Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Baxter: Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Seventeen

After she finished sharing her ideas, Baxter threw out a few of his own. 
“So, the kitchen sink,” she said, when he finished.
“Little bit of everything,” he agreed.
“You know we’re probably gonna die, right?”
He shrugged. “You wanna just sit here and wait for them instead?”
“Blaze of glory it is, then.” 
They got to work.

The Jeep was moved directly in front of the house, about fifty feet away. It could serve as cover for the attackers, but it would prevent them from landing right next to the house. Her car was moved to the driveway of the first house, a fall back retreat option. 
At Baxter’s urging, she broke down and ate something. It wasn’t optimal, but it was better than nothing, and she knew she would need to be alert. 
Baxter siphoned some gas from the Jeep’s tank, and then went to work in the yard with a metal dustpan from the kitchen, using it as an improvised shovel. He had a big spoon for detail work. He dug small holes on both sides of the Jeep, extending it’s effectiveness as a barrier. 
They couldn’t afford to waste ammo or draw attention by test-firing the shotgun and they only had six shells left after Baxter’s mad science experiment. She loaded both barrels and put the shotgun in position. Then she double-checked the .30-06 and took it upstairs to her sniper’s nest. She put furniture, books, cushions, and anything else she could find against the wall beneath the windows looking out over the yard for protection. As soon as they knew where she was, they’d concentrate fire on her position.
When he was finished with the yard, Baxter piled stuff in front of the living room window to shield his initial position. While he was doing that, Barnes came back inside, filthy from crawling around under the house. She dropped a heavy wrench in the kitchen. 
“Gas is off,” she said. Stray bullets puncturing propane lines was not something they wanted to deal with. The fridge and stove would stop working, but it didn’t matter anymore.
The knives were still all over the house where Baxter had set them, and his second Glock went upstairs as a fallback option. 
“Okay?” she asked, looking around.
He thought for a moment, wondering if they had missed anything.
“Best we can do,” he said. 
They did a walk through, checking the preparation, looking for holes. They stood in the yard, turning in opposite circles, trying to think like the enemy.
“So,” he said, repeating salient points, “they’ll infil by chopper, and we have to figure they’ll land over there,” he said, pointing across the rough road. “Not enough space otherwise. Human logic dictates they’ll land facing the house--”
“--if they land at all.” 
“Right, if they land at all. If they don’t, two less guys to worry about. If they do, odds are they’ll land facing the house because that’s the way the mind works, and they’ll be sitting ducks.”
“Best case scenario they’ll land because they’re not expecting an attack, and they won’t be at full readiness. At least one free shot.”
“Best case.”
“Worst case, they drop in ready for action, and there’s two less guys and one less chopper to worry about.”
“And no matter what, we have to assume they’ll get an emergency broadcast out, which means reinforcements and a cleanup team within another couple of hours.”
“You don’t have another boat stashed somewhere, do you?”
He shook his head. “You got my best effort.”
“It was pretty good,” she acknowledged.
They looked at each other, years of shared experience resurrecting between them. 
“Just like old times?” he suggested.
“We’ve had worse odds, but we usually had better equipment.”
“Feels like Herzegovina.”
He nodded, “What did we have, one grenade, two clips and a broken AK?”
“And you painted all those broomsticks black and put them in the windows so they just couldn’t be sure how many guns there were.”
“Odds were worse then.”
“You were better then,” she said, but she was smiling when she said it.
“I make up for youth with age and experience.”
“You make up for youth with ten years of being a lazy bastard.”
“You win,” he said. “That, too. Buy you another warm Coke?”
They were turning for the house when they heard the soft whipping of helicopter blades.
“Too late,” she said quietly. They both looked down and realized they’d grabbed each other’s hands. They didn’t look at each other. He squeezed her hand once and dropped it.
“Game time,” Baxter said, and they ran for the house.

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