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!”
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.