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C2IP: The Agenda War VII

"Well, the bounty hunter was already there. She had rode in the night before, took a room at The Emperor. After checkin' The Hanged Man and learnin' it was shut down.

"So she's sittin' at the table in the corner with her rifle laid right out in front o' her, like she's darin' anyone to cross her. See, the clientelle was a lot o' hired guns workin' for the oil folks, mostly to guard shipments and the like, and sometimes keep the workin' folk in line. They were generally a fairly surly group, the kind you'd reasonably 'spect to trouble a lady sittin' by her lonesome in a Saloon.

"None of 'em troubled Mags Magenta though.

"And after a time the other three showed up and it was almost a reunion of the posse from the Incident last year, 'cept the Preacher wasn't there. The ex-sheriff, the ex-Marshal and the ex-gambler. They got to talkin' - I figures they were catchin' the bounty hunter up on all that had come to pass. The oil, the Mayor, the Law and the Wagoners.

"Part o' me woulda loved to been eavesdroppin' on that chat, just to know how exactly all this mess sounded in the tellin'. If any of it made any gorram sense or whether it was sense that died the day of the Logollos-Sugarcube showdown, if it was the corpse of normalcy and reason and right-thinkin' that they found in that coffin...

"The part left o' me though, if I'm to be truthful, is glad I never heard just what they said. They were an odd bunch, spooky and dangerous. For some reason, imaginin' what their conversation woulda been like makes me feel like when Pa would tell us ghost stories 'round the fire on cold winter nights.

"It wasn't long after that when the gents seated by the window began whisperin' that the Sheriff was outside.

"And then the first explosion happened.

"And then the shootin' started."