A BattlBox Story – Mission 1.2 Solo Camping

BattlBox Story by AR Shaw

Mission 1.2 Welcome Box

SITREP: Solo Camping

Location: San Antonio, Texas

Driving down Highway 1604, right outside of Elmendorf, Texas at daybreak, Davis Cole was headed into work like most mornings. Work this week was just outside of the Bexar County line on an oil rig that moved around a bit with a little ingenuity in and around the territory of Canada Verde. The sun barely peeked over the horizon above the mesquite bushes along the highway. He’d see one or two other pick-up trucks ramble by him that early in the morning. Most likely they worked for the oil industry in one way or another. He’d raise his coffee mug, tip the lid of his cap at the other driver and most likely they’d do the same if they weren’t headed in after a fourteen-day rotation and just too darn tired. Otherwise, they’d blow passed you, and nothing was different this morning…not yet anyway.

Ten minutes into the drive, the caffeine began taking effect. Davis turned on the radio, checking the local news, and when he barely glanced up, emergency vehicles came blasting up and around him, their alarms and lights blaring. Not just one or two, either. After looking into the rear view mirror, he realized there were streams of them. Some military trucks were mixed in, too. “What in the hell?” he said in a slight Texan drawl. Pulling over to the side of the road, gravel blew, and he tried to get out of their way to make for easier passage. That’s when he finally took note of what the radio was trying to tell him.

“…medical evaluation. Repeat: There is an emergency in your area. A toxic chemical release occurred at approximately 0600 in the Bexar County area. Please go to your assigned shelter immediately. If you cannot stay indoors, find secure shelter and close all entrances. If you remain outside, go to the nearest hospital for a medical evaluation for risk of exposure if you show any symptoms.”

That was all Davis needed to hear. He pulled back onto the highway when there a break in the emergency vehicle traffic. Fitting in, right before a military Humvee, he floored the accelerator. “They’re going to close the county border.”

If that were to happen, there was no way he’d get to his college-aged daughter in Austin, north of the Bexar County line. Speeding northeast, Davis met up with the main highway, 181, and when he looked northwest, he watched as a few emergency vehicles, with lights and sirens live, headed his way. “They’re coming.” He took off taking no heed and ran for the county border line. Never in his life did he think he’d have a stream of police chasing his tail. Thankfully they weren’t after him…just behind him.

Not long after, he passed the leaving Bexar County sign and the for a few moments he thought the policemen were going to continue to chase him down but while looking in his rearview mirror, they turned. One crossed the grassy median and Davis assumed they were in the process of shutting down access both in and out of the county.

“Whew!” He continued to drive down 181 and then pulled off on a side road and out of sight. After checking the news on his phone and confirming there was not only a chemical release, there was possibly a terrorist threat as well. He wasn’t sure about that knowing things changed rapidly in an emergency and only time would tell.

Knowing his daughter, Leigh, would likely still be asleep at this hour, he opted to call her instead of texting.

“Hello? Dad?” Came her sleepy, confused reply.

“Hey Baby, listen. Everything is probably fine, but there’s some kind of chemical spill or something in Bexar County and they closed off roads inside and out. I’m just outside of the border. Heard about it on my way in. Don’t go outside of Austin for now. I mean it. Keep your phone charged and take your solar charger with you to classes. Just hang it on your backpack. I’ll remain in touch throughout the day and reevaluate later. Understand?”

Like he knew she would, her reply didn’t surprise him. “Dad, are you serious?

“Just do what I day, Leigh. Promise me.”

With a long sigh, Davis pictured his daughter flopping down onto her pillow with a dramatic show. “All right, Dad.”

“Keep your phone on. And Leigh, stay where I can find you and keep your pack ready. Understand?”

“Yes, Dad.”

“Love you, baby. Keep in touch.”

“Love you, too Dad. Bye.”

Knowing she wasn’t into his preparedness ways, he couldn’t help but feel frustrated with her attitude at times, but he also understood. Heck, she was young. Had her life and dreams ahead of her and he wanted nothing more than to help make that happen and a part of making that happen was to prepare and have contingencies planned for emergencies. This was one of them. Things happened. Typically, they were Mother Nature things and so terrible enough on their own, but he had a feeling this was something more sinister than Mother Nature. Only time would tell.

Davis started up his truck again and had all the intentions of going into the rig and perhaps spending the night there in one of the many trailers available as bunk houses but that’s when his phone rang with the rig’s caller id.

“Hello.”

“Hey, Davis. This is Amos Barber. There’s been some kind of chemical attack in Bexar County. We’ve been told to shut her down. Don’t come in. You live near Elmendorf right?”

“I do.”

“Then, either get the heck out town now and go camping or hunker down.”

He always liked, Amos. The man was old school, and they often thought along the same lines. “Exactly what I was thinking. Are they sure it was a chemical attack?”

“Nah, they don’t know nothing for sure yet.”

“Better to be safe than sorry.”

“You got that right. All right, I’ve got more call to make. You take care, Davis.”

“Will do, sir.”

Talking to himself, Well that option’s blown. Can’t go into work and I can’t go home. Option three may be camping after all…like Amos suggested.

But before he planned on that, Davis drove on further to the nearby town where there was one of those little cafés that served the locals and the oil men that came to town and often wanted breakfast at five in the morning. He figured he’d spend some time there and watch the news before he made other plans. Leigh was fine where she was, at the moment, but he was out of shelter tonight if things went south.

When he pulled up into the gravel parking lot, there were more trucks there at that time than normal. He got out, and as a habit, because of the Zika mosquitos so prevalent in their area since the summer before, he sprayed himself with a Sawyer Product, Picaridin Insect Repellent. He liked it because it also repelled ticks and those darn things were epic this year. He also preferred this brand since it didn’t harm his gear and lasted up to twelve hours. And it didn’t smell like some of the other brands. A couple easy sprays from the pump and that was it. These days, he wished he’d bought stock; he’d be rich by now.

As soon as he entered the café, the door’s bell tinkled, and in the background, the wall mounted television blared, not one head turned in his direction. They were all glued to the news. When he looked up, he saw why their attention was so riveted. What seemed like a press conference was underway.

“All roads, into and out of Bexar County are closed at this time. We are in a current no-fly zone as well.”

“What exactly was the chemical exposure?” a reporter asked.

“I cannot give you that information at this time,” said the official then pointed to another reporter.

“Can you tell us about any injuries?”

“That information is forthcoming. It’s too soon to tell. Next question.”

“Was this a terrorist attack?”

“It’s too soon to tell. We are still in the information-gathering stage.” That’s when another person in a suit took over.

“That’s be all the questions we can take at this time. As soon as we have more information, we’ll let you know.”

And that was it. The suits walked off stage when someone in the café said to no one in particular, “They aren’t even telling us what actually happened.”

“You want some coffee, Honey?” asked the waitress.

He realized she was talking to him, still a bit stunned by the odd news. “Yes,” he said and slid into a booth by the window.

She flipped over his sturdy mug and poured in the black blew. “Strange, huh?”

He nodded.

“I mean they close the county borders and claim there’s a chemical exposure and yet no one has seen a thing. My sister’s a nurse living in San Antonio, and she called me this morning. They don’t have any patients coming in with chemical exposure. We don’t know what to make of it.”

“Well, I’m sure the day will tell more as it goes.” When she walked away the one thing that struck him was the uncertainty. These were uncertain times as it was. They didn’t need a mystery added in. Hell, it could be a zombie apocalypse for all they knew.

With his daughter on the other side of the closed county…he needed to remain vigilant until he knew what they were dealing with and come up with a contingency plan.

“This will probably be over by noon,” said another patron.

Davis sipped his coffee, intermittently checked the news, listened to the patrons’ commentary and watched through the window at his vehicle and people coming and going. He already knew there was more than one exit to the building. It was something his ex-wife used to make fun of him for but situational awareness was a real thing, and he was an old pro. His instincts saved him and his family from other people’s domestic disputes, robberies and run in’s from other bad hombres in general.

Just then, he heard gravel flying and looked up again through the window. A large suburban pulled in, and several rough looking men with low hanging pants spilled out. They were all carrying guns and headed for the door. With his hand already on the handle of his Gerber LMF II Infantry knife holstered to his waist, Davis knew he was ill prepared for a gun fight, but wasted no time while he walked quickly to the back door exit, knife in hand. Sure, he could have waited around for them to show up. Pulled the blade but really, he’d brought a knife to a gun fight, and at the end of the day, he needed to stay alive to help his daughter if conditions persisted.

That and he also had identified several armed men in the café when he’d walked in; they were in Texas after all. Two steps out the door and gunfire broke out inside. Davis walked close to the outside cinder brick wall of the building until he met the edge and then stepped out a bit. With his knife in hand anyway, he scoped the parking lot. The suburban sat empty, and no one was on watch, while inside, people screamed, glass broke, and shots continued firing. He had a feeling things weren’t going so well for the Marauders inside because suddenly he heard the unmistakable sound of a shotgun blast.

Davis wanted none of that. Heck, it was early in the day still. With the diversion going on inside, he decided to simply walk to his truck. He got in, he back out and he drove away.

A few hours later, Davis listened intently to his radio from his parked position from inside a wooded brush canopy. News began to trickle in of body counts. There had indeed been a chemical attack. What kind, they still did not divulge or did not know. The gas cloud continued to hover over San Antonio. FEMA arrived and Davis heard the unmistakable sound of military helicopters fly overhead as the day began to move on.

Just then, his daughter texted him, “Dad, what’s going on there? People are dying in San Antonio? Campus on lockdown.”

“I’m fine, Kiddo. Stay put unless I say otherwise. Stay charged.”

“Luv U, Daddy.”

“Love you more.”

Thinking to himself, with the campus on lockdown, Leigh was pretty safe for now. There was no scenario that made sense for him to return to Bexar County tonight even if they did open the roads. And he’d already learned that public places were less than optimal for now as well. He needed to stay vigilant for Leigh’s safety and his own. That meant camping out at least for tonight, and he’d reassess in the morning based on news reports.

For the next few hours, Davis scouted out a secluded spot where he would remain out of sight of others on higher terrain so that he had a tactical advantage. By then it was nearing early evening, and Davis began setting up camp.

From a locked compartment in the back of his truck, he pulled out a nifty brown nylon item he’d received from a Box of the Month Company called BattlBox.com. Inside the sturdy nylon bag was a large one-man tent with built-in mosquitos netting. It was easy to set up and came with several alloy stakes. Except that, for the outer rain fly, he pulled out another item he’d received from BattleBox, the Speed Cinch Tent Stakes. These things were easy to really tighten down the outer rain fly securely. At times, nights in the Hill Country of Texas were windy, mosquitos would eat you alive, and the rain came unexpectedly. Davis was prepared for that.

That’s when he felt a bite on the back of his neck and slapped at mosquitos. “There’ll be none of that.” His next task was to pull out his Murphy’s Mosquitos Sticks Pack. Keeping back the mosquitos was paramount. You never knew what they carried, and there’d been too many confirmed cases of Zika transmission even in San Antonio in the past year. All Davis had to do was pull the lanyard from around his neck which held an Exotac Fire Sleeve with a Bic Lighter inside, flip off the waterproof top and held one of the four green Murphy Mosquitos Sticks at an angle under the flame for twenty seconds. Then he allowed the flame to burn for twenty seconds before he blew it out and then planted it in the ground as the smoke wisped up like incense. He repeated the procedure three more times and planted them in a perimeter around his camp. He’d always expected them to smell like repellant, but they really didn’t have a strong odor, and they were DEET free.

With the mosquitos taken care of, for now, Davis realized he was starving and had only had a few sips of coffee that morning. To stay in top form for any contingency Davis needed to eat. He pulled out a handy aluminum camp stove stored in a black net bag that he’d received in his first box from BattlBox.com. It was easy to set up, and he already had stored in the sealed fuel reservoir, a little Isopropyl alcohol. He lit the fuel with his Exotac lighter on the lanyard around his neck, and soon a blue flame glowed. He poured in the pot a cup of bottled water and it quickly came to a boil. He added a pouch of dehydrated Chili Mac with Beef from Mountain Foods which tasted pretty good in his opinion and soon he was digging into his meal with a Light My Fire Camp Spork.

With camp set up, and a meal inside him, the evening started to cool down. Davis thought it best to get a small fire going to see by. He took out his favorite item from BattlBox.com, his Gerber LMF II Knife and used the serrated side to chop up a few dry pieces of wood to the right size and then set up a fire using a chunk of a Zippo Cedar Fire Starter. This fire starter was basically a hockey puck shaped thing and came in handy for a quick ignite. In no time he had a nice fire going. If for some reason, he ran out of that, he also had on hand in a neat little aluminum tin, something called a Mini Inferno, All Weather Firestarter. It was basically an easy to store round tin filled with six little fuel infused wax, fiber coated disks. Again, you only needed a little bit and tearing off a small piece would do it. You lit the fibers, and they quickly sustained a fire long enough to get a good flame going. All of these items Davis received from BattleBox.com, and he either used them in his daily life or added them to his go bags.

While staring into the flame, Davis felt his phone buzz one more time. It was from Leigh again. The text read. “Going to sleep, Dad. Luv U!”

“Love you too, darling. Sleep well. Stay charged and be ready. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.”

After he had said his good nights and the fire was out, Davis slipped inside of his one man tent and zipped it up from the inside. Tomorrow would bring new challenges, and Davis was a Ready Man, but who knew what those trials were until they were upon you?

 

 

Note from the Author AR Shaw

 

This is a story based on the items I’ve received in the BattlBox.com monthly subscription. There are affiliate links to the items listed. I do receive a small payment from the affiliate links that helps to cover the cost of writing a free story for you. I hope you enjoy this ongoing tale of Davis Cole and his adventures. We’ll see what happens based on the items received in the next monthly box.

Until then, if you enjoy reading post-apocalyptic stories, please check out my books.

Books by A. R. Shaw

The Graham’s Resolution Series

The China Pandemic

The Cascade Preppers

The Last Infidels

The Malefic Nation

 

Surrender the Sun

Book One

Book Two

The French Wardrobe

The French Wardrobe

Kindle Worlds Novellas

Deception on Durham Road

Departure from Durham Road

Kate’s Redemption

Pulled From the Headlines

Pulled From the Headlines

From an epic Cherokee Indian legend to a North Korean plot to end the world as we know it, Nicholas Sansbury Smith’s Trackers series has it all. Not only does the apocalyptic tale start at a full run, the page-turning experience doesn’t stop until the end. Completely recommend this new series to my readers.

Surrender the Sun Book 2 Release Day!

New Release!

Earlier than expected, Surrender the Sun, Book 2 will release tomorrow! Some of you may even discover it in your Kindle tonight if you bought the Presale! The audio version is currently in production and should be complete by the end of April. I’ll keep you posted.

Also, the new cover for Book 3! I’m writing this novel as we speak and it should be finished by June. I’ll keep you posted. Also…the next project in the works is Book 5 in the Graham’s Resolution series. I’m very excited about this project because I get to visit many of the original characters. For now, please enjoy Surrender the Sun Book 2 and I’ll keep in touch.

Below are few new releases by my colleagues to keep you busy!

One Man’s Opus
by Boyd Cravin

No Time for Mourning
by Franklin Horton

Trackers
Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Best Reads of 2016

What did I read in 2016?

It was a strange year for me and I don’t think I read quite as many books as in years past, but I’ve compiled a list of those I’ve read in my Kindle and can tell you what I did read was pretty great.

I have a wide variety of genres in there, but tend to lean toward Post Apoc it seems; though that’s predictable. This list is in ascending order; starting in January. In years past, I was able to pick one or two standout favorites…this was not that year. Some of them linger with me like Alas Babylon, a book I reread this year. This entire list is excellent. If there was a book I didn’t particularly enjoy, I didn’t list it. So I just cannot pick a favorite this year. Instead, I’ll say a few words about each below…whatever comes to mind from the memory of having read the book. If it’s on this list…I enjoyed the book very much and totally recommend the read.

 

The Moonlit Garden

Corina Bomann, Alison Layland

A lovely tale of loss and love again.

L. Douglas Hogan
Action packed
A plausible story of survival
An impossible escape and strong female character
Steven Konkoly 
Don’t live in California…after the water is gone.
Ann Howard Creel
A mother’s love isn’t always a relation
Tom Abrahams
Loved the wacky redhead and this series is awesome
Emily Bleeker
Oh my…a widower you will ache for
Joseph Souza
Excellently written and a tough subject. 
Fredrik Backman
Get ready to laugh and cry at the same time.
Lawyers don’t make enough money
Burt Walker, Hristo Argirov, Sabrina Jean, Casey Skelton
A surprising premise though not too far fetched sadly
Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
Oldy but great to revisit. A must read every few years.
Steve Berry
A gripping modern cold war tale
Anat Talshir, Evan Fallenberg
A beautiful and tragic love story. I loved it.
Russell Blake
A charming post-apocalyptic tale
Nicholas Sansbury Smith, Aaron Sikes
Excellent gripping series of war, mayhem and apocalyptic plague run amok
Lisa Kleypas
No one writes a romantic love, erotic, story quite like Kleypas
Pat Frank, David Brin
Another classic I try to read every few years. A must read.
Kim Cano
A poignant story of self-sacrifice. 
James Howard Kunstler
I read all fiction by Kunstler…this was the last in his World Made by Hand series…Hoping for more. Beautifully written.
Noah Hawley
OMG…this was excellent. A top contender for the year. 
Kerry Lonsdale
A surprising story. Starts out like a love story…not soo…good read.
Blake Crouch
Another top contender. A bizarre story and the research must have been a nightmare. Quantum physics and he did it so well. Totally recommend this one.
Cal Wilson
A hardcore post-apocalyptic novel. Never take the mark!
Diana Gabaldon
I had to because the video series was over…Excellent
David Perry
Beautifully written. Historical fiction at its finest.
Franklin Horton
Parental angst is what I felt reading this one. Franklin did an excellent job in this story and I hope he continues this into a series.
Ross Elder
Oh wow, I’ve known Ross Elder for a time. Knew he was an investigative journalist but I’d not read his fiction before. This guy can write! 
Murray McDonald
A post-apocalyptic first for McDonald and he’s certainly in the right genre. Trial with a twist. 
This was my last read of 2016. And could not have ended the year better. Patriot Deception is excellently written, a real page-turner…Ross Elder is an author to watch. I hear he’s now working on a postapoc series…

Surrender the Sun Releases Aug. 4th!

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Surrender the Sun will release August 4th!

Download your copy of Surrender the Sun today and it will magically appear on your Kindle app the night of the 3rd in most cases.

After the beta readers read Surrender the Sun, I received a lot of encouraging feedback. I hope you will enjoy the first book in this new series. I plan to continue the adventures of Maeve and Bishop through this catastrophic weather encounter.

 

Fractured State by Steven Konkoly

 

I just finished reading Fractured State by my friend, Author Steven Konkoly. I’ve looked forward to this one for a while.

I can never get enough of the survival genre and Fractured State is one heck of a survival story. This one is set in the near future, a future set up as bleak of freedoms any American would shutter; the rules no man could truly live by, willingly, for long. And yet, it’s a reality so close to the truth and only a step away in time.

This is the first installment in the series, one that I’ll keep up on. I hope you too will consider reading Fractured State. And imagine a place where personal water reclamation is as common as recycling and succession is a topic outside of Texas

 

Canine Plague by Burt Walker – A Refreshing Addition to the Prepper Genre

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Canine Plague by Burt Walker – A Refreshing Addition to the Prepper Genre

I was elated when I discovered that my long time fan, Burt Walker, surprised us all with his own novel. He’s a sly, ingenious fellow, much like his main character. So good at his deception he even left his wife out of the loop, surprising her along with the rest of us. I have no idea how you can conceal the workings of a novel from those living in your own space, I for one shout out questions and pull my hair out…my family happily supplying suggestions just to quiet me up.

Moving the Canine Plague up on my TBR (to be read) list, was no problem. I finished my latest read and then quickly opened Canine Plague. I must say I was a little apprehensive about the premise of the book. I mean a dog plague causing a national crisis? I had nothing to fear. Not only did Author Burt Walker pull off the premise, he did so beautifully. You wouldn’t think something like this could spawn a national catastrophe but in the story, you see how easily our system can be manipulated. It’s a scary and realistic scenario, one that I fear is only too easily set in motion.

The research conducted in this novel is apparent in detail. This isn’t a fly by source of information. Burt Walker put a lot of research hours into this book which also astounds me how he kept it from his wife.

If you’re into the prepper genre, this is a must read. I would only suggest you hold off on any assumptions when starting the novel. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. I do hope Author Burt Walker has a series in mind for this scenario. I can certainly see a world behind the Canine Plague.

Catch me on the Prepper Chick’s Podcast Radio Show

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Tomorrow night, Tuesday, October 27th at 10EST I’ll be with host Annie Berdel on the Prepper Chicks Podcast Radio Show.

Tune in as we play the survival card game Conflicted.

The Malefic Nation is Coming! Release Sept. 12th!

It’s finally here! The last book in the Graham’s Resolution series releases this Saturday, September 12th.

I was able to move the date up and as it turns out I will be attending the Southern Preppers Expo this Saturday in Alabama. So come down and meet me if you’re in the Oxford, Alabama area; it’s FREE to attend. I won’t have a physical copy of the paperback at that time but you can download the ebook from Amazon on that day.

It’s a bittersweet completion. I certainly feel accomplished but at the same time I’m leaving characters I’ve come to love. When I set out to write my version of a postapocalyptic adventure, I never thought it would turn out this successful. I didn’t intend to write a series, but I felt once The China Pandemic was complete that there was more to their story and so I found myself writing the rest.

Now, I’m ready to move on, sorta. I’m ready to start new projects. I’ve already begun a fresh idea. I hope that you’ll enjoy this series and realize my final goal was to show what I believed the worst catastrophe to our world would result in. I think I did that after all. There will be tremendous heartache and pain and successes coupled with grief along the way.

To me, this is the realistic version. It’s what could happen… Let’s hope it never does.