Gimp didn’t want to move Quinn. Quinn was not that uncomfortable and there was no point in moving him until they had a truck to load him into.
Chatter on the tactical channels had increased until Chernovsky barked at his forces to shut-up. Chatter can be pieced together and provide the enemy with intelligence.
Even across the radio, Chernovsky’s presence was intimidating.
Quinn asked for his rifle. Gimp needed a set of eyes looking west. Since Quinn was already elevated by virtue of his position on the roadbed, he was a natural. Gimp’s major concern was that Quinn might start hallucinating. Gimp agreed to give Quinn his rifle if he drank a bottle of water. Quinn didn’t see the connection but was more than willing to drink a half liter of water if it meant he could hold his rifle.
That rifle had saved his skin more than once.
Then, Gimp floated from position-to-position. He would share a few words with each fighter to keep them alert. As the morning progressed, he shifted his men’s positions as the shadows moved. They had no problems staying in the shade.
Every half-hour or so, Gimp bumped into the radio net and asked about progress on getting a ride for Quinn to medical care. Apparently there were wheels moving within wheels moving within wheels.
Gimp was invariably asked if Quinn’s condition had become urgent. Gimp replied “No, but fixing his ankle isn’t going to get any easier by waiting longer.”
Just about when Gimp thought Quinn was going to need a refresh on the pain pills, he heard Quinn firing multiple shots with his rifle.
Spinning around, fearing that Quinn had gone-around-the-bend, he saw that Quinn was in prone position and firing parallel to the road grade. Following where the shots were likely going, he saw three men dressed in vivid, urban clothing.
Without over-analyzing, Gimp lifted his M-4 (which had been slung in front of him on a tactical sling) to his shoulder and started shooting as well.
Little before lunch Milo pulled up to the corner of M-99 and I-96 where Quinn and his squad were waiting. He was driving a F-150 with a manual transmission, a gassifier in the back and was pulling an empty car-hauler trailer.
Nyssa was riding shotgun. Literally. She was on the passenger seat and was cradling a shotgun with a 20” barrel. In addition to Nyssa’s other talents, she could shoot almost as well with her left eye as with her right eye.
They wedged Quinn in between them.
As they were driving Quinn to town, Milo apologized for being so late. He told Quinn he had been delivering electricians, apprentices, ladders, wire and empty barrels to a site in the northwest corner of Delta Township.
Milo did not tell Quinn that nobody told him that Quinn needed a pick-up until a half hour ago. While the electricians were pulling wire and everybody and their dog were filling barrels, they had Milo driving through the underground parking, out into the street and then back though again to leave “tire polish” on the drives.
Somebody, somewhere, had made the decision that having a perfect trap was more important than a wounded fighter on a hot day when flies were trying to lay eggs on his leg.
Nyssa, for her part, never stopped scanning.
Taking advantage of the lack of adult supervision, Nyssa and Milo’s dogs Chelsea and Sunny dug out their backyard kennel.
They had been restless the last few days and Nyssa had been keeping an eye on them. They were old enough to be coming into heat for the first time.
The events of the late night and morning swept all thoughts of the dogs out of Milo and Nyssa’s minds.
Reveling in their new-found freedom, the two young bitches started sniffing around the bushes behind the house. They were both Beagle-Britany Spaniel crosses and relied primarily on their noses to understand the world.
Chelsey and Sunny were not the only dogs in the neighborhood with a good nose.
One of the neighbor dogs was a Lab-cross. His mother had been a “working” Lab and Davidson, Kelly’s Bluetick hound was its father.
The Lab-cross was rangier and more athletic looking than the typical Lab and by some quirk of genetics, his coat was wiry and had more loft than the typical Labrador Retriever coat. Who knows, maybe there was a dash of Airedale in Davidson's bloodline.
Mother Nature decided to take an interest. The first pups out of Nyssa and Milo’s dogs were not going to be Border Collie and Jack Russel Terrier crosses. Nope. They were going to be half-hound and half bird-dog.