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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  GENERAL TOPICS  |  Saddlebag Tales (Moderators: Marshal'ette Halloway, Lucky Irish Tom)  |  Topic: The Last Patrol 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: The Last Patrol  (Read 122859 times)
Elegant Ella
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« Reply #625 on: December 10, 2007, 10:42:28 pm »

"Major William Martin must have been 40 years old by the time I got to the hospital tents. He was a widower when he joined - I heard that his wife had died in childbirth. He had left an established practice in Maine to join the Union Medical Corps as a full surgeon. I was a nuisance to him, asking too many questions that let him know I disagreed with his instructions on wound care. It didn't help that Dr. Alan supported my viewpoint, just confirmed that he was a whipper-snapper who was too full of book-learning to know any real medicine. He and I did reach a truce - I stopped questioning his instructions and he stopped trying to force me to follow them exactly," replied Ella. "I am surprised that he stayed with the Army after the War was over. But maybe with his wife dead, he didn't want to go back to Maine."
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Elegant Ella
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« Reply #626 on: December 11, 2007, 09:58:30 am »

Bo whistled softly as he passed Ella and Scarlet being escorted to the officers mess by Fritz.

“You ladies will no doubt get the officer’s attention.” He said with a wink.

Scarlet stepped over to Bo, cupped her hands over his ear and whispered something only he could hear. Bo doubled over in laughter as Scarlet stepped back and flashed him a most wicked grin, her eyes danced with mischief.

He stopped laughing long enough to say. “Fritz, may the Good Lord look out for your soul because you have dropped your lasso around the devil herself.” 

Scarlet put her finger to her lips “shhh” she said, her eyes still dancing.

Bo began to laugh again.

Scarlet took Fritz's arm again and they continued towards the officers mess.

"It will be interesting to hear Major Martin's oppinions now. Considering what you said about him earlier." She remarked.

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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #627 on: December 11, 2007, 11:27:40 am »

"Based on what he said in the infirmary when I looked in at Diaz, he has kept up with recent advances in medical science, and found out that Dr. Alan and I were a bit ahead of the field," replied Ella. "That reminds me, do you remember Spanish Ben, who cut up a couple women in Galveston and in Houston?"

Scarlet and Fritz both nodded.

"He's currently in the infirmary under the name of Reuben Diaz. He doesn't need to stay there as long as he is given a soft diet, so we can arrest him tomorrow and add him to the collection in the stockade. I'm keeping Patches busy, wiring around to find lawmen willing to come up here and claim these guys. She already has people coming from Omaha for Harper and Johnson. She might have information on a couple more of Dick's gang by tomorrow. I didn't recognize any of the others, but that could just be because they are robbers, and I also paid most attention to the ones who prey on women."
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« Reply #628 on: December 11, 2007, 02:39:57 pm »

“I have tired to avoid Dick’s camp, but a couple of them look familiar. I’ve been searching my mind going back before becoming a deputy. The one they are calling a drunk that rode today with Smith today. I didn’t get a real close look at him but there’s something there. Something I’m missing. I keep picturing him clean shaven, a man proud of who he is.” Scarlet looked off into the distance as if she was trying to see into the past. “Maybe if I got a closer look at him or he just reminds me of someone.” Her eyes narrowed for a split second.

“What is it?” Ella asked knowing Scarlet had just thought of something.

“Something is telling me to watch out for him.” She shook her head. “It’s going to haunt me until I remember it.”

“Maybe he has been to the Ace?” Ella offered.

“Maybe, I just keep seeing a clean cut man, with eyes that sized up others easily, brown with flecks of green.” Scarlet shook the chill that danced down her spine. The face was coming clearer, no name, just the feeling to avoid him.

“Perhaps when Patches replies it will help jog your memory.” Ella replied.

“If it doesn’t, like I said we just might have to go introduce ourselves.”
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #629 on: December 11, 2007, 02:59:10 pm »

Archie sat on his bunk, this time enjoying the swallow of the warm liquid out of the flask. Life was about to get more interesting. He’d not recognized her until today, seeing her on the big bay horse. What was she doing here? A smile came to his lips, she looked good though. A man never expected something that looked so sweet could be so deadly.

Watching her today told him she was still a fighter. If Smith wanted to take her on she would go down fighting, till one of them drew a final breath. He knew a lot of folk that had reputations, good and bad. What he knew of the woman the outlaws called Scarlet Angel was based on things he’d seen with his own eyes. She never whored that he knew of, but she knew how to make a man believe he was going to get lucky with one just before she gutted him. He’d seen one of the heads of the outlaws folks talked about too. The woman he remembered had walked a very thin line as far as the law had been concerned, you never knew which side she was going to be on when you passed her on the street.  Archie prayed she didn’t remember him. It wouldn’t be good for him here and now. Maybe if he knew why she was here it would ease his mind. He could ask around, but that might get him into trouble he didn’t want.

It was easier to find out about the other woman, Ella Coatsworth. Since she had put Drew behind bars she was the talk if Dick’s camp. They said she was some kind of medic working for the Marshal out of El Paso. He didn’t recognize the Marshal that was here. Maybe Scarlet was working with the law this time, which may cost him his life if she recognized him.
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #630 on: December 13, 2007, 01:50:14 pm »

Major Martin was waiting for them at the door. He offered his arm to Ella to escort her into the dining room, and led his guests to the table for four in the center of the room.  It seemed they were slated to be the evening entertainment.

All three of the deputies would have been happier with a table in the corner where they could have walls at their backs, but guests shouldn't complain unnecessarily. They took their places, Ella to the Major's right, Scarlet to his left and Fritz opposite him.  Ella was wearing the same jacket and skirt she had worn all day, but she had changed to a waist with a bit of ruffle at the neck. 

Everyone stayed standing behind their chairs until a blessing had been said.  Then servers started bringing out a first course of french onion soup. The room was soon quiet except for eating noises. The soup was very good, and followed by roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and boiled carrots. Ella mentally compared the fare to what the enlisted men got, but reminded herself that during the War, officers had to pay for their meals, while the Army provided meals to the enlisted men. 

Ella passed on the dessert of dried apricot pie, sure that the pie crust was based on lard. Major Martin said, "At the beginning of the War, I thought it would be an opportunity to evaluate different protocols for wound care. But the sheer numbers of patients made that impossible. We were so short of staff at the beginning of the War! I could barely keep track of the patients I was responsible for, and had no hope of tracking any others. Once there was enough staffing, I did try again to run my evaluation. Then I ran into you!"

Ella responded, "Is that why you wanted me to tend wounds in those strange ways? All I knew was that you didn't like me questioning your instructions." 

"Yes. I had observed that specific nurses seemed to make more difference than the doctors. Patients under the care of you or your aunt survived more often than less seriously wounded patients under the care of walking wounded. It seemed that any patient in the care of you or your aunt who survived the first three days after injury survived. So I wanted to give all the theories the fairest test possible by having the best nurses apply them."

"I'm sorry I interfered with your research, but the first few techniques you wanted me to use had been tried and rejected by my grandmother. I wasn't willing to endanger patients by using those."

"Maybe I should have explained myself and been willing to listen to a snippity girl-child. It was a surprise to me that those in power sent you to the Point Lookout prison camp." 

"The prisoners needed medical care, too. There were some non-medical issues involved. I was growing up, and one of the doctors tried wooing me. I wasn't interested, but he persisted. The authorities responded to my complaints by telling me to go home if I couldn't stop being a flirt. My aunt and uncle were in a different hospital and Dr. Alan had been sent to Point Lookout. So I requested a transfer there."

"Interesting. But what I was more curious to hear about is how did you women come to be deputy marshals?"

"Scarlet should answer that, since she was the first female deputy marshal I know of."
 
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« Reply #631 on: December 14, 2007, 12:48:50 am »

Major Martin looked curiously at Scarlet.

“I was a rather successful bounty hunter.” Scarlet began wondering which parts to gloss over. “El Paso was where I took most of the outlaws back to. Marshal Hart got to see my work first hand and often. I preferred to go after the men wanted dead or alive. I guess I impressed him. He had offered me the job more than once.”

“Why after turning it down did you finally accept?” Major Martin asked.

Scarlet leaned against the back of the chair. “Mary Ann Mallard.”  She hadn’t thought of that for some time. Ella had delivered two children for her since arriving in El Paso.

Ella raised an eyebrow. “Mary Ann, wife of Steven Mallard?” She asked leaning forward.

“Yes, Mary Ann was violated and beaten. Her husband wanted to make sure the men were brought back to justice and asked me to ride with the Marshal.”
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #632 on: December 14, 2007, 12:46:15 pm »

Houston, Texas

Deputy Marshal Ambrose Hayes reported to Marshal Luther Thompson's office as ordered.

"Have a seat, Brose. We might have a problem with the Perry White case. I got a wire from the El Paso office just now asking for current information on Perry White aka Perry Smith."

"Any idea why? I thought Archie was on the case."

"No idea. I had a wire from them earlier today reporting that Reuben Diaz was in custody at Fort Fetterman and asking us to send someone to collect him."

"Spanish Ben in custody is good news. But I thought all White's old wanted posters had mouldered away by now. Can't you just reply that White's in prison or dead?"

"Not with the El Paso office. They have a reputation for curiosity and tenacity, and a history that makes them unwilling to believe any outlaw is dead or imprisoned until they collect three independent reports or see it for themselves. By the way, the wire I got from them yesterday said that the last survivor of Firehouse Charlie's gang is Jimmy Washington who is also in custody at Fort Fetterman and asked if we wanted to collect him."

"Busy people! But them wiring around looking for information on White could blow our investigation to smithereens! Five years work lost if one word reaches the wrong ears!"

"That's why I replied to the wire that they should do nothing until the additional information I am sending them arrives."

"What are you sending them?"

"You. You are authorized to use your own discretion to answer any questions they have. It might be helpful that you are known as a ladies man, since half of the deputies there are women."

"Oh, it's THAT office. I have been curious to meet that Petticoat Posse."
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« Reply #633 on: December 19, 2007, 08:45:42 pm »

"Steven Mallard must be an unusual man," commented Ella. "I've seen too many rape victims blamed by their husbands and rejected, sometimes divorced and sometimes driven to suicide. But Mary Ann and Steven seem to be well satisfied with each other."
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« Reply #634 on: December 20, 2007, 12:11:11 am »

“The Steven Mallard you know is a good man. A much better person than he was when she married him.” replied Scarlet. “When they came to town that day someone stood up to Mr. Mallard told him he was a bully and a few other choice things.  Maybe he realized Mary Ann was a good person. Not just an object. When we brought back Mary Ann’s attackers there was talk in the saloons, bets on if Mr. Mallard would send Mary Ann away, or send her to work in the Pink Palace.”

“Pink Palace the cheapest establishment in town,” Ella said to Major Martin.

“Mary Ann is the type of person that would go cold and hungry to feed others before herself, spent a lot of time doing good deeds. She could have had a job any place if she’d needed it. But folks figured it would be the Pink Palace Steven would send her to because after what happened those would be the only kind of men he would think she would be fit for.  I figured he was waiting to see just how hard she fought. I remember the look on his face when he came to see the men. She put up some fight. One of the saddle tramps lost his eye over it; others looked like they had stuck their heads and arms into a sack o’ wild cats. I understand he spoke to Marshal Hart and my father a few times.  Mr. Mallard started treating Mary Ann with more kindness after that. Maybe he stopped thinking of her as a possession and more of a partner.”
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #635 on: December 20, 2007, 03:15:43 pm »

"I'm suspecting that the someone who stood up to Mr. Mallard to tell him a few choice things is sitting at this table," commented Ella drily. "Did you also need to give him a taste of being helpless against someone stronger than him?"
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Elegant Ella
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« Reply #636 on: December 20, 2007, 09:04:37 pm »

Fritz hadn’t said much as Scarlet and Ella talked.  He was sure the officers were enchanted in the presence of these ladies.  They were attractive, yes, but consummate professionals as well.  Fritz smiled, knowing that he had the honor of working with them, and the privilege of being married to Scarlet.

He then looked at the other men around the table.  These were, for the most part, his peers…men who, like himself, had grown gray in war.  “If it were only as simple as this,” Fritz mused.  But he knew it wasn’t simple.  There was politics involved.  He hated politics, and much preferred the life of a soldier on campaign.  He also knew that this war, like all the other wars would end.  Those that survived would attempt to survive the drawdown of the military which had served and protected their nation so well.

Of those seated around him, there were scant few that he trusted.  He looked to Major Schurmann.  Bill was starting to look old and tired.  Years in the saddle had taken their toll.  He didn’t know General Crook well.  He seemed like a kindred spirit; a man who would shoot straight and tell the truth.

"Hey...are you alright?"

Scarlet looked in his eyes.  She was holding his hand.

"Yeah," Fritz replied, patting her hand.  "I'm fine."

"You sure?  You look like you're a thousand miles away."

"Just thinking about the fight...it's coming soon.  I can feel it."
                 
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Elegant Ella
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« Reply #637 on: December 27, 2007, 03:57:19 pm »

"I started having doubts about being a deputy while we were working in Tucson, so when we came to El Paso with Scarlet to celebrate New Year's, I brought everything with me so that I had the option of finding other work instead of returning," said Ella.

"What caused your doubts?" asked Major Martin.

"The Marshal there expected me to be as hard as any of the men working for him if I wasn't decorative like Fannie and Allie. Scarlet and Patches both had experience of working in a man's job, but I did not. He just did not respect me as a healer," Ella took a sip of wine, then continued, "I seriously started thinking about leaving his employ when I slapped his face when he came back after faking his own death. A couple members of the posse were in on the plan. I objected to him putting everyone through needless grief, because he didn't think anyone else in the posse needed to know ahead of time. Some of the posse thought I was unreasonable. Fritz and Patches agreed with me, though."
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« Reply #638 on: December 28, 2007, 12:46:18 am »

Scarlet smiled understandingly at Fritz as she squeezed his hand again.

 She understood his feelings because she had the same ones. Grey Eagle had told her Fritz possessed the senses of a warrior when he had first met Fritz. He had also said Ella possessed the sense of where her powers of healing would be needed.  In the time she’d known Grey Eagle his statements had held true. He had told her of the visions of the elders before she left El Paso, those combined with the feeling of the oncoming fight had her worried.

She hadn’t missed Ella’s comment about Steven Mallard, but if it was a road if Ella wanted to explore it was best done between the two of them. Scarlet didn’t like airing other folk’s dirty laundry.

Major Martin’s question brought her attention back to the conversation. “Were you having doubts about being a deputy, like Mrs. Coatsworth?”

“Riding with Marshal Ross and his deputies has been the first time I have not had doubts about being a deputy put near every morning I wake up.”

The honest answer seemed to surprise Major Martin. “Why?”

“He’s straight with us. Good or bad if he doesn’t approve he tells you why and listens to your reasons. Ella and I are here because we are good at what we do and he trusts that, women or not. We all have different views at times but we work it out.”
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #639 on: December 28, 2007, 02:05:27 pm »

"The first time we worked with Marshal Ross, chasing down robbers who had murdered Marshal Hart, he needed someone to take the horses out of the way while the rest of the posse waited in ambush. He assigned me," said Ella. "The Marshal in Tucson would have sent Patches and insisted that I be part of the ambush, more to test our obedience than because it would have made any sense. Patches and Scarlet are both better with horses than I am, but not by much. They are both much better shots. I hit my targets, but I'm slower."
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« Reply #640 on: December 30, 2007, 12:15:15 am »

The evening drew to a close with another hour of Scarlet and Ella telling tales of their exploits as deputies, with some contributions from Fritz.

As people started to leave, Major Martin asked one more question, "How long do you think you are going to continue to be a Deputy?"

Ella sighed and answered, "I'm really going to miss the excitement of it, but I anticipate resigning by the end of the year."

"Why?" he asked.

"Once Dr. Coatsworth joins me in El Paso this autumn, I should be busy helping with his practice. It's hard to imagine him joining the posse, when he is much more comfortable in a carriage than in a saddle, and may never have fired a gun. And the area around El Paso needs him as a doctor."
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« Reply #641 on: January 01, 2008, 09:27:19 pm »

Bo was waiting for Ella outside the dining room, with Chris and Samuel. On the way to the scout camp, Bo asked Ella, "Are you ready to go fishing again?"

"I'm ready for fish to eat, but Patches is supposed to send me more information tomorrow at noon, and I've arranged to bring lunch to the telegraph operator. Maybe we can go fishing on Monday? I can tell Patches and John that I'll bring his supper instead."

"He's going to let you use the key even if you don't feed him, you know."

"I know, but he doesn't seem to get much company. He can't go out easily, and I think he's lonely."

Samuel spoke up, "We were going to take supper to your prisoners like you asked, but Perry Smith and his buddies offered, so we let them carry, and went up there with them. The guard was nervous to have so many scouts in there, so only Perry and Chris went into the stockade."

Chris picked up the tale, "Drew asked Perry how long Richard was going to leave them there. Perry got to answer that Richard is now second to Cyrus, who reports to Captain King. Owen wilted a little bit at that. Actually, Owen seemed a little droopy all along, and wasn't very hungry."

"They probably still thought they were only in two whiskey bottles worth of trouble, but the rumors linking me to Fritz are going to make them worry that a complaint of attempted rape will be taken seriously. I haven't told Drew and Owen that they've been arrested by the US Marshals Service yet and that a posse is coming from Omaha to take them to trial. I don't want that word to spread until I've locked up all the wanted men that Patches identifies for me, or Richard's crew will lose some men to desertion," replied Ella.

It was late enough that Ella wanted to head straight for her bedroll. She could go get her sewing in the morning.
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« Reply #642 on: January 02, 2008, 12:23:47 am »

Blackbeard caught up to Scarlet and Fritz as they left mess hall. As he stepped up behind Scarlet Black beard started to whistle very softly. She felt Fritz stiffen slightly next to her.

Scarlet stopped and looked at Blackbeard. “You sure whistle Dixie well for a Yankee, and I thought Bo was a good keeper of secrets.”

Black beard grinned removing his hat. “You may find an entire group of scouts whistling that next time you come through camp. It was just too good of a joke not to share.”

By now he noticed Fritz had relaxed but was looking at him questioningly.

“I would not suggest it inside the walls of the fort.” Scarlet half smiled.

“Seems there is a rumor going around if your wife cannot get an officer’s attention with her charm or beauty she will just whistle Dixie Sir.” Blackbeard said to Fritz.

Fritz looked Scarlet up and down. “Some how I highly doubt it is just a rumor.”

Scarlet grinned seeing the smile in his eyes.

Blackbeard laughed then said “That fella, Archie, from Dick’s camp came round earlier. He was asking questions about you and Ella. They all ask about you ladies, but there was something different about this one.”

“Different how?” Scarlet asked.

“He asked the normal questions, what yer doing here, are women really going to ride with us. What qualifies ya. Strange one was did we know anything about your past. It might have been the tone he used and he was hanging around me, Frank and Teddy. I got the impression he was avoiding Bo.”

“Is he a threat?” Fritz asked.

“Not right now.” Black beard replied.

“Something tells me he has some new friends to keep an eye on him.” Scarlet said.

“I thought you ought to know.”

“Thank you. Next time he starts askin’ tell him to come see me directly.”

“I’ll let ‘im know.” Black beard said putting his hat back on. “Have a good evening.” He turned and started back towards the scout’s camp as he started to sing. “There’s a yellow rose in Texas…”

“Tell them not to spook the soldiers on guard.”  Scarlet called after him.
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #643 on: January 03, 2008, 04:29:41 pm »

Ella woke up and listened before she opened her eyes. Bo was a quiet sleeper, but he was close enough to hear. Chris and Samuel were noisier, both with distinctive snores. Chris and Samuel hadn't been the other occupants of the four-man tent with Tensleep and Bo on Friday night, but the scouts had done some rearranging during Saturday.

Her bedroll wasn't as comfortable as the bed had been, but she had slept better. She slipped out of the bedroll and pulled on her boots and jacket. She tried to be quiet, but all three of the others woke up. Samuel got up to escort her to the latrine, to the ladies latrine that the scouts had constructed yesterday, with canvas walls for privacy.

Bo met her at the cook fire and took a cup of coffee. "What's your schedule for today, Ella?"

"Breakfast for me, breakfast and bandages for my prisoners, then fetch my sewing to work on until lunch with the telegraph operator. Patches ought to have some answers for me on the list of questions I sent her yesterday."

By the time the pot of oatmeal for the prisoners was cooked, Samuel and Chris were ready to go with her.

Owen was slow to get out of his bunk and feverish. His wound was inflamed. Ella stifled a sense of guilt about the overnight delay before she had cleaned and treated it. Jimmy's wound was healing well, hardly needing to be bandaged anymore.

"We need to take Owen to the infirmary. It's too hard to do what his wound needs in here." She handcuffed him, and Chris took him out of the cell. Ella set out breakfast for the other two on a small table. 

Drew behaved, in the face of Samuel and Chris glaring at him every time he moved. There had to be a way to talk her out of having Captain King keep him locked up, but he hadn't thought of anything to say yet. Jimmy Washington sure hadn't had any useful suggestions. The guard locked the door again and she took Owen to the infirmary.

"Good morning, Major Martin. Thank you for dinner last night. May I use your operating room for my patient this morning?"

"Please, call me Will, Mrs. Coatsworth. Yes, of course you may. May I observe your work?"

"You have to call me Ella if I'm to call you Will," replied Ella with a little flirtation in her voice. "I'm honored by your interest."

Chris and Samuel removed Owen's boots and peeled his trousers off, then put him on the table.

"Tell me what we have here," instructed Will after Ella removed the bandage to expose the wound.

"A small-caliber gunshot wound, bleeding staunched with a bandana, left uncleaned for 8 hours. Cleaned and poulticed 24 hours ago."

"How do you know it was a small-caliber?" Will was frankly curious.

Ella replied, "I shot him with a 38 pistol. Didn't you hear the commotion in the officers quarters building on Friday night?"

"No, I have a room here. I did hear that you shot at two men who tried to break into your room. So this is the one you aimed at first."

Ella was expecting more questions, but Will didn't ask them. Maybe he understood about treating the wounds she inflicted.

Owen was knocked out with chloroform while Ella and Will practiced their craft and shared their knowledge. Samuel and Chris watched with varying degrees of interest.

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« Reply #644 on: January 06, 2008, 12:57:00 am »

Scarlet quietly dressed although she knew he was listening to her movements in the tent. She was not surprised when she turned and saw him watching. Scarlet purposely took Fritz’s vest and slid it on.

His grin widened. “You won’t be leaving the tent in that again.”

“I kinda figured it was a good way to get attention. I’m not very good at whistling.” Her eyes held a mischievous fire as they danced.

“You won’t ever have to whistle to get my attention Milady.” He said getting up and taking her into his arms.

Scarlet gave him the kind of kiss he would think about all day before she stepped back slid off his vest, handed it to him with a smile that told him she loved him, then replaced it with her own before going out the tent flap.

“Good morning Billy.” She said with a friendly smile.

“Good morning Mrs. King.” He replied. “May I get you a cup of coffee?”

“Thank you.” She said as he poured a cup. “Please it’s still Scarlet.”

“But you’re.”

“The same woman that you rode from Fort Laramie with.” She said sternly.

“Yes ma’am.”

Scarlet shook her head with a smile. “Will you join me?” She said pouring a cup in turn for him.

He looked surprised.

Scarlet looked questioningly in the cup then up at Billy. “Ain’t poison is it?”

“Oh no ma’am. It’s just that…well you are the Captain’s wife.”

“So?” Scarlet asked raising an eyebrow.

“Shouldn’t be bothering you and I should be back at my post.”

“Who says you are bothering me?” Scarlet asked handing him the cup and walking back in front of the tent. “There we are back at your post.”

Private Glass looked nervously at the tent.

“What is it?”

“Would the Captain approve?”

“Of a cup of coffee?” She said surprised.

“Yes ma’am.”

“Well I’m fully dressed, I’m not whistling, and I’ve shared coffee with men with a lot more questionable backgrounds they you.”

Scarlet heard a soft chuckle from inside the tent.

“If anybody will get into trouble it will be me for distracting you from your duties.”

Billy smiled. “No ma’am.”

“Besides I wondered if it was quiet last night.” She said sipping her coffee.

“It was quiet.” Billy said taking a sip from his own cup. His lips slowly spread into a smile.

“Anything or anyone out of place?”

“Blackbeard is very quiet for a big man. I almost missed him, but he came to close to the tent. Seems your friends are wandering around over here now too. Maybe they think we cannot do our job watching out for you.”

“I hope you don’t truly think that. How many turns has Teddy taken round when you were sleeping, watchin’ out for you. Didn’t matter who was on watch.”

Billy’s smile turned to one of understanding. “I see your point. He was by last night too. Lookin’ in on both of us I suspect.” 

Scarlet smiled in agreement. “Anybody else wandering around?”

“No, Teddy told me to keep a close watch out, but I didn’t see anybody else who didn’t belong.”

“Thank you Billy.” Scarlet said finishing her cup.

“You’re welcome Scarlet.” He replied.
Logged

"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #645 on: January 06, 2008, 05:01:51 pm »

Will and Ella let Owen wake up from the chloroform once they were ready to bandage his leg again. After it was clear that the chloroform wasn't going to make him sick to his stomach, thanks to his lack of appetite for dinner and no breakfast, Samuel and Chris carried him to one of the beds.

"I need to get the key to Reuben's shackles from Cyrus before moving him into the stockade. Is this afternoon soon enough for you to get rid of him?"

"That will be fine, replied Will.

"I think I have to abandon my prejudices about Army doctors, since the last two I've met don't fit it."

"What were your prejudices? And who was the other counter-example you met?"

"That Army doctors would ignore me or order me around, and that they are too quick to amputate. I met the new doctor at Fort Bliss a couple years ago."

"Greg Griffin, from Yale Medical School?"

"You know him?"

"I taught a class on battlefield medicine at Yale about 5 five years ago. Greg was one of the few students with the imagination to understand the problem of triage." Will stopped and looked at Ella again before asking, "Did you have anything to do with a couple patrols shot to pieces? Greg wrote me about the battlefield medicine and aftercare practiced by the local marshal's medic, but he didn't mention the medic's name, or gender."

Ella blushed, "He did seem a little impressed."

"He was also impressed with the training you gave two of the wounded troopers."

Ella shrugged, "I needed more hands to deal with the load of patients, so the lightly wounded got put to work. The soldiers were more comfortable with being tended by one of their own than by the ranch hands."

"If you are really going to ride out on the campaign, I would like you to attend the planning meetings of the medical crew. Don't abandon your prejudices too soon, but you have had more practical experience than most of the others at the meetings."

"Maybe I can sit quiet and listen, and tell you my suggestions afterwards? They might just reject anything I suggest."

"All right. Their attitudes still need to be adjusted, but there isn't time to do that and plan for the campaign both."

Ella left with Samuel and Chris. There was time to collect her sewing project and take it to the scouts camp, but no time to work on it before taking lunch to the prisoners and eating lunch with the telegraph operator.

Perry and Archie came up while she was collecting the lunches. "Can we help?" asked Archie, who seemed almost sober.

Ella didn't see any reason to prevent them from delivering lunch to Drew and Jimmy, and it would make her day easier. "Sure, you can take lunch to the prisoners in the stockade. Take enough for yourselves as well, and visit over your meal, if you like."

They took food and left. Ella and Bo took lunch for three to the telegraph office. They had finished eating and were just chatting when the key started. John recognized Patches's code, and waved Ella over to the key. Ella acknowledged, and asked for one of the standard marshal codes.

After writing down the information that Patches sent, Ella sent back a litle chatter, about the doctor and dinner with the officers last night and that she expected more invitations.

Ella signed off and turned to see John looking at the pad where he had recorded what he had heard on the key.

"Trying to break our code, are you?" Ella asked, lightly.

John looked a little embarrassed and answered, "It gets boring in here sometimes."

"This one is an easy code, and the message was long enough. There wasn't anything terribly sensitive in the messages, either."

"I'll work on it, and you can tell me tomorrow whether I got it right."

"Tomorrow, I can't come at lunchtime. May I bring supper instead?"

"Any meal you bring will be great."

"Tomorrow evening, then."

Ella and Bo returned to the scout camp. Ella went to talk to Cyrus. "Cyrus, I need to talk to Orville Torres in your hearing, but otherwise privately."






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« Reply #646 on: January 07, 2008, 12:49:16 am »

Cyrus figured Ella didn’t make any requests without good reason. He motioned for one of his men to come over. “Tell Orville Torres to meet me in my tent.” He said.

“What will you be discussing with Orville and will I need additional men there to drag him away?” He asked as they walked towards his tent.
Logged

"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #647 on: January 07, 2008, 12:50:12 am »

Drew and Perry exchanged jokes about what they could do with Ella quietly enough the guard could not hear.

“You were awful quiet in there.” Perry said to Archie when they left the stockade.

“I think you need to leave those women alone.” Archie replied.

“Have another drink, yer no fun when you start to sober up. Sides when did you start going soft on me?”

“Member I told you I recognized the blonde from somewhere?”

Perry snickered thinking of the cat houses they’d visited.

Archie grabbed him by the arm. Perry glared at him.

“Member I tol’ you I rode with Apache Jack and he was gutted by a bounty hunter?”

“Yep.”

Archie pointed in Scarlet’s direction.

“Why didn’t she kill you too?” Perry raised an eyebrow. “Jack was good, if she was good enough to take him you wouldn’t have been much of a challenge.”

“I ain’t worth much.”

“Well now let’s go see if she thinks ya might be now.” Perry said heading her direction.

“Damn.” Archie cursed under his breath. He had hoped by telling Perry she was not an easy target he would give up on trying anything with Scarlet or Ella, even avoid them because they were connected with the law. Scarlet was a good actress and a better tracker. He hoped if she remembered him this wouldn’t get him killed.

Scarlet saw them coming towards her, she also noticed Frank and Black beard were hot on their trail so she wasn’t as concerned as she might have been.

“You must like horses more than you like men.” Perry said watching her brush the buckskin horse that belonged to Captain King.

“What do you want?” She said looking over Strider’s back. Archie was close enough now she was sure it was the man she had crossed paths with once or twice. He looked like hell warmed over compared to the man she remembered. “What was he doing here?” She wondered.

“My friend here says you know him.” Perry said.
This time Scarlet locked gazes with Archie. She wasn’t sure of the game. “So? I know a lot of people.”

Perry could tell she was unimpressed with their presence. “He says you are the one killed Apache Jack.”

Scarlet eyed Perry this time. “So? I’ve killed a lot of people.”

Perry started to open his mouth again but Scarlet cut him off as she came around Strider.

“Speaking of killing Perry. I suggest you and Archie don’t try what your friends did. Ella didn’t miss. She’s a good shot. What I did to Jack will be nothing compared to what I’ll do to you you try something like that.” Scarlet growled.

Perry took a step back. He could tell he’d found the bad temper he’d heard about.
“How come you didn’t kill the men that rode with Jack too?”

“Jack’s men weren’t worth the trouble. They weren’t loyal enough to hunt me down for his death either.”

Perry looked at Archie “I hope yer more loyal to me than you were to Jack.”

Scarlet knew all the men that had ridden with Jack had died years ago. Obviously Archie was working from someone else’s reputation. She eyed Archie again. “Same goes for you as for Smith there. Try anything funny I’ll gut you like I did Jack. You come to avenge his death I’m willing to oblige you.” She said.

“Maybe if you were after Perry but I was nothing to Jack. You probably did me a favor. I’d prefer to just live and let live. I’m still not wanted dead or alive.”

Perry looked over his shoulder. Frank and Black beard had decided to come to close for his comfort. “Come on, let’s go.” He said to Archie then turned to Scarlet. “You have a nice day bounty hunter.”

Archie turned knowing Scarlet was still watching him with interest. “That Marshal that hunted you and Jack died some years back.”

“Those charges were cleared he would have been disappointed by all his trouble.” She replied.

Archie touched the brim of his hat then followed after Perry.

Scarlet watched Archie take the flask from his coat pocket. “Where’s Ella?” She asked the two men that had come to stand beside her.
Logged

"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

Elegant Ella
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« Reply #648 on: January 07, 2008, 06:55:10 am »

"A little bit of history, that's all," replied Ella. "I won't be arresting him, so you shouldn't need anybody to drag him away."
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« Reply #649 on: January 07, 2008, 09:55:07 am »

Cyrus looked at her. "Something in your voice tells me it's gonna be the kind of history a man don't like dreged up." He said with a wink. "I can see you as a little girl reading those detective stories."

Ella could hear a slight cast of humor in Cyrus' voice.

Logged

"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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