George H. Lafferty
I walked out the front door onto the veranda, which runs completely
around my house, in time to sit in the large wicker lounge chair and drink
my coffee while watching the double sunrise. While it is true the second
sun of Procyon is very small from here on Tango III, it still makes for
a spectacular sunrise. It is hard to describe the shades of dual shadows
to one who has never seen them, especially since the sinuous ripple trees
are found only on Tango III. Ripple trees run to about twenty-five to thirty
feet in height with trunks only about four to six inches in diameter. These
trees are immensely strong and only a true hurricane has been able to snap
one now and then. They are limber enough to sway and do so with a ground
to top motion, which makes them seem to ripple from the ground up. This
makes for a dance of dual shadows in the double sunrise you have to see
Placed against the background of the snow-capped mountains of the inner
plain, the lush semi-jungle in between, painted a light rose colour by
the reflected light of Procyon IV, which we Tangoneese have nicknamed Porky,
the dancing shadows caused by the two suns, and lightly filled with the
early morning, nearly violet mist, it makes for a fantastically beautiful
Tango III, being the third moon of the giant planet Procyon IV, is the
only moon with an atmosphere. Once discovered it was a natural colonisation
priority for several reasons, though the spectacular sunrises were not
listed as one of them.
Being only one of six colonies in the entire Canis Sector, it has to
be a self-sufficient colony, which makes it a 'Dead End' ticket. This simply
means an expendable shuttle is launched from the mother ship to land colonists
on Tango III and you survive or die. There is no return passage, at least
until some enforceable time in the future.
The scarcity of habitable planets and the overpopulation problem make
any planet, even a 'Dead End Ticket' a desirable alternative to crowded
Available stakes are picked out, and paid for on earth, by each colonist,
before landing on Tango III. This is done from the original journal descriptions
and the exploration and evaluation maps of the first in scouts. Though
this can result in a pig in a poke, the commission guarantees a workable
stake. It worked out in my favour, as when I finally arrived here from
Tango Port, I found I owned six hundred and forty acres of the most beautiful
and peaceful country I ever dreamed possible.
Once I managed to build a one room cabin, I was in out of the frequent
rains and well ahead of the cold season. Since that time I have added additional
rooms so I now have a complete two-bedroom all electric house powered by
the small nuclear generator supplied by the colony commission.
I have plans to continue to enlarge by adding a third bedroom and make
the bathrooms functional as soon as I can lay the pipe and pump water from
the river, only farther upstream in the hills a short distance to the north,
that way the natural grade of the slope will save the pump work and make
it last years longer. The drains to the septic tank are already in but
having to carry water to the house and flush with a pail of water is getting
With the freezer in and operational and the electric stove with built
in microwave, storing meat and cooking other supplies is no longer much
of a problem. Up until I worked the bugs out of the wiring system, hauling
everything horseback, together with having to hunt, game about every other
day was like returning to a primitive day to day existence.
Out here in the colonies, one takes care of ones self and believe me,
that means self-protection and preservation as well. I was warned, just
before I left Tango Port, by the Planetary Marshals Service, that justice
out here, more often than not, is at the end of your gun. When there in
no cop on the corner or a police station to call within hundreds of miles
you find you are truly on your own. Oh sure, you can report crimes and
the marshal, more likely one of his deputies, will arrive, eventually,
to do his best to solve it. That is small consolation to the dead, raped,
robbed or injured. You protect yourself, period, and you will live a lot
As soon as I discovered I had neighbours, I made a deal with them for
mutual support. We both have short range radios and keep in fairly regular
contact. If I don't hear from them for a day or two and can't get them
on the radio, I go check up on them and vice versa. If there is trouble
I will holler for help and expect them to come my way hell bent for leather,
and will of course drop everything to go the other way if necessary. I
get the better end of this deal, as there are three brothers at the Yardin
Stake, all big, tough boys, while in return all they get is me.
My old man was a hard rock minor in the asteroids, while I was growing
up, and raised me to be pretty tough. I am a fair sized boy myself at six
two and two-twenty and can handle myself in a brawl. The only real edge
I have out here though, is I used to be a planetary marshal myself, once,
and can handle a gun better than most. I have been called quick with gun,
there have been those who said too quick, on more than one occasion.
Believe it or not most men talk a lot tougher than they truly are and
when it comes to facing another man with, and prepared to use, a gun, most
find they don't have the stomach for it. Talking tough and actually shooting
someone is terribly different. I don't like having to kill anyone, but
I found out I could do what I have to do without too many qualms.
Why, I'm really not too sure, but I sized up the Yardins about the same
way and as good folk and good neighbours. A body learns to live by the
word he gives and expects the same from others. Some you can tell are worthless
as soon as you meet them. Some you have no doubt are good people. Then
there are those who either deserve the benefit of the doubt, but you sure
wouldn't want to trust your back to them until they prove themselves, and
those who are obviously just plain bad. I met one of the latter at Riders
Outpost, the only place within a hundred miles, to get supplies. It is
also the only place, short of Tango Port, where there is a tavern. A man
can get a sociable drink and a good meal there. After purchasing and loading
my supplies, I stepped into the tavern for a drink and low and behold I
was privileged to meet up with the original Billy Bad Ass of Tango III.
I wanted no problems or trouble and simply refused to let him get my
goat. He finally gave up on starting trouble and went back to getting drunk.
His name is Wesley Johns, and as worthless and homeless as he looks, he
does have a stake. He even has a missus, believe it or not, though from
what Ryder says, the word is out that he abuses his wife, never works his
stake and they live in a falling down one room cabin.
Where he gets his drinking money is beyond me; but then again I really
don't give a damn. The only thing that concerns me is that I know the type
and he is going to kill someone before too long. He is a wild card, waiting
for the right time to cut the wolf loose. It is really too bad you can't
have someone arrested and deported or lined up against the wall and shot,
just for being a dirt bag, besides he is as ugly as home made mortal sin.
I noticed when I arrived at Ryders, that there was a horse there with
a high powered sniper's rifle in the saddle boot. You don't see many of
those on a backwoods colony planet. Just a plain hunting rifle or maybe
even a shotgun is much more common.
Since Johns was the only other customer there, it had to be his horse
and gun, besides it all looked as shabby as he does. When Johns was trying
to start trouble with me, in the tavern, I saw he was carrying a Taurus
.40 Cal in a right handed cross draw holster. With two of the newer twenty-one
round spare clips, and a large hunting knife on his right hip, he is loaded
for bear. This was more the armament of a fighter than a hunter or stake
holder. Problem is, there aren't any battles to fight on Tango III, no
wars, or territories, nothing except your own survival and improving your
There are some animals here dangerous enough to be very careful around
but nothing to use a sniper rifle like that on, except men. Oh, I suppose
you could call it sport hunting but there is no call for it here. No tourists
come to Tango III and the locals are too busy trying to make a working
colony out of this planet.
The sooner we develop off-world exports valuable enough to warrant interstellar
shipping, the sooner we re-establish two way traffic with the rest of the
Now, as for myself, I sort of planned it both ways. I have me a good
set of rods and reels for fishing, a pair of matching Bowie knives, in
case I should lose one. A good skinning knife and an excellent filleting
knife. For fire power I have a twenty-five ought six for the larger animals
and Browning High power .22 long rifle for normal game. I brought a Sweet
Sixteen shotgun for birds and a twelve gauge for home protection.
My belt gun is a standard 10 Mil and I only cheated a little with special
made 25 round clips. I carry both rifles in boot scabbards as saddle guns
and wear the pistol. Of course, I have a replacement pistol, another 10
Mil, still in the box, put away with the spare Bowie, just in case.
I drew two good horses at Tango Port, part of my stake allowance, and
was able to pick up two pack horses for a very reasonable price. There
are some jeeps and trucks on Tango but they really aren't too practical
for the rough terrain, as there are no roads of any kind yet, save in Tango
Port itself. I have what is probably the first boat on Tango III as I built
me a true canoe and it floats well. I carved my paddle from a Ripple tree
and it is sturdy yet actually gives just a little with deep strokes. I
built my canoe with a broad enough beam so I could sit and fish without
much fear of tipping the canoe and winding up in the river with my equipment
on the bottom.
The fish on Tango III have been approved for safe eating, as has the
game, and they are plentiful and enough of a fighter to make it fun. They
resemble a cross between a large mouthed bass and a walleye. Cleaned and
filleted they are sumptuous, especially with some native white tubers and
a glass of Riders fermented wine.
There is also a delicious and much larger scavenger fish, called a catfish
for lack of a better name, although it has no whiskers. It is caught easily
enough on the native snake-like equivalent to worms, they are nearly a
As for the wild game, I know I will get used to it and in fact, it isn't
all that bad, but I don't know how else to say it, it tastes too gamy to
really be pleasing. What I wouldn't give for a Porterhouse steak, medium
rare and with all the trimmings.
Finishing my coffee, even though it was cold now, I got up, went back
in the house and put the cup in the sink
I decided I would start the day, today, by riding over to Riders for
some supplies, then stopping at the Yardin Stake, since I have not been
over for a few days. I was hoping to see Grace Townsend, but when I got
there, one of them took a shot at me before I could identify myself. Even
then when I cleared myself and rode in, the three Yardins were arguing
over who was going after Johns. They were all talking of killing him on
sight and it took awhile to calm them down and get the story out of them.
The three Yardins are all married, and Grace is their sister-in-law, being
Nancy Yardin, nee Townsend's younger sister. Bob and Nancy, Garry and Penny
and Gene and Rosie, along with Grace were able to join stakes to make one
large community property. The men divide up the work as best thy can, so
as to have one man at home nearly all the time. When the women wanted to
go to town or Ryders, two of the men would go with them for protection.
All of the Yardin women have their own personal weapons and have learned
to shoot, but of course none of them has ever had to kill anyone. Still,
when all are at home, they have seven guns to defend their stake. Most
of the few bad people around would never dream of taking on the Yardins,
but just leave it to Johns to get drunk enough and crazy enough to attack
one of the Yardin women. Gene and Garry were better than halfway across
their huge stake working one of their fields and Bob had the chores at
the homestead to keep him busy while being around the ladies in case of
Penny Yardin is an especially pretty woman and attracts the men's eyes
wherever she goes without trying, she can't help it. Apparently Johns had
seen her at one time or another at Ryders and taken a fancy to her. The
fact that he was married and she was another man's wife didn't seem to
bother him at all.
He must have slipped up on the stake early and watched and waited for
Gene and Garry to leave. He watched Bob until Bob got involved in painting
on the side of the barn and then he somehow managed to single out Penny
from the other ladies and grabbed her, trying to force her off into the
Penny was more of a fighter than he figured on, and got loose long enough
to scream. That brought Bob and the other three ladies, all armed to the
teeth, at a dead run.
Johns, brave individual that he is, lit out like a scalded dog after
knocking the living hell out of Penny. The bastard broke her jaw and her
nose both, as well as leaving numerous bruises on her arms and sides. Though
he had not managed to rape her, the Yardins were out to shoot him on sight
or bring him home for a family organised hanging.
He managed to make himself part of the horizon before pursuit could
take care of poor Penny and get underway. Bob rode back to the house for
the radio and called Gene and Garry back. They were so upset none of them
even thought to call me and I happened along on my own. Of course, the
argument was who was going to stay home and guard the women while the other
two went after Johns. Although it was suggested, I overruled my staying
to guard the ladies, and it was finally decided Garry should stay. This
was for two reasons, one, Penny needed her husband there with her, and
two, we might be able to take Johns alive if Garry were not with us.
We swung back by my place, so I could get clothes and personal articles
and secure my place as best I can. We called Tango Port on my long range
radio, the Yardin's long range radio is on the fritz again, and left word
for the planetary marshal of what was happening. We also called to get
Tango Port hospital to dispatch medical personnel for Penny, that jaw was
going to have to be set and wired.
Once we had these items taken care of, we set off toward John's Stake.
Leaving this late in the day we were going to have to camp out one night
as it was and we figured Johns would get a jump on us into the open and
unclaimed country to the west.
We took the long way around, on the off chance Johns would stop at Ryders
Outpost, for more booze. Ryder said he hadn't seen Johns since the night
before and seemed of the impression Johns had left for home when he was
thrown out of Ryders for fighting again. Apparently, after the fighting,
he was feeling his oats and thought of Penny, so he headed the other way,
towards Yardin's Stake.
We spent the night at Ryders and filled him in on the attack on Penny.
Ryder made up and posted a flyer banning Johns permanently from Ryder's
Outpost and Tavern as well as telling what he had done. He may as well
of posted a bounty on his head, on this planet.
Johns would no longer be welcome anywhere there were decent people,
and some of these old boys would shoot him on sight. Tango III being a
wide open colony planet, where most of the people on the stakes are single
families, this represents a terrible danger. For the man to be out working
his land, he has to feel his wife and sometimes his whole family are safe
at the house. With someone like Johns around, this was no longer true.
Though we had notified Tango Port Authorities, we had not thought to
put it out over the radio to everyone we could reach. Ryder did so while
we were there and word would spread to those he couldn't reach by relay.
This sealed John's fate, there being no jails on Tango III to sentence
him to and no way off planet. If he is caught, tried and found guilty,
he will be executed. While this may be harsh justice, it is all we have
and we feel justified.
Johns is not the first to commit crimes on Tango III and will not be
the last, but if caught he won't survive to brag about it. As it stands
now, his only hope is to find and join up with the few other ostracised
criminals out there whom we have been unable to catch.
The next afternoon found us at the John's Stake, where we found no sign
of Johns. We were about to leave, believing he had taken his wife with
him and headed west, when Bob noticed a strong odour of a dead animal and
curiosity led him to the badly beaten and mutilated body of Carolyn Johns.
She had been hastily buried in a very shallow grave and some varmints had
partially dug her up. A part of the mutilation was from the animals that
had been feeding on her but most was from both old, and recent, beatings.
The latest attack on her had apparently killed her and a rough guess put
her death at four or even five days ago, which would put her death before
the attack on Penny.
No longer concerned about Mrs. Johns right to privacy, we kicked in
the door of the one room shack and searched it for anything, which might
help us find Johns. The place was an unholy rats nest of filth. The local
brand of rodents and insects had long since infested the place and it seemed
impossible anyone could have lived in that hellhole. Chains fastened to
the wall spoke of why Carolyn hadn't escaped at the first possible opportunity.
She had apparently been a prisoner for a long time, judging by the matching
scars we found on her wrists.
Rotted food and human waste added to the terrible odour inside the shack,
and it was all we could do to keep from burning it to the ground. We knew
we would have to notify Tango Port of the murder and the scene would have
to be sealed as much as possible. I rode back to Ryders with the information
and when help arrived in the form of a volunteer to guard John's Stake
until the deputy could arrive, we headed on back to the stake.
I had never had the chance to meet Charlie Terrie of Terries Stake,
and decided I had been missing out on a good friend. Charlie is about my
age and has been around some himself, including wearing a badge for awhile,
same as me. 'I was on Plinktor IV right after you left,' he said, 'and
I heard all about Abe Fargo and the fire-fight. Is that what made you decide
you were through with law enforcement.
'I killed three men on Plinktor Iv,' I said, 'and while I'm not proud
of it or happy about it, I am alive. It was one of those split second decisions,
which some armchair lawyer later said was an error in judgement. Even though
no charges were ever filed, I was made to feel guilty and my presence on
the force was fast becoming an embarrassment. I know what happened there
and I know if I hadn't fired when I did, I would be dead, end of story.
No gutless wonder who has never had a gun fired at him in his life nor
had his life placed in dire jeopardy, has any right to judge a man in that
kind of situation.'
'Ain't it the truth,' Charlie said. 'if they haven't been there how
can they have an honest opinion.'
'Oh well.' I said, if Grace Townsend, and I hit it off, like I hope,
I will have everything I want right here on this planet. I think I fell
in love with Grace Townsend the
first time I laid eyes on her. If not the first, then surely the second,
as that is the first time I kissed her. It was sort of a spur of the moment
thing, I have never regretted. One of those times when the very romantic
setting of Tango III, Porky hanging huge in the sky, was in it's sunset
glory. When the golden, yet rose hued, light was casting the evening multiple
shadows of the ripple trees, and the twin suns were near setting.
The closeness of a beautiful woman and the extraordinary beauty of a
Tango III sunset combining to overwhelm my natural shyness and inhibitions.
'I've met Grace, Charlie said, 'pretty lady, and she seems nice enough.'
'She is,' I said, 'I hope to make her Mrs. Fargo before long.'
'Does she know of your past,' he asked.
'Well, I have told Grace quite a bit of my history, I said, and she
seems neither shocked nor offended. She says she agrees with me and has
no doubt whatsoever I have told her the truth, and the straight of it,
as my emotions were clearly visible and as readable as a book.'
'What really happened if I might ask,' he said.
It was one of those nights, on a sparsely settled colony planet, when
you could hear a pin drop a mile away. I heard the breaking glass and followed
the sound to the back of the pharmacy. The light wasn't great but who needs
light to see a muzzle flash and actually hear the round go by your head.
There was a second muzzle flash, and unless that punk moved mighty fast,
there had to have been more than one gun.
I drew my 10 Mil and pumped out rounds until all three of the punks
in front of me were down. Only later, only gun was found and none of the
three were over twenty years old, the youngest being only seventeen.
Had I been killed, all three would have been guilty of murder, due to
use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. All are legally guilty,
not just the one with the gun. Because it was the other way around, it
was bad judgment on my part. I am supposed to remain calm under fire, see
only one had a gun in the dark, disable or kill him and stop there, and
arrest the other two, making this decision in a split second. Perfect answer,
if you are the original man of steel, me, I'm just human, when people shoot
at me I shoot back.'
'That makes two of us, Charlie said, and if it means anything from someone
who has been there, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Just let it die
and start afresh here, with your Grace, if you are lucky.'
'It means something,' I said, 'and thanks.'
We rode in silence for awhile, each with his own thoughts.
Okay, so it was not the first shooting on my record. The other one was
ruled a clean shoot by IA and I even got a commendation for bravery because
It was a drug raid gone sour and all of a sudden there was a full fledged
fire-fight in progress. One of our officers went down and I saw a way to
get to him. I was trying to pull him out when two of the punks decided
to make a run for it, in my direction, naturally. To make a long story
short, I shot both of them and got the other officer to hell out of there.
When we rode into John's Stake, the Yardin boys were anxious to get on
the trail, so I hardly got a minutes rest before we lit out after Johns.
It would have been better if we could have waited for the deputy, but
he might not be there for quite awhile and enough time had passed already.
If Johns got too much start we might not be able to find him out there.
The weather, though unpredictable because of Porky overhead, has been
on our side, so far. In this latitude it shouldn't be much of a factor,
unless we get a big storm in off the coast. The weather on this part of
Tango III is semi-tropical to cool. The summer highs are around ninety
degrees while the winter lows seldom get into the twenties. A big snow
here is around an inch or so and doesn't stay on the ground long. This
time of year our biggest worry will be thunderstorms, which can be very
heavy with a lot of lightning.
We will be heading into some foothills and an area none of us has been
into before. According to the survey maps we all carry, there is some rough
terrain ahead of us. The only people who have been in here were the first
in survey crew and escapees from society. A group of deputies went in once
but gave up after over a month without so much as even sighting their quarry.
Tango III is not equipped for a true manhunt as yet. There are no choppers
or hovercraft available and the six air scooters are too valuable and hard
to replace to risk in this kind of hunt. Manpower is also a drawback, as
most stakes can't spare men or much time away from their fields.
I am an exception, for now, as I haven't really gotten a start on my
fields as yet. I am still involved, right now, with finishing touches on
the house, plumbing and fixtures, with making a nice home for Grace on
my mind. The Yardin's are another exception as the women can and will help
Garry while Gene and Bob are busy out here, but even then we will all have
to get back to our stakes before too long.
Riding over a high crest, we looked down into some rough but beautiful
country. There has been a lot of volcanic activity here in the past as
well as the rise and fall of the ground level itself. This was obviously
an inland sea a few million years ago, but is of course, all high and dry
now. The mesa like formations must once have been islands in a shallow
sea and there are visible, even from here, caves in the side of the nearer
The colours are the most beautiful feature as the rock, where it is
bare, is a reddish ochre colour, the soil reddish brown, while all of the
vegetation is a lush blue-green. Contrasted with the blue-violet sky and
the pinkish clouds and Porky hanging overhead, it gives a kind of fairytale
look to everything.
If it weren't for the twin suns and the reflected light of Porky, it
might be more dark and foreboding, but instead the twin suns give it a
bright, yet because of Porky, a rose coloured tint of brightness. It does
not seem right to me, for three heavily armed men to be riding through
this land on a mission, which may well result in death.
From the looks of the cave systems in the mesas up ahead, I can readily
understand why the party of deputies could spend a month out there and
never see the man or men they were pursuing. What we needed was to find
a trackable trail, left by Johns, to follow, and pray we don't lose it.
Bob veered slowly to the left and Gene to the right as I held a steady
line on the largest mesa ahead of us and prominent on the survey map, I
held. In less than half an
hour, Gene discovered a clear sign of what could only be Johns hasty
escape into the unknown lands. Swinging over to Gene, we began following
the trail, which appears aimed to miss the largest mesa, and head towards
a smaller one to the north. I am beginning to wonder if Johns knows more,
maybe a lot more, than we do about what lies ahead.
We spent the first night near a small river named Jerries Creek, according
to the map. Apparently one of the first in crew naming the stream, which
is large enough to qualify as a river to us. We travelled through some
pretty rough country today but Johns has made no attempt to cover his tracks,
as least so far. The last pile of horse dung was fresh and still warm,
so we know we are not all that far behind him. Though we could have continued
with the reflected light of Porky always bright enough to see by, the twenty-eight
hour day of Tango III had us all beat and besides it is imperative to rest
and feed the horses.
Out here on a colony planet, many things common to the opening of the
American West five hundred years ago, are once again required skills and
as a former marshal, I have learned to do some fair tracking.
We kept supper down to beans and biscuits, with coffee to wash them
limited breakfast to bacon and left over biscuits, again washed down
with coffee. Lunch would be in the saddle with hard tack and jerky, washed
down with water from our canteens.
This is necessary, if none too appetising, if we hope to gain on Johns
at all. About three in the afternoon of the second day, a shot rang out
without warning, ricocheting off a rock a few inches from my horse. If
Johns is trying to slow us down with that sniper rifle he now has my attention,
however, we won't quit.
About an hour later, another shot let us know we were gaining on Johns.
This shot grazed the rump of Genes horse, making him rear up, dumping Gene
unceremoniously on the ground.
No second shot was taken so we never did see exactly where it came from
and after a few minutes wait, we once again headed out, following the trail
he was leaving.
We were trying to be as careful as possible when yet a third shot knocked
Bob right out of the saddle. I thought he was dead for sure and he would
have been if the bullet hadn't hit his big belt buckle and shattered, making
several cuts on his belly and chest, painful but none were too serious.
While it took the fight out of Gene a little, he was starting to worry
about how many of us might get killed trying to follow Johns, it really
pissed Bob off. Bob now wanted more than ever to get Johns in his gunsights.
I was almost grateful for dark that night and was very leery of making
a silhouette of myself at the campfire, before we doused it to sleep.
With first true light, we split up and stayed about fifty feet apart,
carrying our rifles across our saddles and watching closely to see if we
could spot where the next shot came from. At the same time, we were all
trying to use as much natural cover as possible. There was little to use
as what trees there were are too far apart and there are few rock outcroppings
high enough to give a man on horseback much cover. This is a very nerve
wracking chore and I have no doubt a lot of men would have quit and turned
This time I saw the muzzle flash and got a shot off in return fire.
Johns missed again and apparently he didn't much enjoy being shot back
at for we didn't draw any more shots for the rest of the morning.
Just after lunch, we drew three in a row, as Johns apparently decided
to make a stand. This was what we had been hoping for and as soon as we
realised he was staying put and continuing to fire we started circling
on two sides and moving in on him.
The ridge where Johns had gone to roost didn't appear to be all that
far from the jumble of rocks and detritus at the foot of the smaller of
the mesas. I kind of wondered why he hadn't kept going, on up to the visible
caves in the walls of the mesa. I can only guess he was afraid of us trapping
him in one of them. As it was he had decent cover in a pile of large rocks
in sort of an inverted Vee and other than his only escape being up over
the top of the Vee, he had pretty good position.
He waited too long or else it took him way too long to see what we were
doing. By the time he got scared and decided to make a break, Gene was
close enough to put a round in his leg.
Bob got a good shot off as well and killed Johns' horse, putting him
on foot. It took only minutes to corner him and I figured as big a coward
as he is, he would give up
Johns surprised me and stepped out with his .40 Cal blazing, trying
to get us all with sheer fire power, I guess. All three of us cut loose
and Johns was nearly torn to pieces as the bullets ripped into him. He
took at least three in the face, and more in the chest and belly.
Bob caught one of Johns rounds in the shoulder an I got a graze across
my side but Johns is deader than a mackerel in a pickle barrel.
When we got back to the Yardin's Stake, the medical people were still
there and were able to take care of Bob and put fresh dressings on my side.
The law simply took a statement from each of us. Then wrote it off as
self defense in acting as temporary deputies, which he informed us we were
whether we realized it or not, as we had been so appointed after our radio
message to Tango Port.
As for me, a certain lady seemed very worried about my wound and very
happy to see I was okay. This may have just speeded things up a little,
but I had thought a lot about Grace on the manhunt and had decided to see
if she was interested in helping plan
Fargo's Stake. Maybe the way she would like to have it for the rest
of our lives. If you ever come to Tango III, maybe in a few years as a
tourist, just look up Abe and Grace Fargo of Fargo's Stake.
( 1998 George H. Lafferty