Friday, September 24, 2021

The Hunt


The colonel sat in the front seat of the third vehicle in the column. He watched as the clouds rolled in, it looked like they were in for some rain. He got on his radio, "All units, X-Ray, stop the column, maintain tactical intervals, company commander to me. Out."

As he watched the vehicles pull off, every other vehicle going to opposite sides of the road, every vehicle covering a predetermined sector, he saw the company commander dismount from his vehicle. As that man began to walk to the colonel's vehicle, the clouds burst.

The driver started to pull the curtain separating the driver's cabin from the gun position in the roof, in an attempt to keep the rain from getting on him. The colonel told him to leave it be. As he did so, a very wet captain jumped into the back of the vehicle.

"I don't know if you noticed colonel, but this paved road ends in about 200 meters! Dirt track from then on, a muddy dirt track by the time we get there!" The captain was having to yell, the rain pounding on the roof of the car was enough to drown out normal speech.

The colonel looked up from his map, "Yes, that's one thing the map makers got right. That track leads up into those foothills..." He was about to point to where the hills were, but it was raining so hard the hills were now obscured. Leaning into the back he showed the captain the hills he was referring to on his map.

"If you look here..."

A bright flash outside made the colonel think that they were under attack, then a loud crack of thunder nearly overhead made everyone in the vehicle jump.

"What the f**k was that?!" the gunner yelled down from his position.

The chief sipped his coffee as he watched the rain pouring down. His wife walked in and put her arms around him from behind. "Looks like a real gully washer out there hon'."

"Yup, might slow down any patrols out looking for 'terrorists'."

The chief lived not far from where the paved road ended and a dirt track led up into the mountains. The rain was really heavy now, it was as if a grey curtain had been drawn over the landscape. Normally he could see the road from his front window, but not at the moment.

The bright flash followed almost immediately by the thunder made the chief flinch, "Jesus that was close!"

"Oh dear..." his wife stood away from him and peered intently out the window, "Who is that coming up the drive?"

"Shit. They're soldiers, honey."

The colonel, the captain, a sergeant, and a young private climbed onto the porch of the farmhouse. At least we're somewhat out of the rain, the colonel thought. He turned to the sergeant, who was just about to beat on the door with the butt of his rifle, put a restraining hand on his forearm and shook his head.

"Allow me, Sergeant."

The colonel knocked on the door, politely. An instant later a woman came to the door and opened it, "Yes?"

"Excuse me ma'am, we are lost I think. Might we come inside for a moment?" The colonel had seen a man sitting in the front room, drinking coffee. The man had muddy boots, which at first made him suspicious, but then he remembered his own father, farmers often had muddy boots.

"Certainly. Colonel, yes?"

"Yes ma'am, I am a colonel." He nodded to the sitting man who was starting to get up.

"No need to get up Sir, we just need to know if this road leads up into the mountains, or does it rejoin the main highway further on?"

The farmer walked over and asked, "Do you have a map?"

The colonel showed the farmer his military map, "These are a little more complicated than your standard road map, but..."

"It's alright colonel, I was in the Army as a young man. I learned how to read maps there."

The farmer looked at the map, then pointed, "There, that's my farm. You can see the gully out back, it's on your map. This road goes up into the mountains and peters out about five miles in."

The colonel cocked an eyebrow, "Peters out?"

"Ah, it's a local expression, means that the road vanishes eventually. Turns into a path, then it just ends."

"Ah, I see. Well, I thank you..."

"Would you and your men like some coffee colonel? It's fresh." The woman interrupted the colonel before he could announce their departure.

"No, thank you ma'am. We need to be on our way. We're looking for 'persons of interest' who carried out a terrorist attack on some of my men this morning. Have you seen anyone around who doesn't belong here?"

"Oh dear, that's simply awful." Turning to the man she said, "Honey wasn't there a truck that went up the trail this morning? It didn't look familiar, did it?" The colonel thought that the woman had to be the farmer's wife.

The farmer looked thoughtful for a moment, "Hhmm, yes, I remember. I don't know if it means anything colonel, we do get a lot of truck traffic through here, it's getting close to the harvest, but there was a truck that went through late in the morning. I didn't recognize it as belonging to anyone I know from around here."

"Up the trail?"

"Yes, that's what we call that dirt road that starts further up."

"Did you notice anything unusual about the truck?" the colonel probed.

"Not really, oh, wait a minute, yes, its license plates didn't look right, like they weren't from this area. Ours are white, these plates were blue, a pale blue I think. Does that mean anything?" The farmer was trying to be helpful, or at least appear to be helpful.

"It might mean something, thank you. Ah, the rain is slowing down, we'll be on our way now I think. Thank you."

With those words the colonel turned and led his men back down the drive.

"This isn't good, is it dear?" the woman turned to her husband.

"No love, it isn't. But I guess they had to figure out where we probably went some time. I mean, they're aren't many people to the east, least not for some distance." The chief sipped his coffee, he was thinking real hard at the moment. Finally he spoke...

"I'll give those soldiers a while to move on, then I'm going to drive over to Theo's."

"Won't that look suspicious?" The wife was somewhat unnerved after the soldiers' visit.

"Not really, I actually needed to go over there anyway, I have a part he needs for his tractor. Found it out back in the shed, didn't know I had it. If we can get his tractor up and running, and we can find fuel for it, that will make the harvest a lot easier."

"If the damned government people don't confiscate all of it."

"I know dear, I know. Don't fret now, a lot of people are starting to feel the same way. But for now we can't do much, the occasional pinprick, that's it."

The patrol returned to the compound well after sunset. The captain had been on pins and needles, expecting an ambush around every corner. He breathed a sigh of relief when they were all back inside the wire.

"Sergeant major, have most of the men go to bed, we'll worry about the vehicles in the morning. Just fuel them tonight. If anyone has a problem with that, refer them to me."

"Yes Sir."

The sergeant major was worried about his captain, the man was starting to get nervous. He couldn't blame the man, he had spent time in the Middle East under fire, and not that long ago. No man had an unending well of courage. Though things here had been quiet, up until this morning anyway, he could sense that the locals were starting to resent the peacekeepers' presence. But hey, their own government had requested that they be brought in after the last election had gone horribly wrong.

The sergeant major shook his head, it was about time these people learned to obey their masters. He'd learned that in his own country, they would learn it here.

Or they would suffer.


  1. "...about time these people learned to obey their masters"......if THAT doesn't raise your hackles what will?

    1. Sadly, it's the feeling I get from some of the cops in the local area. We'uns dirt people just don't understand we'uns be owned by the politicians.

      Latifundia is not far away. Debt peonage, literal wage slaves, indentured servitude. It's the nasty words between the words of what is being done to us.

    2. Yep. Thought seriously about taking another blood pressure pill.

  2. And how many others in the military today are JUST LIKE HIM???

    1. A lot in the flag ranks would be my guess, a number of senior NCOs as well.

    2. #44 did a great cleansing of 'disloyal' officers and senior NCOs. Then the 'loyal' ones left continued under Trump. It's wholescale now, with Resident Biden wanting dishonorable discharges for all who refuse the vax.

      People wonder how fascist Italy and Spain and national socialist Germany and commie Russia all went so quickly. And now I see how. Work from inside, eat the guts of the State, and then wear it's skin suit. That's what's happening to us.

    3. Sorry, Sarge. Beans is right on the money.

    4. Not my experience, I still have people on active duty.

    5. Never forget that Milley did not start out as a general!!!

    6. Lets face it, combat arm and staff may as well be 2 different entities, entirely, in the coming jamboree n hootenanny.

  3. The last line is the most telling. I truly believe that this is the way Our Political And Social Betters (OPASB) see the vast dregs of humanity under them: We are to obey without question and be grateful for whatever leavings are given to us.

    The difficulty of the situation - demonstrated even by recent events - is no army that is not perceived as a net benefit by the population will remain forever or even be successful. And all of this is based on an existing infrastructure and ability to deliver supplies and maintain equipment. Armies that do not eat eventually are not armies.

    Very well written Sarge.

    1. "Armies that do not eat eventually are not armies." Witness the last few years of the Thirty Years War in Europe. Also applies if an army doesn't get paid.

      Reminds me of the 1971 film "The Last Valley"

    2. Dude, TLV sums up the 30 years war perfectly. It really was a war that petered out. And nasty.

      And I see it as a potential, combined with The Spanish Civil War and the French and Indian War, as a future of what's to come.

    3. One can hope not, but if the people remain asleep and content with "bread and circuses," it could happen.

    4. When FedGov nationalizes the food industry and seizes either the product of farms and ranches or the actual farms and ranches, that's when we will be past done.

      A new nation may arise from the smoking ruins, but it won't be what we know as "These United States."

    5. The Feds? They couldn't organize a half-decent "coup," they couldn't nationalize anything, not even DC.

      You give those incompetents far too much credit.

    6. Sarge, I have never heard of this movie. Until now - but it appears it is on Youtube, so I pretty much have to investigate.

      I am not nearly as knowledgeable about the Thirty Years War as I should be. Other than it was incredibly destructive.

    7. It's very well done, I highly recommend it.

    8. Funny you should call the .fed incompetent, They believe they put up a fence to keep those dirty peasants (folks like you n me) out. I see a gilded cage they fear living outside and that amuses me to no end.

  4. Sun Tzu seems to have a Texas accent, at least in my head. He's warning about the S'arnt Major. Either not long for this earth, or about to try and pet the pretty "cat". "If you know yourself and know your enemy..." And just because everyone has 2 legs and 2 arms doesn't mean they think, act or respond the same way.

  5. The "peacekeepers"/invaders sound like Canadians. You forgot to put an "eh" at the end of at least one sentence. ;)

    1. I wanted them to sound somewhat different in their speech, to distinguish them from the locals.

  6. I can't help but wonder what's going on in the city? Your writing and my life experience allows me to have a satisfying picture in my mind of what things look like in the narrative. I wonder if our city snowflakes can visualize much else, save a home in the suburbs.
    Ever since Ubon RTAB, I have hated getting soaked in the rain. That we would do in prefight,etc., only to sit there for five hours wishing we could scratch something in a satisfying way or stop the squishing in our boots.

    1. I'll get to the city, eventually.

      I still remember having to go from my barracks at Lowry up to CBPO for some "must do" errand. It was pouring rain and I was soaked through and through. After a bit you just accept that you're going to be wet.

      But yeah, squishing boots, I hated that.

    2. Like getting rained on for hours, directing traffic, at an impressive vehicle accident.

  7. Dark Fell Times. Times of Death, Destruction, Brother against Brother (because that's coming, as one family member will soon sell out the rest of the family for his/her/its own 'security) and soon Famine and Pestilence will join their brother riders as they travel across the land.

    Just... Nobody should go up into the hollows or hollars or follow those paved roads that turn into dirt roads that turn into trails. On a good day, that way is close to death for supposedly friendly folk. And often the trails end at old mines or caves or sinks that are easy to accidentally lose a body or a whole car with bodies, even today.

    I am sorry that times are so bad they've got you thinking fell thoughts. Tuna? Me? Even juvat? We're supposed to be the doom and gloom artists, not you.

    Stay safe. Hope your families have stocked up and prepared for the storm on the horizon. That goes for all of you Chanters out there in Chant Land. As we say in hurricane alley, prepare and hunker down.

    1. It's something of a cautionary tale, what could happen, not what is happening. Though...

    2. Beans, the unfortunate part is that those in power will push things to such extremes, not consciously thinking that people would react other than in blind obedience. History is a huge cautionary tale in this regard - and the fact that our civilization is so complex and interconnected and it would not require much to cause breakdowns in ways Our Political And Social Betters (OPASB) cannot see.

    3. They are, for the most part, entitled idiots.

    4. I once saw our political class referred to as "clever weaklings". Seems fitting, considering without their tin-starred lackeys, they'd be impotent worthless to society as a whole creatures.

    5. Clever weaklings sums it up nicely.

  8. Day by day the story develops... nice!

  9. A slight touch of paranoia is a highly under-rated survival skill. Old Guns

  10. You are a crafty storyteller (I mean that in a good way) No hints as to weapon, vehicle, uniform, equipment details. This could take place almost anytime from WWII to present and beyond (though I think the present and beyond would be using more tech and gadgets). Your Muse, your story, I'm (we're) just along for the ride. Onward...

  11. Hey Old AFSarge;

    "The sergeant major shook his head, it was about time these people learned to obey their masters."...That little statement just set my teeth on edge. The difference of a citizen and a subject. Unfortunately a lot of "our betters believe that they should rule us by their education and pedigree because they "Knows Best". Right...sure and they don't have a lick of common sense on the bunch except a lust of power and control.

    1. Yup, couldn't agree more.

      There has long been a desire among some Americans to institute some form of new aristocracy, the Confederacy being a prime example. Some people always think they're better than others, they are invariably wrong.

      Big difference, as you observe, between a slave, er, subject, and a citizen.

    2. "Big difference...between a slave, er, subject, and a citizen."

      A difference increasingly, rapidly, being blurred in today's U.S. of A.

  12. Rest assured, we'll not be "suffering" alone... Some of us learn from history and frankly, one of the most noble things I've ever read of was the doomed from the beginning Warsaw uprising. Losing without a fight is simply not worth contemplation. Matter of fact, it's not even losing, it's QUITTING. Can't abide.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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