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That bandit knew what he was talking about, curse his soul! He must have been a new member of the Scafford Gang, one who hadn't been with them long enough to mutate.
Eric and I were ready as soon as the sun rose; Eric even hired a local Rancher to help us fight off whatever was coming. He got on the roof while Eric and I waited down on the streets.
I wish now one of us had been with him. It probably wouldn't have made any difference, not the way that Void Spider was biting him, but at least he would have had someone with him when he died.
I got more than one bite from those blasted Spiders myself, and they made me shiver with cold even though it was eighty degrees out. That shivering affected my aim and I wasn't near as accurate as usual.
Still, we woulda fought off these creatures with only a few townsfolk lost if four Scafford gang members hadn't ridden into town at that moment!
How they knew the monsters was coming I couldn't tell you, but they were sure planning to take advantage of it. Eric took cover in a building, shooting out the window and he used his device to isolate one of the outlaws for a spell.
Unfortunately another bandit took cover in the doorway of Eric's building and shot him.
I wanted to help, but I was needed in the Saloon even as Tentacles were coming in from the north.
I killed two Void Spiders and a Strangler in there, but the screams coming from outside let me know that the townsfolk who were up and around early were falling back asleep forever, or at least until our Lord comes again.
There was also a big explosion, and I found out later that was Eric putting paid to two of the three Tentacles that had come after him.
Then one of those big reptile men in the silver armor showed up and I had to go after him with everything I had, even as a I got the saloonkeeper out the back door ahead of me.
In the end that saloon owner, Angus O'Neil, was the only one we saved. I'd thought people would be safe if they got inside, but the monsters went right after them anyway, and they was so blasted fast! Eric and I could each only be in one place at a time!
One life saved seemed awful small compared to the number which had been lost, and Eric and I didn't waste any time leaving for Masthead. Maybe I'll be able to actually do my job if I can get a Dark Stone grip on my new shotgun.
I did the wrong thing.
When we got here, the town was in an uproar. I didn't know what it was about then, but I found out later that some of the troublemakers were blaming the monster problem on the Indians and Mutants.
When I saw that mob with the torches, though, my first thought was to protect the Blacksmith's so I could get my gun fixed up right; Eric protected the Doctor's Office.
And the mob burned down the Indian Trading Post and the Mutant Quarter.
By the time I got there it was too late to save any of the buildings; all I could do was pull a few people to safety while Xotec cried.
Enos wasn't one of them; he'd gone down trying to protect his fellow mutants from these lawbreaking murderers!
I'm remembering what he told me, and I guess I'm finally starting to see how mutants could think that their only future might lie with Scafford's scalawags.
I talked a bit with Xotec about it, later in the night. Tomorrow we're heading down south. Eric's got an awful hankering to go to Fort Burke, and I'm agreeable to that. For once, though, we've got a third man coming with us!
I met him while I was pulling people away from the fire. He was doing the same, and it turns out he's a retired Deputy named Robert Coburn.
He didn't think he was going to be treated right in this town after he went against the mob, so when he said he was planning to move I asked him to come with us.
He wasn't going to at first, but when I offered to pay him to try to enforce the law with us he got interested. Eric's great, but I'll be glad to have another gun in the party, especially one who's already served in law enforcement.
I'm just writing this real quick before we go. What I've been a'fearing for some time has happened; those three-eyed things have found our world! The locals are afraid that they're going to march on the Fort tomorrow, but they ain't got the gumption to do anything about it!
Eric, Bob, Xotec and I are going in. We got no choice; we can't just stand by and let this alien army get a foothold here, not on our world!
I think we managed to stop them. If we wake up tomorrow and the town isn't aflame, then I'll know I'm right.
We fought a lot of the soldiers with big armor and exploding discs, and they were tough to take down. After we got the first group of three down, though, I found that they was like us in some ways: they had a pet in a cage at the back of the cavern, a little green bird. Xotec seemed to like it and I decided to keep it. I also found scroll of the Void in a hole in the wall, which might come in handy.
We fought two more of the Grenadiers and took them down. I wish we could understand their language; I couldn't make hide or hair of what they were trying to say, and so the only answer I could give them was hot lead. They had emblems with a big hammer on their shoulders, but I don't know if that patch is for their regiment or army.
I got a big scare and Bob got a bigger one when a Night Terror slipped up behind him without making no noise. Eric shot it several times, but it still swung those big fists at Bob. Thank the Lord he managed to dodge both blows! We didn't give it a chance to swing again.
Deep in the mines we found another three grenadiers and then the main force: six other soldiers, four of them with carbines, one with a gun that shot stuff like dynamite, and one with a gun that poured out more bullets at a time than I've ever seen in my life! I'll tell ya, though, we all felt a stubborn resolve to stop these aliens, right there and right then!
Eric trapped that last one in his forcefield and we took on the others. Eric blazed one of the carbine fellers down right away, but another threw a grenade at him. It didn't seem to have much explosive, but it created an almighty bang and seemed to stun Eric for a moment.
I took down two more and heavily wounded a fourth, who Eric finished. Unfortunately I was a bit too close to the grenadiers and they had a lot of Dark Stone dust on the outside of their armor; it made my left leg mutate into a tentacle! First thing tomorrow, I'm seeing what the doc can do about that. Xotec's still playing with that canary I found, but I've got to turn in for the night. I can only pray that this incursion we stopped isn't just the first drop of a rainstorm.
There's no doc in Fort Burke! I had to go to the sawbones camped out near the Fort to get my leg fixed, and he charges through the nose!
At least I know now why Eric wanted to come here: his cousin, Simeon Wheelock, is a blacksmith here! Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I was told Eric's cousin was gonnna be coming along with us! He didn't even have a gun, but Eric assured me that his hammer has crushed more than one critter that tried to make a meal of him.
I was still against him coming, but Eric said his cousin could make Dark Stone ammunition for us himself, and I knew that would help all of us. The only problem was, none of us had any Dark Stone for him to work on!
Simeon's mostly a silent feller, but he spoke up then, talking about a mine to the south one of his customers had given him permission to take from. Assuming we could get past the things inside, that is.
So we're heading down there. I suppose it will be worth it, if we can get better bullets, because I don't think this three-eyed soldiers are done, not by a long shot!
If I had any doubt of that, it'd be gone after I saw what else Eric brought back. He'd found a couple of those loud, puny bombs that had been thrown at him for sale at the market.
Well, here we go! I suppose I'll just think of this trip as my Christmas present to Eric; I hope he appreciates it.