Agents of the Vault – Part 15

Part 15 of The Agents of the Vault is here!  Reunited with Doris, Grisom and Charlie race towards Yankton.

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Agents of the Vault
Part 15
By Grant Baciocco

Grisom, Charlie and Leland were far from the village but not so far as to not hear the gunshots.  They stalled the cart for a second as the shots rang out.  The two scouts who were escorting them turned and rode off in the direction of the ruckus.  Grisom, clicked his tongue and spurred the horses on faster towards the West.  The plan was to make a great loop and almost re-circle through where they had camped last night and continue north on through to Yankton.

Charlie tired his best to keep his leg comfortable with all the jostling of the cart.  His leg didn’t seem to bother him much though, now that he had Doris back at his side.  He held her tight as they rode along, even when she became fussy that she couldn’t run alongside the cart as before.  Charlie reminded her that that’s how the Pawnee had spotted her.  She reluctantly agreed and just contented herself with pestering Leland as they rode along.

“You mad I didn’t make Doris stay?” Charlie said to Grisom after some miles.

“Nope.” Grisom said.  “You asked her her opinion.  She chose you.  Seems fair to me.”

“But do you think they should be together?  The two prairie fires?” Charlie asked.

“Well,” Grisom replied, “I think eventually, for the good of their species, yes they should.  But they seem content to wait.”

Charlie nodded.

They rode a few more miles and then Grisom said, “She’s much more valuable now.  Moreso than when we thought she was the only one.  Now that there’s two, you need to take extra special care of her.  Make sure she’s able to provide a future for the prairie fire kind.”

Charlie nodded again.

He looked down at Doris who’d hopped back up in front with him and Grisom.  He reached down and patted her on the head, then scruffled her ears.  She whistled contently and then laid down next to his leg to nap.

Charlie decided he would do whatever Doris wanted.  She was a sentient creature and able to make good decisions.  When the time came for her to stay with Pahaat or anywhere else for that matter, it would be her choice.

They continued to ride on into the afternoon, passing the camp they had been at the night previous.  They could tell by the tracks that Jane had been through there.  Grisom hoped she was still dealing with the Pawnee and that would give them time to get far ahead of them.

Grisom had been sure the Pawnee could handle Jane, but as dusk began to settle over the prairie, a large black column of smoke began to rise from the southeast in about the distance the village would have been.  Charlie caught Grisom staring at it, but he didn’t ask.  Even Leland saw it and knew what it had meant.  Things between Jane and the Pawnee didn’t go well.

Over supper that night, under the moon, Leland asked, “Why’s that girl after you Grisom?”

Grisom ignored the question and kept eating.

“I mean the way she’s tearing after you, the way, i reckon, she and her men did today to those indians, she wants to catch up with us.  It’s not just the trunk I’m beginning to reckon.”

“No.  It ain’t just about the trunk.” Grisom said.  He paused then added, “I killed her father.”

This was news to Charlie, who looked over at Grisom in disbelief.

“Her dad was an Agent of the Vault, like me.  Like Charlie will soon be.  He was sworn to the same pledge to the Coalition as me, to protect history.  But these things we protect are very valuable and Jane’s father, Clinton his name was, began rescuing the historical items, but then keeping them for his own uses.  As someone who was his friend, but also an Agent, I tried to get him to knock it off.  He refused.  One night we reached an historical item at about the same time.  I wanted to make sure it got back to the Vault.  He wanted it for himself.  I couldn’t let that happen.”

There was quiet as this sank in.

“So this girl wants revenge.”

Grisom nodded.  “Make no bones about it, she wants the trunk.  But more than that she wants me.  Dead.”

Again, silence.

“I will add, if you figured you were in trouble if the indians got ahold of us, those things you said in yer little story about what they’d do, ain’t nothing compared to what she’d do if she catches up to us.”

Leland was dead silent.

“In fact,” Grisom continued, “If she catches up to us, you’re going to get your gun, because we’ll need to fight with all we’ve got against her.  Or you’ll want to use that gun on yerself to make sure she doesn’t get her hands on you.”

©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media – www.SaturdayMorningMedia.com

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