>first No plans survive first contact with the enemy. This is, I have been assured, a milit'ry fact. We were expecting an orderly hike north to JCT 105, but we didn't make it five steps out the door before taking shots. We all dive for cover behind a parked(and probably never to move again) van. The noise is deafening, but we are unscathed. A quick visual search reveals a hick with a rifle,up on a third floor balcony. He's hammering away at us, when I hear a ping from his rifle, and Garett shoots him with the Mini-14.

"Let's go take his stuff. We need the extra long gun", I suggest, and so up we go, into the building. The apartment from which we were being shot at has already had it's door busted open, presumably by Cletus. The apartment inside is pretty bare, but Cletus is busy bleeding out on the balcony. It looks as if Garett's shot took him in the neck, and he's flopping around and gurgling a bit.

"Hey Jackie, you do it. Finish him off for us" Kat says. Bitch. I love her, but that's cold as hell. Jackie is the only one of us with clean hands, so to speak. Jackie hasn't done much to prove her competence, at least to Kat. Problems were now surfacing. I stepped forward to do it, but Jackie surprised me by raising the .357 she had been given. She shot our unknown hick once in the head, then promptly ran from the room and threw up. I rolled the corpse, and went for his wallet. Joshua Lobato was the name of the man cooling on the floor. I held onto his driver's license. Thanks to him, though, we now have another long gun, and what looks like other goodies as well. God bless rednecks.Kat nudges him with the barrel of her twelve gauge.

Jackie walks back in, and we begin to divvy up the newly-acquired gear. Garett gets the M1 Garand, so Jackie takes the Mini-14 from Garett. It turns out Joshie had a good bit of miscellaneous ammo, so that is also split up. .223 to Jacke, .30-06 to Garett, 12 gauge to Kat, and 7.62x39 to me. Kat claims his .45 and the ammo for it, while I take the 9mm ammunition, despite the fact that I haven't told them about that hold-out. They don't notice. Jackie also gets his driver's license. The other three split up the rest of his things, as I've got equivalent items for most of his gear. Like I said, I had my shit together. We strip the place of everything useful, and get the fuck out of there. We leave Josh lying on the balcony.

So having come through our first skirmish unscathed and somewhat better equipped, you might think we would be relaxed about the coming journey. You'd be wrong. It was going to be an eight-hour hike to the next safe place I knew of, my parent's house. Up 45 from Pruitt, west on 105 when we get there, until we hit Lake Conroe. Then right into my old 'hood. The weather has been shit enough for a while that we may be able to make it without being bothered too much. Here's hoping.

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