Preservation and Protection
Chapter 21

Copyright© 2012 by radio_guy

"Folks, here's what we think we know. There is another group coming from the west. They're about half of what we faced before. I would like to wipe them out but holding them would be acceptable. The real threat is coming from the south now. A party at least as large as what we faced here is coming up from the south. That's now their main party. I want to keep five or six with a rocket launcher here with the tractor-trailer rigs blocking the bridge. The job will be to slow them and stop them, if possible.

"I figure everyone else goes through town and heads the south to set another ambush without much time. I'll have to plan it on the fly." I looked over at the truck driver. After you let us through, block the road. Are there more trucks that we can use?"

"Yes, Sir. As soon as I block the road, I'll get some more and meet you over on the south road. Do you know where you want to stop them yet?

"No. I don't know the area well enough but we'll look for a similar spot to this one."

"There are a couple of spots down there. One, the closest, is probably the best."

"Okay. People, let's get moving!"

We were heading into Henderson when the south guards radioed that the Memphians were approaching their position. They only had small arms. I radioed back saying, "Stay down. After they pass, pick off stragglers. You can't stop them or really even delay them. Once it's clear, start back but be ready to shoot and run. Leapfrog each other then. Remember, your number one job is to survive."

We got into town and saw approaching SUV's coming up from the south. A couple of tractors were fired up but only one had a trailer. I told the driver to use it to block the road, pull the keys, and run. I told him that, if they didn't blow the truck, we would. He did a little better than I would have hoped. He ran the tractor at the lead SUV and swerved into it taking it out and wrecking across the road. I saw him run into a building with a rifle. We quickly set up. This would not be an ambush but a fight.

The Memphians weren't patient and killed the trailer. I guess they might have thought we had people in it. It wasted some of their ammunition and gave me a good idea of their arms and their ability to use them. I began to arrange our people to cover the approaches into town. That spread us thin and my reserve was I but I figured that, when we started hitting them with real weapons, they would try to infiltrate the city at multiple points. We had denied them the main street but there was a cross street back one block. I had our rocket people began to hit the rear trucks and SUV's first. I had already decided that this was a fight to the finish. The war would end here and now. As soon as the first vehicles fireballed, we had their attention and a disjointed charge began. While we only had two launchers, we had plenty of grenades and I told everyone to use them on any vehicle or persons they could reach. Some of our teenagers ran out and rolled grenades at the SUV's running for cover without waiting for results while everyone fired to give them cover. We killed three vehicles that way to only one girl wounded. She was carried to George for his attention. The Memphians weren't stupid, just slow. They targeted our rocket launchers and killed one team. The other team listened when I reminded them to "shoot and scoot" a second time. I checked on the launcher but it could not be used again. There were three rockets left which I took with me. The guys from the south came up and radioed me that they could see two burned out SUV's and wanted instructions. I told them to stay back and stay low. If they had a good shooter, I said to put him or her out as a sniper with a support person. After a moment, I was told there were two. I said that they should be on opposite sides of the road and take one shot and move.

I had one of the teenaged boys carry the three rockets I retrieved to the other launch crew with instructions to make every shot count. We didn't have enough rockets to take out all the SUV's and trucks but could stop an attack.

I decided to take a more active part and retrieved my sniper rifle from my truck. Pam insisted on coming with me as my spotter. I didn't like it but agreed. There were a couple of buildings with second stories. All of them had their windows shot out by the Memphians. I snuck into one and went up the stairs. I picked a window and set my rifle back in the shadows. I could see well to my right and center. I put Pam in position where she could watch the left. I then took careful aim and centered a windshield. Three shots removed it and the occupants of that SUV bailed out of it to run into fire from our people. "Lovie, get down!" She and I hugged the floor as automatic rifle fire hit the room's walls coming in through the window. I motioned to Pam to crawl out. She did and I popped back up and saw a man looking toward the window and shot him. I don't know if I killed him but, at least, I wounded him. I went back down and crawled out. I pulled the door closed. Staying low, I went two doors down and opened that door. As I did, an explosion sounded in the room we had left. They had something that would make a big hole. The door to the corridor held but it was damaged.

"Lovie," I whispered, "let's wait a moment before we go inside. I think I got their attention."

She smiled. "Yes, that was a bit violent. I think that last shot got them angry."

"Yeah, I want to give them some time before I go after any more of them." We waited about five minutes hearing a few shots from other areas. I crept into the room and quickly set up. Taking aim, I pulled the trigger and saw the back of my target's head explode. Pam was waiting at the door as I scrambled out. We pulled it shut behind us and another explosion tore through the room I had just vacated. I heard shots fired in response. Someone must have exposed himself when the Memphians came after my old position. We went to the end of the corridor and crept through the doorway. I got in position but didn't fire immediately waiting for a little more activity on the part of the Memphians. I wanted my shots to count. I wanted to get a leader if possible. The gunfire died down again. My people were not presenting targets and the Memphians had learned to keep their heads down, too. Finally, I decided that waiting until night was not a good idea. If nothing else, I would start shooting SUV and truck windows and tires until I provoked a response. We were to the far right of the Memphians and I was in the left part of the room to give me clear vision of as much as the Memphian column as possible. Pam crouched to my right well back and down just in case I missed someone trying to sneak up on my blind spot. I had four full clips. I decided to empty two on sniping and hold the other two as a reserve in case we had to fight our way out of the building. I drew a deep breath and let about half out and began firing.

I used one clip on tires and the others in our party saw what was happening and other tires were being shot out. I pulled the empty clip and pushed a fresh one in and started on windshields. The Memphians may not have liked having their tires shot out but shooting out the windows prompted some to make the fatal mistake of jumping out. They were targeted immediately. I saw the big barrel of a launcher from one SUV stick out the back and shot three quick shots at it. The resulting explosion was gratifying. I was down to my defensive clips and we left the room and took a set of stairs at the rear of the building. We stepped out carefully. We didn't want to be shot by our own people.

I found Jim Bob, our tractor-trailer driver, and asked, "What about casualties?"

He said, "Here, we have two wounded and two dead. The wife was killed and the husband went to her and they got him, too. Everyone else is staying under cover and moving frequently. I guess that was you on the second floor?"

"Yeah, I'm not the best sniper but am still pretty good. I did get their rocket launcher. It may be their only one. Do you know where we can get some more and some more rockets?"

"I think so. I can at least get some grenades and I know where to find some serious slingshots. We could use those to get some extra carry and rattle their cage pretty hard."

"That would be good. We need to do something before night. I'm afraid they will try to infiltrate us or get away. Remember, they will have some hunter types in their ranks, too."

While he was gone, I heard from the north sentry group that all was quiet there. I told them I expected to stay that way but to watch carefully because a surprise from that direction would be disastrous.

I then called the western group and asked if they had any visitors. I was told that they had seen a couple of vehicles in the distance but had no attack. They would continue on watch. They were told to do that and to watch their flanks. They acknowledged.

By then, Jim Bob had returned with his equipment. I told him to lob them up from behind cover and try to get them to roll under the SUV's. He grinned and said, "It won't be easy but it will ruin their day."

I replied, "That's the idea."

He went off. A few minutes later, I started to hear explosions from where the Memphians were stopped. After five, I was told by an out of breath young teenager that the Memphians were surrendering. I said, "Okay. That's good. Stay here with Pam and catch your breath. Good report."

I went forward. Perhaps, this part was over. Seven men were standing in the ruins of the Memphian vehicles. It appeared that they weren't holding rifles. I decided to take charge, "Memphians, make sure you are unarmed, keep your hands up and come toward the sound of my voice in single file. Tricks will get you dead."

There were none and we frisked them thoroughly finding a couple of pocketknives but nothing else. I moved up to them and said, "Good afternoon. I will only ask questions once. Each and every one of you is responsible for the answers. Failure to answer truthfully and completely will get one of your killed at random. At some point, we will run out of prisoners or you will tell the truth. We have two dead here to my knowledge and they were husband and wife. You started this situation by taking slaves and using the female ones. We rescued a couple and you came after us. That was a fatal error for many of you and may be fatal to the rest of you. The jury's out on that issue.

"Now, the first question is, are there any others of you in that jumble who didn't surrender? You, answer the question."

The man at whom I pointed looked startled. He said, "I think there are two wounded. All the rest are dead."

"Do you know where they are?"

'No, Sir."

"Do any of you know?"

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