Retreaters – Chapter Six

Chapter 6 – Phone Home

1:00 pm
Unit 12
CMMR Complex Building 1

The phone picked up in the third ring.

“Mom!” said Matt, with urgency.

“Yes Matthew, how are you?” the voice said.

“Mom, did you get my email? Did you call Amber and tell her to come home from college?” Matt said.

“I got your email yes, and I went shopping also, but I haven’t heard back from your sister, she had a lab test this week or something.” She said.

“Mom, you’ve got to get her to drive back to Flagstaff and stay with you for a while at the ranch, promise me you will convince her to do that, she doesn’t listen to me on stuff like that. This is serious, everyone up here is coming in right now, or in the next day or two at the latest. Everyone is coming in. They’ve never done that before, you understand?! ” Matt pleaded.

“Now calm down. It’s only about a four and half hour drive for her Matthew. She can do it after her test, even if she has to miss a sorority party or two. I said got your message, and the link, but there’s nothing about it on the news here. Everything is normal here. I appreciate your concern though, and I did call to have the fuel tanks filled up.” She said. “Don’t worry about us, we’ll be fine, you focus on your duties up there, I know they are all depending on you. I’ve got to go help Robert with the horses, I’ll call you later. Love you.” She said.

“Love you too Mom, bye” and Matt hung up, with concerns on his mind about his sister, who was a junior at the University of Arizona.

Matt hung up, and leaned back in the couch, looking up at the ceiling, which was the same builder’s beige as the walls, as in all the units. She wouldn’t listen, but at least she lived on a ranch in a rural area outside Flagstaff with her second husband. It has taken her nearly a decade to remarry after Matt’s father had died, but now she was three years into a happy second marriage, though she had to move to the Southwest for it, leaving her roots behind. Amber had followed, and enjoyed college in Tucson, but Matt had stayed close to Chippewa Falls, and three prior generations of tradition there. Fleeting thoughts of his father crossed him mind, then he refocused his attention to the phone, and he dialed his uncle.

Matt dialed Larry’s number, and before it could ring twice… “Yeah Matt” Larry said.

“I think I’m going to need to you put fire under Amber this, she won’t listen to me or Mom on getting out school before the weekend. What do you say?”.

“Hmm, she usually drives right up through Phoenix, too, and that might not be a good if things start to get bad quickly. OK Matt, I’ll give her a call”. Larry said.

“Thanks. How goes your travels?” said Matt.

“Well, I stopped by the bank on the way home and withdrew $9,000.00 in cash. Since then, I’ve been packing. I’m bringing the trailer, and it’s going to be full when I’m done by the end of the day.” said Larry.

“Good, get some batteries if you think of it, please” said Matt.

“Did you do the Menards PO?” Larry asked.

“Yeah, just sent them out”.

“Since they deliver, why don’t you call Michelle over there and have her put a few cases of assorted sizes in there with the rest of the order. Just put it on your Menards card if the company card is maxed. It would give you an excuse to call to her anyway.” Larry said.

Matt smiled. “No, you’re thinking of Rebecca, but yeah, she’s on the coed volleyball bar league as well.” he said.

“So Rebecca is the taller one then, the brunette I saw when I went to your game?” said Larry.

“Yes” said Matt.

“Well, if I were you, I’d call Michelle. Talk to you later. Over and out” said Larry.

Matt shook his head with a smile remembering when Larry had been up North last. They had gone musky fishing, or as the serious sportsmen call it, musky hunting. Catch and release of course, besides, why would anyone eat any fish other than Walleye, Yellow Perch or Blue Gills on a fish fry Friday night.

Matt however had a volleyball game commitment and couldn’t get a sub, so Larry stopped by to see it, and then they had their traditional Leinenkugel’s Red Lager together.

It got Matt thinking, and in a moment of concern and with a pensive building of confidence, he dialed a number he knew but had only called once before. Four rings, and he got the message. It was her with some cute little greeting for herself and her roommate. He waited for the tone. “Rebecca, it’s Matt…….. I, ah,…. know it’s just Tuesday and you’re probably….. ah, not there…. but.. I was just wondering what you were up to this evening,….. or tomorrow evening maybe. I’ll be busy at the flatlander club today, so leave a message here,….. at this number, or my cell, something I want to tell you about, OK, ah, thanks.. later”. and Matt hung up in disappointment, and in disbelief at the realization of his lousy performance in doing something so simple.

Matt had talked to Rebecca on and off, but never actually dated. She was aware of where Matt lived, and liked to call the condo complex the flatlander club, a local term for it she had picked up on, since she was actually from Georgia. It focused on the fact it was a vacation property for many Illinois residents, as was the case for much of Northern Wisconsin. Flatlander was the kinder and gentler retaliatory term for their use of cheesehead to describe Wisconsinites, which actually of course became a fad, and even term of endearment for Green Bay Packer fans. The more pungent term was FIB, for F’n Illinois Bastard. Funny though, they were actually just as much in Viking territory as in Packerland being so close to St. Paul/Minneapolis. The locals were near 50-50 on the issue, the sports fan continental divide between the states.

Matt realized he should probably check the message board online also, to see what new messages the members had left since he left work, so he walked over to the built-in desk between the kitchen and dining area and logged in.

The posts since then were as follows:

R3Paul – Attention all members, we are under Protocol 201 – our 48 hour bug-out plan. Whatever is going on, we think we have at least that long before the government would take any drastic action. If you can get up there today, it might be a good idea. I’m staying one more day myself, but Adrean is bringing the kids up tomorrow.

R7Jordan- I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am going shopping. I’ll take my chances, and when we get there, we will follow unit isolation procedures. Anyone not shopping and wants me to get something specific for them reach me before tonight.

R1Joe- I caught the news on a Google search out an outbreak, emergency responders, and nurses getting sick. Weird. Maybe they are being exposed moreso to the few who are sick without realizing it. Jack, if you are going shopping be careful near anyone who seems sick. Almost every virus or bio weapon is not contagious until the person is suffering, symptomatic. Have a mask, sterile wipes with you just like we’ve always discussed – it’s time to take this serious – or at least let’s have one hell of a drill. God speed us all there safely. We are leaving after a quick dinner tonight.

R9Solek- Sue, the kids and I plan to be there tonight as well. Paul, and all, see you there. Matt, I presume Hillman Propane is coming. I’ve got two small cans in my garage, and remember the larger portable tank in the shed that we used up at the end of last winter.

R8TheRamckes- This is Laura. Steve is out of town but now on the way back, cutting a business trip short later today because of this. I’ll be up with Gabi and Monica tomorrow. Nadia is coming too, on her own with Kurt. We will claim him as a guest of our unit of course.

Matt types an entry:

R12MThompson Hey folks, I did the Sam’s run this morning and forgot batteries. Also, if any of you can swing by Midwest Supply on the way up, call me, they have our order, but I fear it won’t ship in time. It’s about $4,800.00 worth of stuff, and probably weighs over 600 pounds too, sorry. Might want to put up some misc. ammo too, who knows if we actually get the J&S order by UPS in time. Also, if someone could swing by a Walgreens or major pharmacy and get some of the harder to get stuff, like iodine, and various fungal products, etc. Just get a good across the board sampling please, I think we are a little light there, but have good supplies of the major stuff, soap, shampoo, tooth paste etc. Also, read through the protocol for 201, I must admit I had forgotten some of it. It has some good check lists for you. Please put any purchases on personal cards now, I think the company cards and accounts are maxed out.

Matt wondered to what to expect so he decided to check the polling features since Paul said he was going to put one up.

Polls

Responses

Choices Responses

I will be up today/tonight, Tuesday 3

I will be up Wednesday 6

I will be there after Wednesday

Some on and some after Wednesday

R4Lutwig Matt we can stop by Midwest on the way. We hope to leave when the kids are back from school today. I’ll take Hwy 23 West then to I94, and avoid populated areas all together. I think I know where there is a Walgreens on the way in Fond du Lac then, so I’ll try and do that.

That was it.

Matt clicked out of group site and clicked in favorites on the remote camera at the retreat that was live on the web. It loaded and came on. It was working. He could see the front gate area, and zoomed in on it, then panned left and right. He then clicked through the pre-set locations. It was working fine. Then he thought of the other camera, and decided to go down and check operations. The operations room was off Matt’s unit, so Matt went down the stairs and out into the common basement hallway, right to the end, the Eastern and main operations room. Matt entered the code, and hit the light switch. Room was cool, almost cold so he opened the hydronic heat valve to get it on the system. He sat down at the operations and radio desk in the 10×16’ room and fired up the TV, and checked the four main cameras. Everything was fine.

Matt walked up to his Fort Knox vault door and spun the combination lock to clear it and started the code. It would have been easier to get the electric lock, but they had chosen to keep things as simple and fail safe as possible, even though they were rural enough that the EMP effects of a nuclear attack would likely have been minimal. Still, better safe, or more specifically able to get into your safe, than sorry. Matt reached the last number, and back to zero. It was unlocked and he spun the door lock and opened it inward.

He flicked on the lights and went to his weapons locker. He pulled out his stainless steel Ruger Mini-14, with a lightweight, synthetic folding stock from Butler Creek. It was a lot of firepower in a small and rather unassuming package. He put in into a small black duffel bag with the loaded clip next to it, and three more empty 30 rounds clips. Off the shelf he grabbed two bags of bulk reloaded 55 grain hollow-point .223 (5.56 mm Nato, just like the M16). He also decided to grab some extra 12 gauge rounds for his Mossberg 590 shotgun which he had in a hidden compartment in his kitchen broom closet on the first floor. He grabbed a box of 25 – 2 ¾” OO Buckshot, and 4 boxes of 5 rounds of 1¼ oz. slugs, and threw them into the duffle bag as well.