Quinn and half the remaining forces moved to the western secondary position. The other half were in the eastern position.
The sole exception was the spotter who was monitoring the attacker’s rally point.
Quinn’s intention was to close from the enemy’s rear and do as much damage as possible without exposing his men to unreasonable risk. Perhaps destroy the vehicles to put the enemy on foot.
Those plans went in the ditch as the observer reported an additional hundred fighters showing up. Then he reported belt-fed weapons, grenade launchers and even a mortar.
Quinn passed the information on to Lieutenant Martens and asked for direction.
Martens repeated the total fabrication he told Strider “The generals directed us to head for the weeds and lay low. Stay in touch. We will get a hold of you when we have logistical support.”
Martens was torn. General Patrick needed to know about the Washtenaw County weapons. But then Martens decided that General Patrick was doomed anyway and that the information was purely academic. There was nothing Patrick’s forces could do to take advantage of the information. There was nothing they could do to prepare.
Martens did not make the call.
Quinn, known as Corn Dog by his men said “I just got off the radio with Lieutenant Martens. He said to become invisible and that upper would get in touch with us when they want us to form back up.”
“That means I am releasing you. You can go back to your families or you can bug-out. I really don’t care.” Corn Dog said.
“But Sarge, whaddya gonna do?” Urdie asked.
“I ain’t ‘Sarge’ any more.” Corn Dog said.
“Still, Corn Dog, what are you going to do?” Urdie asked.
Any fool could see that they would have been dead if Sarge hadn’t been such a starchy bastard about some things. The events of the last week had changed their attitude from barely tolerating what seemed like outrageous demands to something approaching affection.
“I got family west of here.” Corn Dog said. “I figured I would just drift west with the pooch until I hit people I know, then see if I could hitch a ride.”
Urdie let that pass. Only real officers got rides.
“Mind if I tag along? I don’t have anything holding me here.” Urdy asked.
“I don’t care.” Corn Dog said. “Gotta warn you, we will move slow.”
Urdie pointed at Corn Dog’s shattered ankle. “That still bothering you?”
“Its not that” Corn Dog said. “We are going to stay off the roads and move slow like we are hunting deer or something is hunting us. We will be lucky to make six miles a day.”
Timmy Scopazzo said “Count me in. Hiking six miles in a day is about my speed.”
Only one other fighter opted in to Corn Dog’s group. The others had family or girl friends or businesses.
Corn Dog said, “So here is the plan. We hunker down here until first light. No point bumbling around in the woods in the dark.”
“Timmy, Urdie, Chad and me will leave as soon as the horizon starts to brighten. The rest of you guys, you probably ought to stay here until most of the attackers lose interest. That may be a while. They will leave guards at the warehouse so circle well away from that. Any questions?” Corn Dog asked.
“Where are we going?” Martens asked.
“You mean right now or today?” Strider asked.
“Both.” Martens replied.
“Today, we are heading ten miles north of here. I hope to get to a pipeline right-of-way that was maintained just before Ebola hit. It should be easy walking and we can stay off the roads.” Strider said.
“Yeah, I kind of get that, but what are we doing now? We aren’t going north.” Martens said. He was not a country boy but he did have a basic understanding of the cardinal points of the compass.
“I have a kit stashed.” Strider admitted. “Me and Dog have done this kind of thing before and I have a bag with a few trading items in it that will make our trip a little easier and will give us a ‘cover’.”
Strider lost his kit when he was scooped up by the impress gang but had started rebuilding it as soon as he had a permanent home. He would polish boots for what was left in the can of polish. He traded the polish for shoe laces. He saved his dessert and traded it for a bar of soap.
Then he went out into the community on his time off and learned the territory. His kit was meager compared to what he left Capiche with but even a few trade goods were better than empty pockets.
Quinn, Urdie, Timmy and Chad waded across the swollen West Branch on the morning of the third day after the invasion.
Shortly afterward they were stopped by a patrol on Bull Run Road.
The patrol stripped them of their weapons and radioed Moe Tyler for direction.
“Yeah, we gotta few refugees from Howell.” the guy with the radio announced.
Quinn did not like the poor muzzle discipline but was not in a position to say much about it. Mostly, he wanted something to eat. It had been a long time since his belly had been full.
“Yup. One of them says he knows some people in Capiche. Asked if we could pass word along. Said they could vouch for him.” the man said.
Tyler was in the middle of his breakfast. He wrote down the name and said he would get to it when he had a minute.
“Whaddya want us to do with them until then?” the man asked.
“Tie their hands behind their backs and have one of your guys march them over here” Tyler said. It was only six miles and should only take a couple of hours.