A BattlBox Story – Mission 29 Operator Owned

BattlBox Story #2 by AR Shaw

Mission 29

SITREP: Operator Owned

Location: San Antonio, Texas


The next morning, Davis woke before the first rays lighten the sky. There was no way he could just lay there any longer. There was too much to do but first he needed coffee. After fishing out his camp stove, he pulled out one of the few things he truly enjoyed in life, his Black Rifle, Just Black coffee grounds and brewed a fresh cup. Only having a tin mug in his pack he missed the mug he’d received from the veteran owned company long ago that was sitting in his cupboard back home. The well-worn cup was chipped now but his morning wasn’t the same without it since it held just the right amount and fit well in his hand and had the saying, Coffee or Die with the Don’t Tread on Me insignia which never got old…he had to chuckle each time.

Checking the time on his Rockwell Raider Project wrist watch, Davis would give his daughter just a little more time to wake up before he bothered her. One thing he’d learned long ago was to give that girl just a little more time to sleep, otherwise you were asking for trouble. In the meantime he checked the radio and by then the sunrise was on its way. He put on his Multicam Mesh hat to protect his eyes while he tuned in.

“…Bexar County line is still closed. Only military aircraft are permitted inside the perimeter. Reports of quarantine and an unknown number of casualties are causing rampant fear and speculation. Military vehicles are forming north of Bexar County. We can only assume they’re going to extend past the county line into Austin….”

“Oh hell, no,” Davis yelled spilling his coffee. “Leigh!” he said as he fumbled for his phone. She needed to get up now and get the hell out of there, before it’s too late.

Took forever for her to answer and when she did her voice was groggy as he suspected. “Leigh, grab your pack and get out now. Go east.”

“Dad…I just woke up….” Just then the signal began to stutter as a military airlift helicopter flew overhead.


“Leigh, hang on,” he said as he ran to get inside of his truck to hear her better. “Baby, wake up now.” His heart pounded inside his chest. He knew he needed to remain calm to motivate her or she’d break down. “Listen,” he said calmly. “This is what I want you to do. Get up. Even if you’re still in your pajamas. Put your boots on and grab your pack and your keys. Get in your truck and drive east. Avoid 290, take 71 out to LaGrange.”

“Dad, I need coffee,” she whined.

He pictured her sitting on top of her bed still in her oversized t-shirt and pajama pants. Her long blond hair scattered in a mess of tangles, her spare hand slapped to her face as she rubbed her eyes.

“Sweetheart, inside your pack are bottles of water and those Strike Force Energy packs you like. That’ll get you going but you can’t have one until you’re driving. So get up and go. Call me when you’re on the road when your phone is in the hands-free device, okay?”

“Jeez, Dad, is this really real?”

He waited a bit…hated shattering her world. “Yes, I’m afraid it is. Now go.”

When the signal died, Davis stepped out of his truck to pack his gear, he smelled something funny. It was a familiar smell somehow and then suddenly an image of his grandfather sitting in the shade of a porch flashed before Davis’ mind. The smoke twirling around Pop’s head and one end of his mouth raised just enough for a Warfighter cigar to hang out. He often smiled like a pirate that way.

Then the hair on the back of Davis’ neck prickled. Someone was nearby and without a sound of warning, he suddenly felt a searing pain in the back of his thigh as a form jumped up from a crouch behind him. Catching his assailant around the neck as he plowed into him against the truck’s side, Davis clamped his hand around whatever it was that sunk into the back of his thigh as his enemy removed it to strike him again.

“No!” he yelled knowing he had to survive or his daughter was in dire jeopardy. “You f…ing little son of b…ch!”

Having the advantage of size over his assailant, Davis concentrated all of his strength on the man’s weapon hand. Once he saw the sharp point of a gnarly seven-inch dagger, Davis pushed him away, reached back to his waist, pulled his Glock 19, and shot the man three times straight in the heart. “Enough of this…sh.t.”

It wasn’t the first time he’d killed a man. He certainly hoped dagger man was the last, but hopes were filled with doubts and he kind of figured more dead men would cross his path soon.

He picked up his camo hat that came off in the struggle and dusted it off. That’s when he saw the nice Kydex sheath on the man’s waist. From the dead man’s outstretched hand lay the dagger in the dirt. Davis picked it up, sliced off the sheath from the man’s belt, wiped the blade of his own blood onto his jeans and sheathed the dagger. “Leave no weapons behind,” he said under his breath. “Especially not nice ones.”

He still smelled the damn cigar though and found it laying on the ground around the other side of the truck. The sneaky bastard was nothing more than an opportunist and by the rich smell of the cigar and the quality of the dagger, he’d likely taken them from his last victim.

Once he was packed up and inside his truck he took care of his stab wound. It wasn’t too bad and could have been much worse. On his arms were several skin tears from the struggle that he knew would fester if not treated so he pulled out the Doc Spartan Combat Ready Ointment that he kept in his truck med kit and rolled it on quickly. Then he inspected his Glock, knowing it needed to stay ready, he quickly dropped a few drops of ND999 lubricant of the ridges of the slide to keep it in good working order, refilled his magazine and once reassembled, used his left hand to release the slide quickly. He could not afford any malfunctions.

Then his phone rang. “Leigh? You okay?”

“Yes Dad, I’m fine. What’s going on? There are cops and military police everywhere. It took me forever to get through town.”

“By your rapid fire answers, I take it you drank the Strike Force?”

Ignoring him, she said, “Dad…is this the zombie apocalypse.”

He laughed. Hell…who knew? “This isn’t a zombie movie,” he said in a different voice.

“Oh please dad, don’t quote Range 15. That’s not even funny.”

“Okay, you’re safely out of town I take it?”

“Yes, I’m traveling east. Just passed Bastrop.”

As he put his truck in gear, he said, “Keep going. I’m headed your way.”

“Okay, Daddy.”

“And honey?”


“Don’t stop for anything or anyone.”


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 apocalyptic 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







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.


“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