?”

“Send us wings. Got our tail blow off by a ...”

“Do I fuck you last before … or after I shoot you?”

I try to think it's not all that bad. Tail rotor shot off … the MI-35 copter line has a main rotor torsional vibration mode that acts like the rear rotor for about … 7 sec … 12 sec … 15 … we hit the ground at about 80 miles/hr. Falling … falling … falling …. “We're in a titanium basket baby.” The copters entire metal topskin is stripped away. “ Wait till the champaign is ….”

Prim sprays soda-foam into the flames. I am pulling Ms K. from the burning fuselage. Her digicam and fmj armour is still intact, and if I can bounce on her tits really hard she will start breathing again. She's stopped twice. Shock I think. FuckWACKK a bullet takes me above the ribs, in thick 4-A metal and Aramid twines buried in polyprop. The 7.62-cal knocks me down, beside Ms K. and I fall over her body. Wackk … her heart jolts crazy , but starts pumping. Breathing roughly. I set off her sewed-in super-caps … Christ she'll be horny all week. I kiss her.

“Don't fuck me until I'm ready. I pissed my underwear.”

Christ almighty.

“Yo Scranton you shot?” We need covering fire. Prim charlie-jogs across meadow to a sandstone boulder. Shooting madly. “Got the bastard.” Looking back at us. “Get-the-fuck behind this rock.”

“When chickens fuck cats.” I'm scared and it's Prim living and fighting, breathing and bullshitting. He's 25-yards away and firing an M-16 into the tree-line. The AK-47 bullet is poking into my neck through the pilled 4-A shoulder-plate. Wonder if a super-computer designed that journey as a greatest energy-release path?

The fallen MI-35M burns between us and the sharp-eye Federal picket. Burns the co-pilots dead body. Ms K. is not bleeding and my hands find no broken bones. Helmet intact. Matter of strength, really. Two limp rags jacking 25 yards of clear terrain to find safety. Why aren't we safe now? “We gotta move Scranton. More Federals gathering at the tree-line and I can't out-shoot all of them.”

How long does a dead heart take to re-animate? I'll tell ya. Thirty-six hours. I check readout. All three med-pads have pulsed super-fluid into Ms K. blood-veins. Don't know the chemicals, but I know the concept. If you are dead, but need to be alive for two hours , then take these three shots. You're still dead, but your body doesn't know it. Later .. later is later and anything can happen. So I wait. The finned Mobsters find us like grasshoppers.

The first scorched and burned from some recent encounter of the Federal kind scoots in close blazing with 50-cal, 30-mm and F&F TOWS to swag Prim into its hold. While their firing line was distracted the second Mobster nests over us like mother hen. The gunner leaps out … we are both standing shitfaced dumb … and pulls us inside. The first Mobster carrying Prim jumps left like a Turkey … and a Federal 37-mm catches it under the heart. I can't see death for the explosion. We scurry backwards trading distance for distraction and the rain of 25-mm hornets cannot find a mark. We send two TOWS toward gun-barrel flashes and dodge into a ravine which goes bushy every-which-way and we live to reach the next hill. Mobsters are good like that … scurry, hit and get-the-shit out. Ms K. is breathing in my arms with with IVs poking her blue and green. I am stroking her face and telling dirty stories.

Mobsters move constantly. We have joined a pack-of-four moving westward. “Scranton you lost the data hardcopy.” He points back to the smoke of burning copters.

“It's on her back. Electro-optic.”

“Advanced, ain'tcha!

“No.” A flight of Militia F-100s zooms over, cursing black hell at the ground and all who dwell there from 200 feet. Explosions follow. We can't see them.

“We better get you to Fresno.”

“You recover Militia bodies?”

“When we can't kill Federals. Prim needed better situational awareness. You write a letter to his family?”

“I'll do that,” says Ms K.

It's dark in Fresno. “We're routing them,” spiffs Banski,” waving his hand at the BATTLE MASTER display. “We got out another copter, but look at Scrantons earlier data. Ratio of six-to-one lost prime armour; that's PICKETS, Leopards and garbage-truck-mounted 120-mm and 155-mm howitzers. Bless the bastard Nazis their F-28s found the M1-A3s .. led the Black-Widows right on top a whole company …. twenty-two destroyed and fuck the Army for gifting them over. We'll have an accident or two with the Army Missouri River pontoon brides … bombing accidents will happen.”

“Can't ya get chocolate charlies to make that hit?” CCs, Mississippi Flotilla, Great Lakes Rowing Club , Galvanized Ghetto, Black Fuckers …. though most river-bank members were farmers, white and Christian and straight. In the great Missouri-Ohio River triangle, centered on Chicago the CCs named after a VietCong Nigger fought where Michigan Muzzi-wogs, Dayton Devils and Flint Foolers had ruled.

“We already owe them two strikes … one of their bankers threatened to overbid us on three Harriers Columbia narcos are selling.”

Ms K had been taken by corpsmen. “Love me dead Will,” she says chewing on my ear? “The 2nd-line treatment pumped another pint of tar into me; I'll stick together I thought. Drank an avocado goatsmilk-shake and between treatment stations jumped my computer guided cart.”

“Good for you.” On a good day Ms K. would drag the gold armour off Athenas tits. I let my hands run allover her; she sat on my lap and wiped slop outa my eyes. We remained in the battle-room waiting details of the raid matrix such a far-reaching battle would produce.

Banski again. “Of-course no contest with the lighter-armed raiders. Look at this sequence of Scrums 20-mm armed Ford Duelies; solid polymer tires bounce like Jacks Box; they're taking a few hits on the polymer skin, but get solid computer lock-on.”

“On target you got that right, trashing the Federals Dodge 454 Hemis … at least three-to-one losses and the Federals ran.” Like raiders back from a scrimmage, drivers and gunnys were noting directly to the BATTLE MASTER screen. “Hope we scavenged every 4-barrel carb cause 75-octane gas needs a tuned blower.”

A bald, crippled analyst waves his laser circling in for a kill. “Scrum held on for a late release, then swiftly engaged from the front. Never attack frontal, but if so attack in mass! Carried his own banner - - - six progressive snowflakes wearing diapers, skewered through the ass by two spears. Makes a body think!”

A data Lieutenant catching up, just arrived from a scuffle at Salton Sea. “His Mobster had two kills, and when he switched to an off-road FWD got into a line of supply, ganged Boris 14.5-mm donations and binged six fuel trucks. Flames lit up route 190 for miles. Man really knows his business.”

“Sources advise you offered the Nazi Jewish airboss $1,000,000 a year, plus Bill Gates old estate in Seattle.”

“You is me,” kranks Banski? “Sez you, Ms K. Christ almighty aren't you dead?”

“Israeli air-defense at Kennedy offered Colonel Cohen twice that. 'Course NYC is a shit-hole. ”

“A Cohnee a Bonnee a green and orange tonny ...” squirms Banski.

“She put a 4-ton JDAM into an Iranian centrifuge the size of an ice-cream freezer. Cohen flew 400 knots at sixty feet and the plutonium concrete shell sat buried at -60 feet. It's said her current boyfriend – then a German microwave encryption specialist broke into her channel – had met her at a BRITEX conference, thunderbolted and rejected -- was dirty-talking her during the run. Well kept secret.”

“Secret from reality. Bastard. You can't believe shit like that.”

“Twelve second fuzz on that JDAM. She baffled radar, bluffed guards and refueled back at the German listening-post in Italy. Spent a lost three hours at the com-shed before returning to her Haifa base.”

“Does a women ever not get horny when a guy talks kissy kissy …. don'cha know! What is this the girly-hour? We'd offer her a gold cow if it would help, but she's got an oak desk in SandPoint, her own F-106 mod for giggles, and a genuine Wehrmacht blond-hair fighter-pilot boyfriend. That's the bastard in your story. Now, she's not going anywhere.”

“Neither are we over Lake Nacimiento. ”

“Ranger raids excepted; we have troopers allocated. As open range fighting becomes more intense you know that attack was pure decoy. A very successful decoy that allowed us to split and crash and scatter the Muzzi-Mex southern advance across Fresno. Federals no longer have an attack column.”

“Neither do we.”

“We never planned one, but seek spontaneous offensive utility.”

An East coast writer with a beard and cigar. “WTF does that mean?”

From a dirty grizzled PICKET gunner. “Means we shoot fast at anything that shoots at us.”

Fat babe burning a Pell Mell Red. “Got me two Agros and one'a them thrusters. Fat bitches rule thump thump! Spotted a bunker that Black-Widows burned out. We kill them as fast as we can.”

Same grizzled grubby voice. “Sounds defensive. Militia make any progress seaside or from Carmel against the Federal western defenses?” He moves over next to the fat babe.

“Neither … nor planned that way. Those attacks are diversions. Still, we're holding aggressive positions that allow us to create enemy casualties.”

“Killing one-to-one Militia and Blue-Bellies? Sounds like creation of stagnant positions with no advantage for anyone.”

Banski. “Not even close. The Muzzi-Mex ansatz will be crushed. Let's see what the trapped Federals will do without supplies.”

Mr Cigar. “Before or after they use up the ten-years food and ammo dump they maintain at Ft Ligget.” Intelligence officer scowls, skeptical to know. “I know cause I just Mobstered out of the Federal compound. I ate steak and tomatoes before I left.” Fat babe crawling his left shoulder.

“Shoot the bastard.”

“One of ours, like Scranton, but with more money and a less popular website --- he's a decent Christian and doesn't show tits and ass! ”

“But, his pastor has six young deacons that never leave his side … ever !”

“You're a frikin-A deviant skut, Scranton. But, enough bullshit. We have a battle to fight. All non-military will leave the battle-room in five minutes. Stragglers will be cooked and eaten.”There's a BATTLE MASTER feed in room three. MREs if interested. Alternate gamr too, running off a quad Opteron, but it's shit software … has us losing King City and allowing a Federal break-through to the ocean at Esalen.” Bullshit, like I say ...”

Lisping SanFran queer. “Did we releashe the 3rd wave, on Nepenthe? Cougfh it up Banski or were they held back to march on Lake Nacimiento?”

“Somebody kick that niggers ass! You heard me news-sluts … get the fuck out!”

Evening has slammed in. You can't see anybody beyond your arm. “Coal black gets your ass burned here.”

We're hustling around the pool to room three. Nightfall. The eastern sky far away is a fairy-tale land of sparkling white AA, orange tracers, green heat-seekers and red TOWS. That's above a couple hundred feet … what we can see. Surface must be sterilized for anything without armour. The reporter. “I work out of Biloxi Press; came with 40 CCers to run the beach assault craft. Happened yesterday, but not last night as planned.” He sniggers. “Some perp said the wave-swells are too deep. Feds must have beaten our IR fuzz, cause their 105-mm bursters flashed all-round. This and that, ya'll see? So we turn back. Imagine that … deep swells. He ain't never seen an oil-barge in 8-feet of weedy swamp-water.”

“We landed with wave one … thin as watered grits.” Ms K tells a joke … “wave two landed below us and got all the mortar and vertical AA we missed by surprise. Don't know if any of the front-running Seals stayed alive. ”

“So who or what holds PCH?”

I say, “Nice question.” BATTLE MASTER makes Generals rust and Sargents shine. It's a moody, soul-less semi-Markov narcolept computer program. Procedures integrate geography, raw motion data and weapons awareness with social discipline, historical precedent and conflict algorithms; and both with human intuition and ansatz. A local battle-boss can fuzz logic, reassign priorities and super-positions of real-time screen display. All analysis is data-driven and quant. Probabilities come free; speculations cost lots of CPU and opportunity time; users are discouraged by an almost certain bad result. BATTLE MASTER knows what a human questioner desires and knows he can't get it.

“Why have our pickets advanced north of the Nacimiento water-head? Every dry stream-bed gives 500 yards of free-fire, like a target range only no NASCAR pin-ups.”

“The bubbles?”

“Shooting flare-ups appear as orange bubbles on the BATTLE-MASTER screen .. real-time streaming gives you 13 frames/sec .” A one-legged major runs the display. “Not to worry. Federal re-enforcements have drained East, over the I-5 ridge-line. Butter-baby RR farm units cross-fire most of the passes. Feds trapped; they can retreat only by running Banskis gauntlet of 25-mm and TOW mobiles. “Watch this fight!”

“I'll zoom in now.” Shakey pics probably shot from an Agro running among a walnut orchard. “Quarter mile apart now … Federal APCs and Militia duelies approach in battle line, but the angle between the lines is growing …. growing …. from zero toward 90-degrees I figure. Makes the gunnery calculations difficult to update. Yep, they're both using a 3rd order time function … firing in 4-3-2 … Federals are high and ahead with their 25-mm … oops one Duelie flamed … but fuck-my-duck boys and girls the 1st Militia rounds caught the Federals center-line. Two … three … four … bastards are wearing away … another Militia there damme just blew up --- 37-mm probably, but another two Federals are pitched over. There's another on fire; 14.5-mm cuts right through neoprene They can't hold the field and are running for the wood plot.”

Zoom from local to entire Central Valley. Damn-well picked a feel-good encounter for the Militia. Wonder of BATTLE MASTER is programmed that way. Both Federals and Militia are cluster-fucking now, self-sizing units, mixing fire-power , wolf-pack against wolf-pack. A Sargent raps. “SUOs … if you lose an encounter whatever remains of the pack can run.”

“Anybody going to sleep?”

“Cots against the far wall.”


“A fire-hose gets turned on noon and midnight. Everybody is welcome. There's a roof-top heater for hot water and GoJoe for the black-spots.” Lights dimm, and addicted real-timers huddle and murmur under a florescent lamp in a wood floor corner. BATTLE MASTER feeds them like a candyman feeds his junkies. Thirty feet away, around a concrete corner Ms K. and I find a dark spot beside the doorway, pull two cots together and made the best of it. Alarms ring at 3:45-AM.

No nada nix: A local bombing alert. Clowns jangling non-voice from Steven Kings IT! Some low-flying night-sky radar has painted Hearst Castle with a 2-cm maser. All lights out, but not the monitor. Data will be free. Attacks by-the-book come less than a minute later some teks had warned me so get yo ass in motion. Arms and legs and heads make the room a dark jumble. Everyone shouts. We scramble for the sloping sub-basement runway snatching a glance at BATTLE MASTER. A red cluster-fuck icon was flashing on the upper right side. Bomber icons appear over Hearst Castle and Lockwood airdome, the Federals local air asset. Lower left two analog clocks tick down from 55 seconds. And far to the west, in a wasteland of dried cabbage and plums and olive orchards long dead a lightening bolt snaps beside a message I cannot not read. Ms K. drags me down the shaft. She carries a lost infant, lantern and an Army issue 45-cal Colt.

My Rolex says … now … and a quad of grass-cutter 750-lb ordinance chews around the building. Carbon-based life forms are discouraged from living. I can feel the above ground explosion as the down-push of air sweeping away from the point of detonation. It makes no sense. The lost 5-yo screams and we squeeze his body between ours. Shock-waves from the bombs make our bastion vibrate like a bowl of Jello vodka-blocks. Who , but the Air Force can carry out such a raid? Have they gone Federal, I think?

“Di'did you read the BATTLE MASTER meee-ssage a voice shouts loud and shaken.”

The reply has a mountain Spanish twang. “Bad business, sen'ior. The Madonna, se no estaré contento.”

Militia line officer. “Listen up earthlings. Shit-rain is about to fall. Two bus-loads of Catholic bishops got cut-to-pieces north of the Ca'jon Pass. Hell-raked by 25-mm tracers and 43-mm rockets. Priests from Peru to San Diego, some traveling from the Panama Canal. Meeting at Lake Tahoe, the Council was to choose three new Bishops and a new Cardinal. Two Vatican reps were aboard. Somebody screwed-the-Popes-pooch.”

“Military pissed off,” I shout at nobody. “Any guesses?”

“Prolly don't know who-done-it, the Military so payback all around.” Lights are back on and most people stand, looking up at the exit ramp. A ragged trooper, returned from an all-day picket. “Two's never enough. Is three enough and are five too many?”

Shuts up loose talk, to say something true. People rush from the basement gathering tightly around the BATTLE MASTER display. Metal-wired, high temp glass windows are all shattered into spyder webs. Two ceiling-high glass-block murals have blown out. But, the Hitachi screen sparkles. A string of orange blooms rush-to-life and fester on PCH, from Ragged Point to Julia Pfeiffer Park. We are transfixed by the sudden attack. Some blossoms wink out while others grow; there's fighting at the far northern end, as if Federal defenders resigned their caves, strapped-on mini-14s and marched on the Monterrey Aquarium. Wealthy electronics execs nearby had purchased and refitted 4 M-60 tanks and a couple Russia 4x22.5-mm meat-grinders. They were Trump men; blood will flow.

Poke your eye … there's a jagged stutter to the display, as if part of the streaming video has in real time been edited out. “Didn't think you could do that,” I say to Ms K. who is mind-reading.

“Could be Banskis sensor system: garbage in – garbage out. But, Berkeley physics profs don't make mistakes. I bet Federals have really screwed ...”

“One mans real time is anothers birthday!” A motley Special Forces Lieutenant with no neck and a Bowie knife grabs my arm. “Suicide mission for you, Banski says. Gonna parachute you like bombs from a KFIR.”

Ms K simpers … “but, I don't even know you!” Motley spits.

It comes out of the blue. I turn away to piss out a fractured wall. “Air Israel … warmest martinis and best tits in the air.” Ms K. raps an elbow to my ribs. “Israelis get their terrain-following radar fixed? Last I heard they were flying 100 feet low.”

“Anti-radiation suits have plenty of give.” Tables have been set up among the wreckage. MREs and a big California Cabernet served with aplomb. Poland is not yet lost, says the in-crowd. Says the Gorilla. His arms around both our shoulders. “Federals really screwed-the-pooch. You'll be jumping in at 5,000 feet.”

Might be lamb I'm chewing on. “Where? Sure I'll take another glass.” I think it's that fucked. As we leave for a waiting Jeep my last glance at the BATTLE MASTER screen shows what dominates … a purple ellipse growing in the wild Sierra mountain valley between routes 190 and 187. The by-caption voice-over is saying 'ALERTALERT... 35-57-N / 118-28-W radiation anomoly: 10K uSv @ 9000' …. 28K uSv @ 8000' …. 34K uSv @ 7,000' no lower altitude data available. ALERTALERT…

“Dear sweet, I've always imagined to die fucking you.”

“Lover-boy, I understand Grizzy-bears enjoy well-cooked ass.”

We're home with another HRI. Returning to port, Ladies and gentlemen good night. .