How I Survived Collapse: Chapter 9

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on December 28, 2016

Discuss this story at the Collapse Narratives Table inside the Diner

"So WTF happened out there Kensoto?" Kareem asked.

"The Skulls and the Storm troopers got into it.  It was a drive by shooting, but the guy they shot had a friend down the street who took out the driver as they were trying to get away. He was carrying serious heat, a .44 Magnum, blew a hole straight through the front windshield, Dirty Harry style. The guys in the car ran for cover, and I was caught in the crossfire.  I managed to get behind a dumpster, and then both sides must have called for backup because two other cars showed up and a bunch of guys on foot.  Bullets were flying everywhere.  The sirens started coming and everyone started running.  I used the confusion to sneak down the alley and get behind the dumpster where Eagle found me."

"Do you think you got snapped by any security cams?" Eagle asked.  "If you did, they're going to be looking for you."

"No, I don't think so, at least no good shots of my face anyhow.  I had my Hoodie pulled over like always when over in that neighborhood."

"Even so, things are going to be really hot for a while, especially if any cops got shot.", Billy Joe remarked.  "You're going to need to lay low for at least a month until it gets sorted out and your arm heals up.  If they pull you in now with that hole in your arm it will defiitely tie you to the shooting."

"B-J is right." Kim added.  "They're also bound to get here eventually in the investigation, although right now they are focused on Skulls and Storm Troopers according to emails I hacked into from the prosecutors office."

"I can probably go down to Atlanta, there's a community of West Africans there.  I think my dad might have some relatives I could stay with.  I'll need some money though."

"No worries about the money, Kensoto.  Terminators got you covered.", Kareem reassured him. "Kim, get a couple of G's out of the safe, that should cover him for a couple of months."

"Somebody's going to have to drive him down.  He can't take a bus or plane out of here now." Jose reasoned.

"I'll do it." Eagle volunteered.

"OK, you guys leave this afternoon at rush hour.  Less chance of being pulled over with a lot of cars on the road.  Once you're out of Montana, you should be OK overnight on the drive.  Remember though, you have Montana plates and they may be on the lookout for those.  I don't want both of you getting caught.  Stay at the speed limit on all the roads.  Kim, can you route it for him?  How many hours to make it there?" Kareem asked.

"Sure, give me a minute…", Kim replied.  "32 hours, 2100 miles, all interstate".

"Too long, Eagle will miss too many classes.  That will look suspicious.", Billy Joe pointed out.

"I could drive him to Portland and he can get a bus out of there. I can be back by morning", Eagle suggested.

"That's a better suggestion.  You'll also need some fake ID.  Kim, we got some ID's, right?"

"Yup.  I'll need to do some picture substititution though and print out the card.  Should be ready in an hour.  It won't pass muster if they check the Bar Code on it though."

"OK, sounds good.  Kensoto, travel light, one backpack of preps.  Kim, give Kensoto another $1000 for busfare and travel expenses. Kensoto, you can buy what you need in Atlanta.  If you can't find relatives to stay with, find a Tent City and hang with the Homeless. Pick up a tent and sleeping bag at Walmart. No motels, no place you need to show an ID if possible. You know the drill.  Blend in, be a Gray Man.  Stay out of trouble.  If you need to communicate, use encryption.  Your own cell phone should be off and in a faraday cage with the battery out. Eagle, your cell phone also should be secured before leaving HQ.  All communication should be via Kim's secure server in Iceland, and all encrypted.  Kim, give Eagle and Kensoto 2 of the secure laptops to use for communications.", Kareem barked out the orders.

"Will do chief", Kim replied.

"OK, everybody but Kim, Kensoto and Eagle, back out on the street like all is normal.  Hopefully they won't roust us here, too busy trying to round up Skulls and Storm Troopers for a few days at least I think.  Kim, keep monitoring the police scanners.  If it looks like they're gonna hit HQ before 3PM, Eagle and Kensoto gotta get the fuck out of Dodge and take their chances before the cops come for a look see."

Kareem looked at Kensoto seriously.  "Kensoto, remember, 2 months is a best case scenario.  If the cops do put out a warrant for your arrest, you'll either have to face it down or you'll have to go underground on a permanent basis.  That will be your choice.  Terminators will support you either way, we'll get you the best Criminal lawyer around if you face it down.  If you wanna stay uderground, we'll help you get some bizness going in another town outside of Montana where you might be recognized.  Drugs, Prostitution, Fencing stolen merchandise, whatever works."

The hours between the end of the morning meeting and afternoon rush hour were tense, both for the Terminators out on the street and for the ones holed up at HQ.  As Kareem had predicted though, the Gestapo was far too busy trying to round up the usual suspects from the Skulls and the Storm Troopers to bother themselves with the Terminators, known to be a pretty small gang and the drive by wasn't in their territory.  3PM rolled around, and Eagle and Kensoto got on the road in the company Nissan Sentra, their "Gray Car" purchased to blend in with other typical cars on the road.  Eagle took on most of the responsibility for the drive to Portland since Kensoto was injured and had only one good arm to steer with, but Kensoto relieved him for a couple of hours at the end so he could nap before having to make the drive back to Missoula.

The two men hugged outside the car as Kensoto pulled his Bugout Bag from the trunk of the Sentra in front of the Portland Bus Station, not knowing when or if they would ever see each other again.

"I owe you my life, Eagle." Kensoto said.

"You owe me nothing Kensoto." Eagle replied. "You are a Terminator.  The Oath demands we are there for each other when the need arises."

"Yes, I know.  I just hope that someday I can be there for you as well."

"You will be Kensoto.  Now, get tough and get going here!  You got a long bus ride ahead of you.  Send us messages when you can get a connection and it is secure enough.  Wait at least a few days.  We'll send messages to your secure email account when we have a better idea of what is going down."

Eagle and Kensoto clasped hands, and the goodbyes were said.  Kensoto went inside the Bus terminal and bought a ticket on the first bus out of town, heading to Los Angeles.  It wasn't on the direct route, but putting more distance between himself and Missoula as fast as possible was more important than waiting for a later bus going more in the right direction.  He paid for the ticket in cash, sat down in the bus terminal to wait, and then caught a few hours of nap time on the bus to LA.  It was a long road ahead to make it to Atlanta.

Eagle got back in the car for the return trip to Missoula.  They had made good time with only one stop for gas and they bought some sandwiches for Kensoto to bring on the bus ride.  His adrenaline was flowing and the drive back was only about 8 hours, but  he coffeed up at the first convenience store and settled in for the ride, although still concerned for Kensoto.  What if it had been him?  Leaving at such short notice from all your friends, not knowing if you would ever make it back, in trouble with the law?  He admired Kensoto's stoicism in the face of all of that in front of him.

As Eagle made it back into Montana in the wee hours of the morning, the newz was all over the radio about the shooting in Missoula. 3 cops shot, 1 dead, 2 in serious condition.  4 Gang Bangers dead, 6 wounded.  Eagle pulled the car into a Flying J truckstop outside of town and accessed their free Wi-Fi with his Secure Laptop, firing off an encrypted message to Kim.

"Back outside Missoula safe. Kensoto off safe in Portland.  Safe to return to HQ?" Eagle sent in text.

A message came back in a few seconds.  Kim was at his station manning the communications as usual, keeping track of all the police scanners and all the emails he had hacks into.  His night had been close to sleepless also.

"Yes, still safe.  Cops still looking for Skulls and Storm Troopers.  Terminators not on the Radar yet.  Bring it home."

"10-4.  Coming in."