Pastures New

Mail Cars and Tea Cups

Satisfied that there was not much more to be done prior to their train journey, the group found lodging at the local hotel.

An uneventful night saw them at the train station nice and early where they collected the tickets, paid for by Grainger as promised, and watched the crate loaded into the Mail Car. Entrance to the Mail Car seemingly strictly prohibited by the guards riding within.

The engine began to build a head of steam, whistles blew and doors banged shut, they were on their way. The group’s fellow passengers consisted of a well dressed Englishman, an older woman and young ward, a young mother and infant, and 3 men of no particular note dressed as any other common cowpoke.

Inexplicably driven by an urge for tea, William Fry D’Alembord took it upon himself to exit the passenger car, climb up the Mail car and begin making his way along towards the engine. Shepherd quickly followed warning against this action but the determined D’Alembord pressed on, hot water for his tea had to be obtained. The guards with the Mail car did not share his enthusiasm and, taking exception to an unknown walking across their roof, “offered” him a quick return to the passenger car via the safer route of the Mail car. Despite now being inside the off-limits car, D’Alembord failed to see anything of note.

Back in their seats the monotony of the journey continued. Some dozed off, others took to counting the odd bush that raced passed their window. None managed to spot the horse backed riders until they were well upon the train. Riding alongside with guns in their hands and scarves pulled up around their faces, their intentions were obviously more than just to say “Howdy”. Quique unsheathed his rifle, D’Alembord woke Shepherd, Barnes warned the other passengers, Hogan snored loudly.

Then the shooting began.

The fast firing Mexican’s rifle rang out above all others as shot after shot found its target but he was certainly not alone as all returned fire upon the marauders. All except Ebenezer who, moved into action by a bullet grazing his leg, had dived to the safety of the train floor … to check on the women of course.

Three riders are down but more now ride in their place. Two have moved on past the passengers and are no longer in sight.

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In the Begining
All good things

“What’s that Sonny? You want to hear the tale of how it all began?” the old man said smiling a toothless grin as he rocked back and forth “well, many a story gets started on the floor of a Saloon and so too this one….”

Within the walls of “Grainger’s”, a small saloon in the town of Sweetwater; Texas, a game of poker was playing out. At the table, John Shepherd did not expect to get called a cheat but that is pretty much what James Logan called him that night. Standing to take back all the money he had lost, Logan had not counted on Shepherd not taking too kindly to the insult, nor the fact that four other men in there were also ready to stand up for ‘what is right’.

Despite Logan having a small party of thugs to back him up, Shepherd assisted in no small part by these other yet to be named men, beat down the threat and James Logan was forced to leave the saloon with his tail well and truly between his legs.

Impressed and thankful for the relatively little destruction caused, the owner of the saloon, Bailey Grainger, summoned the men to his office. Somehow a sixth person, who had done all he could to avoid the prior conflict, got caught up in the owners thanks.

Bailey Grainger, thinking the men were already a group working together, offered them a job. To accompany and protect a package that he wishes to send to his brother, Wyatt. They are to travel by train to Odessa, acquire a wagon or coach to transport the cargo to a small village called “Privilegio” (20 miles away), and meet Wyatt Grainger in the center of the village 3 days hence at high noon. They are to be paid a total of $25 each. Half now, half by Wyatt upon completion.

The men agreed and went back to the bar to acquaint themselves with each other.

The already identified John Shepherd spoke first. He is a prospector by trade and clearly capable of taking care of any precious finds he may make, brandishing two revolvers on his side.

Ebenezer Hogan, an ex-confederate army chaplain and surgeon. Now traveling West to spread the good lords word.

The curious Quique Quineros, the sombrero’d Mexican who has travelled here using the rail roads. A bounty hunter. He did not say whether he currently has a target.

Sam Barnes, also an ex-confederate soldier who has been taught to take no nonsense and, during the earlier bar fight, proved to be a proficient pugilist.

Amos Terwilliger, perhaps the most experienced of the group for the task they have been charged with. He has made his living for many years as a Wagoner and this job is right up his street.

And then there was William Fry D’Alembord. This Englishman had avoided the bar fight and seemed hesitant to join on for Grainger’s job, something changing his mind at the last moment. Perhaps not too surprising, the West is no place for a biologist from London.

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