Tag: bandits

Agents of the Vault – Part 25 & 26

Parts 25 & 26 – Does Charlie become a true Agent of the Vault?

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Agents of the Vault
Part 25
By Grant Baciocco

The next day, Charlie was well enough to get a tour of The Vault.  A deep, underground bunker that went below Yankton for several stories.  It was a feat of engineering for the time and it was safe to assume there was nothing much like it anywhere else on the planet.

Doc explained, “There are several Vaults throughout the United States and some throughout the world.  All part of the Coalition to keep historic, mystical artifacts safe.  This one here in Yankton is the biggest in the world.  Most of the Agents work out of here.”

Doc took Charlie around to the training rooms, a series of room where Agents of the Vault could work on their hand to hand fighting as well as their accuracy with pistols and long range rifles.  Most impressive, however was the lowest level, The Vault itself.  Spanning for what seemed to be about a mile underground, The Vault had row upon row of trunks, much like the one the writing desk was carried in. They were stacked six high in some places.

Doc pointed down a row of stacked trunks, “The desk you and Grisom brought in is now safely stored away here.  It’s a good thing we had the other desk out of storage for study when Grisom wrote to us.  That’s how we knew where to find you.”

Charlie nodded.

“What you see here just barely scratches the surface of the artifacts with mystical powers out in the world.  And these are just the ones from the United States.  The purpose of the Coalition and The Vault is to keep these items of power out of the wrong hands.  All of these Vaults are defended by the bravest men and women on earth.  And now, you’re one of them.”

Charlie reached into his pocket and felt the leather case that held Grisom’s badge that was now his badge.  He was nervous and excited to be one of The Agents of the Vault, but there was also a small piece of him that was terrified now that Grisom was gone.  He really had no idea what he was doing, but steeled himself in the fact that Grisom seemed to be the best Agent of the Vault on the roster and he always trusted Charlie, so he would trust that.

“We’ve got a wagon all set up for you,” Doc said. “You can get the Prairie Fire back to the indians.”  Doc turned and led the way back towards the Vault’s entrance.  Charlie turned and followed him, stopping to look one last time at the rows of stacked trucks in The Vault.

Part 26

Two days later, Charlie rode from the Pawnee camp having delivered Pahaat.  The Pawnee Chief had greeted him when he had arrived, but there was not a pleasant mood within the camp.  The Pinkertons and the Calvary had done a number on the members of this tribe.  There were survivors but only a handful.

“I feel like we brought this trouble to you.” Charlie said.  “We led the Pinkerton’s here.”

“You had only good intentions.” The Chief replied in his rough English.  “And you have returned Pahaat.  A small sliver of sunshine throughout the storm.”

They sat in silence for a moment.  About ten feet in front of them, Doris and Pahaat tumbled and played in the dirt.  Their antics brought a smile to both men’s faces.

“Has your little one decided to remain with Pahaat?” The chief asked.

“Not yet.” Charlie replied, “But I have a feeling it’ll be soon.  They seem more dependent on each other after Doris rescued him form the Pinkertons.  I have a feeling it won’t be long before we are back here.”

The Chief looked across his village, his people slowly were rebuilding and cleaning up the damage the calvary had done.  “I’m afraid a great conflict is coming between my people and yours.”

“I feel it coming too.” Charlie said.

“It is a shame that we cannot live in harmony with the wonders that are around us.” The Chief said, watching Pahaat jump tackle Doris from behind as the two played.  He turned to look at Charlie, “But you are an honorable man as was Grisom and as long as there is honor, there is a small glimmer of hope.”

Charlie reached out for the Chief hand and shook it.  He then gave a whistle and Doris looked over from her dominant position on Pahaat to Charlie and realized it was time to go.  She looked down at Pahaat and gave him a big, sloppy lick across the face and then bounded off toward Charlie, stopping to rub her head against the Chief’s leg.

The Chief looked down, smiling, “See you soon little one.” Doris gave a whistle and smile and then bounded off after Charlie who was already getting into the wagon.

She scrambled up the wagon wheel and took her spot on the buckboard right next to Charlie.  Charlie clicked his tongue and gave a snap of the reigns and the horses began to pull out.  Once they were underway, Doris gave a Charlie a questioning whistle.

“Where are we off to?” Charlie replied, “Let me see.”

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a pice of paper, unfolding it with one hand as the other hand held the reigns.  He read Doc’s writing and then nodded, “We are headed to Baxter Springs, Kansas.  Apparently, that is where George Washington’s tent is currently being held for us.”

Doris let out another inquisitive whistle.

“Apparently, the tent has properties that keep it impervious to cannon fire.  It’s one of the things that kept Washington safe during the war.”

Doris let out a whistle of agreement and settled in next to Charlie.

They rode in silence for about an hour, en route to Baxter Springs.  Charlie felt Doris shift next to him and glanced down to see her with her back turned to him looking at something in her hands.

“What do you have there Doris?” he asked, startling the creature.  Doris quickly turned to him keeping the object hidden behind her.  She looked up innocently at him.  Charlie smiled, “Come on, show me what you got.”

Shyly, Doris brought her hand around into view to reveal a tiny, grey egg.  Charlie’s mouth hung open.  He was so flabbergasted, it took him a second to realize that he was pulling the horses off course.  He looked straight ahead and corrected the horse’s walk, then turned back to Doris.

Doris looked up at him with the big dark eyes, smiling.

Charlie let out a laugh and shook his head.  Doris gingerly placed the egg back into her pouch and the wagon continued onward towards Baxter Springs.


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

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Agents of the Vault – Part 22

Part 22 of The Agents of the Vault is here! Grisom and Charlie realize the hotel is on fire!

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Also, if you prefer a PDF version of this part to read, CLICK HERE for that.

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Agents of the Vault
Part 22
By Grant Baciocco

Both Charlie and Grisom had heard something come crashing into the kindling dry lobby room below them.  They both reached for their guns.  Grisom winced as he drew his and then again he attempted to lift himself  up off the edge of the bed.

“You should sit.” Charlie chided, helping Grisom steady himself.

“If Jane ends me today, I’ll be on my feet when she does.” He said through grit teeth.

Both Charlie and Grisom kept their guns trained at the door, expecting Jane and her Pinketons to come busting through at any second.  They both held their breath, fingers on their triggers and it wasn’t until they exhaled that Charlie made the discovery.

“Smoke.” He said, looking down at the whips of black smoke coming up through the thin floorboards under them.

“She’s burning us out.”  Grisom said, looking around.

“How are we getting the trunk out?” Charlie asked, looking towards it.

“We don’t.” Grisom replied, grabbing spare bullets out of his bag at a great deal of pain that he tried to ignore.

Charlie stood dumbfounded.  “It’ll burn.”

“It won’t.” Grisom said, stuffing the bullets into his pockets.  “The trunk has enchantments on it.  No harm will come to it.  It can’t be opened, it can’t be burned.  Let’s just hope it the desk survives the fall when this building burns and it falls to the ground floor.”

“There’s no way out of here but down the steps and out the front door, if it ain’t blocked by fire yet.” Charlie said, gripping his pistol tight.

“Then that’s the way we go out, I’ll go out first, draw their fire, you follow behind, but we going out one way and one way only.”

“How’s that?”

“Guns blazing.”

Charlie nodded and helped Grisom towards the door.  Thick smoke was wafting up the stairwell.  As they got to the top of it, they could see the fire was to the right of the stairs and they had a clean shot to the door.

Charlie smiled, “Let’s hope the stairs hold out otherwise, we might fall into the fire.”

Grisom smirked, “I think the real fire is waiting for us out on the street.  The flames downstairs might be the easy way out.”  Grisom pulled the handkerchief tied around his neck up over his face.  Charlie followed suit.

Charlie helped Grisom down a step at a time.  Both tried not to choke on the smoke as it filled their lungs.  Blinking their eyes to keep them clear.  When they’d reached the bottom step, Grisom took his arm from around Charlie.

“Okay kid.” Grisom said, “Let’s do this.  On three.”

Charlie nodded.


Charlie gripped his pistols in either hand.


The heat from the fire in the room behind them grew, about to propel them out into the street.


Grisom was out the door and into the street.  Charlie crossed the threshold of the hotel as he heard the gunshots begin.  Unsure if it was Grisom’s or Jane’s gun that was firing, he raised his guns and stepped out on to the porch of the hotel.

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

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Agents of the Vault – Part 21

Part 21 of The Agents of the Vault is here!  After the initial firefight, Jane regroups and plots her next move.

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Agents of the Vault
Part 21
By Grant Baciocco

Brenner had made his move towards the buildings when the shooting had begun.  He had seen Morgan, who was behind the hotel building, fall dead when the shooting had started and rushed to help Jane whom he found taking shelter behind the general store.  Jane was horseless, having been thrown in the confusion of the gunfight with Grisom.  Brenner rode up, dismounted and crossed to her.

“You okay?” Brenner asked.

“Fine.” Jane replied.  “I got a shot into Grisom though.”

“Is he dead?”

“I wouldn’t bet money on it.” Jane replied.

“They got Morgan, he’s dead at the back of the hotel.” Brenner said.

Jane didn’t reply, her eyes focused on the hotel.

After a minute of silence, Brenner spoke, “Where are they now?”

“Holed up in the hotel.”

“What’s the plan?”

Jane was silent for a minute.  “We need to flush them out.  Let’s burn the hotel.”

“But isn’t the trunk in there?  And the prairie fire?”

“Yes.  Grissom won’t let either burn.  He’ll get them both out of the hotel. We’ll just hope to snag the prairie fire as it tries to escape the building.  But I’m tired of waiting, this ends now.”  Jane began rooting in her bag for a box of matches.  “I hope we’ll get both, but at this point I’ll settle for just the trunk and Grisom dead.  We have the other prairie fire, perhaps we can use it to lure the other one out.”

Jane grabbed one of the dried out tumbleweeds that had collected against the side of the general store and struck a match.  A small flame ignited and she pressed the matchstick against the tumbleweed which caught quickly and began to burn.  “Cover me,” she told Brenner and began to move from behind the hotel to the street.  Brenner followed closely behind.  He peered around the corner of the store and aimed his revolver up at the windows on the second floor of the hotel.  There was no movement.

Jane sprinted across the street, leaping over Leland’s dead body.   The tumbleweed in her hands almost completely engulfed in flames.  She tossed the burning bush in through the front door of the hotel and ran back across the street to where Brenner was watching for any movement.

“You think the building will catch?” Brenner asked when she had returned.

“That building is drier than the tumbleweed.  It’ll catch.”  She unholstered her pistols and cocked them both.  “Cross back around to the other side of the general store so you have a view of the front and far side of the hotel.  Just in case they come leaping out the window.”

Brenner nodded and moved out behind the building.  Jane watched the door with her eyes squinted.  Soon enough, thick, black smoke began to roll out the door an up into the sky.

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

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Agents of the Vault – Part 20

Part 20 of The Agents of the Vault is here!  Was anyone hit in the opening gunfight between Jane and Grisom?  Listen and find out!

If you want to subscribe to the Grantcast, you can do so with iTunes, or by using this feed in your favorite podcatcher.  Enjoy!  And let me know what you think of the story in the comments here, as we go along.

Also, if you prefer a PDF version of this part to read, CLICK HERE for that.

Finally, if you’d like to support my projects, visit www.patreon.com/saturdaymorningmedia

Agents of the Vault
Part 20
By Grant Baciocco

Charlie scanned the street outside for signs of Jane but could only see her horse.  In the gunfight, she must have bailed off of it and it now stood still in the middle of the street.

Seconds later, Grisom came stumbling into the room, gun in hand, holding his belly.  Charlie could see a red stain spreading on Grisom’s pale linen shirt.

“Grisom!”  Charlie said, crossing to him and helping him sit on the edge of the bed.  “Is it bad?”

Grisom winced and for the first time, pulled his hand away from his wound and looked down.  The blood flowed faster now that he was not applying direct pressure.  He quickly placed his hand back over the wound and pressed down hard.

“Kid,” Grisom said between winces.  “Gut shots ain’t ever good.”  Grisom took a deep breath.  “Fetch my bag over there.”  He indicated his saddle bag which was next to the trunk that held the writing desk.

Charlie crossed the room, snagged the bag and quickly brought it back to the bed.  Charlie flipped it open and look expectantly at Grisom.

“There’s a small vial in the bottom.” Grisom grunted.  “Filled with dirt.”

Charlie rooted around in the bag as Grisom lie back on what was left of the bed.  Charlie’s fingers found a small glass vial at the bottom of the bag and held it up in the dimming sunlight.  It was filled with dirt as Grisom had said.  Charlie looked at Grisom who was hoisting up his shirt, exposing the gunshot wound.

“Take the top off the vial and hand it to me son.” Grisom said breathing heavy.  Charlie followed his directions, tossing the lid to the vial onto the floor and handing it over to Grisom.  Grisom took it and bunched his shirt up to get a better view of his wounded stomach.  Charlie stepped back, nervous, but ready to help if he could.  “You ever hear of Samuel Whittenmore kid?”

Charlie, perplexed at the sudden change of topic, shook his head as he watched Grisom slowly begin to tap out little flecks of dirt onto the pulsing gunshot wound.  “Whittenmore was 78 years old when he fought in the Revolutionary War.  He caught some British soldiers returning from the opening engagements at Lexington and Concord and, all alone mind you, took some shots at them.  Killed one redcoat with his rifle, pulled out his pistols, killed another and mortally wounded one more.  The British rushed him and this tough son of a bitch pulls out his sword to fend them off.”

The vial was now empty, a small pile of dirt on the wound was soaking up the blood making it a dark muddy brown.  Grisom threw the vial aside and began rubbing the dirt into his wound, gritting his teeth with every movement.

“What happened?” Charlie ask, instinctively crossing to the corner of the room where some discarded bedsheets lie.  He began to rip them into strips to form a bandage.  Charlie didn’t know much about medicine, but everything about rubbing dirt into a fresh wound seemed absolutely wrong.

“The British laid into him.” Grisom replied.  “Shot him in the face.  Bayonetted him repeatedly.  Left him for dead.”

Charlie crossed back to the bed and began helping Grisom bandage the wound best he could.

“Hours later, when, Colonial soldiers found him,” Grisom continued.  “Whittenmore was, amazingly, still alive.  They took him to a doctor who said there was no hope of his survival.”  Grisom let our a pained chuckle, “Tough old bastard lived another 18 years, finally stopping at 96 years old.”

“Sounds like a tough old man.” Charlie said, binding the bedsheets tight around the wound.

“He was.” Grisom said, attempting to catch his breath.  “There’s not doubt he was tough as nails.  But he had also happened to fall into patch of dirt there that the natives use to use as a healing area.  Legend had it that the dirt in that area had healing powers and it’s said to have kept him alive.”

Charlie nodded and helped Grisom tie off the knot of torn bedsheets now circling his midsection as a makeshift bandage.  “And that’s what was in that vial?”

“Yeah,” Grisom replied, with a slow measured exhale.  “Theres another vial of it in that bag.  You might as well take it and put it in your pocket, just in case.”

Charlie picked the bag up again and rooted around inside of it until he found the duplicate vial.  Feeling the cool glass in his hand, he regarded the small flecks of dirt tumbling within for a moment and then slipped it into his pocket.  Putting the bag down he walked over and helped Grisom sit up on the edge of the bed.

“That dirt going to heal you?” Charlie asked.

“Heal me?” Grisom said with a cough.  “No, but it might just keep me alive until someone gets to me that can.”

Charlie nodded and the prairie silence filled their room.  There air was still.

Suddenly sensing an absence, Grisom whipped his head around and scanned the room.  “Where’s Doris?”

“She took to ground, right after you left.  She heard something and took off.”

“Charlie, if anything happens to her—“

Charlie held up his hands, “I know, Grisom, I know.  But she had it in her head to do something and she went to do it.”

“Dammit.” Grisom said, wincing and grabbing his side as he did.  He sat quiet for a moment then turned towards Charlie, “You trust her enough on her own?”

“I do.” Charlie said, nodding.  Confident he was right.

Grisom smiled weakly and then winced, putting a hand against his side.  He let out a long slow exhale.

“What do we do next?” Charlie asked.

“We wait and see what Jane does.” Grim grunted.

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

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