The group was already gone with the exception of Miller who had decided, without asking me, to stay on the road with me. The squad, such as it was, was either scrambling up the sandstone the road was cut through or already out of sight.
I looked around, it was a beautiful day, and far away from any place I called home. As soon as I thought that I had to laugh. I had no home, I just had places memories had happened in. If this all worked out then this would be another one.
The road had been cut through sandstone, each side was ragged but a climb straight up of about fifteen feet. That was why I was down on the road with the bus. No way in hell I was going to climb that today.
I walked over to the rear wheel and sat down with my back against it. The way the bus was parked made where I was sitting the only gap between the it and the sandstone. If I stayed beyond the wheel I wouldn't be seen and I would have some protection against incoming rounds. It was a plan. Not much of I had to admit, but a plan. I was never all that good with a rifle anyway. If I was going to make a difference it would have to wait until they got in close.
Miller took the other wheel and began laying out his magazines and grenades.
"You want a grenade or two Gardener?"
I waited a minute or two and asked him, "What the hell you doing here Miller?"
"Down here with you? My job."
"No. I mean riding to the rescue."
"Well, there was what they told us and what I think is going on."
"You're a big deal, hell, you're a legend, everyone knows you, or thinks they do."
I told him, "But there is another reason. Right Miller."
"Yeah, it's how things are run and done these days." He didn't sound to happy about it either. "It was a lot simpler when I started doing this. What I think is that in the big picture we're here to win the hearts and minds of the Navajo. This area, and the people in it, are in the right place for the move to take back the rest of the west coast, you know, the place that used to be Southern California."
"Yeah. Max always thought big. He wants it all. Him and Freya."
He shrugged. "What we leave behind is always better then what we found."
I laughed. "Sure it is. After you've killed most of the people who might disagree with you it is easy to set things in order."
"Isn't that what you do?"
He had a point. I didn't answer him. I didn't feel like I needed to. It didn't matter anyway.
We had some time. At least ten minutes which was good. I was tired. I was also cold, probably because I was in the shade. I thought about moving into the sun but it wasn't worth it. I wondered how Ninja was doing. It would be good to see him and Max again. Maybe after this I would go North and see them. Hell, the way they were moving I could go back to Virginia. I liked that even better. I missed Virginia or whatever it was called now. I didn't like to think about it but I had outlived, lost, or moved away from everything that meant something to me.
I was glad when I heard the sound of engines. It killed what was turning into a really morbid line of thought. My guess was they had scouts running ahead of the main body on motorcycles. I closed my eyes again. Millers people could handle this. They did. I didn't even bother to look. I just listened and saw it unfold.
Two outriders, both going faster than they should have been, saw the bus and slowed down later than they should have. They got the part were only one approaches while the other hangs back almost right. Almost in that the one who hung back thought he was out of range from who ever was at the bus ambush. He wasn't. His partner went down about thirty paces from me. Miller rolled out from behind the wheel and shot him from a prone position from under the bus. The SAW reached out and finished his partner before he could get headed back to warn the main body.