hundred mile journey. He had little cash left. No ATMs were working and nothing was open anyway. They approached a motel, its sign said ‘Vacancies’. His mood lifted. Hungry and tired, they approached a door which hung askew, hanging on just one hinge. Bill walked into a deserted reception area. A few keys hung on hooks behind the desk. He grabbed a couple and walked through to a small dining area. It too was deserted. A door at the back led through to a kitchen. Its doors were wide open. Not a morsel of food was left. They walked through and out into the courtyard. The keys were surplus to requirements, every door was wide open. Each room had been picked bare. The flat screen TVs that were advertised were nowhere to be seen, likewise the coffee makers and radios. However, the beds were still there. What the thieves could have done with the electrical equipment without power seemed irrelevant. They would sleep in a bed, hungry, but a lot more comfortable than they had been for the previous two nights. Bill settled Mike and Lauren into one room and told them to keep the door closed. He couldn’t buy food but he could damn well hunt for it. He walked out of the motel, across the almost desolate highway and with a vast expanse of open ground before him, settled down and waited for a target. It wasn’t long in coming. A deer came into his sights, over eight hundred yards away, but well within his range. He heard a rustle behind him but remained on target and fired. The deer went down, an instant kill. “That’s damn fine shooting, sir,” said a voice from behind. Bill had heard the two men approach but hadn’t wanted to turn and risk missing the deer. They had been almost silent in their approach, understanding what he was doing. They were hunters themselves. “Thanks,” he said, turning to greet them. “Too much for us though, happy to share.” “No that’s okay, friend, we’re fine,” they said, much to his astonishment. He was actually wondering if they would have let him have any without a fight. “Are you sure? It’s too big for me to carry all this way. I’m afraid I’m just going to cut what I need and leave the rest. By the time I come back, I imagine it’ll be picked clean.” “We were just driving past and saw you line up that shot. That is really impressive shooting.” “You’ve got gas?” asked Bill, surprised. “Friend, we have everything you can imagine, food, gas, what we don’t have much of is folks that shoot as fine as that over that distance.” “Okay,” said Bill suspiciously. “We’re a couple of miles ahead of our main party, how’d you fancy joining us?” “Joining you for what?” “Teaching these Chinese bastards that they fucked with the wrong country!” spat the one that had remained quiet up until then. Bill could see why the other one had done most of the talking. He had also probably done his fair share of teaching the Chinese or at least their president that they had messed with the wrong country. “I’ve got a niece who’d have to come with us, and her boyfriend,” he said. He wouldn’t miss the chance of helping in any way he could, but he wouldn’t leave Lauren to fend for herself. “What age?” “They’re in their twenties.” “Can they shoot?” “Absolutely!” “Welcome to the Patriotic Guard of America, friend, Montana Division,” said the man smiling widely. “Next stop, Washington!” Chapter 77 General Petlin’s desk was littered with updates from across America.