Mickey, Washakie and Little Voice had dragged Billy through the night. He was mostly limp, but the occasional groan let them know he was alive. The bleeding had stopped, but Mickey wasn’t sure if that was a good sign or not. He wasn’t a doctor. He reckoned, on balance, it was probably better than if he were still bleeding. Mickey hadn’t been paying attention to their destination. The Shoshone seemed to know where they were going.
At first light he got a sense of where they were. These were the foothills of the Buther Mountains. Little Voice led the way, leaving Mickey and Washakie to to carry Billy. The sun was still low in the sky when they came upon a small prospecting settlement. It was made up of a few permanent structures a small number of tents. They passed a weathered, hand scrawled sign that read “Camp Hopeful”. Mickey didn’t feel too hopeful. This camp seemed to have seen more prosperous days. Little Voice seemed to know exactly where he was going and made a straight line for a decrepit hut. He knocked and let himself in.
Groans and the sounds of disgruntlement came from the shack and a bleary-eyed man stumbled from within, Little Voice at his back pushing him towards Billy and his helpers. “Dammit Curly! I was sleepin’… last night was, well, a rough”, growled the disheveled man. Mickey glanced at Washakie, but the other Shoshone was his usual impassive self. Little Voice pushed the man again and he came over to Billy. “What have we got here?”, he mumbled to himself while leaning down to Billy. Mickey could smell the rough night off of him. “He’s a mess”, the man shouted over his shoulder, “but I owe you so I’ll do what I can.”
Billy’s recovery had been slow. Mickey helped out in the camp where he could, menial jobs here and there. No money exchanged hands, but he was fed and lean too was constructed on the side of the salubriously named ‘General Store’ for him to sleep in. Washakie and Little Voice disappeared for days on end, always returning with a collection of game to trade. This went on for months and the Summer turned to Fall. Billy became stronger and began to take on some small jobs himself. Soon they were plotting revenge on the Thompsons. Billy wanted to go after them, but Mickey said they need to wait for his strength to return fully.
Mickey awoke with a start. “Was that a shotgun blast?”, he murmured as he fumbled for his pants and his Colt .45. It was still dark outside and he heard shouts. Some were those of alarm, but some were something else. Men shouting back and forth, organising what they were doing. “Shaw? Shaw… git round back”, yelled a voice from across the camp. Mickey could feel the colour drain from his face. It was Hogan, the eldest Thompson, and they’d brought those damned shotguns. Mickey gathered what he needed and skid addled to where Billy had been sleeping.
They moved warily, backing out of the camp, jumping at every sound. They nearly shot the Shoshone when they appeared. A shadow darted across the back of the store and Mickey loosed a shot, no idea if he’d hit anything. Another shotgun blast rang out. It was too distant to hit anything, but Mickey got the sense they were being herded.
“Git ‘em”, came the yell and two of the Thompsons barrelled towards the gang. The ‘lawmen’ were disciplined, holding fire with their shotguns as they approached. Billy, Little Voice, Mickey and Washakie all took shots, but they all went wide. Time seemed to slow as the lawmen continued their run. Hogan ranged in first and let go with both barrels. Little Voice and Mickey went down and Hogan leapt back behind cover before the others could retaliate. Washakie ran after him, clipping the lawman in the shoulder causing him to stumble to the ground. Washakie levelled the Colt .45 at him, but the mechanics jammed. Another shotgun blast spooked the Shoshone and ran back to his friends. Billy had started to help Mickey flee and Washakie picked up Little Voice.
This was starting to be a habit.
This was another fun game. We were justifiably wary of the shotguns and it led to our characters retreating into open space in the hopes of avoiding them, but a Legend with a shotgun is a serious threat. All four of our characters ‘Bonanzaed’ (Bonanza is an interrupt rule), but we failed to hit the lawman rushing in on us. The ensuing shotgun blasts were seriously damaging.
Hogan, the legend, retreated to reload and was pursued by one of my guys, who winged him, but then failed a point blank shot while Hogan was lying prone and injured on the ground!
Until next time,