Previously: At about the same time—at La Cantina… US Marshals Chris Shouse and Sarah Cooper were at La Cantina for high tea…or something approximating that, when Lt. Colonel Phineas Cooper arrived.
He knew he had insufficient troops to take the fort by force, and would have to do it by cunning. He immediately recognized Sergeant-Major Hugh Cantrell, “Sar-Maj Cantrell, you old war-horse!”
“Colonel Cooper! As I live and breathe, what brings you here Phineas?”
“I’m here to take command of the fort and I believe Major McClellan won’t be welcoming me. In fact, I suspect he won’t even open the gates for me.”
“I can help you with that, sir,” Lt. Nathan Woods offered.
“Black Horse Regiment?”
“Yes sir, but now of only platoon strength,” Woods replied, “We have sentry-duty in an hour, and the gates will open for you sir.”
Chapter 7—Loco Part IV, Fort Justice—Episode 4
Sarah studied Lt. Col. Cooper’s face as he spoke, his mannerisms, the way he tilted his head a bit as if to help make a point. ‘Though not exactly the same as her Jay, they were enough to convince her the two were related—generations apart, but still a bit spooky.
Phineas Cooper noticed her stare. He smiled as he said, quietly, “You must be my several times great granddaughter-in-law—Phineas Cooper at your service.”
Sarah’s face dimpled into a slightly embarrassed smile, “I guess I am. I must be. I mean….how did you know?”
“I was told by the Beagamute that you were here.”
“You met Cujo?”
“Yes’m, she about scared me to death when she appeared out of thin air—and spoke to me.”
“Cujo is a sweetheart.”
“I agree. If you’ll excuse me Sarah, I have a fort to invade.”
“We will join you, Colonel,” Chris stated (in such a manner as to make it clear the word “no” was not an option), “If you don’t mind.”
“By all means. But we go in first, you may join the column. And thank you, Marshal.”
A short time later—at the gates to Fort Savage… “HALT!” The sentry atop the wall commanded, “WHO GOES THERE?”
Meanwhile—on the trail from Loco… “I found a defensive position—this way!” Flutters said, “Hurry! The outlaws are almost upon you!
To be continued…