Story Market Day

Shooter

Veteran Member
I should have started a tablet at the beginning, to keep all the people strait as to what group they are in,

cant tell the players without a program,!
 

ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
The new schedule was much more varied. One day was some medical, another day was radios. Shooting techniques and practice was offset with tactics and survival. Half of the day most days was outside for some of them. Cross country skiing was a new skill for Angelique. They didn’t have enough for everyone, but Angelique was about the same height as Kara and could use her spare set. Garen, Bekka and Allyson were more snowshoe people.

Angelique was teaching primitive survival techniques to the crew. She was giving them the tools to do things when they don’t have tools. Even though she was learning the newer gear-driven methods, she was still partial to the older methods. They meant she had less to carry.

Carrying less appealed to Kara. She remembered her recent reconnaissance trip in the park. With some of the newer things Angelique was teaching them, she could have cut her gear load by at least a third. She was reworking her own gear for the future in light of it.

Each day, depending on what other training they were doing, at least two people went on a patrol, either around the inside of the compound or, sometimes, in the forest beyond. The longer patrols tended to be Kara and Angelique once she was comfortable on the cross-country skis. This let them combine physical therapy and patrol.

Night patrols were usually three people, especially if they went outside the compound. This was also something new to Allyson in the woods. Frequently Bekka or Garen would take Allyson and Angelique on snowshoes so they could move slower and more deliberate in the dark. Moving in the dark, especially without using night vision was taking on more and more importance as the days got shorter and the nights got longer.
 

Griz3752

Retired, practising Curmudgeon
I should have started a tablet at the beginning, to keep all the people strait as to what group they are in,

cant tell the players without a program,!
Probably a good idea, going forward but when this ride kicked off, we had no freaking idea just how complex a road map we'd be dealing with.

I, probably like most following this tale, thought oh cool a new piece and from a new (to me anyway) author and dove in ... little did we know! ;) :applaud::applaud:
 

ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
One of the newer training events to everyone was short sword training. At this, Kara was as strict a taskmaster as Garen was about medicine. They conducted the training sessions in the garage or the big bay in the training building to give them room to move and swing.

The short swords were actually WWI era 16” bayonets. These were in poor shape when Garen found them in the back of John’s connex. They had a layer of surface rust and the wood handles were all chewed up. He had them in a pile in the big bay at the training building when Kara saw them. She immediately latched onto them. She had a penchant for long blades and spent many years learning a whole host of techniques from different styles of combat to use with them.

Kara stripped the surface rust and found the underlying steel to still be solid. These blades were so far from collectable condition, she didn’t mind modifying them for her own goals. These were designed for trench warfare, when trench warfare was staking bodies like cordwood day after day. Long, strong and lethal, the steel had a feel to her rarely seen these days.

A smaller square handguard replaced the bayonet’s mounting loop and finger guard. They had no rifles they would carry to mount them on anyway and the square handguard would be more secure and protective. The latch slot in the rear was the next thing to go, replaced by a one inch ball bearing welded into place for a pommel and counterbalance. An old composite countertop provided the material for new handle scales. The edge was reprofiled slightly and the blade sharpened and oiled.

When Kara was done with her project, these old warriors were ready for another hundred years of work, defending their owners in close quarters combat.


“Alright everyone. Before we get started, there are a few things I want to cover. I know you did a bunch of close quarters training with knives. With knives, there is a lot of body involved and the knife is only a small part of the fight, although a key focus. When you get to swords, even short ones like these, the idea and focus changes. These give you reach and additional leverage. Where a fighting knife might make a nasty slash on a forearm, a properly wielded sword, even something this short,” Kara held up one of the new swords, “you can remove the limb.”

Kara turned quickly and with a deceptively powerful swing, sheared through several ribs of a free-hanging rack of ribs next to her. This wasn’t the last such demonstration against meat. That first day with the swords, there was quite a bit of meat hacked up, all to go into the stew pot later.

Kara’s sword fighting style was a unique blend of European Medieval, Japanese, Escrima, sport fencing, and who knew where else. She taught them as many different aspects she could of her boiled down style. The main focus was usually disabling mobility and offense capability first more than outright killing blows.

“Remember, these aren’t death rays. Killing someone with a blade takes time. A person cut or stabbed or even shot will take quite a bit of time to lose enough blood to become combat ineffective. There are plenty of cases where someone was hit multiple times with a 45 and kept going long enough to still cause mischief. With the blade, work on their ability to get to you or do harm to you. Those will be your primary objectives.”

Part of their training was a heavy amount of sparring against one another. For this, Kara had whittled some tree limbs to the right length. Each session produced a whole new set of bruises. She didn’t confine them to only facing someone with the same size weapon either. Knives, clubs, barehanded, bigger swords, they all were used in the scenarios.

The new hand to hand training was in the rotation every other day. After the first two weeks, Garen added hand axe or tomahawks to the potential tools. He knew Kara was amazing with multi-weapon use and wanted to learn more. Garen was fairly good with the tomahawk but wanted to learn using it in conjunction with another hand weapon, something he was still struggling with.

Kara was able to work with everyone, developing their multi-weapon skills.

“You guys aren’t in the movies. If you are in a straight up knife fight, you screwed up everything you were doing since you woke up that morning. Fighting with a weapon in each hand is primarily something for the movies or intimidation because most people don’t have the skill or practice enough to do it effectively. However, if you look at it as fighting with a spare weapon in your other hand, and fight one at a time as they come to bear, then it starts to make more sense.”

Kara helped each evaluate which ‘backup’ weapon matched what they could use. Garen, with his familiarity with the tomahawk could make passable use of it in his off hand while using the short sword in his primary hand. Surprisingly, this also worked for Angelique. Bekka and Allyson were better with a second shorter knife in their off hand.

The tomahawk appealed to Angelique. It was one of those classic tools of the mountain men and the Indians in all the old books and tales she had read for so long. Garen had several modern riggers axes which gave more leverage and cutting area than hatchets but she kept gravitating to his old school true traditional, wood handled tomahawk. It just felt better in her hands.

The group was in a comfortable rhythm now. Everyone was focused on learning and training to give them a purpose, something to do in a positive way. This helped offset the worsening news they heard each night on the radio about how the country was coming apart, fracturing in ways eerily familiar to Bekka, Garen and Kara, and something unbelievable to Allyson and Angelique.
 
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Siskiyoumom

Veteran Member
Thank you for reading, training goals are mobile things. Think on what you want to learn or get better at and start digging in. Read, train, practice, and test stuff out
Thank you for the encouragement. Currently I am studying the the Tech and General HAM exams in May. As an oldster it is delightful to learn about short wave radio.
 

Chapulin

Senior Member
You keep hauling meat out of the locker, where is the supply coming from? Is this some sort of Icelandic festival to clean out the preserved meat supply every spring?
 

ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
You keep hauling meat out of the locker, where is the supply coming from? Is this some sort of Icelandic festival to clean out the preserved meat supply every spring?
Kind of. If you roll back to page one, they have a walk in deep freeze and Garen kept rib racks to use in class (Needle Decompression, Chest tube and so forth) so he had quite a few stored up when he got a deal. They use them in class, then would cook them up for BBQ with the students. There is also a couple milk crates of pig tracheas and pig feet, the first for airway training, the second for suturing practice.
 
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ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
The patrols took on more and more seriousness and focus if possible. The news from outside was grim and had no hope of improving. With everything going on, it was decided to double up on patrolling. Most of the time Bekka, Garen and Allyson would work the areas towards town and the road. Angelique and Kara would work the back and side of the property bordering the forest since they could cover the larger areas faster on their skis.

A couple times, Garen or Kara would move farther out at night to check the perimeter from a distance with the eyes of an enemy or an opportunist. Bekka was spending a lot of time on the radio s and setting up game cameras in elevated locations to look for intruders they might have missed. Allyson was evaluating things close in to the perimeter, trying to look at things like a thief would. She normally would take Angelique or one of the others so she could teach them what she was looking for.

On one of the nighttime checks, Garen went across the road in front of the house to check on his other closest neighbor. It belonged to a retired military couple who traveled the country in their RV. He hadn’t seen hide nor hare of them since the quake. In the first few days after the quake, he had looked over that way from up on the hillside and didn’t see their RV. He assumed they were away when everything happened. Now he wanted to confirm their absence. If they had been away this long, they probably weren’t coming back any time soon.

The house was empty, the RV was nowhere around. Garen made some mental notes about things around this property they could secure. They weren’t raiders but, just like with the other property, they could make sure things were safeguarded and when or if they returned, given back to them. One more winter project for the group.
 

Sportsman

Veteran Member
Thanks. I'm surprised no wayward souls have made it this far back into the woods. I would have expected one or two stragglers by now.
Thank you.
 

ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
Re-edit #4008, 4015, 4022

into #4025

As Angelique took her position as a full member of the team, training became very different. It was no longer as focused, intense and four instructors to one student. Everyone taught and that included Angelique. This was strange to her and even scared her a little but as a member of the team she was going to do her part. Each would teach according to their area of expertise. One day it could be medical, another working with radios or shooting techniques with practices offset with tactics and survival.

It was such a change for Angelique, she was often the first one up, ready to go. The training and learning was fun. Until it was her turn. She was nervous, anxious and not sure what or how to teach people older than her. She really didn’t know what she had to offer them. She wanted to impress them but could not think of how.

Late one evening when she couldn’t sleep she was wondering through the kitchen looking for a snack when she heard a sound in the work shop.

“Garen is that you”

“Come on down Angelique, I am just finishing up a few projects.”

Angelique finished getting her glass of milk pouring one for Garen.

Arriving at the bottom of the stairs she hands Garen the glass of milk “You got a minute”

“Sure, you having problems sleeping?”

“Yeah, you got me on the schedule but I don’t know what I can teach you guys. I know you made me a full member of the team. You know I would fight to the death a long side but you guys still know so much more than I do. I don’t have the experience you guys do. I don’t know what to teach. I want to do my part.”

Garen pulled up a chair and motioned for her to sit down. “ You know more than you think you know. Yes, we have more experience in some things but you have experience or learning in others. How many days did you survive with just what you had in your pockets and the jacket when I found you? You were hurt, scared, confused, didn’t have much more than a half-remembered direction to go, a name of a stranger you met once and, like I said, the stuff in the jacket and your pockets.”

Garen gave her a few moments to think. “You used your brain and lived off the land, scrounged things, and made things out of nothing. You have taught yourself primitive skills that you can share with us. You may not be an expert but you have used them where we have not. Do not sell yourself short.”

“I only know what I have read, taught myself and what my father and I did when I was out in the back country with him.”

“More than most of us. Don’t try to be perfect. Have fun with it. If you screw up too bad, we will just dress you in tank top and loin cloth, tie you up, blindfold you, throw you out in the woods, with a pack of items each one of us gives you and let you find your way home. Boy would you be messed up with what we would give you. It would give you plenty of time to practice.”

“Thanks I think”

With a renewed vigor, or sense of intimidation if Garen wasn’t kidding, Angelique started her first day of teaching primitive survival techniques to the crew. It was hard at first but her confidence grew as she saw how much attention each one was paying. She was giving them the tools to do things when they don’t have tools.

Another advantage? She taught them how to carry less by instead using things found in nature or scrounging from trash. Carrying less appealed to Kara. She remembered her recent reconnaissance trip in the park. With some of the newer things Angelique was teaching them, she could have cut her gear load by at least a third. She was reworking her own gear for the future in light of it.

One of the newer training events to everyone was short sword training. Kara was as strict a taskmaster as Garen was about medicine. They conducted the training sessions in the garage or the big bay in the training building to give them room to move and swing.

The short swords were actually WWI era 16” bayonets. These were in poor shape when Garen found them in the back of John’s connex. They had a layer of surface rust and the wood handles were all chewed up. He had them in a pile in the big bay at the training building when Kara saw them. She immediately latched onto them. She had a penchant for long blades and spent many years learning a whole host of techniques from different styles of combat to use with them.

Kara stripped the surface rust and found the underlying steel to still be solid. These blades were so far from collectable condition, she didn’t mind modifying them for her own goals. These were designed for trench warfare, when trench warfare was staking bodies like cordwood day after day. Long, strong and lethal, the steel had a feel to her rarely seen these days.

A smaller square handguard replaced the bayonet’s mounting loop and finger guard. They had no rifles they would carry to mount them on anyway and the square handguard would be more secure and protective. The latch slot in the rear was the next thing to go, replaced by a one inch ball bearing welded into place for a pommel and counterbalance. An old composite countertop provided the material for new handle scales. The edge was reprofiled slightly and the blade sharpened and oiled.

When Kara was done with her project, these old warriors were ready for another hundred years of work, defending their owners in close quarters combat.

“Alright everyone. Before we get started, there are a few things I want to cover. I know you did a bunch of close quarters training with knives. With knives, there is a lot of body involved and the knife is only a small part of the fight, although a key focus. When you get to swords, even short ones like these, the idea and focus changes. These give you reach and additional leverage. Where a fighting knife might make a nasty slash on a forearm, a properly wielded sword, even something this short,” Kara held up one of the new swords, “you can remove the limb.”

Kara turned quickly and with a deceptively powerful swing, sheared through several ribs of a free-hanging rack of ribs next to her. This wasn’t the last such demonstration against meat. That first day with the swords, there was quite a bit of meat hacked up, all to go into the stew pot later.

Kara’s sword fighting style was a unique blend of European Medieval, Japanese, Escrima, sport fencing, and who knew where else. She taught them as many different aspects she could of her boiled down style. The main focus was usually disabling mobility and offense capability first more than outright killing blows.

“Remember, these aren’t death rays. Killing someone with a blade takes time. A person cut or stabbed or even shot will take quite a bit of time to lose enough blood to become combat ineffective. There are plenty of cases where someone was hit multiple times with a .45 and kept going long enough to still cause mischief. With the blade, work on their ability to get to you or do harm to you. Those will be your primary objectives.”

Part of their training was a heavy amount of sparring against one another. For this, Kara had whittled some tree limbs to the right length. Each session produced a whole new set of bruises. She didn’t confine them to only facing someone with the same size weapon either. Knives, clubs, barehanded, bigger swords, they all were used in the scenarios.

The new hand to hand training was in the rotation every other day. After the first two weeks, Garen added hand axe or tomahawks to the potential tools. He knew Kara was amazing with multi-weapon use and wanted to learn more. Garen was fairly good with the tomahawk but wanted to learn using it in conjunction with another hand weapon, something he was still struggling with.

Kara was able to work with everyone, developing their multi-weapon skills.

“You guys aren’t in the movies. If you are in a straight up knife fight, you screwed up everything you were doing since you woke up that morning. Fighting with a weapon in each hand is primarily something for the movies or intimidation because most people don’t have the skill or practice enough to do it effectively. However, if you look at it as fighting with a spare weapon in your other hand, and fight one at a time as they come to bear, then it starts to make more sense.”

Kara helped each evaluate which ‘backup’ weapon matched what they could use. Garen, with his familiarity with the tomahawk could make passable use of it in his off hand while using the short sword in his primary hand. Surprisingly, this also worked for Angelique. Bekka and Allyson were better with a second shorter knife in their off hand.

The tomahawk appealed to Angelique. It was one of those classic tools of the mountain men and the Indians in all the old books and tales she had read for so long. Garen had several modern riggers axes which gave more leverage and cutting area than hatchets but she kept gravitating to his old school true traditional, wood handled tomahawk. It just felt better in her hands.

Most days they tried to get outside for at least part of the day. It felt good to feel the sun on their faces even though winter was here. It had been a long time since most of them were of the disabled list. One of the new skills they were working on was winter moving which meant cross country skiing or snowshoes. Cross country skis were in short supply. Garen, Bekka and Allyson had to settle for snowshoes. Improving these skills made daily patrol assignments easier.

Each day, depending on what other training they were doing, at least two people went on a patrol, either around the inside of the compound or, sometimes, in the forest beyond. The longer patrols tended to be Kara and Angelique once she was comfortable on the cross-country skis. This let them combine physical therapy and patrol.

Night patrols were usually three people, especially if they went outside the compound. This was also something new to Allyson in the woods. Frequently Bekka or Garen would take Allyson and Angelique on snowshoes so they could move slower and more deliberate in the dark. Moving in the dark, especially without using night vision was taking on more and more importance as the days got shorter and the nights got longer.

The group was in a comfortable rhythm now. Everyone was focused on learning and training to give them a purpose, something to do in a positive way. This helped offset the worsening news they heard each night on the radio about how the country was coming apart, fracturing in ways eerily familiar to Bekka, Garen and Kara, and something unbelievable to Allyson and Angelique.

The patrols took on more and more seriousness and focus if possible. The news from outside was grim and had no hope of improving. With everything going on, it was decided to double up on patrolling. Most of the time Bekka, Garen and Allyson would work the areas towards town and the road. Angelique and Kara would work the back and side of the property bordering the forest since they could cover the larger areas faster on their skis.

A couple times, Garen or Kara would move farther out at night to check the perimeter from a distance with the eyes of an enemy or an opportunist. Bekka was spending a lot of time on the radio s and setting up game cameras in elevated locations to look for intruders they might have missed. Allyson was evaluating things close in to the perimeter, trying to look at things like a thief would. She normally would take Angelique or one of the others so she could teach them what she was looking for.

On one of the nighttime checks, Garen went across the road in front of the house to check on his other closest neighbor. It belonged to a retired military couple who traveled the country in their RV. He hadn’t seen hide nor hare of them since the quake. In the first few days after the quake, he had looked over that way from up on the hillside and didn’t see their RV. He assumed they were away when everything happened. Now he wanted to confirm their absence. If they had been away this long, they probably weren’t coming back any time soon.

The house was empty, the RV was nowhere around. Garen made some mental notes about things around this property they could secure. They weren’t raiders but, just like with the other property, they could make sure things were safeguarded and when or if they returned, given back to them. One more winter project for the group.
 
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ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
One late afternoon when Kara and Angelique were patrolling down towards Mrs. Leary’s place where they rescued Hemdal, there was some new activity. There was someone banging on Mrs. Leary’s door. They heard this from some distance away and had to investigate. As they got closer, they could see it was a child up on the porch knocking franticly on the door. After a quick scan of the area, Kara came to a decision.

“OK, Angelique, stay back some and keep an eye out while I move in and see what’s going on. I’ll keep the mic hot so you can hear what they say.”

Angelique looked all around. She found a position to conceal herself and keep watch. She pulled the long gun off her back and got set. She was trying out a different type of sling system for the rifle after seeing the ones Bekka and Garen had for their biathlon guns. She figured they were designed to keep a rifle out of the way and stabilized while skiing, it was a no brainer to try it for her long gun while they were on patrol, especially since she had rearranged her core equipment load to a more overstuffed combat harness and smaller medical bag.

“In position, ready” was Angelique’s only reply to Kara’s statement about going down to the house.

Kara tucked the submachinegun towards her back and skied closer to the house now. As she closed the distance, she could get a better look at the kid on the porch. It looked to be about the right size for eight or nine years old, but she didn’t see any clues for male or female. Kara spoke as she got close.

“Hey, kid. What’s all the racket?” The kid jumped at the sound of her voice and turned. Kara could see it was a little girl.

“Do you know where Mrs. Leary is?” there was a tone of desperation Kara could plainly hear.

“Not off hand, but what do you need her for?” Kara tried to put her most kid-friendly expression on.

“Momma sent me over here. She told me to tell her she needed help for Sissy, she got hurt real bad by Mr Evan and is going to have the baby early and she was hoping Mrs. Leary could help like she used to back when.” All of this came out in a rush and some of it set Kara’s hackles up right off the bat.

“Who’s Mr Evan?”

“He’s Sissy’s husband. They came back here to live a couple months ago after the big quake. Her, him and his brother Victor moved in with us and they have been taking charge of things but he gets real mean when things don’t work or happen how he says they should.”

Things still weren’t too clear to Kara. “And Sissy is???”

“My oldest sister. Since she is the oldest, and Mr Evan is her husband, and Daddy died last year, Mr Evan says the Farm should be Sissy’s and his. He and Momma fought all the time when they first got there, and Sissy caught the brunt of it once Brody and Ruby and Finn and me all moved out to the barn. Brody said it was safer for us to be out there, especially Ruby and me. Now it’s mainly bad for Sissy and Momma.”

Kara was getting a decent feel, and she wasn’t liking any of it. “So how long has Sissy been pregnant?”

“Ever since she came back to the house.”

This wasn’t exactly what Kara needed to know. “Do you know when she was supposed to have the baby?”

“Sissy told Mamma about the end of January or the start of February, which is why Momma’s worried and sent me over here.”

“Where do you live? How far away?” Kara’s head was thumbing through the pages of the textbooks in her head, trying to remember what complications were prominent at six to eight weeks early.

“All the way down to the end of Mrs. Leary’s pastures, then across the road is the start of our pastures. We used to rent some of hers until Daddy died and we cut back on how many cows we had.”

A plan was forming in Kara’s head. She forced herself to slow down a minute before she just took off in a direction. She knew her radio was still keyed so Angelique heard all of it. She wasn’t going to repeat her earlier supreme screw up of Angelique again. She figured to ask her opinion rather than just decide and command action like that night in the ally.

Kara turned her head a little and spoke to the microphone. “What do you think?”

Angelique’s voice came right back to her. “Better to get in good with them rather than have them come looking and find us when we aren’t ready. Besides, we might be able to trade some with them. Fresh milk rather than the powdered stuff we have? Big plus. I just don’t like the sounds of Mr Evan though.”

The entire time Angelique was talking to Kara, the kid was watching her with a funny look on her face.

“I agree, but that means I will need to leave you in overwatch again when I approach the house there. You good with that?”

“Sure, unless you want to call in some reinforcements.”

“No, I think the less they know the better and we don’t want to start showing a bigger footprint than we have to. We might be able to get away with only one of us seen and I can play it off as a visiting niece or granddaughter.” Kara turned back to the kid. “What’s your name? I’m Kara”

“I’m Ashley. Who are you talking to?”

“My friend. She is over on the hillside making sure we are safe, you know, like Brody did for you guys.”

“Can you help Sissy?”

“Yeah, I think I can. Now, I need to ask you a few questions and a couple of favors though.”

“OK.”

“So, why did your Momma think the baby is coming early?”

“Sissy called Mamma into the bedroom after the last fight she had with Mr Evan and I heard her say something about her water breaking and Mamma told me to go get Mrs. Leary and to hurry right now before Mr Evan could stop me.”

“OK, Ashley. Next question. Does Mr Evan or Victor have a gun?”

“Yeah, how did you know? It’s a big revolver he keeps tucked in his belt all the time.”

“How about Victor?”

“Yeah, he has a smaller one he keeps in a pocket. And they have Daddy’s shotgun in their room too.”

“So, Ashley. I think we can help you but here are the rules. One, you can’t say anything about my friend. All you know is you came over here and I was inside the house picking up some stuff for my grandmother Mrs. Leary. I am her granddaughter and I’m a nurse down in town so I can help. Can you keep the secret so I can help?”

“Sure, but be careful. Mr Evan is mean.” About this time, Angelique slid up beside Kara.

“Hi Ashley. I’m Kara’s friend. When we get close to your house, I need another hiding place so I can watch without Mr Evan seeing me. Can you help me find such a place?”

“Sure. We better get going though. Mamma was really worried.”

"Just a minute Ashley. I need to have my friend carry some of my extra stuff I don’t want Mr Evan seeing.” Kara slid some of her gear off and passed it over to Angelique to carry. She kept her med bag and her blades but ditched her battle belt and messenger bag, as well as her submachinegun. She needed to be non-threatening. As she helped load Angelique up, they whispered a few things back and forth.

“I’ll designate with knife hand or verbal on the radio, go word is pickle or use your judgment as you see it. Questions?”

“You calling Bekka or am I?”

“I’ll do it as we move down there.”

The three of them began moving across the pastures.
 
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Sportsman

Veteran Member
Looks like the game is on again. And hopefully we'll have some good results to enhance the homestead afterward.
Thanks!
 

Old Gray Mare

Has No Life - Lives on TB
... but what threat is one woman, maybe two and a nurse at that be?

ComCamGuy you definitely have an evil streak in you! The anticipation is awful. Will not think about Market Day... Will not think about Market Day.... Will NOT think about Market Day... Aggggggh!
 

teedee

Veteran Member
I just got done reading from about page 20. I had gotten that far a long time ago and never got back to the story. You are a VERY good author! A number of the other readers have commented on some of the reasons which I agree with. I am very glad that I started again on your story and can not wait for more.
 

ComCamGuy

Remote Paramedical pain in the ass
Angelique was thinking hard. From the moment they saw the kid, she was forcing her mind to stay alert to her surroundings as well as pay attention to what she was hearing over the radio from Kara and Ashley. This all felt much different than it did a couple months ago against the bad guys in town. She was not just looking for revenge and allowed to tag along and help. She was just as much a member of the group as Allyson and expected to act as such. They were going to go help someone else, not go fight the people who killed her father and grandfather.

She felt the shift in perspective as she realized this must be what it was like for Allyson. She never met her father like Kara and Bekka and Garen had, yet she went to help them and her fight them, albeit for the more abstract reasons like what they were doing was wrong and needed stopped. Now here she was, following some kid to go help her older sister who’s in the middle of a trauma induced early labor, something she hasn’t trained much on. Another fun part, the trauma was caused by this woman’s husband. Part of her wished it was Allyson here and not her. Allyson must have a ton of experience with domestic assault cases and would be much better equipped to handle it.

She listened in amusement as Kara gave a shorthand synopsis to Bekka over the radio as they moved towards the house. It always amazed her how much Bekka, Garen and Kara could say over the radio when what they actually said was nowhere near what they meant. She could hear the tension appear in Bekka as Kara explained things.

As the house came into sight, Ashley pointed out a small brush-filled divot in the slope for Angelique to hide in. Kara took off her skis and added them to the pile of gear they were hiding here out of sight from below.

“OK, I’ll go down on foot with her. You stay put unless I call you down. Hopefully we can get in, help and leave without giving away too much info or attracting too much attention later. I’m just here picking stuff up for grandma who is staying with me in town and Ashley happened to show up at just the right time. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.” Kara looked down at Ashley’s upturned face. “Right Ashley?”

“Right Kara.”

“Ok, and I’ll cover from up here unless you call me down or things go completely sideways. Right?”

“Right.”

“When or if I come down if things go to shit, I bring your sub gun and battle belt and leave my rifle and your pack up here as fall back since a bolt gun wouldn’t work well in the house. Since you will have your med kit, I’ll leave my large one up here as well unless there’s a need for it.”

“Sounds like we are on the same page. Remember, duress go code is ‘Pickle’ and if you see something not right, give a shout or if you need to, take the shot and I will work from there and we punt. Bekka and Allyson or Garen are probably already near the Hyena waiting for an update, so if we need them, I’m sure they will come running.”

Ashley and Kara started walking down the hill to the house. Kara was counting strides out loud to herself and the radio. Angelique was making note of where each fifty meter call was so she had a good range estimate for her rifle.

As Angelique settled into position behind her rifle, HER RIFLE!, she once again marveled at how they had built it with her in mind. It was an older bolt action target gun pressed into service as her long range gun. Garen told her it was an old pre-64 Winchester Palma gun, whatever that was. The beautiful wood grained stock felt as dense as a block of steel. The adjustable cheek rest moved with a small thumbwheel, as did the adjustment for the buttstock plate. The barrel and action had been blued to start with but Garen refinished it by something he called ‘browning’. This produced a beautiful brown color to the steel in a protective finish similar to the way they did all the way back to the pioneer days and was much more durable than the traditional bluing.

The ammo she was using was old military marked match ammo in 30.06. This was something that Bekka ranted about a couple of times. ‘Everybody should be using the same caliber in their long guns!’ she would say time and again, but the problem was to do that, they would end up with less capable rifles, just to shoot the same bullets. But Garen promised to keep his eyes open, even though he knew he wasn’t getting either Bekka or Allyson to change rifles, which made the whole thing moot.

The only things really modern on it was the chunk of glass she had on top and the suppressor screwed to the end of the barrel. She even had the iron sights for the rifle in a tiny hard case in her pack in case the scope got broke, which it wouldn’t.

As Angelique made note through her lens of each fifty meter point, where Kara would also scrape a small mound of snow up with her feet, she double checked her range card taped to the stock. At this point, she realized she was in position to potentially save Kara just like Bekka and Allyson had done so for Kara and herself back in the city.
 
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