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    • "I plan to start nothing where women are concerned until I meet one that I like and one that acts her age," he replied in a slightly miffed tone.   “Well, let’s just hope the two of ‘em never meet!” chuckled Arabella, nudging Bridget, who laughed, despite not really getting the joke.   “Anyhow, I always act my age – nearly Sixteen!” declared the driver of the buggy. Indeed, in a mere 354 days, she would reach that august age.   “Back home in the Old Dominion, I’d ‘a’ probably been wed by now!” she added.   Despite her ironing board figure and girlish ways, ever since it had happened a few months ago, she had considered herself a young woman, rather than a mere girl.   "Besides, I thought we were on a trip so that Miss Monahan could attend mass and not some sort of confessional."   “Oh, don’t you know nuthin’?!” she tsked “Confessional’s exactly what we’re goin’ up there for. She’s gotta confess all her terrible sins to the priest feller before she's allowed to go to Mass and eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus.” Without Bridget seeing, she caught Charlie’s eye and, screwing up her face, gave a dismissive shake of her head, to show that she thought the whole thing was a bunch of nonsense, theologically speaking. Miss Arabella Sumpter Mudd was no friend to the foolish notion of transubstantiation.    “Course, I’m a Methodist m’self. Say, what’s your denomination, Charlie? You know that there priest is going to have a whole bunch of religious questions to ask you, don’t you?” she asked in a serious tone of voice.   @JulieS  
    • After hitching their horses, Mike and the rest of the Lost Lake hands surveyed their surroundings.  The crowd was starting to build up and a couple of the hands headed over towards the tent where the beer was being served.  A few of them headed over to where the food was.  Some of them went inside leaving only Mike, Charlie and Marty to decide what to do.   After a minute or two, Marty tapped Mike on the arm and pointed towards the barn entrance.  "Over there boss, a couple of the Evergreen crew.  Remember them from that fight last year at the fair."   Even though it happened before he had arrived in Kalispell, Mike had heard what had happened last summer.  He also knew the story behind the so-called feud between Evergreen and Lost Lake.  "Okay, just make sure you and the others stay clear of them."   "Oh, I plan to...otherwise all bets will be off and I intend to win this time," Marty replied before heading off to warn his friends.   Mike turned to Charlie, "Speaking of bets.  What time did you put down?"   Charlie, who was distracted by something over where the food was being served, quickly turned his attention back to his brother, "Nine thirty."   Mike smiled, "Isn't that a bit a optimistic?"   Shaking his head, Charlie answered, "From what I hear it isn't.  Besides Sam put down nine forty-five."   "I suppose you could be right but I'm hoping you're not.  Wouldn't mind winning that pot myself."  Taking one last good look at what was going on, Mike straightened his jacket, "I think I'll head inside and try my luck there. I'll see you later."   He patted Charlie on the back before walking towards the barn.
    • Brendan shifted his weight under Clara's scathing stare. He stuck his thumbs in his suspenders and met Clara's eyes, setting his mouth stubbornly. "Brendan Connolly.”   That name sounded Irish, like Bridget’s. Oh, well, he couldn’t help that, Arabella supposed. Maybe he was a Catholic and could take her and Bridget to the Catholic mission tomorrow. She was going to ask him, but for once she couldn’t get a word in edgeways.   “And I didn't set you up. The hands set me up."   “Sure, the hands set him up!” Arabella agreed, not having a clue what this was all about, but trying to pour oil on troubled waters. Considering that she was her ‘bosom friend’ Clara never actually did  tell her much about her life.   "Still wanna dance with me after hearin' that? I'll take a polka with you and a slow dance with Miss Ginger there, if she's 'con-struct-ed' for it."   “Hey don’t call her that!” Arabella corrected the man, for these were the days when having red hair was considered ugly in a woman. “You wouldn’t like it if we made fun of your bow legs, now would you?” He didn’t really have bow legs, unlike most cowboys, but he wouldn’t know that. Unlike women, men didn’t spend a lot of time examining their own bodies, looking for imperfections. “I mean, they ain’t too bad, but you still couldn’t stop a pig in an alley.”   Arabella caught Bridget’s eye and nodded toward Clara, as if to say, to the elective mute, ‘have a word with her’, while she grabbed hold of Brendan’s arm and dragged him away from the scene of conflict.   “Step over here a second, Mr. Cowboy Connelly, and I’ll show you where we got the beer tent set up” she offered brightly, and as soon as they were a few steps away, hissed “Well, what the Dickens was all that about? You two looked fit to start a range war back there, even before this shindig’s begun. Tell me what happened between you two.” she asked with frown on her youthful features.   Meanwhile, Bridget’s contribution to all this was to rustle up to the incandescently furious looking Clara, bustle to bustle, and whisper in her ear “Is that man bad?”
    • Harem?  While it was true he couldn't remember some parts of last night, he was pretty sure that there wasn't a lot of kissing involved.  Maybe the two girls were having a joke at his expense but he couldn't be one hundred percent sure.   "I plan to start nothing where women are concerned until I meet one that I like and one that acts her age," he replied in a slightly miffed tone.  "Besides, I thought we were on a trip so that Miss Monahan could attend mass and not some sort of confessional."   @Javia
    • "They'd hafta find us first," she grumbled, surprised but not that he knew what she was going to say.  "I'll give yer way a chance, an' I reckon if anyone could untangle this, it'd be Miz Mercer.  Ought we ta find her now, get this started?"  Then she'd have to find Weedy and finally talk to him, although she suspected he suspected, how could he not, what with his mother gone so long this time?   "Not lookin' forward ta talkin' ta Weedy, but best get that done before he hears from someone else."  Wouldn't take long for word to spread, and even though there might not be any malicious intent, someone might ask him questions that would be awkward, especially if he hadn't been told.   @Flip
Benjamin Barlow

Heading Off Trouble

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Mature Content: Yes, violence.

With: Captain Barlow, Lorenzo Crabbe  (For now)
Location: Inside the Fort
When: Late April, 1876
Time of Day: (Morning)

 

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 Benjamin opened the door and entered the fort's brig, not much really, just a small room with a barred cell in the corner. It was obvious they never expected it to hold many prisoners given its size.  But it held a man on this day and not a soldier either. The soldier on duty stood up from behind the spartan desk in the middle of the room and saluted.

 

Barlow returned the salute without enthusiasm, he wasn't much for regulations and spit and polish except on the specific occasions it was needed. But then this private probably did not know that, he didn't serve in Barlow's company.

 

"Sir, " the man stood there then expectantly.

 

"Open the cell door, private," the officer directed softly.

 

The trooper hurried to comply and there was the clink of heavy key into the lock then a twist and the lock mechanism snapped open. The trooper then pulled back the door. Barlow stood there gazing at the occupant of the cell. His expression was a mix of disdain and resignation.

 

"So - are you sober now?"

 

This particular individual had been playing some cards (for money obviously, why else does one play cards) with a few troopers the previous evening in a shed that was but a hundred yards from the main grounds of the fort.  It seemed - or so the troopers said - the man was a card sharp, he had been cheating and what was worse (least for the sharp) he got caught with an extra ace or two up his sleeve. A brawl ensued and one trooper broke his jaw in the fisticuffs. The troopers admitted to there have been liquor involved and been off post without permission. As for the man, he was some civilian who they knew little about. Technically the whole matter could be dumped onto the local law in Kalispell.  What irritated Benjamin the most was they now had an injured trooper in an already understrength garrison. The colonel would not be happy.

 

 

 

 

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"So - are you sober now?"

 

Lorenzo Crabbe shifted wearily on the surprisingly comfortable bare plank that made up the bench-cum-bed in the small cell and, yawning, fumbled for his thick spectacles and put them on, before twisting and sitting up. He looked around the little cage with interest before stumbling to his feet with a softly spoken comment, presumably to himself.

 

“Been in worse.”

 

Standing up made him realise how hung over he was, and he also noticed the pain in his right knuckle, like he’d punched a wall last night. It all started to come back to him, as he squinted toward a stern-looking military figure in the doorway. The fellow looked grim, and altogether in need of cheering up.

 

“Well, Morning there General!” Lorenzo waved and then gave a sort of half-assed salute “How’s the war goin’?”

 

He felt his hand throb again. “Say, mon Capitaine, I wanna put in a complaint against one of your soldiers: last night he chinned me right on the knuckles, then right after that he sexually assaulted my knee cap. Can’t miss him, big feller, 'bout so tall, red hair, screams a lot. There was a little feller with him, too, but he ran off for help. He should be shot for cowardice in front of the enemy.”

 

Then he remembered something else.

 

“Those soldiers are a disgrace to your Regiment, Cap, they not only slandered my good name but they insulted a lady.”

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“Well, Morning there General!” Lorenzo waved and then gave a sort of half-assed salute “How’s the war goin’?” 

 

Benjamin did even begin to smile, apparently the fellow fancied himself as quite funny which he was not.

 

“Say, mon Capitaine, I wanna put in a complaint against one of your soldiers: last night he chinned me right on the knuckles, then right after that he sexually assaulted my knee cap. Can’t miss him, big feller, 'bout so tall, red hair, screams a lot. There was a little feller with him, too, but he ran off for help. He should be shot for cowardice in front of the enemy.” 

 

Two could play that game.

 

"If I could have someone shot, it certainly wouldn't be that trooper. So be careful what you wish for," he dryly informed the man.

 

Still the jasper wasn't done yet with his trumped up act.

 

“Those soldiers are a disgrace to your Regiment, Cap, they not only slandered my good name but they insulted a lady.”

 

"There was no woman present," the captain retorted, least that had not been brought up in the versions not only the troopers gave but the sergeant who had showed up to break up the incident. He also held up his hand as if to halt the man's continuing.

 

"And if you are about to make some crack you think is comical and show off what a wit you have, don't. I am not the most patient of men. I came here to tell you something not listen to you blather on," he warned the man in measured tones but the hardness in his eyes warned of consequences if the fellow should choose to ignore the advice.

 

In almost perfect timing, the door opened once more and in came another two soldiers. A bearded sergeant  (well the man would know that if he understood the concept of stripes as forms of rank) and a second trooper. The sergeant had a set of manacles in his hands. Both of the men looked like tough customers.

 

"Sorry we're late, sir," Sgt. Nikolaus Braumann addressed the officer.

 

sgtsagarpg.jpg

 

"It's fine, sergeant. In fact your timing is right on the money," Barlow answered.

 

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Posted (edited)

"If I could have someone shot, it certainly wouldn't be that trooper. So be careful what you wish for," he dryly informed the man.

 

“Oh, you can put me up against a wall anytime you like, mon Capitaine, from what I’ve seen of soldiers’ shooting, I reckon I’d be in about the safest place. And as for those two last night…” he shook is head sadly…

 

“Those soldiers are a disgrace to your Regiment, Cap, they not only slandered my good name but they insulted a lady.”

"There was no woman present," the captain retorted.

 

“Oh, she wasn’t present all right, she was insulted in absentia, you know, like when soldiers criticize their officers behind their backs. Why they said that this lady I was proposing to introduce them to was as ugly as sin and not worth a dollar a pop: now that isn’t a gentlemanly way of speaking to my mind, Cap. It’s true she’s no oil painting, but what she lacks in looks she makes up for in experience.”

 

“Say, you might know the lady I’m referring to…” he started, but the un-amused officer was having none of it.

 

"If you are about to make some crack you think is comical and show off what a wit you have, don't. I am not the most patient of men. I came here to tell you something not listen to you blather on," he warned the man in measured tones but the hardness in his eyes warned of consequences if the fellow should choose to ignore the advice.

 

"Well you sure like to suck the fun out of things, don't you Cap, if I might say so." frowned the civilian. Anyone would think it was Barlow that had a hangover that would kill a horse, not Lorenzo. He squinted his eyes, magnified like a pair of cherry pies behind the thick glasses, as another two uniformed figures entered.

 

He peered at them, and then at the manacles and gave a wry grin. “Well damn me.” he said, shaking his head, and held out his wrists.

 

“All right boys, put the bracelets on me if it makes you feel better, I promise not to hurt you!” he informed them, before it hit him that they might not be for his hands “… or are these for my ankles, case I make a run for it and you can’t catch up with me on your corn-fed cavalry horses.”

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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The man was too cocky, Benjamin could certainly see why the troopers and he had gotten into it - well even over and above the cheating, his constant insults. If the fellow's goal was to have people despise him, he was certainly succeeding. But regardless Barlow had  a job to do and taking the bait was only going to make this drag out further.

 

"Neither of us are here for fun, a peculiar notion you have there, card sharp," Benjamin remarked.

 

Least it didn't seem like the man was foolish enough to try and resist what was about to happen to him. Wise decision.

 

"Your ankles. Then we are going to load you onto a wagon and take you into town to leave you with the local sheriff  to deal with, you being a civilian and all," the officer explained.

 

"Oh and you do something so stupid as try to get away and my men have been instructed not to chase you but to shoot you in the legs. I trust you realize a bullet can do some powerful damage to a leg if it hits you in the right place. Might even lead to an amputation. So think long and hard about that."

 

The NCO now knelt and fastened the manacles onto the fellow's ankles as Benjamin finished outlining the army's plans for him.

 

"We will also inform the sheriff that you are a card sharp and a troublemaker and it would behoove him to banish you from staying in this fine town.  You'll have to move on."

 

Braumann stood up again, "They're on, sir."

 

"Thank you, sergeant."

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"Neither of us are here for fun, a peculiar notion you have there, card sharp," Benjamin remarked.

 

Card sharp, Captain?!” he cried, feigning shock at the suggestion. “Why, I do believe a man is innocent until proven guilty in these parts and it’s hardly my fault if your troopers misconstrued my good intentions in removing some superfluous cards from a faulty deck and putting them in my pockets out of harm’s way!”

 

He shrugged, these military dictator types weren’t to be reasoned with. “So what’s it to be, tops or bottoms?”

 

"Your ankles. Then we are going to load you onto a wagon and take you into town to leave you with the local sheriff  to deal with, you being a civilian and all," the officer explained.

 

“Whoa there, Captain!” yelped said civilian “You trying to ruin me? I just took rent on a little store in Kalispell to open a … well, er, a little theater, of sorts, I got to keep on the good side of Marshall Guyer! And he’s a lot like you, Captain, doesn’t seem to see the funny side of life’s little hiccups!”

 

But the military martinet was more intent on trying to frighten him off running away, like he really had thought he could outrun a mounted Cavalry trooper!

 

"Oh and you do something so stupid as try to get away and my men have been instructed not to chase you but to shoot you in the legs. I trust you realize a bullet can do some powerful damage to a leg if it hits you in the right place. Might even lead to an amputation. So think long and hard about that."

 

The NCO now knelt and fastened the manacles onto the fellow's ankles as Benjamin finished outlining the army's plans for him.

 

Crabbe was having to think fast. He didn’t know this walrus-mustached officer from Adam, but the fellow must have a chink in his amour. He would have to fall back on generalities. What did every Cavalry Officer he had ever met have in common, apart from the mustaches? Hmmm. There were two. Two things that every man that bore the yellow shoulder straps fussed and worried about and would do anything to improve: their careers and the condition of their men’s horses. Each would have their other little interests and peccadilloes, but those two were sure fire standard issue concerns for everyone from 2nd Lt. Greene, fresh out of West Point to General Sheridan himself.

 

He nodded to himself, he would try the latter first, as being the easiest to effect.

 

"We will also inform the sheriff that you are a card sharp and a troublemaker and it would behoove him to banish you from staying in this fine town.  You'll have to move on."

Braumann stood up again, "They're on, sir."

 

"Thank you, sergeant."

 

“Thanks Sarge, they’re right comfy!” he smiled at the hirsute noncom, and then looked back up the officer.

 

“Now listen here, Captain, before we start Behooving all over the place, isn’t there any way we can strike a little deal to avoid all this unnecessary inconvenience and unpleasantness?” he pulled a face of concern. “Now, I know where to get hold of a batch of top grade curry combs and burr brushes, just been shipped out from the East. Now, you know those Army issue combs are no use, they break after ten minutes proper use and even before that they don’t do the job properly.”

 

He did have a point, even the Army admitted it but couldn’t issue a newer improved design to their men because, of all things, patent infringement issues. It would be some years before the troopers of the 2nd Cavalry would receive decent tools to keep their mounts in order.

 

Lorenzo Crabbe’s giant magnified eyes peered at Barlow to see if this offer would make any impression on his steely demeanor.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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"Whoa there, Captain!” yelped said civilian “You trying to ruin me? I just took rent on a little store in Kalispell to open a … well, er, a little theater, of sorts, I got to keep on the good side of Marshall Guyer! And he’s a lot like you, Captain, doesn’t seem to see the funny side of life’s little hiccups!”

 

"That is your problem not mine," Benjamin honestly did not care. He had little use for civilians in many things, one such as this fed that distaste.

 

The man wasn't done yet, changing tactics it seemed.

 

“Now listen here, Captain, before we start Behooving all over the place, isn’t there any way we can strike a little deal to avoid all this unnecessary inconvenience and unpleasantness?” he pulled a face of concern. “Now, I know where to get hold of a batch of top grade curry combs and burr brushes, just been shipped out from the East. Now, you know those Army issue combs are no use, they break after ten minutes proper use and even before that they don’t do the job properly.”

 

"I'm not a quartermaster merely a company commander, I do not deal with military purchases of any kind of supplies. But if you mean you would simply give them to me without cost...." Barlow paused.

 

"That would be attempted bribery, note that, sergeant, the prisoner attempted to bribe me," he smiled this time at the sergeant.

 

"Of course, sir," the veteran NCO grinned thru that thick beard of his.

 

"Trooper, check to see if the wagon is ready outside so we can throw this troublemaker onto it and get him out of  here," Benjamin now directed the other soldier.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Crabbe’s kind offer to get hold of some decent grooming equipment for the Captain’s company seemed at first to have struck a nerve.

 

"I'm not a quartermaster merely a company commander, I do not deal with military purchases of any kind of supplies. But if you mean you would simply give them to me without cost...." Barlow paused.

 

“Why sure, a nice little gift to show there’s no hard feelings about last night’s little misunderstanding!” he offered. “I’ll even throw in a bottle of patent medicine that’s good for glanders.”

 

 "That would be attempted bribery, note that, sergeant, the prisoner attempted to bribe me," he smiled this time at the sergeant.

 

"Of course, sir," the veteran NCO grinned thru that thick beard of his.

 

“What?!” Lorenzo could hardly believe his ears, most commanders would give their eye teeth for essential equipment of high quality such as he was offering. The fact that he didn’t actually possess any such things was beside the point. He was hurt. As for that grinning beaver faced sergeant, with his ‘Yes Sir, No Sir, Three Bags Full Sir’ routine, oh, he’d get his by and by! But Lorenzo knew to act all friendly-like for a while longer.

 

"Trooper, check to see if the wagon is ready outside so we can throw this troublemaker onto it and get him out of  here," Benjamin now directed the other soldier.

 

Lorenzo was getting uneasy about the way that this thing was shaping up now, and was forced to deal from the bottom of the deck.

 

“Well, there is one other thing I might be able to help you with, Captain, if it doesn’t count as attempted bribery, of course.” It wasn’t any native sense of honor among thieves that made Lorenzo hesitate; it was more the awareness that he might be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

 

“You see, one of those boys last night mentioned that you army fellers are all in a lather about some enterprising fellow who’s had the gumption to sell some old rifles and more than a few bottles of high grade firewater to the redskins. The way they told it, sounded like you were in a mighty hurry to find that particular person’s name and street address so that Uncle Sam could pop around there with the bill of reckoning, so to speak.” He said no more until he saw if the fish was like to bite.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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Just when it seemed that maybe this fellow had finally run out of verbal ammunition when Benjamin squashed his offer, that proved to be a false assumption on the officer's part. No, he brought up yet another desperate ploy.

 

"... one of those boys last night mentioned that you army fellers are all in a lather about some enterprising fellow who’s had the gumption to sell some old rifles and more than a few bottles of high grade firewater to the redskins. The way they told it, sounded like you were in a mighty hurry to find that particular person’s name and street address so that Uncle Sam could pop around there with the bill of reckoning, so to speak.” 

 

This time the man had piqued Barlow's interest at the mere mention of 'rifles'. Though the rifles the army was concerned about were not old but more likely factory fresh new model weapons. Henrys, Winchesters, all repeaters. Not the sort of thing the army wanted to see in hostiles' hands. 

 

"Oh? So you're saying you know where such an individual might be? I may well be interested alright but you are going to have to be convincing you aren't just making this up," Benjamin replied instantly.

 

It was common knowledge, at least among the officers out west of the Mississippi that the Department of the Army was preparing a major campaign to take place this very summer to force the hostile Plains tribes back to the reservation or destroy them should they resist. So if they could get their hands on any gun runners that would mean less weaponry for the Indians to use on the soldiers when the confrontation occurred.

 

"But - if what you say is genuine - we could be more than willing to make all of this trouble you are currently in go away," he wanted the man to know.

 

 

 

 

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"Oh? So you're saying you know where such an individual might be? I may well be interested alright but you are going to have to be convincing you aren't just making this up," Benjamin replied instantly.

 

“Oh, I ain’t making this up, honest Injun! Oh, er, no pun intended there, Cap.” The civilian quickly assured the army man.

 

"But - if what you say is genuine - we could be more than willing to make all of this trouble you are currently in go away," he wanted the man to know.

 

“Well I thank the Lord that we seem to be on the same page of the hymn book at last Captain!” Lorenzo beamed “Now if you’ll just get ol’ Corporal Beardy here to get me out of these here leg irons, maybe we could mosey over to your office or barracks or whatever you call ‘em and I’ll spill everything I know about these God forsaken heathen gun runners.”

 

Seeing that the Company commander still didn’t seem to trust him, for some strange reason, he added: “Once I’ve told you what I know, if you still don’t believe that I’m on the square, you can drag me backwards through the dirt all the way the Kalispell and hand my carcass to the Marshall for target practice.”

 

He would, indeed, have to truthfully tell the Captain everything he knew about the illegal trading with the Indians, he couldn’t risk changing or fudging anything, because he didn’t know exactly what the Captain already knew. The story he would spin about how he knew all this in the first place might have to be slightly gussied up, however, to shine a rather more rosy light on his own involvement than it rightly deserved.

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The man insisted he was being truthful, course that didn't make it so. Thus far the fellow had done nothing to build trust just distaste. But what if he did know something?  It was worth hearing him out.

 

"Why do we have to go anywhere, we can talk right here. Tell us what you have to say and then I'll decide if it's worth letting you out of those chains," Benjamin declared.

 

“Once I’ve told you what I know, if you still don’t believe that I’m on the square, you can drag me backwards through the dirt all the way the Kalispell and hand my carcass to the Marshall for target practice.” 

 

"Oh I will hand you over alright. But you are getting ahead of yourself, I haven't heard a damn thing yet. Convince me," Barlow pressed.

 

"Oh...and you can start with something easy, who are you anyway?"

 

 

 

 

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Oh I will hand you over alright. But you are getting ahead of yourself, I haven't heard a damn thing yet. Convince me," Barlow pressed.

 

Lorenzo looked a little uncomfortable. “Very well. I’ll tell you some ol’ facts and figures here and now, but I’m not repeating names in front of these, ahem, minions. There’s such a thing as being sued for slander you know. I’ll give the names to you alone, Captain, then you can spread it about as you please.” It wasn’t just that, the men whose liberty and lives he was bargaining with were dangerous: in themselves and in their connections. He’d rather not have folks remembering, at a later date, that it was he who had first bandied their names about.

 

"Oh...and you can start with something easy, who are you anyway?"

 

Lorenzo gave a broad grin, and wondered whether to give his real name. In various parts he was known as Pete Bosco and W. Arthur Anderson, but in this instance, he decided it best to stick to the truth. As Mark Twain would say ‘If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything’.

 

“My name is Crabbe” he said, giving a slight sort of bow “With two Bs!” he added, for some reason looking at the Sarge and the Trooper. “Late of Ogallala, Nebraska, although originally I hail from that notable town of Bowling Green in the good old state of Kentucky, where all the girls are pretty, the bluegrass grows up to your knees and the polecats smell of perfume.” He announced proudly.

 

“How about yourself, Cap? You sound like a Northern man to my ear.” He asked, trying to warm the taciturn icicle up a little.

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The man looked a little uncomfortable. “Very well. I’ll tell you some ol’ facts and figures here and now, but I’m not repeating names in front of these, ahem, minions. There’s such a thing as being sued for slander you know. I’ll give the names to you alone, Captain, then you can spread it about as you please.”

 

"You seem to be under the misapprehension that you can make the terms here. I told I want to be convinced and so far I've heard nothing yet. My men aren't going anywhere," Barlow was not about to let the man set the conditions. For one thing he didn't even trust the man wasn't leading him on.

 

At least the fellow could give out his name, well assuming he wasn't giving an alias.

 

"My name is Crabbe” he said, giving a slight sort of bow “With two Bs!” he added, for some reason looking at the Sarge and the Trooper. “Late of Ogallala, Nebraska, although originally I hail from that notable town of Bowling Green in the good old state of Kentucky, where all the girls are pretty, the bluegrass grows up to your knees and the polecats smell of perfume.” He announced proudly.

 

If that was to impress, it failed dismally. Barlow just stood there.

 

“How about yourself, Cap? You sound like a Northern man to my ear.”

 

"Barlow," the officer grudgingly gave out that much then stayed on point, "Now if I don't hear some useful details come out of your mouth in the next minute, off you go to the Kalispell jail. I am losing what little patience I possess."

 

 

 

 

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"Barlow," the officer grudgingly gave out that much then stayed on point, "Now if I don't hear some useful details come out of your mouth in the next minute, off you go to the Kalispell jail. I am losing what little patience I possess."

 

Lorenzo felt a compulsion to remind the officer that patience was a virtue and, further, that virtue was its own reward, but now did not seem like the time for quaint homilies.

 

“All right Captain, I’ll play you fair.” Said Crabbe, with the air of doing the military man a great favour “How about this for starters, I’ll tell you all about the last shipment this feller made, let’s call him ‘C’ for now, or at least the last one I ever heard about. It’d be three weeks ago now, early April by my reckoning. Sold a bunch of six rifles to some Two Kettles bucks over on the Tongue River, for solid gold nuggets no less: where they got that from, well I guess that’s another story and the feller who told me this wasn’t in a hurry to say. He’s a buck called Looks Down and like the bravest of braves, isn’t above a little begging on the side, he came sniffing around Mingusville when he heard I was there, begging for booze. Course, I refused him!”  Lorenzo swore, hold his hand to his heart in an effort to convince the Captain that he was telling the truth.

 

“Now, this rifle he had, he said was no good: but it was a factory new Sharps, a point five I should say, looking a the cartridges the feller had supplied them with. Factory new…” he repeated “.. still had the packing grease all over it. I offered to take it off his hands, but he was attached to it, even though he said it was faulty. No doubt some idiot’s told him by now to clean off the grease.”

 

He glanced at the Captain to see if any of this was interesting him.

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Rifles for gold nuggets, interesting. Barlow knew the Indians were never the sort to do any mining or even prospecting so they might have gotten the gold from some whites. The Black Hills supposedly was filled with gold which was one of the reasons the government was now changing their mind and deciding to move the various tribes off what had supposed to have been Indian land after one of the treaties had been signed. Even though a representative of said government, Barlow knew when it came to profit, the government didn't give a damn about any treaty. They could change the conditions and make the Indians sign another one and move elsewhere. Needless to say the Indians felt differently and, honestly, Benjamin sympathized with them. It wasn't right but the way most people looked at it was the natives were impeding the march of civilization. Even if the government wanted to keep this latest treaty, thousands of new settlers were already moving into the Black Hills territory, the Army couldn't stop that flood if they wanted to.

 

Thus the impending major campaign being planned for this summer,  once and for all the Army was going to force the hostiles to the proper reservations or destroy them. Proud and warlike themselves, tribes like the Sioux and Cheyenne were going to fight hard, all the military men were sure of it.

 

And part of the problem was the Indians were getting more and more better armed than the troops themselves. One way or the other they were acquiring not just these Sharps carbines the man identified but the fast firing magazine rifles like Henrys and Winchesters. Back in Washington the War Department had looked into purchasing repeating rifles but concluded the troops would use up ammo too rapidly and that cost money. So they decided the cavalry would continue to make due with their single shot carbines, the Sharps.

 

"Alright, Mr. Crabbe with two B's, now we are getting somewhere," Barlow remarked when the man paused.

 

"Any chance you can give me something on the possible location of this... C ....fellow? Obviously he isn't operating out of any town. But you might just know his approximate whereabouts or one of the routes he uses regular?"

 

A gun runner's very success depended on him keeping on the move, staying ahead of the authorities plus trying to find the ever elusive Indians who would be his customers. But if they could narrow it down, then Barlow would have a better chance of running them down.

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"Any chance you can give me something on the possible location of this... C ....fellow? Obviously he isn't operating out of any town. But you might just know his approximate whereabouts or one of the routes he uses regular?"

 

“Oh, he doesn’t have what you’d call a regular route, I mean this feller ain’t selling soapflakes. He can’t turn up and sell the same goods at the same place week after week, or month after month even. See, most the tribes he sells to are on the move themselves, if you get my drift. He doesn’t even have a regular base of supply, though it’s always somewhere with a railroad station, that how they ship the ‘goods’ from back East.”

 

Crabbe stopped short and looked down at the manacles on his ankles.

 

“Ow, these irons are sure chaffing my pins something awful, Cap! You know it’s hard to give a clear account of things with a nasty distraction like that annoying a body.” He pointed out, shifting his feet as if in pain.

 

“Now, where was I? Oh yeah, so the way to find this feller is the same way the redskins do, and that’s strictly word of mouth. I’d start by finding the Two Kettles, they’ll be upriver on the Tongue by now, I’d reckon. They’ll know where C is, no mistake. I wouldn’t tell them that you’re after him though: the injuns love him, for obvious reasons. Looks Down called him ‘Grandfather’. Why, it’s about the only thing all those warring vermin do agree on! Even Lakota and Crow alike’ll smoke the peace pipe for an hour or so around that fellow’s trading wagon.” he mused.

 

“You just tell those savages that you’ve got an important message for him, or some tommy-rot, tell ‘em President Grant’s sent him a medal.” he laughed at this himself and shook his head at the gullibility of some of the Indians, he was warming to the subject matter now and becoming quite detailed in his help.

 

“If they start looking hostile, try and talk to a girlie* called Eagle Woman That All Look At – they listen to her and she’s one of the more peaceable sorts.” He looked thoughtful for a second “You know Cap, I’m going to be really interested to hear how you fellers get on running ol’ Grandfather down!”

 

 

Editor’s Note: Eagle Woman was approximately 54 in 1876.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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“Oh, he doesn’t have what you’d call a regular route, I mean this feller ain’t selling soapflakes. He can’t turn up and sell the same goods at the same place week after week, or month after month even. See, most the tribes he sells to are on the move themselves, if you get my drift. He doesn’t even have a regular base of supply, though it’s always somewhere with a railroad station, that how they ship the ‘goods’ from back East.”  

 

Yeah, that was what Benjamin figured too but it had to be asked. This time he had no reason to believe the man was lying.

 

"Right," he nodded and let the man continue.

 

“Ow, these irons are sure chaffing my pins something awful, Cap! You know it’s hard to give a clear account of things with a nasty distraction like that annoying a body.” Crabbe pointed out, shifting his feet as if in pain.

 

"I am considering having them removed right now, keep talking - it will no doubt influence my decision one way or the other," Benjamin replied.

 

"Now, where was I? Oh yeah, so the way to find this feller is the same way the redskins do, and that’s strictly word of mouth. I’d start by finding the Two Kettles, they’ll be upriver on the Tongue by now, I’d reckon. They’ll know where C is, no mistake. I wouldn’t tell them that you’re after him though: the injuns love him, for obvious reasons. Looks Down called him ‘Grandfather’. Why, it’s about the only thing all those warring vermin do agree on! Even Lakota and Crow alike’ll smoke the peace pipe for an hour or so around that fellow’s trading wagon.”

 

"Well, the Crow wouldn't help him, they're on our side when it comes to fighting the Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapahos," Barlow declared, "Custer and Crook both use Crow scouts all the time. They're glad to fight their old enemies for us."

 

In fact Barlow wished this outpost had itself a few Crows to help when it came to scouting and such. All he knew was that the fort had a white scout and that man was accompanied by what the troopers claimed was an Apache? That jasper was a long way from his stomping grounds.

 

Then the man started telling him what to say once they contacted some Indians. While he didn't care to be told what he should do by this fellow, he did give a possible useful name - woman at that too.

 

 The prisoner looked thoughtful for a second “You know Cap, I’m going to be really interested to hear how you fellers get on running ol’ Grandfather down!”

 

Benjamin suddenly smiled,  a rare enough occurance for him especially on duty.

 

"Good to know, Mr. Crabbe, because you are going along with us to find this Grandfather. I appreciate you volunteering," he announced calmly but forcefully.

 

"Sergeant, unshackle our guide here," he ordered and the veteran NCO promptly complied.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The prisoner looked thoughtful for a second “You know Cap, I’m going to be really interested to hear how you fellers get on running ol’ Grandfather down!”

 

Benjamin suddenly smiled, a rare enough occurrence for him especially on duty.

 

Lorenzo smiled too, the stern officer seemed to be melting at last: pretty soon he’d probably be giving him a pat on the back and a farewell drink before setting off on his heroic, and possibly suicidal mission while the civilian waved him off and got back to business in Kalispell.

 

"Good to know, Mr. Crabbe, because you are going along with us to find this Grandfather. I appreciate you volunteering," he announced calmly but forcefully.

 

“Hey, what?!” Lorenzo could only splutter at this revolting suggestion.

 

"Sergeant, unshackle our guide here," he ordered, and the veteran NCO promptly complied.

 

“No! Sarge, you leave them ankle chains on, I ain’t going on no God damned trip up the Tongue!” he yelped “Guide?! You don’t need me to find those men, your Scouts’ll show you the way! You’ve got Army Scouts haven’t you? Charley Reynolds? Fred Girard? ‘Mad John’ MacIntosh?” he cried, trying to think of the more famous ones he’d heard of.

 

Run out of Kalispell, after all the work he’d done to get started there with his money-spinning ideas or forced to go on a trek into hostile Indian territory to find that dangerous, Indian-loving maniac de Lancey! Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

 

The Sergeant had removed the shackles: it looked like he was headed for the 'hard place.'

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Needless to say, their sudden volunteer was taken aback by the announcement.

 

"Hey, what?!” 

 

"You heard me," and Benjamin was not about to repeat himself.

 

"No! Sarge, you leave them ankle chains on, I ain’t going on no God damned trip up the Tongue!” Crabbe yelped.

 

He might as well been talking to the moon, the NCO ignored him and kept about his business.

 

“Guide?! You don’t need me to find those men, your Scouts’ll show you the way! You’ve got Army Scouts haven’t you? Charley Reynolds? Fred Girard? ‘Mad John’ MacIntosh?”

 

"What way? You said yourself the man is elusive and is continually on the move. Besides, you know what this Grandfather looks like.  Look at it this way, there just might be some sort of reward for this? And if so, you just might get a share of said reward. Think of it as a business venture," Benjamin explained.

 

And if an appeal to his greed didn't work then there was always this.

 

"Now - quit your whining and buck up like a man. We will supply you with a horse and if you won't sit on him willingly, I will have you tied onto the animal. Just so we're clear," he glared.

 

 

 

 

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"What way? You said yourself the man is elusive and is continually on the move. Besides, you know what this Grandfather looks like.  Look at it this way, there just might be some sort of reward for this? And if so, you just might get a share of said reward. Think of it as a business venture," Benjamin explained.

 

“Bus…? Well, then, it’ll be the worse business venture I ever undertook, and I’ve undertook some shitty ones, I don’t mind telling you!” he grumbled, then an idea struck him. “Oh well, course, if I’m coming with you fellers, I’ll just need to quickly step over to Town to fetch my horse and a slicker and some decent grub for the trip. Oh, and some sort of shooting iron, maybe. Might get hairy out there, you know.” he told the grizzled veteran officer, like he didn’t already know. “You can send this feller with me if you’re worried I’ll high-tail it.” he offered, indicating the less experienced man standing next to the Sarge.

 

"Now - quit your whining and buck up like a man. We will supply you with a horse and if you won't sit on him willingly, I will have you tied onto the animal. Just so we're clear," he glared.

 

“All right Captain” Lorenzo held up the palms of his hands in surrender and acknowledgement that he’d failed to pull the wool over the man’s eyes on that one. “No need to tie me to a nag, them army saddles are painful enough without that added inconvenience.” he said, his butt felt sore just from the thought of it. “Oh well, least the saddle won't be as hard as that Army hard-tack we'll be eating for a week, know what I’m saying fellers?” he chuckled knowingly to the two non-commissioned men.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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"All right Captain” Lorenzo held up the palms of his hands in surrender, “No need to tie me to a nag, them army saddles are painful enough without that added inconvenience.”

 

“Oh well, least the saddle won't be as hard as that Army hard-tack we'll be eating for a week, know what I’m saying fellers?” he chuckled knowingly to the two non-commissioned men.

 

The sergeant smirked but decided not to retort  as the officer might not appreciate him engaging their prisoner in any give and take.

 

Benjamin gave the man a look too, "Well, if you do not wish to eat on our mission, that is fine with me, I won't force you. We will be leaving as soon as I can assemble a detachment."

 

He then turned to the soldier on duty in the gaol, "I was going to suggest you see to it the prisoner eats a breakfast yet before we leave but it seems army food is not suitable for his refined palate."

 

At that point Barlow turned to leave, "Til later, Mr. Crabbe."

 

 

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Benjamin gave the man a look too, "Well, if you do not wish to eat on our mission, that is fine with me, I won't force you. We will be leaving as soon as I can assemble a detachment."

 

"Oh I'll eat all right" Lorenzo quickly assured the officer "'Fact, now I've stopped feeling so sick, I'm pretty ravenous."

 

He then turned to the soldier on duty in the gaol, "I was going to suggest you see to it the prisoner eats a breakfast yet before we leave but it seems army food is not suitable for his refined palate."

 

"Oh, no, that's all right, Cap. I'll practically eat anything that won't kill me. 'Fact, I remember once when I was up..." he began an anecdote, but the Captain wasn't too interested.

 

At that point Barlow turned to leave, "Til later, Mr. Crabbe."

 

Lorenzo gave a fey wave, and returned his farewell "Later, Captain Barlow."

 

Once that stern and immovable object was gone, Lorenzo could try and get to work on the Sergeant and the two troopers...

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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OOC:  Shortly after noon

 

    Once everyone was assembled and mounted, the patrol headed on out from the fort. Riding at the front were Captain Barlow, their reluctant volunteer Crabbe, and the pair of scouts, MacIntosh and Ke-Ni-Tay, followed by thirty-two troopers, about half of Barlow's understrength company. Trailing were six pack mules carrying useful supplies.  Hopefully a large enough command to get the job done but yet small enough to not alarm any Indians they might come upon as being an attempted attack. Such decisions were always tricky but a part of the job.

 

Barlow felt he might as well get the introductions out of the way, "Mr. Crabbe, these two gentlemen are civilian scouts Mr. MacIntosh and Ke Ni-Tay. And this fellow is Lorenzo Crabbe, who has been dragooned into finding this so-called Grandfather. It is my hope we can all work together amiably enough however I am the one responsible for this expedition and all final decisions will be mine to make. That doesn't mean I won't appreciate any input you provide."

 

troopers-on-campaign.jpg  Typical troopers on campaign.

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Barlow felt he might as well get the introductions out of the way, "Mr. Crabbe, these two gentlemen are civilian scouts Mr. MacIntosh and Ke Ni-Tay. And this fellow is Lorenzo Crabbe, who has been dragooned into finding this so-called Grandfather.”

 

Crabbe sat easily atop an ugly, fat bellied pibald mare he had chosen from the Company’s spares: she was all black at the front and all white at the back and was a somewhat queer looking creature to behold. Crabbe himself didn’t look much better, wearing riding boots, a civilian suit and a wide brimmed straw hat which, along with as many tobacco based products as he had in stock, and a good slicker, the civilian had purchased from the Fort’s sutler with the ready cash he had in his money belt.

 

He looked strangely happy as he was introduced to the scouts.

 

“Hell, Cap, the Mr John MacIntosh, the famous Army Scout, needs no introduction to me. How d’ya do, Mr MacIntosh, you probably don’t remember me, but we have met before: I was one of the ‘Would be Sooners’ you chased out the Black Hills with Colonel Potter’s command back in ’72. In fact, I think the last time I saw you, I was on the wrong end of a stock-mounted colt Army you were pointing in the general direction of my head.” He ruffled the mane of his lazy looking horse, who seemed baffled by the whole proceedings “Still, all’s fair in love, war and gold mining, no hard feelings on my part.” He beamed, touching the brim of his hat.

 

As for the Indian, in his smock like shirt, he looked like he hailed from one of the south western tribes.

 

“Well, this feller looks a little off of his range” he grunted before holding up a hand in greeting and, bereft of any knowledge of the native’s language, tried him with a little Spanish, which some Apaches were conversant in.

 

“Urm… buen día, Ke-Ni-Tay. Me llaman demasiados ojos!” which in good old-fashioned English meant Good day, Ke-Ni-Tay, they call me ‘Too Many Eyes’ which was, in fact, what the Indians he had dealings with did call him. He didn’t know at this point that the brave spoke the white man’s tongue.

 

Crabbe looked again at the Captain and indicated the trio of civilians. “Well, what with us three musketeers leading the way, backed up by your little army and those vicious looking mules, I reckon we’re a force to be reckoned with, Cap.”

 

“It is my hope we can all work together amiably enough however I am the one responsible for this expedition and all final decisions will be mine to make. That doesn't mean I won't appreciate any input you provide."

 

Crabbe indicated his compliance by giving another touch of his hat, as his horse trotted along unhappily, eyeing many a tasty looking clump of green grass that she was not allowed to stop and nibble.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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“Hell, Cap, the Mr John MacIntosh, the famous Army Scout, needs no introduction to me. How d’ya do, Mr MacIntosh, you probably don’t remember me, but we have met before: I was one of the ‘Would be Sooners’ you chased out the Black Hills with Colonel Potter’s command back in ’72. In fact, I think the last time I saw you, I was on the wrong end of a stock-mounted colt Army you were pointing in the general direction of my head.” He ruffled the mane of his lazy looking horse, who seemed baffled by the whole proceedings “Still, all’s fair in love, war and gold mining, no hard feelings on my part.” He beamed, touching the brim of his hat.


MacIntosh glared at the man a long moment, he didn’t exactly remember the man, but he remembered the mission and the outcome. The war with the plains Indians still raged in many areas. “Can’t say as I do, but you “Sooners” did your damage. I ‘spose you could say you’re a lucky man then, that you’re brains aren’t in the Black Hills.”


As for the Indian, in his smock like shirt, he looked like he hailed from one of the south western tribes.

 

“Well, this feller looks a little off of his range” he grunted before holding up a hand in greeting and, bereft of any knowledge of the native’s language, tried him with a little Spanish, which some Apaches were conversant in.

 

“Urm… buen día, Ke-Ni-Tay. Me llaman demasiados ojos!” which in good old-fashioned English meant Good day, Ke-Ni-Tay, they call me ‘Too Many Eyes’ which was, in fact, what the Indians he had dealings with did call him. He didn’t know at this point that the brave spoke the white man’s tongue.


The Apache looked at the man speaking with no expression on his brown face, just something in his eyes. Something not pleasant.

 

“Wrong dialect. I speak in your tongue, no need to try to speak in mine.” Ke-Ni-Tay was not quite sure which language the man was using, not that it mattered, he would kill him, if it came to that.

 

Crabbe looked again at the Captain and indicated the trio of civilians. “Well, what with us three musketeers leading the way, backed up by your little army and those vicious looking mules, I reckon we’re a force to be reckoned with, Cap.”

 

“It is my hope we can all work together amiably enough however I am the one responsible for this expedition and all final decisions will be mine to make. That doesn't mean I won't appreciate any input you provide."

 

Crabbe indicated his compliance by giving another touch of his hat, as his horse trotted along unhappily, eyeing many a tasty looking clump of green grass that she was not allowed to stop and nibble.

large.Ke-Ni-Tay-5A.jpg.26ae55d8d1ddf7b359cd82ad925dbbc3.jpg

Edited by Flip (see edit history)

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About Sagas

Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.

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