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Setting the Ambush panel 1

The Chronicles of the Adventure, Hunting, and Liquidation Committee

Book 1:The Siege of Fort Vagabond

Chapter 5 Part 2: Setting the Ambush

Wet dog mixed with rotting meat, and a horrid dose of death mixed in. Bonus points when dog spray was sprinkled into the alluring aroma. Today’s stench had a fair touch of excrement, and enough sulfur to make your eyes water and nostrils bleed. Bohdan’s senses were screaming even as he saw the look on Mr. Holdfast’s face when the smell slammed into his nasal cavity. Either this thing was way bigger than advertised or there was more than one. More complications for an already very complicated day. The President on a hunch why they weren’t getting anything on thermals.

Mr. Holdfast took a knee with Bohdan, the older man’s eyes never leaving the strange subterranean grove. The place gave off the haunted graveyard vibe. One look, and you walked the long way home while telling yourself you weren’t scared, you just liked the scenery kind of place. The fact that the grove was so close to their little section of tunnels was also disquieting. What else had they missed within a few miles as the mole digs from their underground haven?

“Blood,” Mr. Holdfast started his lips a thin line of stress and worn experience,” If we weren’t worried about Sally I’d say we just throw half our incendiary grenades in there, and burn them out.”

“I know what you mean Mr. Holdfast, but this is a rescue mission not a Napalm strike,” Bohdan answered. This was the monsters’ hometurf. They were almost certainly preparing a nice ambush inside that treeline. The more experienced had seen it before. Luckily, so had the President, and he knew Dogman tricks. Wether Hyena faced or Fox Like they all had a few tactics they tried first before getting up and personal. Soon a mad swaying in the treetops confirmed his suspicions. He didn’t even need the thermals to know what was waiting there now.

“Still, I like your plan,” continued Bohdan,” How about instead of incendiary grenades we toss in the bear mace you guys keep on you for the big pests?” Mr. Holdfast rocked his head back and forth while churning the idea in his head.

After a moment he nodded to Randall, and said,” Be a good kid and grab my Commando from the rear.” Randall jumped up and scurried down the tunnel with the agility of a boy who’d spent more time exploring caves than throwing baseballs.

Bohdan put that away in his memory for later use. The tunnel workers were naturally producing kids with near inhuman tunneling skills now that they were spending so much time underground working, and dodging draft hunters. Considering the Crawlers, and now this incursion, they might have to start making a militia core meant for subterranean combat, and these kids would make perfect recruits in a few years. Something to suggest to the old Blood senior whenever Bohdan saw the sun again.

“If she’s too close to one of those it still won’t be pretty.” Mr. Holdfast said while digging in his own pack for the nades.

“She won’t be. The thing was keeping her healthy. They know we’re coming so they’d have her in the back somewhere. She might get a wif, but nothing too nasty.” Bohdan said while signaling Sarge over at the sapper crew. The gnarled vet nodded, said a few words to his acting second in command, and trotted over to their position.

“Not something you see every day Sir,” Sarge said in a cowboy drawl more suited for Westerns on the old silver screens before Hollywood collapsed than the caves they found themselves in. Bohdan had to force himself to not look over his shoulder to find this “Sir” fellow Sarge was talking to. Some of the Vets did that even though they technically didn’t have any real officers. If it made him happy Bohdan wouldn’t correct him, but he sure was going to wonder who this respectful old man was who deserved the Sir treatment.

“Not every day, but today isn’t everyday,” grunts of agreement went through the crew who were within earshot of the little powwow at the President’s statment.

“I’d call it a nice relaxing walk in the caves Prez,” Saint John said while scanning the tunnel entrance for any hint of movement.

“Nice to know your Fridays are full of sweaty overworked men in tunnels John,” Bohdan said, eliciting nervous chuckles amongst the crew. They were wound up tight, and the President didn’t blame them. This grove was unnatural. Everyone could sense malice in the air even without the growing stench.

“Anyway,” Bohdan said, bringing things back to the problem at hand,” Sarge, we're about to stir up the hornet's nest. What bag of goodies could you break out to make a troop of angry ape sized hyenas charging us from those trees less than happy?”

Sarge’s graying bushy blond eyebrows shot up as he surveyed the twenty foot wide and fifteen foot tall tunnel entrance, the expanding grove, and then back toward the makeshift combat sappers. After a pregnant minute of pursing his lips Sarge came back to the patiently waiting President though he was interrupted by Holdfast’s crew marching up past their position.

Commando four stacked up on the tunnel entrance with Mr. Duncan’s son, his name was Jerimiah if Bohdan remembered right which was no guarantee, breaking out a surprise sixpack grenade launcher from his backpack. With practiced fingers the young man assembled the weapon as the rest of the commando team handed him their extra bear spray grenades. Another little homebrew item fresh from the various New Venice homesteads and workshops. Grenade launcher ready bear mace. Got to love all the tinkers, and engineering types they’d attracted over the years who’d lost work to Pajeet and other freemarket blessings.

Sarge shook himself out of the shock of seeing the grenade launcher, and stared long and hard at the space just in front of the cave entrance again. Nodding to himself the older man with his matching shaved bald head to Mr. Halley’s magic white dome turned back to Bohdan.

“We don’t have anything fancy like a claymore, but we have shaped charges and C4. We can’t use anything too fun or it would be danger close. Nobody wants a cave in this close to the gates of hell. But we can cook up something to stop a rhinoceros if you need it.”

“Assume we have a pack of angry rhinos coming our way that I want to turn into hamburger. These things don’t mess around when they’re angry.”

“Yes Sir,” Sarge said before stalking off to the sapper crew where he slapped all three of them out of whatever scared stupor they were in. Being green and in the thick of the madness was a stressful experience.

“Mr. Holdfast, Mr. Richards, this is the way I see things. Either they’ll run back to mama when they get hit by the spray, or they’ll come a screamin right at us in full berserk mode. My money is on wild berserk mode.” Bohdan paused to look each of the older men in the eye. Blood Senior had used his eldest son as a captain often enough that most of even the elders were used to a young whippersnapper like the President calling the shots. Most of the time.

This was the first party run by the Committee for most of the posse today. Bohdan hadn’t even met Mr. Richards till an hour ago, and so it paid to show some confidence. Luckily, this was easier for Bohdan than most men even though he was only nineteen. The HA&L Committee had been in more than a few rodeos with cryptids and monsters over their few years which built confidence. That and Bohdan tended to act then think about how stupid or crazy his actions were for a month or two after big events. Helpful when thinking would latch shackles chained to weights around your legs when you needed to run for all you were worth.

“If they charge us,” continued Bohdan as the sapper commando team began laying charges about thirty feet in front of the tunnel, but still some eighty feet from the wood line,” We’ll use this tunnel as a choke point, and the explosives to knock them off balance. Then when we pin them we hit them with the incendiary grenades while they’re out of the trees.”

“Let me be clear,” Bohdan clarified as commando one and two took up positions just inside the tunnel where they took cover behind the jutting walls of the passage,” These things probably won’t die unless they’re standing right on top of a charge like the ones Sarge’s boys are setting up. Their hides might as well be a plate carrier rated for 7.62 rounds, but just like a bullet proof vest they aren’t completely bulletproof. They’re resistant. Tell your boys they’re going to need more than their usual double tap while hunting. 5.7s are tiny rounds no matter how much penetration they’ll earn. Don't take any chances. You never know when they’re playing possum. In fact, Holdfast, get your nades primed and ready. I want Commando four to give a hot reception. Any questions?”

“You sure they’re right in those trees?” Mr. Richard asked while scanning the woodline with his thermal scope. Bohdan resisted the urge to roll his eyes. These guys were new to this.

The Story Will Continue Every Saturday.

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Setting the Ambush panel 6
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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