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Getting down to business.
As the pursuers faltered, then broke, Susan heard a familiar male voice from behind them.
"Nicely done, team, nicely done. Let's swing right and see if we can't do the same for Mr. Behan in about a quarter hour."
That manoeuvre was done as neatly, reducing the enemy forces by another half dozen and digging into their morale. Two guys couldn't have amassed that much firepower already, could they? And if they had, what would they be like in another six hours?
Meanwhile back at the ranch house, Joan and Cathleen had located the well. Of course, there was a submersible pump, not a windlass and bucket, but the pump operated on electricity and there'd been an unfortunate outage, not unexpected out where they were, and it was taking time getting the generator started.
"Where'd you learn to climb a pole like that?" Joan asked.
"Oh, here and there," Cathleen replied evasively. "Okay," she conceded at Joan's look of disgust, "it was on one of our field trips with the girls. It turned out I could get up the pole faster than anyone but Joanie. Of course, Mark wasn't competing. He never did. We all just assumed that whatever it was, Daddy was better at it than anyone. He let us make that assumption, of course, being a guy, but he did tell me later he was glad that I was so good at pole climbing, since he wasn't so good at it. Then once you get up, you make sure you're insulated, then cut the wire, insulate it, and put it back together to make it harder to figure out where the break is."
Joan just shook her head. The whole Behan family was like that. Intensely capable. Of course, her family was pretty damn good, too. She smiled to herself.
"Let's see what damage we can create around here."
"How about a few shots through the kitchen window? Nothing like messing up meals."
A half dozen shots through the kitchen windows brought a dozen men boiling out of the side door and the bunkhouse while Joan and Cathleen eased their way back into the woods as near opposite Charlie's position as they could manage. No one was too sure just where Behan was.
Charlie and Behan hooked up again once the second hammer and anvil ambush had worked out. It was apparent that the field teams had been pulled back. From some of what they overheard it appeared that there'd been an attack on the main base itself.
"What do you say, boss," Behan suggested, "do you think it's time for a shot at the perimeter?"
"Yeah, if we can make it one near opposite where the cavalry just came in.
"Cold Cock," he went on, "can you take your guys and hit the perimeter at forty-five degrees from where you came in? That'll get them thoroughly upset and looking the other way when we hit."
"How hard do we hit?" Susan asked.
"Hard as you like. A breach, even if you come back in, would be nice. Any idea how long until we can expect more help?"
"I'd say Kelly's team ought to show sometime in the next hour, and the full reaction an hour or two after that. You've got to remember they didn't have your wife driving."
"And Cathleen is here as well, then," Behan stated, no doubt in his mind. "That was the attack on their base. You think we'll ever hear the end of it?"
"No," Charlie said, "that'll be one for the long winter nights as they explain once again how they managed all by their lonesomes to save Daddy from the evil hordes. I suspect by the time they're done we will have been captured by an evil female sultan who jailed us in her harem and was just about to have her way with us when they burst in, guns blazing, and saved us."
"Whereupon they ravished us on the way home to re-establish their claims to our fair bodies."
"You wish," Charlie grunted, no longer amused. It occurred to him that getting ravished, especially by his ravishing wife, was a lot more interesting than fooling around in the bush with a multitude of morons. From the look on Cold Cock's face, she agreed. Well, not by his wife, of course, but by Sue's rather handsome husband.
Just when Susan and her team were about to launch their assault on the