Sigh…

There are days, and then there are DAYS…

This is gonna be one of them. Behind from the git go, and just not making any progress on any front…

So you get humor…

Snippet…

Not sure what I’m going to do with this… Maybe a short story or novella.

Usual caveats apply, your comments/recommendations appreciated as always.

First round of fixes done.

Indian Raid

 

Danny Boyle wiped the sweat from his face and pushed his dark hair back with the ragged sleeve of his homespun shirt as he tried to get a good sight picture on one of the Indians surrounding his house, but they were riding fast and the black powder smoke was blanketing the area between the barn and the house, tickling his nose, while the pain of the bullet wound in his leg kept blurring his vision.

He’d started to unsaddle Blue when they’d come whooping and hollering down on the family ranch west of Camp Wichita. He knew he couldn’t make it to the house before they got him, so he swatted Blue on the hip and yelled at him to run. The horse had bolted from the barn and disappeared to the west before the Indians got there. He’d knocked one of the Indians off his horse in the initial attack but took a round in the thigh for his trouble, dumping him back into the barn.

Danny got as much of his lean, five foot seven body as he could behind the log post that held up the door and tied his bandana over the wound as a crude bandage. His da had gotten at least one Indian, and he saw his mother take another one with the old shotgun out the front window, but since then the Indians had been doing all the shooting. He finally got a sight picture and squeezed off a round, the old Henry Yellow Boy thumping against his shoulder. He almost screamed in pain as the recoil caused his leg to twist, but he saw the Indian throw up his arms and cartwheel off the back of the horse.

That left three…How many shots do I have left? I shot three times on the two deer, and I’ve been shooting the odd shots here and there. I guess they thought I was dead, but…shit, here they come! Two of the Indians had seen the billow of powder smoke and charged the barn, screaming ululating Comanche war cries as one raised a rifle and the other drew a bow. Danny took aim on the one with the bow and squeezed off another round, worked the lever and frantically shifted his aim as the other Indian continued charging. The click of an empty rifle had him cussing under his breath as he rolled behind the log, splinters exploding from it.

He rolled back far enough to get the old Remington conversion pistol out of his belt holster and waited, but the Indian didn’t come in the barn. Suddenly he smelled smoke and realized the back of the barn was on fire. Hearing a horse trot by the front of the barn, he rolled far enough to see out, hoping that help had come, instead he saw a different Indian throw a torch on the roof of the house as four more drove their dozen cows and three horses behind the house. He could faintly hear them talking but couldn’t understand what they were saying, however, he knew laughter when he heard it. Then one Indian pointed at the barn, but the other waved him off and they trotted after the others, leaving Danny to his own ends.

The fire finally forced Danny out of the barn, and he crawled to the water trough, didn’t see any movement, and using the rifle as a crutch, got to his feet and limped toward the house. He yelled for his da and mother until a gust of wind brought him the odor of burnt meat and he fell to the ground sobbing; knowing he’d never hear their voices again.

***

The sky to the west held the last rays of sunlight when he heard horses again and rolled over, fumbling at his pistol as he peered into the encroaching darkness to see who it was. He heard a tumultuous cry and a girl calling, “Danny? Danny, is…that you?”

He heard a thump of her jumping off her horse, the swish of pants, and looked up to see the blonde curls of the nearest neighbor’s daughter, Ellen Smith. “Ellen? What are you doing here?” He felt something wet hitting his face and realize she was crying. He reached up and grabbed her arm. “Ellen! What is wrong?”

“They…killed ma, pa, and old Adam. Burnt us out. I was down at the creek trying to catch some fish. I…hid in the brush.” She buried her head in his shoulder and sobbed as he tried to comfort her.

When he reached up, his leg burned, and he hissed in pain, causing her to jerk up. “Oh, you’re…where are you hurt?”

Gritting his teeth, he said, “Right leg, mid-thigh. I got a bandage on it. I gotta get up, gotta find da and momma. That was what I was doing before I passed out.” He reached for her, “Help me up!”

Ellen helped him up saying, “We gotta get out of here afore they come back. I brought Blue with me, but I had to cut the deer loose from his back.”

Danny hobbled closer to the smoking remains of the cabin and saw two burned figures curled in fetal positions. Biting his lip, he said, “Don’t come any closer, Ellen. I see ‘em, but I can’t do anything about it. You’re right, we gotta get some help. Lead Blue over to the water trough, please.” He hobbled over and, with Ellen’s help, got up on the end of the trough, then on Blue’s back. He dashed the tears from his eyes and looked over at her. “Only thing we can do is ride for Henrietta. Hope I can make it.”

She stared at him. “Henrietta? In the dark? Why not Camp Wichita? How will we—”

“The injuns headed toward the Camp. We’ll follow the wagon tracks. Should be enough moon to see them.” He kneed Blue. “C’mon, boy.” Blue turned his head and flipped his ears at Danny, snorting at the smell of blood, but he started out at a good walking pace.

Danny groaned as the bouncing set his leg on fire. Ellen asked worriedly, “Are you…going to make it?”

“Ain’t got a choice. Can’t do more than what I did. Ever thing else is gone up in smoke.”

Ellen sobbed. “I know. Our place too.” She sniffed and wiped her nose on her sleeve, but continued to ride by his side. The sun gradually set as the moon rose and they continued into the night. The last thing Danny remembered was mumbling about the wagon tracks as Ellen took Blue’s reins out of his hands. He came to on the ground with Ellen tugging at his pistol. “Somebody’s coming,” she hissed, terror in her voice.

He slapped her hand away, “Get my rifle…crap, I…” He reached up and found three rounds in his shirt pocket. “Here, load these and help me sit up, then get off the trail. Take the horses.” She helped him get to a sitting position, and he flipped the thong off the hammer of the pistol, sliding it out of the holster and setting it in his lap. He could hear hoofbeats and he said grimly, “Get going. Get in that clump of o’ trees over there. Hurry!”

“What about—”

“Dammit, Ellen, go!” She sobbed once but gathered up the reins and made her way through the buffalo grass to the small copse of trees twenty yards off the trail, leaving Danny sitting in one of the wagon tracks.

The hoofbeats got louder, and he saw hats in the moonlight. A group of men come around the bend in the trail. They pulled up short in a cloud of dust as Haseltine, the grizzled old storekeeper, jumped down and ran up. “Danny? Danny Boyle?”

Danny sagged back, “Yes, sir.” He turned and yelled, “Ellen! Come on out. They’re friendly!”

Haseltine knelt beside him, an arm around his back. “Looks like you got yourself shot, somebody give me a canteen,” he looked up and said loudly, “Get Morgan up here. Got a wounded man.” He took the canteen and turned back to Danny, giving him a drink as he asked gently, “How bad was it? We found out just before sunset when Ethan Morice and his brood rode into town, saying they saw two streams of smoke from the direction of your place.”

Danny sighed. “Da and mom are…dead. Comanches got ‘em, and almost got me.” He nodded to his thigh. “But we got at least four of the six that hit our place. They hit the Smith’s place too. Ellen was…the only survivor.”

She walked up leading the horses just as Morgan knelt by Danny and looked at the leg. “I can’t do much here. Need to get him to town. We can make a travois and drag him in that way, ain’t but a couple of miles.” He took out his knife and started to cut Danny’s pants off, but Danny grabbed his hand.

“Don’t please. I ain’t got any more than what I got on. Ain’t got no money either. Get me on Blue and I can make it to town.”

Morgan shook his head. “You sure, kid?”

“No, but I ain’t got much choice, do I?”

Morgan chuckled. “Well, we’ll find out. Jory, help me get him on his horse and tie him on with some piggin strings.” Ellen was deep in discussion with Haseltine and Smith, the blacksmith, as they lifted Danny onto his horse.

Two painful hours later, they arrived in Henrietta and lowered an unconscious Danny Boyle from Blue and gently carried him into the store. Gerta Haseltine took one look and said, “Bring him on back here, boys.” She looked sharply at Ellen, then added, “You too, Ellen?” She held out her arms and Ellen rushed into them, bursting into tears. Gerta comforted her as she steered her back into their quarters and pushed her down at the table, then pointed at the biscuits and honey sitting there, “Eat, child. I’ll be back.”

She found Morgan on the back steps, stripping Danny out of his clothes as he checked him for any other injuries. He looked closely at the leg and whistled softly, “The boy is lucky. Through and through, missed the bone and the big artery. I’m gonna wash him down out here, but I need some whisky and some clean cloths. I gotta clean the wound channel out, then pad it.”

“Give me his clothes, I’ll wash them and try to darn the holes in his union suit and pants. I’ll get Royce’s bottle and some cloths for you in a minute.” Greta disappeared as Morgan gently poured water over Danny’s leg as he moaned and twitched from the water hitting the wound. Fumbling in his bag, he pulled out a folded piece of leather and shoved it between Danny’s teeth as she came back with a whisky bottle and some torn cloths. “These should work. I ripped up a petticoat to get you something to tie the pads off with.”

Morgan nodded. “Thank you, Greta. Jory, get around here behind Danny and hold him. He’s gonna fight when I pour this whisky in the wound.”

Jory grunted as he slid around behind Danny, then grabbed him in a bear hug. “Go head. I got him.” Morgan sat across his legs, sighed, and poured a little of the whisky into the wound. As expected, Danny started fighting it and screamed around the leather in his mouth when the whisky penetrated down into the wound.

Inside, Ellen started up when Danny screamed, and Gerta said, “Ain’t nothing you can do, Ellen. ‘Sides, he’s nekkid out there. You don’t need to see that. Matter of fact, you probably need to clean up, don’t you?” Ellen, tears running down her face, nodded mutely as she stared at the back door. “I’ll get some water on the stove and get the washtub out. While the water’s heatin’, we need to find you something to wear. I think we got something in your size up front. C’mon.” She put the water on and led Ellen into the store and over to the corner where the store-bought clothing was. “See what you can find.”

Morgan poured more whisky into the wound and swabbed the back of the leg with a rag soaked in it. “I know this hurts Danny, but I gotta do it.” Danny nodded through tears as he bit down on the piece of leather. Morgan finally reached in his bag and took out a brown bottle. “Carbolic. Gonna pour this in the wound and then bind it. Best I can do.” Danny nodded again and only winced as they poured the mixture into the wound. Morgan quickly soaked two cloths, folded them into pads and bound the whole thing with the cut off petticoat. Danny sagged back into Jory’s arms and spit out the leather. “Damn. That…hurt.”

“You were lucky. I cleaned it out as best I can. Now we need to get you into some clothes and lying down somewhere.” He handed Danny the whisky bottle. “You get one drink.”

Danny took a swig and shuddered. “Damn! That’s…strong!”

Gerta came back out, a union suit in her hand. “This should fit him. We’ll put him in Johann’s bed for now. Ellen is cleaning up and I’ll put her in with Erica.” Morgan nodded as he took the union suit, then stretched it out beside Danny. He took out his knife and cut one leg off so that he could get to the wound after he had the union suit on.

He looked at Danny and asked, “Can you get dressed or do you need help?”

“Can you pull it up over my legs? I think I can get it from there.” Morgan did as asked and they got Danny up on his good leg as he pulled the suit the rest of the way on. Once that was done, they half carried him through the back to a bedroom with a small single bed, a chair, and a dresser in it. Danny more or less collapsed on the bed, looked up and said, “Thank you. I…thank you. Where’s my gun?”

Greta bustled out and came back with the belt, holster, and gun. “I’ll put it up here on the dresser. I hope you don’t think you need it here!”

“No, Ma’am. I sure hope not, but…I’m used to having it close to hand.”

Jory glanced at Morgan. “You want me to carve him a stick to walk with?”

Biting his lip, Morgan nodded. “Yes, otherwise somebody will have to help him to the outhouse.” Danny was out cold, and Morgan felt his forehead. “No fever. Kid’s gotta be wore slap out. He’s…what…seventeen, eighteen? And now he’s on his own.” Greta came back in with a pitcher of water and a can and Morgan added, “He’s out. I’ll be back in a couple of hours and give him a dose of laudanum. Leg’s goin’ to bleed some, if it gushes, let me know.” She nodded, and he got up with a groan. “Thank you, Greta. Is Ellen alright?”

“She’s…as good as can be expected. She’s bathing right now. I put her in with Erica. You go on about your bidness, I’ll take care of them.”

***

Danny came out of his laudanum daze to the smell of sweat and horse. Opening his eyes, he looked up to see Royce Haseltine standing uncomfortably in the door, holding two books in his hands. “Danny, we…found your parents and buried them on the hill above the creek. There wasn’t much left.” He thrust the books at Danny. “All we found was your bible and this book. Ever thing else was gone, except a saddle, and one side of it…is a little crisp.” He shrugged. “I dropped it at the stable. Maybe Zenaga can do something with it.”

Danny took them, smelling the remnants of smoke from the fire. “Thank you, Mr. Haseltine. I can’t…tell you how much I appreciate it. I just wish—” He bowed his head, tears rolling freely down his face. Dashing them away angrily, he continued, “What about the Smiths?”

“We buried them on the little hill just north of the ranch house. I told Ellen already.” Danny sniffed and nodded as he set the two books on the dresser. Royce bowed his head for a second, then left him alone with his thoughts.

By the fourth day, Danny was quietly going nuts. He’d stopped taking the laudanum, and the wound itched something fierce, along with hurting any time he tried to put his full weight on the leg, but he was getting around with a cane okay. Ellen tapped on his door and said softly, “Supper is ready, Danny.”

He slid the translation of Homer’s Odyssey back on top of the dresser and got up slowly. “Coming.” He reached in the little flap on the back of the pistol holster and pulled out the two twenty-dollar gold coins hidden there and slipped them in his pocket as he hobbled out the door. Supper, as it was most nights, was leftover meat, beans, and cornbread from lunch, but Greta had baked a pie that sat in the middle of the table. As soon as they finished supper, Danny said, “Mr. Haseltine, I don’t know how to…thank you for what you’ve done for me and for Ellen.” He reached in his pocket and slid the two gold pieces across the table to him as he continued, “This is all I got in the world, but I owe you more than I can ever repay right now. At least we can help pay for food and maybe cover Ellen’s and my clothes.”

Royce looked over at Greta, then slid one of the gold pieces back. “I won’t leave anybody with nothing. You still need some things; we can talk tomorrow.”

Danny hesitated until Ellen laid a hand on his arm and whispered, “Take it. I have one, too.” He scooped it up with a nod and shoved it back in his pocket as Greta sliced the pie.

Danny passed a piece to Ellen, then dug into his with a gusto. He finished and looked around in embarrassment, “Oh, I’m…sorry. Mom taught me not to eat fast, but…I mean, we just got back from Abilene two weeks ago.”

Royce looked at him. “You went up the trail again?”

“Yes, sir. With John Lytle. This was my third time.”

Greta laughed. “No wonder you eat like you’re starving. You haven’t had a decent meal in months.”

Danny smiled, then grimaced. “Um…I need to…go back and lay down. My leg’s starting to hurt again.” Greta got up, and he added, “No, I don’t need any laudanum. Can’t stand the way it makes me feel.” He got up and hobbled back to the room, slipped the gold piece back in the pocket in the back of the holster and slumped down, then levered his leg up on the bed with a groan.

Ellen came in as lay down. “Danny Boyle, you didn’t have to pay for my stuff! I have—”

He put a finger to his lips. “I know. But I don’t want them to think we’re mooching. I…need to go see if there is anything left, and I want to make sure they buried da and mom.”

The next morning, Danny limped down to the stable and finished the repairs he could do to the saddle. Swinging it up on Blue, he tightened the cinch as far as he could, but couldn’t knee him to make him let the air out. He doubled his fist and smacked Blue as hard as he could, then yanked the cinch tight as Jory walked in. “You goin’ somewhere, Danny?”

“Going stir crazy is where I’m going. I’m gonna go out and see the graves and check to see if there is anything left. I can’t just ride off without doing that.”

Jory nodded solemnly, “I understand. You want somebody to come along?”

“Nah, this is…something I gotta do.” With a grunt, he managed to swing into the saddle and walked Blue slowly back down to the store. His dismount was anything but pretty, but he got down without hurting himself and limped into the store, then back to Johann’s room. Picking up the new saddlebags packed with a lunch Ellen had made for him, and making sure he had the box of 44 rim he’d gotten from Royce, he slung them over his shoulder. He picked up the rolled blanket and slicker, along with the Henry and limped into the kitchen. “I’m heading out, should be back late tomorrow or the day after. I’ll go by your place too, Ellen.”

She nodded, her eyes wide, then came around the table and hugged him. “Be careful, Danny.”

“I will.” He limped out and untied Blue, then flopped the saddlebags over Blue’s hips, eliciting a snort from him and a raised hind hoof. “Don’t even think about it, Blue!” He tied the slicker and blanket to the saddle skirt and mounted slowly, then slid the rifle into the sheath angled back under his right leg. Turning him northwest, he rode slowly out of Henrietta and picked up the wagon tracks headed toward the ranch. This is stupid, but I gotta do it. I’m gonna be hurtin’ by the time I get up there, and I’ll have to camp the night.

Six hours later, he rode into the ruins that had been his home, and he sobbed as he saw the crosses on the little hill as twilight descended on the ruins. He got down stiffly and pumped water into the trough for Blue, who stuck his nose in as soon as he heard the first splash of water. “Take it easy, boy.” After the first drink, he led him to the hitching post and loosely tied him, then pulled the saddlebags down and limped carefully over to the remains of the fireplace. Three down, five to the left…that one should be… He wiggled the rock, and it slid out with a grating noise, then reached in almost up to his elbow.

He felt leather, felt for the top of a bag and pulled it out, followed by three more. Each of them weighed about six or seven pounds. He emptied the saddlebags on the hearth, and put two bags on each side, then put the other things back on top of them, keeping the sandwich out. He gobbled it, went to get up, and fell back groaning. You stupid bastard, you tried to do too much, now you’re hurtin’ and you still got things to do. Get up! He managed to get to his feet, picked up the saddlebags and stumbled back to Blue.

Hoisting them over Blue’s rump, he tied the saddlebags on, then untied him from the post. Then led him around the ruins to the soddy a hundred or so yards toward the creek. He looked at it distastefully, then grimaced. What is your problem, boy? You grew up in this here soddy; you gettin’ all picky now? Reaching in the door, he found the picket rope right where it had been hung two weeks ago. Pulling it off the nail, he stretched it between the usual trees and pulled Blue’s bridle off and replaced it with a hackamore. Tying him loosely to the rope so he could graze, he removed the saddle and saddle blanket, carrying them in and setting them beside the door. He limped over a felt around until he found the table, then the lamp and lifted the wick as he struck a lucifer from the tin next to it. The soft glow lit the inside of the soddy and he slumped into the single chair.

Some time later he woke, groaned, saw that it was dark outside, and staggered to the outhouse. Taking care of business, he limped back to the soddy and rolled out the slicker and blanket in front of the little fireplace and collapsed into sleep.

***

The next morning, stomach growling, he ate a piece of hardtack as he limped down to the creek. Stripping, he looked at the puckered wound in his thigh, but it didn’t look bad. Quickly taking a bath, he dressed and limped back to the soddy. Blue nickered as he walked up, and he said, “Soon as I can, Blue. Gonna be another long day.”

He re-rolled the blanket and slicker, then made two trips getting everything out of the soddy and on the horse. Slipping the bridle on Blue, he untied the picket rope and started to hang it and the hackamore back in the soddy, but coiled them up and tied them to the saddle. He mounted carefully, swinging around one time and looking at everything as if to fix it in his memory. He rode over to the graves and said, “I’ll do my best to avenge you. That is all I can do. Watch over me if you can…I love you both.” Tears running down his face, he turned Blue and started for the Henrietta.

Late in the afternoon, he rode back into the settlement and stopped at the store. Ellen came out as he stepped down and asked tumultuously, “Did they…”

“They did good, Ellen. Your folks are buried deep and rock cairns and markers over both of them.”

Snicker…

Random things to ponder about…

– Sweet meats are candy, but sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.

– Quicksand works slowly.

– Why do eggs come in flimsy paper cartons, and batteries come in packages only a chainsaw can open?

– Boxing rings are square.

– Tell a man there are 400 billion stars, and he’ll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint, and he has to touch it.

– Why does a writer writes, but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce, humdingers don’t hum, and hammers don’t ham?

– If you can make amends, can you just make one amend?

– If you have a bunch of odds and ends and you get rid of all but just one, what do you call it?

– Why do you recite at a play, but you play at a recital?

– How can a SLIM CHANCE and a FAT CHANCE be the same, while a WISE MAN and a WISE GUY are opposites?

– Why do we ship by truck and send cargo by ship?

– Why do feet smell and noses run?

– If it was only a 3-hour cruise, why did MRS. HOWELL take so much clothing?

– Why is QUITE A FEW the same as QUITE A LOT?

– How does a building burn up as it burns down?

– Why do you fill out a form by filling it in?

– Why does your alarm go off by going on?

– When the stars are out they are visible, but when the lights are out they are invisible.

– How come SUPERMAN could stop bullets with his chest, but always ducked when someone threw a gun at him?

– Why call it a HAMBURGER, when it’s made of BEEF?

– Why does SOUR CREAM have an expiration date?

– What would a chair look like, if knees bent the other way?

– IF “Con” is the Opposite of “Pro”, then what is the opposite of PROGRESS?

– Why is LEMON JUICE mostly artificial ingredients, but DISHWASHING LIQUID contains real lemons?

– How much deeper would the ocean be, if SPONGES didn’t grow in it?

– Why buy a product that it takes 2000 flushes to get rid of?

– Why do we wait until a PIG is dead, to “CURE” it?

– Do Roman paramedics refer to IV’s as “4’s”?

– Why do we wash BATH TOWELS – aren’t we clean when we use them?

– Why do we put suits in a garment bag and garments in a suitcase?

– Why doesn’t GLUE stick to the inside of the bottle?

– Whose cruel idea was it for the word “Lisp” to have an “S” in it?

– What do birdies see, when they get knocked unconscious?

– Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?

– Should vegetarians eat animal crackers?

– If the cops arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?

– Why do people who know the least know it the loudest?

– If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?

– Why do we drive on a parkway and park in the driveway?

– Where do homeless people have 90% of their accidents?

– If you drove your car at the speed of light, and you turned your headlights on, would they work?

– Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

– Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

– If you choke a smurf, what color does it turn?

– What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

– How do you tell when you run out of invisible ink?

– Why isn’t the word ‘phonetic’ spelled the way it sounds?

– When companies ship Styrofoam, what do they pack it in?

– What do you call a defective Milk Dud?

– Why do they sterilize needles for lethal injections?

– Do radioactive cats have 18 half-lives?

– What was the best thing before sliced bread?

– How come abbreviated is such a long word?

– it’s zero degrees outside today and it’s supposed to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold is it going to be?

– Why do you press harder on a remote when you know the battery is dead?

– Why are they called apartments, when they’re all stuck together?

– Do fish get cramps after eating?

– Why are there 5 syllables in the word “monosyllabic”?

– Why doesn’t Tarzan have a beard?

– If all those psychics know the winning lottery numbers, why are they all still working?

– Isn’t Disneyland a people trap operated by a mouse?

– What is the speed of dark?

– Do you regret even starting to read these???

Almost…

There…

Proof copies of Showdown finally showed up today. Now going through the proof to make sure everything is as it should be.

Due to less pages, I’m able to offer it at a MUCH better price than my others, so it’s going to be $10 for the paperback. I’ll get a post up as soon as it goes live on Amazon.

Thank you too, to those who have left reviews on the Kindle version already! I knew some folks wouldn’t like the cover, and I’m taking ownership for that. ALL reviews are appreciated!!!

FWIW…

A bit of history…

A 114 years ago, in 1907… our great grandparents were first able to buy the rifle pictured. The semi-auto Winchester Model 1907.
This is a gun they could buy from a Sears catalog and have delivered via USPS for $28. It was/is a semi-automatic, high powered centerfire rifle, with detachable, high capacity magazine.
About 400,000 of these were produced before WW2. Civilians had hundreds of thousands of these semi-auto rifles for 40 years, while US soldiers were still being issued old fashioned bolt action rifles.
The 1907 fired just as fast as an AR15 or AK47 and the bullet (.351 Winchester) was actually larger than those fired by the more modern looking weapons.. The ONLY functional difference between the 1907 and a controversial and much feared AR15 is the modern black plastic stock.
To summarize:
The semi auto, so-called “assault rifle” is 110 years old. It isn’t new in any way.The semi auto rifle was not a weapon of war. The government MADE IT a weapon of war 40 years after civilians had them.
The semi-auto can be safely owned by civilians. The proof is that literally 3 generations of adults owned and used them responsibly and no one ever even noticed.
Want to fix the horror of mass shootings? Fix the things that have changed for the worse in the last 50 years.
Because the rifle technology in question was here long before this insanity.
I can only wonder if this rifle will also be included in the ‘assault weapons’ ban Xiden is pushing for…

A question…

Why, all of a sudden, are the massive winter storms NOT being named? Anybody else notice that?

A quick recap of our little snowmageddon up here in North Texas-

8 inches of globull warming over two days. Coldest (so far), -7, now on the 10th day of below freezing temps. Yesterday at least it never got below 0F, but Texas is suffering. Thankfully (knocking on wood), we have had power and water the whole time. I have one or two water lines (of course to the washer) frozen in the house and will be watching them carefully this weekend as it finally gets above freezing.

The wind farms are tits up, frozen solid and apparently leaking oil now (which means they will have to be repaired). The ones that are still working are, according to reports, only providing 8% of the 42% of the power normally generated. Solar is covered by snow, so it’s not working either.

The McMansions down around Dallas and other areas are really hurting since they are all totally electric. I feel for them…

As others have said, Texas by and large builds to withstand a day maybe two days of below freezing weather, not two weeks of it, or the sub zero temperatures. There are going to be a lot of questions asked, and the answers ‘may’ be interesting…

 

 

Interesting…

Edit- The decision was made LAST January. The person that forwarded me the interaction said it took place a couple of months ago.

Politics or internal decisions???

In December, just before both the holidays and the seasonal gathering of sporting-goods dealers and group buyers who get together to write orders for the new year, Nikon’s North American office delivered stunning news: It was walking away from the riflescope market.

Dealers were told they could sell through their current inventories of Buckmaster, ProStaff, and BLACK scopes, but they shouldn’t write new orders, and they shouldn’t expect inventories to be replenished.

Full article, HERE.

I went on the website and they no longer show ANY rifle scopes, nor can you search for them. And no users guides were showing up (if you could access that part of the site).

So, they are walking away from a high profit line of merchandise, and, according to some information, they are no longer honoring warranties either…

h/t BJ for the following- I can’t vouch for this, but based on the article and website, very possible…

Buyer Beware!!! This happened recently and we are putting the word out to all gun/scope owners…. We purchased a Nikon scope for our rifle from a local reputable gun store, and paid $200+ for it. It came w/ a lifetime warranty, so all seemed good and we were happy with it. Used it a handful of times at the range, had fun and no problems. Then the O-ring began slipping, so we called Nikon and they were helpful and told us to package it up and send the scope in, and their technicians would take a look at it and let us know what they found and repair it. Sent it in, received the email about 10 days later that they would fix the issue (simple O-ring replacement) and service/clean it and send it back. Then, a few days later, got a 2nd email stating they no longer repair and sell Nikon scopes, and they could only give us a $99 voucher for their online store. We were shocked! But, out of curiosity went on their website and guess what??? NO SCOPES OF ANY KIND! They had other equipment, but no scopes. So, my husband called their C.S. dept. and the gal was pleasant, but said they were no longer servicing or repairing scopes. He reminded her there was a lifetime warranty on it, but she said there was nothing she could do. So, he told her we’d like it sent back to us, please ship it back. She informed him that shipping it back was not possible, as the scope had already been sent to “Texas” and we would not be getting it back. Again, we were in shock that they would confiscate our scope, and literally STEAL IT FROM US, and assume ownership and take away OUR RIGHT to getting it back and finding a private repairman to fix it. My husband was able to get a paper check sent to us, rather than an online voucher. So, we went to the gun store we’d purchased the scope from, and they had NO CLUE this was happening! They were disgusted and contacted their Nikon sales rep, and were told this was Nikon’s new policy and there was nothing he could do about it. The store owner said they would NOT be carrying anymore Nikon products, but not sure if they’ll sell their remaining Nikon scopes. The gun store is working with us on replacing our scope when they get more inventory in, and trust, it will NOT be a NIKON! Big Lesson Learned!!! If you have Nikon scopes, and they need serviced or repaired, DO NOT SEND THEM TO NIKON! Even if they’re still under warranty, you WILL NOT GET THEM BACK!

I’ve got two of Nikon’s scopes on a couple of .22s, guess I better to look at my Loopy catalog and see what I can replace them with… sigh…

Rimworld snippet…

About a third of the way done. Hot off the computer screen, but at least I read it this time (for all the good that does).  Comments and recommendations appreciated as always!

Chapter

Fargo slumped in the seat of the shuttle as Evie smiled down from the cockpit. “Welcome aboard, Captain. Ready to go home?” The aft ramp clanked closed as everyone found seats.

He looked up at her. “Guess we might as well. Looks like we need to drop off a few folks first.”

Her head disappeared and she said over the PA, “Everybody strapped in? And away we go!” The shuttle lifted off smoothly, climbing quickly out of the local airspace and into a high parabola as it went supersonic in the thinner atmosphere.

He turned to Nicole as he reached for her hand. “Thank you for everything you were able to do.”

“You’re welcome. We love you and wanted you back.” “Are you going to pick up Ton’Skel?”

“Yes, I need to get him sequestered again before…well, anything goes wrong.”

She squeezed his hand in return. “I don’t think we’ll have any problems. If we had, we’d have already heard about it. I want to stay with you tonight.”

A tear leaked down Fargo’s face. “I…need you. I know that now, more than ever.” She impulsively hugged him, leaning against him as they sat quietly. The Ghorkas pointedly ignoring them as they talked among themselves.

A little over a div later, Evie came over the PA again, “We’re on final descent to the Enclave. Rather than parking on the landing field, we’re going to the bay on Hyderabad. Ten segs out, please make sure you’re buckled in, it might be a bit bumpy.”

“A bit bumpy?” Fargo asked as an aside. “Compared to what?” About that time the shuttle seemed to move sharply on all three axis, then started bouncing like a ball on a 3D court. “I just had to ask, didn’t I,” he mumbled.

Sushma replied, “Well, it appears there’s a storm in progress, either that or the screen isn’t working.”

Nicole looked up at the screen and sighed. “Oh, it’s working. We’re apparently landing in a whiteout. I just…I think I saw a mountain go by just now.”

Fargo sat up suddenly, “Dammit! I forgot to let Mikhail know the case against TBT is going to be dropped. I…” The bottom dropped out and his stomach rose into his throat, cutting him off in mid-sentence. There was a shudder through the shuttle, and suddenly the screen cleared, showing the inside of the shuttle bay as it clanked down.

“We’re herreee,” Evie caroled as the aft ramp swung down and bitter cold flooded the shuttle. “You’re free to disembark at this time. Thank you for flying Hyderabad shuttle services, we’ll be sending you a bill.”

Fargo grumped, “Why is the ship here?”

Evie swung down from the cockpit. “We had to pick up OneSvel and NasTass to bring them out here. Kamadev managed to shatter his leg and the medbox onsite isn’t quite as capable as the one we have on here. We were sitting at Rushing River after we delivered some supplies to the GalPat troops there.” Evie shrugged, “So we did the necessary.”

Concerned he asked, “How is he?” Fargo and Nicole turned toward sickbay as the others streamed toward the forward ramp and the village. “Where is Ton’Skel?”

“He’s in the village. I think with Lal or maybe Nirvik.”

“Nirvik?” Nicole looked up in surprise at Evie. She nodded and waved as she turned toward the bridge.

They met Captain Jace at the hatch to sickbay. “Captain, I need to speak with you.”

He nodded, “Let me check on Kamadev. Where will you be?”

“On the bridge.”

The hatch slid open and the two of them stepped through to find both OneSvel and NasTas hovering over the medbox. “How is Kamadev?”

OneSvel rotated an eyestalk and said, “Much better now. We’re rebuilding his leg.  If Ton’Skel hadn’t brought him in as quickly as he did, he probably would have lost the leg completely.”

“Ton did what?”

NasTass GalTrans chittered, “If Ton’Skel hadn’t carried him five miles at a run, through the storm, he most probably would have died of shock. The injury was major trauma. Compound fracture of the femur with associated trauma above and below the site. Luckily, they got a tourniquet in place high enough to stop the blood loss, but the bone was shattered and impinging on the nerves.”

Nicole asked softly, “What were they doing?”

OneSvel replied, “Kamadev was leading the kids on a survival hike. Ton’Skel was…along to learn. Apparently the Ghorka adopted him, so to speak.”

Nicole shook her head. “I’m going to go find out what the hell is going on. I…think we’re missing something major here.” She kissed Fargo quickly. “I’ll meet you in the training room.”

“Thank you.” He turned to OneSvel. “I need to go see Jace. How long will you be working on Kamadev?”

The two Taurasians linked and Fargo could sense them discussing the treatment plan. NasTass finally said, “We estimate another six to eight divs to complete the healing and remove him from the medbox. He will require additional care, but that is available here with competent medics.”

“Understood. I…need to talk to Jace and find out what Ton has been doing.”

OneSvel replied, “We need to talk to you about Ton’Skel also, but that can wait.” He extended a pseudopod and touched Fargo lightly on the temple. “We need to refill your pharmcope, and a div or so in the medbox could clear up your head injuries.”

“Maybe later. I…have things to do.”

“Do not leave without talking to us.”

Fargo sighed and said aloud, “Alright. I’ll do that.” He walked quickly to the bridge and found Jace and Evie sitting there. He slipped into the captain’s couch and said, “I think I owe you some thanks for the information you provided to Nicole and Sushma.”

Jace smiled broadly. “That was easy. One of the other things I did was to make sure the entire trial broadcast went out planetwide.”

Fargo cocked his head. “You did what?”

Chuckling, Jace replied, “Well, I inserted a version of myself into the planetary database. And I found some, shall we say, interesting things. The planetary government is rife with corruption at the highest level. They thought they’d manage to hide a number of things, like the vids from the major offices, and had a set of rules in place to control what was broadcast.” He waved a hand. “It was fairly easy to override those systems and controls, and apparently there are a number of people that are now digging into what Klynton et al have been doing.”

“I was wondering where those vids came from. Gann obviously never expected them to come to light, that was for sure.”

“I’ve also made a couple of additions to your cabin in your absence.”

What? Why?”

Jace’s face clouded. “You will never again have to worry about the power being cut. I put a mech and the little fabber to work while you were gone. You now have a full basement, an M-Thirty-One reactor down there, and a few other goodies. There is a latch on the right side of the center island, six inches in from the corner. It is matched to your fingerprints. Touch it and the center island will slide out of the way. Giving you access to steps to the basement. Also, there is a rather nice group of minerals under your property, including gold and silver. And you now have an escape tunnel that runs up toward the waterfall, paralleling the creek. It comes out at the tree line.”

“Uh, thank you.” What the hell prompted this? “I need to go find Nicole. And we’re going to need a ride to my cabin later.”

Jace chuckled. “Not tonight, maybe tomorrow. The Ghorka are throwing a celebration for Ton’Skel tonight. You can stay aboard.”

Fargo cocked his head. “They’re what?”

“You’ll find out. And you need to call Mikhail.”

“Oh damn. You’re right. I’ll go do that right now.” How did he…Oh, he’s also Evie, I keep forgetting. I’m…really confused right now. He bundled up as he made his way to the front ramp, dreading going through the air curtain. I can do this. I can run that far. Just…Argghhh that’s cold!

He trotted through the door into the training room and stood shivering as he looked around for a terminal. Nicole looked up. “Did you call—”

“Going to do that right now. Which desk has the terminal?” She pointed to the one he was standing next to and he sat down with a sigh as she smiled. He quickly set up the vid and waited while it rang through. Mikhail answered, “Ethan! Where are you?”

“I’m at the Enclave. It’s storming to beat seven hells out here, so I’ll probably stay here tonight. I’ve got good news though!”

“You do?”

“The trial is done, I’m not guilty, and the chief justicer said to tell you she is dismissing the suit against TBT also!”

He saw Mikhail blow out a breath and slump. “Oh thank Deity! I’m…the damn lawyers wouldn’t let me testify for you or provide any material to help you. They said it could prejudice our case. How… I mean we saw the broadcast, where did they find that info?”

Fargo looked over at Nicole and smiled. “I had some damn good investigators on my side. They were amazing! Where’s Luann?”

“She’s down at the Copper Mug, she ran out of honey and didn’t want to send Ian in this weather. She should be back soon.”

“Tell her I’ll be down in a few days and fill you in. Give her a hug for me and tell her I love her.”

“Will do, glad things worked out…for both of us!”

Mikhail was smiling as Fargo said, “Disconnect.” The screen went dark and he stood up, shedding his parka. “What is the story with Ton?”

Nicole laughed. “You won’t believe it.”

He walked over and sat on the edge of her desk. Looking down at her, he replied, “Try me.”

Rocking back, she looked up at him. “Well, would you believe he ran five miles through this,” pointing out the window, “carrying Kamadev on his back?” He nodded and she went on, “Then turned around and ran five miles back to where the kids were carrying Yash on his back?”

“I’ve seen him running in the snow up at the cabin but…how, why?”

“You’ll have to ask him, but Lal said Ton was scared for the kids and knew they needed to get back. Apparently they had dug snow shelters and were huddled up when Ton and Yash got back. Yash led them back here and Nirvik asked Lal to bring Ton there. He’s still over there.”

Fargo bit his lip. “Jace says there is going to be some kind of celebration for Ton tonight, and we might as well stay on Hyderabad.” Shaking his head, he got up and started putting his parka back on. “I guess I better go see Lal and find out what the hell is going on.”

Nicole got up and slipped into her parka. “I’ll go with you. I need to talk to Sushma anyway.”

“Did you have any idea about Sushma’s background?”

She laughed. “Of course. Girls talk, didn’t you know that?”

He shook his head sadly, mumbled something under his breath and walked out of the room. A couple of segs later, he found Ton in Nirvik’s foundry, watching in rapt fascination as Nirvik pounded on a red hot blade. Fargo stood there for a few seconds, taking in the scene as a little Ghorka girl attempted to climb Ton’Skel’s leg and he absentmindedly picked her up and sat her in his lap. She sighed and leaned back in his arms and Fargo thought, No one in the universe would ever believe this scene. Talk about sitting down with one’s enemy… Nirvik looked up. “Ekavir. Welcome. And where are your knives?”

He slapped his belt. “Ah, at the cabin. I…didn’t take them with me and I have not been home to retrieve them.”

Nirvik snorted something under his breath as Ton’Skel turned. “You won your battle, Fargo?”

“Yes, we won the battle and one more too, Ton.”

“We?”

“Nicole, Sushma, and…some others found things that allowed us to win. Without them…I probably would be in jail right now.”

“I watched with the people here. I find it strange that women fight. But I did not see your woman there.”

Fargo’s smile showed his teeth. “She was working behind the scenes. She purposely stayed away to make sure no one thought we had anything.”

Nirvik smiled. “Sneaky, she is,” never missing a beat on the knife blank. He inspected it, then shoved it back in the forge. Looking over at the little girl, he said, “Daxa, time for you to go home.”

She looked up at Ton’Skel. “Home?”

He gently set her on the floor. His GalTrans spit, “Yes, go home Daxa. Your…mother will be looking for you.”

She hung her head for a moment, then hugged his leg. “I go home now. Bye, bye.” She waved as she ducked around Fargo and trotted out the door.

Fargo looked at Ton’Skel and almost laughed as he saw how he was sitting. The bench was too short for him and his knees were almost up to his chin. He sniffed and said, “So, folks are saying you did something good up here while I was…indisposed.”

Ton’Skel hunched his shoulders almost as if he was expecting a blow, then turned. “I…did what was…necessary. We went on a simple hike. Kam…slipped on the trail and his leg,” he pointed to his thigh, “went deep in a crack and he fell over.” He mimicked the fall with his hands. “I…we lifted him up and saw the blood and bone. Milan, he has ten years, knew about…” frustrated he made the motions of wrapping the leg.

“Tourniquet? To stop the blood flow?”

Yes, the tourniquet on his leg. We… Kam did not speak but was still breathing. I told Milan to make a shelter and I…picked Kam up and brought him back here as quickly as I could. This one,” he pointed to Nirvik, “told me to follow him and we went to the medbox. Yash saw us and asked what…happened. Then I took him back to where the childs were.”

Fargo nodded. “And I was told you ran both ways?”

He made what might have been a shrug. “I…thought sooner better. Yash could not keep up. Not his fault.”

Fargo glanced at Nirvik, “Is there something I’m missing here?”

Nirvik pulled the knife blank out and proceeded to pound on it again. “Only the part about it being in the storm, and a trail even I walk on. Ton’Skel had never been on that trail until yesterday, and ran both ways with no rest. Yash swears they made it back to the children in less than thirty segs.”

Ton’Skel looked uncomfortably at Fargo and said defensively, “Did I do wrong? I was…worry.”

“No, you didn’t do wrong, Ton. Not at all.” And a child shall lead them. Why was he out there in the first place? I need to talk to Lal. “I will leave you here for now. I need to go see Lal and find Nicole. Nirvik, will you make sure Ton gets to…wherever the dinner is?”

Nirvik nodded, held the blank and said, “Ton, you see how the edge begins to form?” Both of them saw Ton’Skel relax and Fargo smiled as he stepped out of the foundry.

He found Nicole and Sushma with Lal at his house. He was ushered into the kitchen and Chirashree, Lal’s wife, handed him a cup of coffee as he sat at the table. “Thank you! Lal, why was Ton out with the children on that hike?”

Lal smiled as he sipped his tea. “Ekavir, you do not understand what has happened here. Ton’Skel is not the Deity damned terror everyone thinks the Dragoons are. The children love him. He is patient, kind, and gentle with them. He has been very careful in his dealings with everyone, and has asked many questions, questing for knowledge. Yes, I know he is a child in his world, but he is…more like one of our teenagers, except testing the limits. That he has not done. He has been voraciously watching history programs, asked myself and others many questions about battles and the history as we know it.”

Chirashree interrupted, “And eats enough for any three men! I have never seen anyone eat that much!”

Fargo chuckled, “Yes, he does eat a lot. I can…replace the food he’s eaten, or at least compensate you for that. It’s…not fair of me to have dumped Ton on you.”

“We have learned much in return,” Lal said.

Nicole and Sushma both started to speak and Nicole said, “We now have a deeper understanding of the Dragoon culture than we’ve ever had. He may be young, but he is a fount of knowledge.”

Sushma added, “And he’s apparently found gold. The children were showing him places to hide from the adults and he dug in some rocks in the back of one of the caverns. He…scraped? His claws through some rocks and pulled out what I think are gold nuggets if what he gave my daughter is any indication. He told the children to keep it a secret, just for them.” She smiled and said, “Which worked until I got home and my daughter showed me the ‘pretty rock’ Ton’Skel had given her.”

Fargo slumped in his chair. “So, what you’re telling me is that this has been a good thing?”

Lal nodded emphatically. “The storm blew up suddenly, when they left it was fine weather. If he hadn’t brought Kamadev back as quickly as he did, Kam would be dead. And he was apologizing for bumping him into the rocks a couple of times. Yash said it would have taken him hours to get back to where the children were, but Ton’Skel put him on his back and ran! Yash said visibility was less than ten feet most of the way, but he ran like it was a dry trail in the sunshine.”

Fargo nodded. “I know he runs quite a bit up at the cabin. With just a shipsuit and nothing else.”

“When he got back, he had Kam bundled in his coat. He took Yash back out and then walked back with no coat on, in subzero weather. We are going to honor him at supper tonight, I hope you two will stay for that.”

Fargo and Nicole looked at each other and she said, “We will be happy to.”

Fargo grimaced. “I don’t have my kukri.” Everyone broke up laughing at that, and Lal finally took pity on him, pulling a working blade and sheath out of a cabinet behind him.

“Not again. I want these back before you leave though.”

Fargo had the grace to blush as he said, “I will make sure to return them.”

***

Four divs later, Fargo handed Nicole up the steps to the main table in the hall followed by Ton’Skel. OneSvel and NasTass came up behind them and sat at the end of the table as Lal and the senior members made their way up to the main table.

Lal rapped on the table for attention and most of the folks quieted down. He waited patiently until Adhit used his command voice, “Shut up, sit down, and pay attention, people!”

A round of chuckles was heard and Lal said, “Thank you, Adhit.”

“Ton’Skel, would you please come up here?”

Ton looked nervously at Fargo. “What I do?”

“Go on up there.” Ton got up slowly and made his way cautiously to where Lal was standing in the middle of the table.

Lal looked up at him and said, “Ton’Skel. You have done honor to our tribe. You have saved one of our own’s life at the risk of your own. You did not have to do this, nor would we have expected it of you, as, on our worlds, you are a mere child yourself. We have learned you are much more than a child, both in mind and body. And we found out how much you eat!”

There was a titter of laughter around the hall and Ton turned that interesting shade of blue again. Nicole leaned over. “Is that a blush?”

“I’m not sure. When he is…discombobulated, he turns that color.”

Lal turned and looked out over the people. “Tonight, we are doing something that, as far as we can determine, has never been done. We are naming you and adopting you into our tribe.” He glanced at Fargo, looked up at Ton’Skel and continued, “Your new Ghorka name is Tyag, meaning sacrifice. You sacrificed yourself to get Kamadev to care and then Yash back to bring the children home. You…did not have to do any of those things. Without your actions, Kam would not be here today, and we have no way of knowing if the children would have survived.”

Ton’Skel looked down at Lal. “I have no words. I…what do I do with a new name?” He asked in confusion.

Lal smiled and glanced at Fargo. “This is a name that you will use with us, or any of our tribe, wherever you may meet them.” He handed Ton a rolled up scroll and said, “And with that, now we can eat!”

Nicole looked at Fargo, eyes wide. “Did they…they just adopted the heir to the Dragoon worlds!”

“I wonder if they realize that, and what the ramifications could be.” Deity, I wonder what the ramifications could be…this is so far above my paygrade…but who can I…we tell? Nobody knows Ton is here!

And here we go…

On the weekend, major holiday (so to speak), massive weather situation, and the Daytona 500. So they do this…

“This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call. We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer,” the president said in a statement. “Today, I am calling on Congress to enact common sense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets. We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now.”

Full article, HERE.  Apparently they are confident enough to jump up and down on the third rail of politics and thinking they will get away with it…

Something tells me it’s not going to work out like they think… EO or not… Compliance, to use that term loosely, it CT and NY is under 5%, if I remember correctly.