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Book 1: The Siege of Fort Vagabond

Chapter 2 Part 3: Attempted Postmanicide

Harald had said as much when overhearing his father’s stories on his work trips, and meetings with the other Sheriffs. The Sheriff of Knightfall County, Harald’s old man, was not known for embellishing anything. Not even his fish stories, and some of those catches could be considered legendary due to their shear size. Bohdan had seen the pictures. Your brain wanted to call them photoshop, but everyone knew they were real.

The problem came down to friends, and relations of the surrounding town folk who weren’t considered residents of the town. Many of them already had their draft summons. Others couldn’t make resident status before the Draft Hunters came to town. The town Elders were very careful to keep their documentation as clean as possible.

Documentation was the Fed tool of choice, and nobody beat the house at that gambling game. So forged documents were kept to a minimum, and saved for rainy desperate hell mary kind of days. What then do you do when your Nephew in Tennessee comes rolling into town one stormy night scared out of his mind or angry as hell depending on what the draft paper in his hands read?

The Feds know you're a “deviant” by their standards thanks to the surveillance state so how long would it be before the Draft Hunters were knocking on your door looking for more boys for the meat grinder? The answer turned out to be Operation Vagabond.

Even Charlie knew the game their families were playing, the whole town for that matter, was a razor edge away from disaster. One mess up, and one of those battalions being sent off to die for creepy men in drag would be redirected to their sanctuary and the entire town would be labeled a terrorist “hotspot”. They’d probably have the whole world convinced they were white supremacists jihadi welshmen by the end of the affair.

Would they fight? Yes. Would they win? Against the first battalion? Almost certainly. The army wasn’t in tip top condition these days, but like most things in the modern Washington Empire they all knew what would happen next. Airstrikes, artillery, and a big mess.

Fort Vagabond was thus founded while they were still in diapers, and has been steadily growing ever since. A place of refuge far into the Oshita national park they could retreat to if their bunker system was ever discovered. Big enough for the whole town to run to so men could get their Vietcong on against the Feds and their blue haired flunkies in the woods. Welcome to the jungle mother truckers.

As such Vagabond was a castle in the forest stocked to the brim with supplies that could only be reached by specific trails which Johan’s father had hidden himself. The only other way was by airship, boat on a local river, or helicopter. Of course, the Feds would find that flying loud slow moving buzzards over the Ozarks less than healthy thanks to some connections in Mexico and Afghanistan Karl’s old man had made in his mercenary days. There was still a shocking amount of stinger missiles floating around the black market.

At some point the idea was thrown up by a distraught mother of ten on the City Council who’s grandson had killed three Draft Hunters to keep them away from his little brother on the highway one evening. The whole thing had been caught on a traffic cam overlooking the toll booth where the goons had been ambushing random motorists. The kid couldn’t hide in the bunkers forever after all. So the question was asked by his grandmother. Why not send their fugitives, draftdodgers, and those who’d ran out of excuses to live over at Fort Vagabond? They take care of the place, and add to the defenses while forging and growing secret farms in exchange for a place to hold up till Globohmo finally croaked its last whisper on the beast’s fast track to defeat.

So far the system was working beautifully. So wonderfully in fact that they’d formed several more camps throughout the woods. Some to make backup fortresses others to keep questionable, or just unknown draftdodgers to so they could root out spies or would be betrayers in their ranks. There were less than expected. Still, you couldn’t be too careful with deserters. Easiest cover in the world for a special ops guy to just say he’d walked off base after “seeing too much” while Feds forged paperwork to make the story look real. The military wasn’t their friends, and never would be again.

As for high strangeness in their forest fortress Bohdan had only heard the reports from his father today, and he was the Mayor for pete's sake. Leave it to Hadrian to have wormed his way into that little tidbit of information. The rest of the crew, however, looked to their Fearless Leader with questions all over their earnest faces. Many of them had family and friends in that castle. Due to the necessary secrecy only written communication was allowed for personal messages, and everyone had noticed that their mail carrier was late this week.

“Bo Bo, spill the beans, let the cat out, cut the cheese, and as you say get to the point,” Charlie said while glaring daggers into his President. Bohdan winced a little at the sound of his Vice President going serious. This was a trust issue, and Bohdan knew it. Nonetheless not everyone could know. In this case the crew needed to know if they were getting in there.

“Hadrian you’re going to tell me how you found out about this later. I don’t need the Committee becoming a leak for everything sensitive. You guys shouldn’t even be fully read into Operation Vagabond, and you wouldn’t have been if we hadn’t been running supplies to the castle in the Pride over the years. More people know the more likely someone’s niece's dog will say something stupid on Reddit, and then we have the whole military and the Feds in our business. But,” Bohdan sighed as the wealth of emotions poured across his friends’ faces,'' Since you do know already, and we’ll probably be called up to help, I’ll make you all need to know. This can’t leave the room.” You could feel the weight pound down on the room filling the atmosphere so thick you could swear you cut it like jello.

“Bodies have been popping up along the creeks and rivers. Torn up stuff. Not animal attacks or shall we say not normal ones. None of our people, yet. Base Commander has called off hunting expeditions especially after the last one had a close call with some boogers and Cartel types towards Tenkiller lake and the Oklahoma border. The city council just heard today, and have been scrambling to prep a team to go investigate.”

“Also, the postman wasn’t late. He’s in a coma. Doc thinks he’ll pull through.The Elders are already bringing up a task force to hunt down what did it, and planning a town hall to let the pertinent parties know. And no,” Bohdan held up both hands before all the questions could come down on his head,” We don’t know what happened. He was attacked by something, or somethings, big and strong enough to scuttle the post boat. Smart enough to know where the mail was, but animalistic enough to leave bite marks all over the cabin and boat. Postman is going to lose a leg or what's left of it if he lives. We only know about the strangeness around Vagabond because Reggi had the Base Commander’s note on his person so the beasties missed it.”

“Whatever happened he put up one hell of a fight. There was blood and guts everywhere. Most of it wasn’t his.” Karl whistled and Johan finished assembling his rifle with harsh crack. The game wardens were getting called in for this one. That was for sure.

The Story Will Continue Every Saturday.

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Attempted Postmanicide panel 5
Bohdan Blood was a busy young man. Being the President of the AH&L Committee in the middle of World War Three did that, but now rumors of witchcraft and Cartel incursions around his Ozark home were making things downright unhealthy. Together with his wily friends Bohdan and company will dodge drafts, hunt cryptids, and burn witches in style to keep their neck of the woods from looking like a New York hellscape. Just another day for the Adventure, Hunting, and Liquidation Committee.
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