Story Market Day


Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
How do you live up to being named ‘Seraphim’?

A lot of discussing her pass and what it means will help all.

Thanks CCG.



Senior Member
Jesse was on edge as he snuck the rest of the way down towards the main encampment. He was able to get a point where he had a line of sight onto the main compound. What he saw churned his stomach and tightened his sphincter.

He could see captives being brought in. They were separated into groups. The younger ones were separated right away. The adults were stripped down to underwear bottoms and marched into one of the buildings first. The kids were then loaded up into vans and driven away from camp. Later, another truck came into the compound. It was a big panel truck. The adults were marched out and made to unload the boxes into another building. All the while, they were still naked except for underwear on their lower halves.

There seemed to be about twenty prisoners, mostly women. There was one or two men, but they seemed to be the exception rather than the rule. Two or three guards were around with weapons, mostly AK types, in a far perimeter. Up closer were three guys with three-foot-long cattle prods. He knew they packed a huge wallop. He remembered seeing a cowhand in Montana move a two-thousand pound bull with just one tap.

Once he had seen enough to know something horrible was going on, he slunk away. His route back north was going to take him back past the body dump. He had to do something very distasteful. He had to search the bodies looking for faces. The one he most of all didn’t want to find was Doug’s.


Senior Member
Yes, thank you! I love how the story gives us more than one look at the situation, and then different perspectives inside of each part! I hope they make it to the cabin safely and link up with Jesse and Zed!!!


Senior Member
Zed was horrified as Jesse laid out what he found, both on his way to the main camp and at the camp itself.

Jesse had searched the body dump site on his way back. Six Law Enforcement Rangers, including Tracy, plus the Park Chief Ranger and an eight year old child he didn’t recognize. Gunned down from behind, their hands zip-tied. This reminded him of some of the briefings from Cambodia’s killing fields. The two things he didn’t find were blood trails of survivors, which was not surprising since there were at least five to seven rounds in each body, and no sign of Doug. As he related his data to Zed, Zed felt so sick, he had to throw up.

“What the hell are we going to do now, Jesse? Who do we call? They have people at the upper cabin, they have the main park compound, how long until they come here?”

“I don’t know, I don’t know, and even more I don’t know. At least we may still have Doug out there.”

“What the hell is one person going to do against machine guns?”

“Well, if he gets back to us, It won’t be just him. I will help him. These guys have to be stopped before they get this far. I don’t know what else they want but I know they are the bad guys. I knew most of those guys they threw in the ditch like garbage! Why the hell do you machine gun an eight year old? If we can’t get in touch with Doug soon, we may have to take care of them ourselves, just you and me.” Jesse’s voice was as grim as his face had become.

Both were quiet for some time. Jesse was staring at the map while Zed was making coffee and watching his friend stare off into space and then at the map, and back into space.


Senior Member
Late evening, Jesse was working hard on his radios, scanning for all he was worth. He felt he needed as much as he could get. He tweaked his antennas and massaged as much as he could to scoop up as much as he could. He was still getting some cryptic mil air style traffic, but not enough to make much sense of. He was scanning around when a particular frequency popped up. His pulse jumped. It was way outside the bands many used. He only knew a very select few to use it. The message traffic was weak but readable. His hands danced over the dials trying to milk as much as he could out of the weak and thready signal. When he got it solid, he was both happy but worried.

“Redbeard, this is Sprout. Redbeard, this is sprout.” came a woman’s voice. Jesse was already reaching for the mic.

“Sprout, this is Redbeard, Go.”

“Redbeard, this is Sprout. I’m working a PACE plan in case the boat sinks. It’s sprung a few leaks. Echo is you. Repeat Echo is you.”

Jesse was now very concerned. Sprout was his Granddaughter Page who was down in California at the USMC Mountain Warfare Center. She was calling him talking about a PACE Plan. It was a military acronym for how to make plans. P stood for Primary, i.e. what you wanted to happen. A is for alternate or back up plan when it didn’t go quite as it should. C was for Contingency or what you do if your first couple of plans didn’t pan out. E stood for Emergency. This was when everything fell apart and nothing was working; the ‘hail Mary’ plan. She was letting him know her emergency plan was him. That must be one of two things. Either she was looking for him to get there or she was coming here if it got that far down the PACE. Either way, what the hell is going on if an Active Duty US Marine was working a clandestine emergency plan?

“Sprout, are you looking for a bail bucket or a beach?”

“If it comes to Echo, a beach.”

“Copy. Redbeard is at ‘Hole in the Wall’ with Sundance. Give a shout and we will leave a light on.”

“Don’t expect me, but that’s why it’s Echo. Stay safe Redbeard.”

“You too, Sprout.” Jesse heard the carrier wave drop. Jesse was more worried than ever now. What else could be going on that his granddaughter could be needing a safe haven all the way up here? How would she get here? If she headed this way, he would have to warn her of the stuff going on here. It’s only if she has to activate her emergency plan though. He will worry it about when it comes about.


Senior Member
Getting involved. So is this center the one that Garen's crew were watching?

Thank you.
If you are asking about the USMC Mountain Warfare Center, that is several states away in California. IF the 'main compound' is what you are asking about, it is the main building and administration area of the National Park/Forest/Wilderness that stretches out from Garen and Bekka's back door, where Doug works. It has been mentioned earlier in part two and part one


Senior Member
Heidi was up before dawn. She had the last of their food prepared to provide some breakfast for the day. If Doug was right, they would be at the cabin by sundown. She was subsisting on mostly pine needle tea and strips of cambium (the inner layer of bark). The rest of the calories and such she passed on to the other two. No one spoke during dinner or after. All went to sleep as they had the previous nights, with one exception. This time, Heidi was on one side with Emilia in the middle. This way, Heidi was able to roll out without waking the other two up.

Heidi still didn’t know how to explain things to Doug. She had yet to come up with something that didn’t sound childish or whiney. Maybe she could draw some parallels, at least for some of the later stuff.

She could still remember their tone when they would see her name on the board on a crew during her second major deployment. ‘Oh, crap, the Angel of Death. We are going to get hit hard on this mission’. At first it was mostly in jest. They would make a big show of grabbing more mags and more med gear. Later, there was no joking about it. They were serious. Her name would be posted and everyone would get somber, double up on their gear, and study the op like it was the first drop over Normandy on D-Day.

The bad thing was she didn’t know if it was better or worse than the one before. After her moment of unwanted fame from her actions in the HMMWV, she got tasked to work with the medics, because she ‘understood’ them. They were wrong. No one understands medics but medics. Because she worked with and helped guard the medics when they were working casualties, others got to see her around them. She was not head down working the casualties so her face was prominent to those around her looking on. One of the medics one time was looking around and didn’t see her because she was on the other side of the vehicle and called out to the other guys ‘hey, where’s our little Valkyrie?” Suddenly the name stuck. One of the other guys asked what a Valkyrie was. The first smart-ass turned out to be not so much of a smart ass. He actually was one of those guys following the Norse religion and meant it exactly as he had said it. He explained to the other guy a Valkyrie was basically a Norse Angel of Odin, sent to collect the brave slain warriors on the battlefield. When they show up, people are dying.

Before she knew it, she ended up with new name tags for her armor and flight suit showing up out of nowhere, cartoons, drawings and, in one case (the original one who gave her the nickname) a sterling silver rune medallion. She was at least younger then and thought she could shrug it off. She was wrong. She still had the medallion and wore it. His name was number 12 on her calf. She wasn’t there the day he got it. It was a bait and whack. The enemy set off an IED to injure some guys, then waited for the medics and crews to come treat the injured. That’s when they set off a huge IED to kill all the rescue forces. She escorted his body home. He deserved Orin’s best, his proclaimed Valkyrie to bring him home. She didn’t know at the time what to do when confronted by his grieving widow and six year old son.

She stood next to Doug and Emilia as they slept, sipping her tea. The question still rolled over and over in her head; how do you explain such things?
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Grouchy Granny

Veteran Member
You explain them very carefully (if you can), and try not to relive those memories when you are telling them. Mostly, don't be afraid to cry and grieve all over again. Otherwise it will eat you alive from the inside out. No jokin - seen it in action.

Been through this with the 2nd hubby with VN.


Senior Member
Doug sat at the table and stared at the two notes Jesse had left. He was trying to get his brain back in gear. It wasn’t working.

The whole day was quiet and somewhat strained as the three of them made their way the last miles to Doug’s cabin. Most of the time, Heidi was out front, finding a path or route for them to cross the terrain. Doug and Emilia would catch up, He would indicate the next far point to get to. Heidi would start blazing that next trail. Late afternoon rolled around when they finally caught sight of the cabin and barn. Doug was all for getting down there but Heidi held them up for a few minutes.

“Doug, take a close look around. Make sure everything looks like it should. I would hate to get all this way and get killed rushing up to the finish line. Twenty minutes one way or the other won’t hurt us, but an ambush will.”

Doug knew she was right. He needed to think more like that. This wasn’t the same old situation. They were being hunted by people who wanted to kill them. They might know about the cabin and come here. Hell, they could be in the cabin right now! He pulled out his monocular and looked around with a new focus. Everything seemed to be in place. There was no wanton destruction. All the windows looked intact. All the locks seemed to still be on the outbuildings. Everything looked right. He turned to tell Heidi and Emilia. Emilia looked worn out and ready to drop. Heidi didn’t look worn out so much as she just looked gaunt and pulled thin. He hated to think what he must look like.

“It all looks good from here. We should be ok to go on down.”

Heidi nodded. She helped Emilia up from where she was sitting. The three of them proceeded down to the cabin complex. When they got to the front door of the cabin, Doug had another embarrassing moment. His keys for the door were at the convenience store. He stood and thought and thought. Something nagged at his memory.

“Heidi, lift up the paving stone in front of the bench over there.” He pointed to the old stone bench to the right of the stairs. She went over to it.

“What am I looking for?”

“On the underside of the rock should be a small plastic bag. In the bag should be a key. Be careful, the bag also has some oil in it.” Doug had finally remembered Mr Barnhart telling him about putting a spare master key for the locks at this location when he re-laid the pavers. He also showed him the trick of putting a little two-stroke or bar oil for the chainsaw in the baggie to help prevent rust or corrosion. He watched Heidi hold up the oily plastic bag in triumph. Two minutes later, he was opening the front door to ‘his’ cabin.

“Home sweet home” Doug intoned as he stepped inside. It was not huge so the nickel tour should give change back. He felt a twinge giving them the room that, until a few days ago, was set up for Angelique and was supposed to be her new home.

The bed was a standard-sized bed but tomorrow they could dig into the connex with the yurts stored in them. There should be at least six or eight futons with frames in there. There was also the big leather couch in the sitting area.

Doug showed them the bathroom and the washer and dryer. He pulled out some extra towels and shower stuff for them as well. He figured while they were cleaning up, he could rummage in the left overs and left behind stuff for some more clothes for them. There were some uniforms left here by the seasonals that might fit them. It was better than nothing.

Doug was in the kitchen looking for what to fix for food when he saw the two notes by Mr Barnhart. The first was surprising. Whoever these guys were, they also had people at the clearing and have seized the eastern cabin! This didn’t prepare him for the second note however.

The second note warned him in no uncertain terms to not go to the main camp. It had been overrun and was in the hands of the enemy. To go there would be futile and only lead to his death. Jesse told him to come to Zeds place for more info.


Has No Life - Lives on TB
Dang. I hate it when a chapter ends! lol. Thank you so much! I know I have said it before, but I appreciate the “life breaks” you’re providing. And they’re so bloody well done! Wish I had just a smidge of your talent!!!


Senior Member
Heidi found him sitting at the table staring at the papers in his hands. There was a large pot of water on the stove but the stove wasn’t on. Doug was just sitting there.

When they got into the cabin, she got Emilia settled and set up with the first shower while Heidi dumped the dirty clothes into the washer. Doug told them it was an on demand heater for the shower so she wasn’t too worried about Emilia using it all up, but she did tell her she had a ten minute limit for this one. Emilia agreed, still in the zombie state from this whole ordeal. A bright spot was when Emilia was on her way to the shower she stopped Heidi for a moment.

“Mom, I am SOOOO sorry. You didn’t deserve me pushing your buttons like that. I was wrong. Please forgive me.” The look in her eyes was one of genuine love and regret. Heidi pulled her into an embrace.

“I know, Emma. Unfortunately you have my temper. I just wish you hadn’t opened up a bunch of stuff I now have to explain to my boss. I just don’t know how without sounding psycho or eight years old. You are under a lot of stress and you were worried for me. You always worry for me and it’s not right I make you worry about me. So, some of it’s my fault. I love you. We are still good.” She pushes her back playfully. “However, you need a shower, girl! Hurry up, I’m next!” She swatted her butt as she walked away.

Heidi started the laundry and looked around the bedroom they were going to use for a while. Good solid industrial level stuff from back when that meant durable rather than fiberboard to be replaced every two years. The room was set up a little strange for most people but it made sense to her. There were touches and subtle elements like large wooden cubicles for storage, an iron bar almost as thick as her thumb for the clothes cross bar in the closet. There were large pegs by the door and next to the nightstand to hang duty belts, parkas and packs. The armoire for the folding clothes could have been over a hundred years old, its cedar lining still aromatic. This room and its furnishings were designed for outdoor people with jobs to do who have bulky gear. A lot of things looked like what was improvised and built downrange on deployment, only by master craftsmen.

She was still looking around when Emilia came back into the bedroom. She looked much better and refreshed. Heidi knew that would be fleeting. Emilia was going to crash again soon. They all needed fuel, and soon.

“Emma, just hang out here and get settled some. We are going to be living here for a little while until things get better stabilized.” Heidi grabbed her stuff and went to the shower.

In the shower, Heidi tried to calm her mind and start to figure out a starting point for unsnarling the bucket of worms dumped out. This may be something better tackled after dinner. After her scrub down, she felt better. She left her hair down so it could dry. She looked over at the clothes she brought into the bathroom. She was thinking about whether she was ready to go that far. Not yet. She walked out of the bathroom, dressed in a tank top and running shorts, her bath towel draped over her shoulders, ostensibly to keep drying her hair.

She walked into the kitchen area and found Doug at the table. He didn’t even look up from the papers in his hands. She looked a little closer. His eyes were closed. He was sleeping upright at the table. She looked over his shoulder at what was on the papers. She felt her skin go ice cold at what she read. Finding Doug had saved their lives. Otherwise, they would have gone down to the main camp. The next thing that went through her head: who wrote the notes and left them in the cabin?


Senior Member
Heidi scrounged around the kitchen and found what Doug was putting water on to make, or at least thought she did. Putting the flame to the large pot of water, she got Emilia from the bedroom.

“Emma, I need you to cook for a few. Doug is out. He fell asleep at the table. I need to get him in the shower and scrub down those burns before too much shit sets in. 11 minutes, drain the noodles, add the cheese. I found some large cans of tuna as well. We need the carbs and the protein as well.” She went back out to the main room, Emilia close behind her. Heidi pocketed the notes before Emilia could see them. She leans over and gently shakes Doug awake.

“Come on, you need to get a shower before food.” Doug groggily replies and starts to stand. His knees buckle some and he catches himself on the table. Heidi is under him in a flash, keeping him from slipping to the floor. She slides his right arm over her shoulder to steady him.

“Doug, your weak and worn out. We need to get you cleaned up, food in you, more fluid and then tucked into bed.” She led him weaving back and forth towards the back of the cabin and the bath. Once in the bathroom, she made a command decision.

“Ok, Doug, you need to drop trou and step into the tub. I will help you sit down and take off your shirt. You get to wash the meaty bits. I will scrub down your burns. They are cruddy and you don’t want infections. We will get you dressed and fed, then to bed. I can’t let my boss go down in the first week on my new job!”

Doug was weaving and wobbling, but enough of him was there to know she was right. He was moving in slow motion. It reminded him of being drunk. It had been many years since he was this fatigued. He also knew his electrolytes were screwed from the burns as well. Hypokalemia and Hypocalcaemia are common and one of the major problems with burns long term. Heidi did what she could with the supplies they had to keep him hydrated as they traveled. His head was not tracking well and his mentation and balance was for shit.

The sixty year old tub gave him something to hang on to as he stripped his lower half. He felt her strong hands on his shoulders steadying him as he stepped into the tub. The cast iron and porcelain was still warm from their earlier showers. He sat numbly staring at the overflow drain between his feet as she turned on the water.

“Shouldn’t I get undressed before you turn the water on?” He was slurring and stammering now. Not good.

Heidi was watching Doug’s deteriorating state. It seemed almost like she was watching his energy, shoot even life slip down the drain minute by minute, moment by moment. She realized they barely got him here alive. He still might die. The shirt was heavily encrusted from the oozing from his burns. She was snapped out of her reverie by his words. She knew she had to say something.

"I want to get the shirt nice and wet so it doesn’t stick as much when I pull it off of you.” He seemed to accept this and relaxed. She was at his left side now, rubbing some soap over his shirt where he was burned. She was hoping to get the congealed pus and secretions to break down enough to get the shirt off. She had to get the wounds clean. After a few minutes she had made some headway in removing the shirt. He wasn’t fighting her in this either. Her brain snapped into focus on the bigger picture. He wasn’t fighting her on this!

“Doug, come on Doug, wake up. Doug?“ She tried to wake him. He wasn’t responding. “Doug! Wake up!” She shook him gently, then violently. No response. Heidi screamed. “Emilia! I need help in here!” She smelled bubblegum.


Resident Spook
Thank you for the new chapters CCG!

Did Doug self medicate himself? I don't know, the only time I was in a situation was Grenada and I just kept hand pressure on the battle dressing while the Corpsman did their thing.


Senior Member
“Ok, mom, what are we going to do with the body?” Emilia took another sip from her coffee.

“I don’t know. Buzzards got to eat the same as the worms. Bears might like it too, especially with winter coming.” Heidi refilled her cup from the pot on the table. A large dollop of sugar and creamer went into her cup. Emilia cringed. She always said her mother didn’t drink coffee, she drank steaming hot coffee milkshakes. Both were trying to blow off the massive amounts of adrenaline from the last eight hours of frantic work.

“Don’t you think you might be overreacting some?”

“Emma, I told you this was going to happen”

“Shit, mom. All I said was Doug was a better kisser unconscious than Billy was when he was trying!” She smirked at Heidi.

“He’s a shitty kisser and my daughter deserves more. Not that I approve of my fourteen-year-old daughter making out with a seventeen-year-old boy. Not that you shouldn’t be attracting attention, but he should be chasing his fellow seniors, not trolling for sophomores.”

“It’s not like that, mom! He’s sweet and shy. He’s in my English class. That’s where we met. Besides, if I wanted lessons on not attracting attention…” Emilia holds her hands out at Heidi in a gesture like she was presenting a prize on a game show.

“So what kind of car does he drive?” This went on for some while. Both were trying to ignore the elephant in the room, or the bedroom as it were.
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Senior Member
Eight hours ago..

When Emilia came into the bathroom, she saw Doug slumped forward in the tub, with her mom feeling his neck for a pulse and trying to wake him up.

“Emma, Doug has passed out. I don’t exactly know why but I think his burns have gone bad. Help me hold him up so I can dry him off. We get him to bed and scour this place for medical gear and books. I don’t know enough to know what to do.” She leaned forward and pinched the skin on the back of the hand. It stayed tented up for a couple of seconds as it slowly smoothed out. “He’s still low on fluid. At least he should have IV stuff here. If I can remember how to use it, we can at least get him hydrated.”

Emilia came forward and helped her mother hold him upright sitting in the tub. Heidi dried him off with the towel as much as she could. As Heidi dried Doug off, she kept talking to him.

“Doug, you better wake up soon, otherwise I’m going to start inventing shit to work on you again. This could be considered sexual harassment, being naked in front of your subordinates. This is a hell of an example to be setting for young impressionable staff members.” And on and on she went.

Emilia was worried for Doug. She liked him and got along with him. She was also worried for her mom. This was the most talking she had ever seen her do. It seemed manic, like she thought if she stopped talking, Doug would die. All of this was so far outside her realm of understanding she was lost. She could just react and do what her mom said.

Heidi was trying to reach Doug’s mind. She had read about people in a coma still being able to hear what was going on around them. If she could get him to fight, to engage, she could maybe get him to help her treat him. She was also sizing him up.

They had to get him out of the tub and into his bed. He was over six foot and solid. This wouldn’t be easy, but it was doable. He was nowhere as big as Tony and she had fireman carried Tony every four to six months back in the day whenever they did Self-Aid/Buddy Care. That ass of an SABC Instructor had always used the two of them to prove it was technique not mass that made the carry work. She can remember carrying Tony from the stage all the way to the back of the theater room they trained in, uphill and steps every six feet. The smug bastard would watch her do it every time, waiting for her to fail or wobble. When she would get to the top of the stairs, he would look at the rest of the students and tell them he didn’t want to hear any of them bitching and moaning about how heavy or mismatched their training partner was for this part of the training. The fact she could do it and never gave him the satisfaction of failing had a secondary effect. The others had a little bit of envy and a lot of hate for her showing them up.

He was wet and slippery but they managed to get him higher in the tub and somewhat balanced on the edge. Now came the difficult part. Heidi was used to people being clothed when she did this. She had to reach through his legs and lay him across her shoulders. She remembered it was easier when the one being carried was helping. None of that this time. Pure unconscious weight. She settled him into place.

He wasn’t as dry as they thought. She was soaked quickly. She started her walk towards the bedroom.

“Emma, get the doors and get the covers pulled down on the bed. Also, grab another towel to put under his left side. I scrubbed things down and he will be leaking again.”

Emilia was impressed. She knew her mother was strong, but this was the mom she drew pictures of on display live and in person. After that first night on the run when she saw how fit and cut mom was, she started drawing the winged superhero drawing Doug saw. It was all supposition then. Here it was in front of her. She knew she would do another, more accurate version later.

Emilia scurried to get things done her mother asked for, but she still ended up leaving her standing next to the bed with Doug across her shoulders for a few minutes. Finally, they rolled him into the bed. Pulling the blankets up to keep him warm, when Heidi checked him again, his pulse was irregular and weak and his breathing was shallow.

“Emma, sit right here on the bed with him. I need you to keep feeling his pulse and watching his breathing. If his breathing gets too shallow, tell me. If the pulse stops, scream for me. I have to dig around and find books or something to figure out what to do next. Are you OK with this?”

Emilia looked at the intensity in her mother’s eyes. She knew she would never stop trying. How could she not be ok with helping her?

“Find the stuff so we can save Doug.”