Deadlands: Riders on the Storm

Briefing Notes: Lt. Col. Reginald Todd
July 16, 1876

DEPARTMENT OF WAR

 17th KANSAS VOLUNTEER CAVALRY REGIMENT

LIEUTENANT COLONEL REGINALD J. TODD, COMMANDER

 

Briefing Notes: July 16, 1876

Fort Clark, Nevada

Colonel James McNerlin of Fort Clark at a fair amount to report concerning the events leading up to our reinforcing his command of the fort on night of July 14, 1876. Many strange and troubling events lead up to the impending fall of the fort to outside forces.

Preliminaries

According to Colonel McNerlin, on July 8th, one of his junior officers, a Lieutenant Ward, took a patrol out in search of raiders operating in the area. The patrol never returned. To this day there has been seen no trace of that party.

On July 10th, the fort's telegraph lines were severed. Shortly thereafter, an armored vehicle appeared on the ridge above the fort. It was armed with a cannon a fired a number of shells into the courtyard. The fort attempted to return fire with its own artillery only to find that both cannons experience malfunctions and explode, killing or wounding the crewmen at those stations.

That day he dispatched two messengers. As they rode off, they were attacked by wolves and ripped to shreds in full sight of the guards on the ramparts.

That night, two more messengers attempted to get past the enemy. Their severed heads were dropped in the middle of the parade ground by a "large bat creature" a few hours later.

On the morning of July 11th, the armored vehicle returned with a load of logs strapped to its rear deck. It drove right up beneath the wall san dumped them across the tracks leading into the fort. As the fort was without adequate artillery, there was nothing that it could do about the action.

Then, around 11:00 am on July 12th, the supply train from Salt Lake City crashed through the barricade and into the fort. Its torpedo arm exploded the barricade the emergency braking system was deployed, killing and maiming several men before the train came to a stop on the parade grounds and derailed. The new artillery that was being delivered was damaged in the crash and there were several causalities from the soldiery on board the train. The engineer and fireman on board were both killed.

The remaining passengers were treated as best as they could by the fort's personnel, as there is currently no doctor posted at the fort. Then they were gathered at the CO's office. Colonel McNerlin briefed the assembled passengers on the situation at the fort and then announced that he was drafting them into the militia as an emergency action—fully his right under the Emergency Militia Act of 1871.

He placed the females on domestic duties, with the exception of a Miss Geraldine Keeler who expressed a mechanical aptitude, whom he placed on duty with Dr. Thaddeus Roberts to repair the locomotive. The men he placed on daytime guard duty to supplement the limit number of troops he had available.

One note: Miss Geraldine Keeler also indicated that she had urgent intelligence that needed to be imparted to Captain Lucius Dalworthington at Fort 51. As Colonel McNerlin also wanted to contact Fort 51 for reinforcements and was stymied, Miss Keeler found her message stalled as well.

Roster

According to Colonel McNerlin, he now had the following roster at the Fort:

  1. Colonel James McNerlin, CO
  2. Lt. Lester Goree, Junior Officer
  3. Sgt. Ryan McElroy
  4. Corporal Willilam Hicks
  5. Corporal Joe Whitetail
  6. Pvt. David Bates
  7. Pvt. Eric Cook
  8. Pvt. Harris Denison
  9. Pvt. Simon Lane
  10. Pvt. Daniel Leitch
  11. Pvt. Thomas Mansfield
  12. Pvt. Elbert Steen
  13. Pvt. Michael Thomas
  14. Pvt. Frederick Voigt

Militia

  • Mr. Roland Dupre
  • Miss Virginia Hickson
  • Miss Geraldine Keeler

Also on the Fort were the following civilians who occupied the Trading Post:

  • Mandy Graves, Proprietor
  • Bud Robbins, Scout
  • "Rancid" Rob Ivery

Justification

Colonel McNerlin essentially set about on this course of action because he felt that the fort was under siege and the fort was under-defended. He was unable to send word to Fort 51, the nearest Union garrison, for reinforcements. He could only rely on the fact that the telegraph line had been severed as an alert that something was amiss.

He set the militia members to work and set the troops on vigilant guard.

Internal Strife

On the night of July 11th, Miss Keeler reported to Colonel McNerlin that she believed that she and Dr. Roberts could have the locomotive going in eleven days. She also stated that she believed the cannons were the victims of sabotage, having spotted evidence of "acid scoring" on the inside of the artillery pieces.

On the morning of July 12th, Miss Geraldine Keeler happened upon the gruesome body of Private Elbert Steen near one of the boxcars of the overturned train. Nearby is a Bowie knife identified by locals as belonging to Bud Robbins, the local civilian scout. It was well-known throughout the camp that Robbins had it in for Steen ever since the young private got the scout shot on an expedition due to his incessant chatter. The CO ordered Robbins remanded to the stockade.

Later that night, according to a report that Colonel McNerlin later received, Miss Keeler and Mr. Dupre crept into the office and living quarters of Dr. Thaddeus Roberts, the fort's scientist. They apparently suspected the scientist of some sort of foul play. It turns out they were right. Inside the office they found a set of plans for a digging machine designed by the Wasatch railroad. Attached to the plans was a note saying "Steam too noisy—consider alternative" and a set of plans for a spring-powered alternative. They also found half a jar of hydrochloric acid. The two would-be spies also apparently witnessed Dr. Roberts in the Engine room with an illicit tunnel and digging machine, tunneling quietly away from the fort.

Unfortunately, the two were confronted by an angry Dr. Roberts who met them with a Gatling pistol in his office. He shot young Mr. Dupre in the gut while Miss Keeler managed to fight him off with Dupre's gun. Due to a malfunction of the Gatling piece, Miss Keeler gained the upper hand and apprehended the traitorous scientist.

Meanwhile, the rest of the camp was roused by the death-scream of Corporal Joe Whitetail as he was bodily hauled up and pinned to the wall of fort by the bayonet of his watch partner, who was felled by his tomahawk. Whispers immediately went up around camp about Sergeant McElroy, whose large size and well-known animosity toward Whitetail made him a suspect. Colonel McNerlin ordered Bud Robbins to be released.

Miss Keeler approached the Colonel and gave report concerning Dr. Roberts. He was also placed in the stockade.

Mr. Dupre was taken to the infirmary.

On the evening of July 13th, a report of food poisoning went about the camp. The officers were having a planning meeting at the time, and thus avoided the outbreak while the civilians took their meal at that Trading Post.

However, Miss Keeler apparently suspected some sort of tampering as she took a sample of the stew for scientific analysis. She came to the conclusion that the stew had been poisoned.

Around this time, a scream and a gunshot rang out from the Trading Post. As people came to look, Bud Robbins was found dead, torn to shreds, in his room. He had managed to get a shot off but no one knew at whom.

According to Colonel McNerlin, Miss Keeler had found a piece of ghost rock at the scene and had taken it back to the laboratory to be examined. She discovered that the ghost rock had had a piece of lead—bullet lead—grazed over it. She went to examine the ghost rock bin, which had been a source of her previous investigations because it was frequently messily overturned. As she looked around, she was surprised to see—according to her report—a large, "rock creature" emerge from the bin.

The creature attacked her with sharp claws backed by solid strength. Behind her, she saw Ginny Hickson with a pepperbox gun aimed at her. Keeler concentrated on Hickson. She finally overwhelmed Hickson and the creature fell. Troops had come running at the sound of gun shots and Hickson was apprehended and placed in the stockade.  She has so far withstood intense questioning from our forces.

On July 14th, Miss Keeler modified a device she already had on her person (a SPIDR pod) for rail use and sent it on its way south toward Fort 51 with a message from Colonel McNerlin asking for reinforcements for its impending invasion.

That night, the invasion began.

A steam tank, probably of Confederate design, began shelling the fort with impunity from a nearby ridge. In three shots it had destroyed the front gate. Suddenly, out of the engine house came a band of female troopers—they had apparently emerged from the other side of the now-completed tunnel.

Melee fighting began in earnest on the parade ground. It is apparent now that the interlopers were the famed "Wichita Witches," a gang frequently employed by the Black River rail line. They apparently were colluding with the Confederates for equipment and inside information.

As the Witches were beginning to fall, the "rock creature" made an appearance. It was taken out by Miss Keeler, who reasoned that, as it was made of ghost rock, it would be flammable. It was taken out by fire.

Then the steam tank started trundling into the fort to wreck havoc. This was when the Denver-Pacific train bearing the 17th Regiment arrived and routed the raiders.

Casualties

The Witches lost twelve of their number with three wounded left behind. These three will be taken to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas for incarceration, along with Dr. Thaddeus Roberts and Miss Virginia Hickson.

The Fort Clark contingent lost the following in the battle:

  1. Lt. Lester Goree
  2. Corporal William Hicks
  3. Pvt. Harris Dennison
  4. Pvt. Frederick Voigt

All but Colonel McNerlin sustained injuries.

Aftermath

Dr. Malcolm Chesney has taken over the hospital at the fort on a temporary basis to care for the wounded. Mr. William Fortnight of the Denver-Pacific and myself are in consultation with Colonel McNerlin on the revivification of Fort Clark and reconstitution of the rail line. The two remaining "militia" members, Miss Keeler and Mr. Dupre have been "decommissioned" and will be taken to Fort 51 by train once the tracks are cleared.

ADDENDUM: An armored car from Fort 51 has arrived on July 16th to take Miss Keeler and Mr. Dupre to that facility. Apparently, the SPIDR made it to the fort unscathed.

At sundown, services were held for the fallen, led by Colonel McNerlin.

Conclusions

It is apparent that the Black River rail line is in collusion with the CSA for a purpose—what that purpose is, it is hard to say. For the CSA's part, my speculation would be to cause a distraction—possibly to draw Lt. Col. Kyle's "Flying Buffalos" away from the "Ghost Trail" and move them toward the north to defend Fort Clark, making them more vulnerable for ambush and taking away from Kyle's forward momentum on that front.

What is Black River's gain in this? Obviously trouble and tribulation for Denver-Pacific, but this is but a spur of that railroad. Why go to this much trouble? The promise of CSA assets (such as a steam digger and a steam tank)? Possibly. Technology could turn the tide in their war with the other rail companies.

Regardless, it was requested of my superiors to make an assessment of Colonel McNerlin's performance in this conflict. His performance: technically astute, though emphatically lacking. McNerlin is a textbook soldier and leader—he leads by the book. But this was a situation decidedly outside of his experience and it got the better of him and his men and they suffered for it. However, I'm not sure what else he could have done in the situation. I cannot recommend reprimand at this time, though I certainly do not recommend commendation for valor.

It is clear, however, that a leave of absence is in order. These reports of a "rock creature," though corroborated by multiple witnesses, are clearly the work of high stress and extreme exposure to the pressures of command. It is also possible that a chemical agent was released into the air by the nefarious Dr. Roberts that caused the hallucination. Regardless, a time of rest—followed by a return to command—may be in order.

It should be noted that much of the needed inspiration and improvisation in this matter came from Miss Geraldine Keeler. Her conduct during the entire affair was heroic and inspiring.

Regardless, it is clear that Fort Clark will need to be re-garrisoned and rebuilt to withstand further assault. Colonel McNerlin will need to gain the trust of a troop of new men. And vigilance will need to be the watch-word of this garrison.

View
Eventful Exposition Marred by Rattlers
July 9, 1876

DESERET NEWS

TRUTH AND LIBERTY


GREAT SALT LAKE CITY, SUNDAY, JULY 9, 1876

Eventful Exposition Marred by Rattlers

by Carolus Randall

Yesterday was the inaugural celebration of the Grand Exposition of the Smith & Robards Company. Scientists from across the country, even the world, gathered at the Municipal Market Hall to display their latest creations and compete for bragging rights amongst their peers.

The festivities were interrupted on several occasions by a freakish infestation of Salt Rattlers that plague the Exposition all afternoon.

The events of the afternoon were foreshadowed during the invocation ceremony when, during Dr. Darius Hellstromme's keynote speech ("On the Betterment of Humankind through Courageous Endeavor"), a passel of baby Salt Rattler began emerging from various points all around the lawn outside the Expo site. Smith & Robards security forces were on hand to dispatch the critters, and no one was hurt, but it was a disturbing site to say the least for our many visitors.

Old hands at life in The Great Salt Lake know about the baby Salt Rattlers, but they generally don't show up until the ground is soft after a good rain. This large and sudden infestation after a dry spell was freakish even for natives of our great city.

Nevertheless, the scientists and exhibitors persevered and the Expo opened on-time at Noon.

The Exposition carried on according to plan (at least, as far as this spectator was concerned) for most of the afternoon until about 3:19 pm, when a full-grown Salt Rattler burst forth from the foundation of the Market Hall in Poster Area "A"!

Once again, Smith & Robards security teams were in place, as well as an un-named shooter in the crowd that fired at the beast. Between the two of them, the creature was felled. Exposition volunteers drug the bullet-riddled carcass from the scene and program coordinator, Dr. Erastmus T. Gould, worked the crowd to calm folks down and convince them not to abandon the Exposition. "The show must go on!" he was heard to say with exuberance. And so it did.

Until at 3:43 pm, another full-grown Salt Rattler exploded out of the Poster Area "B"!

This beast was a bit harder to put down, but down it went, with the efforts of the Smith & Robards team and two of the exhibitors, later identified as Mr. Roland Dupre and Miss Geraldine Keeler, both of Paiute Springs, Nevada. Miss Keeler, herself, dealt the monstrous worm its killing blow, with one of her screwdrivers, no less. A fitting metaphor for the Triumph of Tinkering at a scientific exposition!

Again, the bleeding corpse of the worm was dragged away and Dr. Gould attempt to calm the public. Clearly, the events of the day were taking their toll and people began to leave. Gould, an able cheerleader and exuberant supporter of his brainchild, simply could not stem the tide.

According to one exposition volunteer, who wished to remain anonymous, at least 50 people demanded refunds for their tickets that afternoon and another 150 to 200 simply left before the the Showcase events and the Airshow—the highlights of the day. When asked is Smith & Robards took any losses at the box office for the show, officials with the event offered no comment.

According to eyewitness reports on the scene, troubleshooters began searching the area for "devices." Speculation began to grow that the increased Rattler activity was not mere freakish behavior on the part of wild animals, but an act of sabotage. "Once is an event. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a conspiracy," claimed Dr. Marlin Robuck, one of the exhibitors.

Of course, this speculation raises the question of motive. For what purpose would someone want to disrupt the Exposition? Did someone simply wish to embarrass Smith & Robards (in general), or Erastmus T. Gould (personally)? Was it a distraction for some other nefarious event? Was it "new science" gone wrong?

According to another eyewitness, one of the exhibitors, a Dr. Gustavus Brock, had a "sonic varmint repellent" device that he claimed had been sabotaged. Could this strange device had been responsible for the havoc raised by the Rattlers?

Fortunately for the exhibitors and the spectators, no more Rattler attacks marred the festivities that afternoon and the Exposition closed to the public quietly at 8:00 pm.


Assassination Attempt Thwarted By Lady Scientist

by Garrett Van Der Veen

After an eventful Exposition at the Municipal Market Hall yesterday, the celebration's closing ceremonies did not disappoint.

The closing ceremonies for the Smith & Robards "Grand Exposition" were being held in the ballroom of the sumptuous Salt Lake City Hotel. Various speakers came to the fore to dole out the awards earned by the selected exhibitors of the inaugural conference.

As the esteemed Dr. Jacob Smith, the "Smith" of Smith & Robards came to the stage to make his presentation, one of the audience members, a lady by the name of Miss Geraldine Keeler of Paiute Springs, Nevada, began to make a spectacle of herself with a hysteric display. At the same time, a rifle shot rang out through the ballroom, striking far wide of the stage. It was later speculated that Miss Keeler's display to was to catch the shooter, whom she had spotted, off-guard, and to throw off his shot. Good for her! What spunk!

Dr. Smith hit the deck and S&R security forces began to gather around the stage. Meanwhile, Miss Keeler made her way across the ballroom and threw down the podium to give Dr. Smith more cover. At the same time, witness watched, their hearts in their mouths, as the shooter struggled with an unknown assailant up in the rafters of the ballroom!

The security team dared not fire into the rafters as they could hit the man struggling with the would-be assassin, so they opted to form a perimeter around their employer. Miss Keeler hopped up on to a table and reached up to try and pull the assassin down herself!

I don't know what they're putting in the water in Paiute Springs, but it apparently breeds bold women! Let's keep that stuff in Nevada!

As Miss Keeler continued to struggle to pull the man down, falling down on her bustle twice in the process, the assassin fought on against the other unknown foe. Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, but was actually only about a minute, the assassin came tumbling down from the rafters, landing hard onto the table, and then rolling off onto the floor. Clearly, the wind was taken out of his sails as he flailed about uselessly on his back, his fallen rifle out of his reach. Miss Keeler had the audacity to SIT upon the man until he was gathered up and taken away by the security team.

Dr. Smith recovered from the situation and finished his presentation.

The assassin was taken into custody by Sheriff Eli Waters and taken to the City Jail. He was later identified as Travis Pritchett (aka Jared Hitchens), a saboteur and spy with known associations with the Confederate States of America. He is currently wanted on warrants in the U.S.A. Pritchett's fate is in the hands of Almighty God and Judge Upton Blackwood.


Tate Wanted Regarding Charges of Fraud

by Artemon Jezek

United States Patent Clerk Lyle Tate is currently eluding authorities who wish to question him in regard to charges involving fraud, claim jumping, and other chicanery. According to sources, Mr. Tate was using knowledge gained by his post to try and bilk firms—including Hellstromme, Industries, out of monies based on the false notion that he owned certain patents and ideas. He had come to Salt Lake City to attend the Smith & Robards Grand Exposition and, thus, find plenty of potential victims for his schemes.

The Sheriff of Salt Lake City is working in cooperation with the United States Marshal's office to apprehend this suspect. The U. S. Marshal's office has issued a warrant for Mr. Tate and a reward for his capture, alive, of $150.


Awards Presented for Grand Exposition

by Garrett Van Der Veen

Despite the exciting theatrics of Salt Rattler attacks and assassin attempts, the 1st Annual Grand Exposition presented by Smith & Robards is ultimately about the presentation and furtherance of Science —especially the "New Science" represented by luminaries such as Dr. Darius Hellstromme, Dr. Jacob Smith, and other such pioneers.

Thus, the ceremonies of the inaugural Expo highlighted such endeavors that illuminated these ideas.

Thaddeus Shaw, President of the Great Basin Scientific Society, and one of the judges of the Exposition, doled out the "Best in Division" prizes.

Anthropology: Dr. Sarah Milligan, “Shamanistic Traditions and the Intersection of Myth and Science”

Astronomy: Dr. Marlin Robuck, “The Extraterrestrial Origins of Ghost Rock: A Working Theory”

Biology/Medicine: Dr. Geoffrey Walter, “Disease Vectors in East Texas: Texas Tummy Twister by the Numbers”

Botany: Mr. Jordan Danforth, “Steam-Powered Seed-Shooter”

Chemistry: Dr. Joaquin Bandera, “Ethical Considerations in the Study of Philosopher’s Stone”

Engineering: Miss Geraldine Keeler, “Demonstration of Surveying Pods for Intake, Detection, and Retrieval”

Geology/Earth Sciences: Dr. Delia Sampson, “Looking Beyond Steam as a Fuel Source: What the Future Holds”

Ghost Rock: Drs. Kyle Rosenfeld, Dixie Brown, and Fontana Starling, “Magnetism, Ghost Rock, and the Opening of Fields”

Natural History: Anonymous, “A Case for Reanimation: The New Prometheus”

Physics: Dr. Angela Strom, “Flight of the Bumblebee: Flight Achieved through Power vs. Glide”

Zoology: Mr. Johnathan Washburne, “Expeditions in Caddo Lake”

Next came Sir Clifton Robards, of Smith & Robards, to present the "Best in Section" Awards.

Amateur/Hobbyist: Mr. Hank Rogers, "All-Terrain Velocipede"

Professional: Dr. Marcus Samburg, "Psychic Projector"

Finally, after a harrowing attempt on his life, Dr. Jacob Smith, also of Smith & Robards, presented the coveted "Best in Show" Award to Dr. Ignatius T. Plotts, for his invention, "The Whirlygig."

Before ending the ceremonies with the closing remarks, Dr. Erastmus T. Gould, Program Coordinator for the Expo, made an impromptu presentation of a $500.00 credit to Smith & Robards to Miss Geraldine Keeler for her assistance in dealing with the various crises of the day. Gould cited the prize as a "Distinguished Service Award" for young scientist.

The evening came to a close after the closing remarks of esteemed, world-renowned scientist, Mr. Alfred Nobel. You may know Mr. Nobel for his wondrous invention of dynamite.

With God's Grace and a bit of planning, Smith & Robards will hold a 2nd annual Expo next year.

"Oh, yes, I count this as a success," said Dr. Erastmus T. Gould, Program Coordinator for this year's event. "The events of today were largely out of our control. The events we could control were done so with efficiency and aplomb. And those that were out of our control all ended with minimal harm done. Obviously we'd rather these events didn't happen, but in light of the what actually did happen, I'm pleased with the end results."

Spoken like a true scientist.

View
Intelligence Report: Subject 2783
June 20, 1876

Department of War

Bureau of Military Information

Intelligence Report

 

Date: June 20, 1876

To: Brig.Gen. George H. Sharpe, US Army HQ, City Point, Virginia, USA

From: Capt. Lucius Dalworthington, CIO, Fort 51, Nevada, USA

Subject: Subject 2783 (TS)

TOP SECRET
Details:

The science team at Fort 51 took possession of Subject 2783, formerly classified as "JD-76," on March 17, 1876.

Previous to its possession by friendly forces, the device was in the possession of Miss Geraldine Marie Keeler of Paiute Springs, Nevada [reference report of April 15, 1876]. The device crashed into her backyard during an electrical storm on March 3, 1876. Miss Keeler, being an experienced scientist with at least one patent to her name, made a diagnostic analysis of scene and determined that the device was a self-propelled ornithopter of some type. The core cylinder of the device was the only component ot survive intact, and it seemed to be connected to a faulty self-destruct mechanism involving three sticks of military-grade dynamite.

Over the course of a few days, Miss Keeler managed to defuse the device and opened the core cylinder. There she discovered the secret of Subject 2783: that it was "powered" by a preserved human brain. Once again, Miss Keeler proved her ingenuity and managed to communicate with the "entity" inside the canister. It identified itself as JD-76 or "JD" and conducted conversations with Miss Keeler. It was, however, prevented from revealing its purpose or its mission by a series of electrodes connected to key nerve centers on the surface of the organ [reference Notes: Stranghoener April 1876].

Meanwhile, Fort 51 was contacted and I was dispatched to investigate.

In the intervening time, a squad of Confederate troops led by Captain Harland Desdemona (under the alias "Max Tucci") and Confederate agent MIss Josephine Devereaux (under the alias "Miss Lavern Stefano") entered Nevada by way of Arizona, marched to Paiute Springs, and attempted to retrieve their wayward prototype. Fortunately, with the help of Miss Keeler, I was able to apprehend Miss Deveraux and Captain Desdemona [reference report of March 18, 1876]. It was then that I acquired Subject 2783 and brought it back to Fort 51.

Preliminary Findings

After his briefing on the acquisition and preliminary study of the subject by Miss Geraldine Keeler of Paiute Springs, Nevada, Mr. Eddington assigned the device to the care of Dr. Theodore Stranghoener. Dr. Stranghoener was between projects and is a capable chemist and engineer with a solid record of work.

During this period, Mr. Eddington received frequent reports on the progress of Dr. Stranghoener with Subject 2783. Mr. Eddington, in turn, would report to myself and Lt. Colonel Kyle on the project. As the days passed, Eddington expressed his dismay at the lack of progress Stranghoener was having on the project. According to the project notes, the subject was increasingly uncooperative and unresponsive and, quite possibly, psychotic.

At this point I hit upon the idea of bringing in Miss Keeler. Perhaps her rapport with the subject would bring it around. Further, she had scientific experience—she had, after all, been the only one to make progress thus far.

Eddington encouraged me to move forward. He removed Stranghoener from the project. I sought the proper clearances for Miss Keeler. Once attained, I rode to Paiute Springs to retrieve Miss Keeler.

Miss Keeler was apprehensive at first but readily agreed to help if it meant that "JD" was in some kind of distress. She had the curious habit of treating the device as if it were a person [more on that further in the report].

We rode out from Paiute Springs and arrived back at Fort 51 on May 4, 1876.

Miss Keeler began her work on May 5, 1876.

Progress

I ordered Dr. Stranghoener to provide Miss Keeler with his work notes and Miss Keeler commandeered one of the chemistry labs within Laboratory C, the Special Weapons Division of the facility (Subject 2783 defies traditional classification). There she began her work in earnest and reported regularly to Mr. Eddington.

According to the reports I received from Eddington, Miss Keeler started seeing progress within just a few days. She managed to calm "JD" down and bring him out of his shell. She brought in books and pictures from the library to stimulate him. Within a week, she had a major breakthrough.

"JD" began to remember his previous identity, who "he" was before falling into his current state. His name was Virgil Caine, and he was apparently a Confederate soldier from Tennessee who fought against General Stoneman's raid on the railyards at Danville, Virginia in 1865. He was an ornithopter pilot who, it is believed, went down during the fight. He is survived by a wife, Iris Caine and a nephew, Paul [see report May 31, 1876]. He has few memories past 1865. He remembers a great fire, pain, ice, a man with wild hair and insane eyes, the smell of salt, and Miss Josephine Devereaux.

Since the "awakening" of Virgil Caine, it appears that Subject 2783 suffers from a strange condition of the mind in which half the time, one is speaking to Virgil—a distinct person from JD. The other half of the time, one is speaking with JD, a distinct person from Virgil.

According to Eddington, the JD personality is solicitous and helpful—willing to provide the information we require were it not for the pain of the electrodes. The other personality, Virgil, is a staunch Confederate and will not cooperate regardless. It posed an interesting dilemma at the time.

Meanwhile, Miss Keeler continued researching the feasibility of removing the electrodes from the brain without causing the organ more harm. She finally hit upon the the approach she felt would be the most viable, though it would not be without risk. According to Eddington, she discussed the procedure with the dual natures of the device as if they were a patient and she were a physician. They both felt that the benefits were worth the risk.

On May 11, 1876, Miss Keeler attempted the procedure. According to Mr. Eddington, she accomplished the task admirably. In only two hours, she managed to perform the delicate operation with no loss of cognition to the subject.

Later that day, the JD personality emerged and revealed the device's core mission, its last (and, as it happens, first) mission and its code phrases.

  1. Core Mission: Accept code-preceded instructions. Fly to target. Surveil target. Take photographs if needed. Return to base. Destroy Core if compromised.
  2. Last Mission: Fly to [coordinates matching Fort 51]. Surveil for 1 hour. Take photographs of facility. Return to [coordinates matching encampment in northern Arizona]. Destroy Core if compromised.
  3. Code Phrases: "Welcome to the cotillion" [Prepare to accept instructions]; "Your dance card is full" [Instructions complete]; "Take Sherman straight to Hell!" [Self-Destruct Core].
Aftermath

After completing her mission objectives, Miss Keeler stayed on at the facility, with the support of Mr. Eddington, to complete a final project on behalf of "JD."

Over the course of the next two weeks, she and Mr. Eddington worked together to design and create an apparatus by which Subject 2783—JD—may actually walk about on its own. It is essentially a clockwork base on which the armored canister sits that has articulated, spider-like legs and a "sensory rig" through which JD may experience sight and sound [reference attached blueprints and diagrams c/o Eddington].

Eddington has used his influence—and the fact that we have already gleaned much of our needed intelligence from the device—to secure permission from Washington to care personally for the subject. Subject 2783—now termed locally as "JD" resides with Eddington on the facility grounds.

Miss Keeler left the facility June 16, 1876.

Her clearances were revoked June 17, 1876.

Conclusions
  • Virgil Caine was likely shipped to by train in an ice car to some undisclosed location to begin the procedures that resulted in his current state. His mention of "salt" makes me think of Utah/Deseret, but this is pure speculation.
  • As it took nearly 10 years for the Confederacy to produce JD from Virgil, it stands to reason that (a) the procedure is a lengthy and arduous process, or (b) finding the right subject is a difficult proposition, or © a combination of the two. As such, it is unlikely that there are a great number of these unmanned craft being deployed.
  • The work being performed here is reminiscent of the theories presented by Dr. Leonitus Gash, formerly of Deseret University in Salt Lake. It is, however, an advanced application of his theories. Dr. Gash's current whereabouts are unknown, though we have, admittedly fewer channels available in Utah Territory.
  • Miss Keeler, though an "amateur" scientist is a formidable technician and tenacious scientist. She would be a valuable asset with which to maintain cordial relations. She impressed Eddington—and he is not easily impressed.
  • It is clear that our science teams have been remiss in regarding Subject 2783 as merely a device. Not only are there clear moral and ethical ramifications that are brought to bear, but from a practical point of view—dehumanizing JD made matters worse. The Confederacy created a monster but we treated him monstrously. If we are to maintain the moral high ground in this conflict, we should look to Miss Keeler's example. From this point forward, Subject 2783's designation has been changed to "JD/Virgil Caine" and will be referred to by his dominant personality in correspondence.   
Supplemental Report: Lt. Steven Atwell

On May 12, 1876, Miss Keeler left the facility on a social outing with Lt. Steven Atwell, aide de camp to Lt. Colonel Kyle. They took the train to Cedar City at 6:30 pm. In the returning to the fort on the 8:30 pm train, Miss Keeler found herself separated from Lt. Atwell in the crowd. While thus separated, Miss Keeler found someone pressing a gun barrel into her side and a whiskey-soaked voice telling her, "Walk with me, Miss Keeler. And quietly. Let's not have a ruckus." The man clearly had a Southern accent.

Miss Keeler attempted to push the man away and run, but he grabbed her and pulled her close, saying , "None of that, missy." She then started to scream and push her way away, banking on the belief that the man didn't want to shoot her down in front of witnesses. The man let her go and faded into the crowd.

Lt. Atwell reappeared and asked after her state, as she was clearly upset. Miss Keeler simply asked to be taken home.

What is unusual about this incident is that Miss Keeler confided in me that she got the distinct impression that Lt. Atwell lost her purposefully. Which suggests collusion with the assailant.  And a far more disturbing problem if this is the behavior of a trusted aide at a secure facility.

My agents have discovered that a Confederate information broker by the code name of "Fiddler" was seen in Cedar City at the time. If this is the man Atwell is in collusion with, then treason charges are not out of order. However, we have no evidence at this time. It simply bears further watching.

Supplemental Report: Amy Kyle

This next report is more difficult to provide. Miss Keeler reports that on the evening of May 15, 1876 she was awoken in her apartment by the touch on her hand of another. She looked up to see a gaunt, desiccated woman—clearly long dead—in a nightgown, crawling across her ceiling on all fours like a giant spider. Her decaying features could not hide the fact that she was Amy Kyle, the young bride of our CO.

Miss Keeler gave chase to the—woman—but lost her as she walked past a sentry and into the base HQ. After that night, Miss Keeler suffered from an unfortunate illness for nearly three weeks. Miss Keeler also noted that Mrs. Kyle had a habit of avoiding her reflection.

I am fully cognizant of how this report must sound. And of the importance of whom it implicates, however, in light of the increasing reports coming in from the Pinkerton Agency regarding strange events in the West and the reports I have submitted of the things I have seen in my own travels, I beg your forbearance.

I have heard of people called "harrowed" who refuse to stay dead and return to the land of the living, their bodies reanimated by a force as mysterious as it is dark. Mrs. Kyle suffered from a life-threatening fever five years ago. I hypothesize that she succumbed to that fever and returned—as something else.

But, I have no proof. Nothing actionable short of vigilance, which must suffice for now.

END REPORT

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Kidnappers Revealed! Devil-Worshippers Uncovered!
April 30, 1876

The Paiute Springs Sentinel

Sunday Edition

April 30, 1876
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Kidnappers Revealed! Devil-Worshippers Uncovered!

by Oliver Milhouse

Hold on to your crosses, friends. This one's going to take you into the valley, so to speak.

This past week, our own beloved Imogene Crane, schoolteacher and literary champion, was assaulted on Camp Road by three masked men while she was on her way to have dinner with her friend, Geraldine Keeler, at the Keeler House. The two ladies managed to fight off the ruffians, but the event was nevertheless traumatic for our poor educator.

"I just don't understand why anyone would want to do such a thing," she said later. "It doesn't make any sense."

Apparently, she pulled a pendant off one of her assailants (pictured here). According to Miss Keeler, it is an alchemical symbol for silver.

According to Town Marshal Lila Kimsey, the men came from the mining camp of Zebedee Duvane. She and some unnamed others formed a posse and went and checked out the situation, but no arrests were made.

This may have been a mistake on the part of our esteemed Marshal.

The next day, Geraldine Keeler and Roland Dupre were attacked by three more masked miners from Duvane's camp. Unfortunately for them, Dupre was quick on the draw and Geraldine was no slouch with a gun her own self. They managed to capture one and take him in to the Marshal.

According to testimony from the subsequent trial, this man, one John Pendleton, worked for a "master" called the "Argent Flame" for whom Zebedee Duvane was a servant. They wanted Imogene, and later Geraldine, because they were spinsters and thus "unsullied."

Marshal Kimsey gathered Geraldine and Roland up and marched into the mining camps and confronted Duvane. A fight ensued and two more men were apprehended, as well as Zebedee Duvane.

One would think that would be the end of it, friends, but fanaticism is hard to put down.

That night, April 24, Geraldine Keeler was kidnapped from her own bed and taken to the Duvane camp and prepared for a devil-worshipping sacrifice! According to testimony from the trial, they strapped the poor young woman to a rock and were going to sacrifice her to some nefarious demon were it not for young Roland Dupre coming in, guns blazing, and disrupting the ceremony. Geraldine managed to free herself, and Roland was overwhelmed in the fight, but the cultists were subdued and she was released.

Devil-worship! Cults! Virgin sacrifice! All right here in Paiute Springs! It's disgraceful! But all's well that ends well, as the Bard says.  Let's send our prayers to Miss Keeler for a speedy recovery from this traumatic experience.

Miners Convicted. Dupre To Be Jailed.

by Oliver Milhouse

Zebedee Duvane and his group of diabolic miners have been convicted by Judge Perryman in circuit court and sentenced prison in Virginia City. Zebedee himself will spend 20 years in a cell for conspiracy to commit kidnapping and attempted murder. His followers will spend 30 years in prison for actually doing the deed.

In a sidebar, Judge Perryman sentenced Roland Dupre to 30 days in county prision in Pioche for being "gun-happy."

The Duvane crew is awaiting the arrival of U.S Marshals to transport them to Virginia City and then to prision. Dupre is awaiting the next stage to Pioche.

Jennings Named Deputy

by Oliver Milhouse

Ethan Jennings has been named Marshal Lila Kimsey's official deputy. The good Marshal has been saying for a long time that she needed the help and has finally taken action.

Jennings is twenty-one years old, a former shotgunner for the Old Barcelona stage, and an avid reader of dime novels—especially those about Nevada Smith.

Collins Hangs Up His Shingle

by Oliver Milhouse

Jim and Patrick Collins, Undertakers and Coffin Makers, have hung up their shingle on Church Street and are offering their services for all of your mortuary and funerary needs. An experienced pair of undertakers from Chicago, the Collins Brothers are prepared to help in your time of grieving to ease your deceased family member or friend into the Great Beyond. Feel free to call upon them day or night.

Coyotes Collude with Confederates

by Oliver Milhouse

It has become increasingly clear that the so-called "Coyote Confederation" is operating in collusion with the Confederated States of America. As offensives from the CSA escalate in light of their upcoming election, the Coyotes are seen to rarely raid Confederate sites or even disputed sites that are thought to be sympathetic to the Southern Cause. However, they do target Union supply lines and other vulnerable positions.

There may come a time, friends, where our beloved Union is forced to fight a war on multiple fronts against multiple enemies. It is no wonder that our esteemed leader, U.S. Grant, is looking so haggard these days. The weight of the ship of state is indeed great.

Dear Aunt Sally…

by Sally Mae Baumgarten

Dear Aunt Sally, I have had a sore throat that just won't quit. I've tried vinegar and hot water but that don't work none. Any idears? — B.

Dear B., This is the time of year when our noses and throats really start clogging up on us. Here's an "idear." Try dog fennel boiled with lard for your throat. I bet you see an improvement. — Yours, Aunt Sally.

Dear Aunt Sally, My mama always said tansy tea was a good cure for white swelling. Is that true? Also what about this for warts? Rubbing the warts with stones and then throwing the stones away? Always worked for my Nana…—T.

Dear T., Tansy tea is a wonderful remedy for a great many ills, white swelling (or hip joint disease) being one of them. As far as the warts—well, let's just say I'd rather stick with my pumice stone and castor oil trick. I'd hate to gainsay your Nana—if that works for you, then by all means stick with it. —Yours, Aunt Sally.

Dear Aunt Sally, I lost my husband H. last summer in a mining accident—poor soul fell down a shaft. Anyway, these past two nights, he's been visiting me in my parlor, just as bold as you please. He shows up and just smiles at me, doesn't say a word. Then he leaves. What do you make of that? —N.

Dear N., I can only say that we live in strange times and if seeing your husband gives you comfort, then by all means take what comfort you can. If it is something that brings you more grief, then talk to Reverend Gage and see about a cleansing of your home. I only hope that whatever route you go, you have peace of mind about your husband and that you know that he loves you no matter where he is. — Yours, Aunt Sally.

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Shootout at the Prince Royal
April 2, 1876

The Paiute Springs Sentinel

Sunday Edition

April 2, 1876
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Shootout at the Prince Royal!

by Oliver Milhouse

Gunshots rang out through the night from our esteemed Mayor's establishment last Monday night around midnight! Night clerk Vince McGillicuddy reports that semi-permanent guest Roland Dupre had an altercation with a newly-arrived stranger, a Miss Simone Moreau of New Orleans, in his room, ending with his firing his gun at her. Some reports have Miss Moreau being armed with a derringer at the time, others, not. Regardless, the altercation ended with her bearing a gut wound!

But then things get a little odd. Tombstone Epitaph odd, my friends.

Apparently, the gathered combatants (which included Miss Moreau's bodyguards and Miss Geradine Keeler), were also visited by a wandering Dust Devil! Yes friends, one of those legendary creatures of the deep desert that we've heard tell of from wandering travelers but never dared believed! Darn thing showed up in the hotel room! 

At any rate. Mr. Dupre will be questioned by Judge Perryman when he returns from riding circuit, as will Ms. Moreau, who has been commanded by Marshal Kimsey to remain in town.

Dupre Exonerated

by Oliver Milhouse

This Friday Judge Bradford Perryman heard the strange case of the shootout at the Prince Royal Arms Hotel that took place on Monday. Roland Dupre, local card sharp and gunman, and Miss Simone Moreau, lately of New Orleans, had an altercation in Dupre's room at the Prince Royal which ended in Miss Moreau being shot by Mr. Dupre. Mr. Dupre claimed self defense.

According to Mr. Dupre, Miss Moreau claimed that he had something that belonged to her and she kept cajoling him to hand it over. He assured her that he didn't know what she was talking about and attempted to avoid the woman. According to Dupre, she sent her hulking bodyguards, known only as Malcolm and Rudy, to tear apart his room, presumably to find this item. When confronted about it, Dupre says she pulled a derringer on him, which forced him to draw on her in kind and defend himself.

For her part, Miss Moreau claims that she, indeed, believes, that Dupre has something that belongs to her, and that when she confronted him about it, he grew agitated. She called for her bodyguards, who tore down the door to get to her, and he drew a gun on her and fired, but she drew her gun too late to defend herself.

Judge Perryman characterized Miss Moreau's story as "unmitigated horsehit" and ordered her to leave town under the escort of the town Marshal. He found Mr. Dupre not guilty of attempted murder. Roland's gun was returned to him by the town Marshal. This is the second time in a month that the young man has appeared before the judge and been exonerated.

Egg Hunt on Church Lawn

by Oliver Milhouse

Just a reminder: There will be an Easter Egg Hunt on the Paiute Springs Church Lawn on Sunday April 16th at 9 o'clock before the sermon that morning.

"Peace Ordinance" on the Table

by Oliver Milhouse

A group of concerned citizens, led by Mrs. Minerva Gage, has brought to Mayor J.P. Jefferson a proposal to pass a "peace ordinance" in the town, essentially banning the carrying of firearms in the city limits. Other communities have had such ordinances pass in an attempt to establish law and order on the frontier. No word as to whether the ordinance will appear as a referendum in an upcoming election or not.

Ask Aunt Sally

by Sally Mae Baumgarten

Dear Aunt Sally, I find myself being melancholy much of the time. Even around friends or doing things that usually bring me joy. I sometimes turn to the bottle to bring me solace. What can I do? — G.

Dear G, I am so sorry to hear that you are sad. But the bottle is not the answer. Only more sadness lies there. Turn to your friends or to the Good Lord. Find time to contemplate what brings you joy and focus on that. Turn away from thoughts of sadness. Look to family and friends and the Church for support. You have people that care about you. Don't turn away from them and seek solace in drink. — Yours, Aunt Sally.

Dear Aunt Sally, My husband says my breath is horrible. Not just in the morning, either. What can I do? I eat hard candy to mask it but that don't seem to do no good…— S.

Dear S., Try chewing mint leaves for a while, this may help. You may also need to see Doc Fabry—you may have abscess and this rot may be the root cause of the odor. Also, get a pick for your teeth and pick after every meal. Things get caught up in between your teeth and fester and cause the stink in your mouth. Getting rid of that will help. Between all of these things, you should feel, and smell, better in no time.— Yours, Aunt Sally.

Dear Aunt Sally, My brother is a toot. He keeps putting frogs in my bed. I want to get him but good. What can I do? — K.

Dear K., Aren't brothers the worst? There are any number of things you can do to "get him but good." Put molasses in his boots. Put a grass snake in his bed. Don't be afraid to get creative. But most of all—don't hurt him too bad—he is your brother, after all. — Yours, Aunt Sally.

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Fireball Streaks Toward Keeler House
March 12, 1876

The Paiute Springs Sentinel

Sunday Edition

March 12, 1876
"Ever Vigilant, A Beacon of Truth!"
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Fireball Streaks Toward Keeler House

by Oliver Milhouse

During the fantastic storms we had sweep through our town on the night of March 3, as the lightning danced through clouds and the winds whipped through the mountains, our very own Ryland Weeks saw a sight he won’t soon forget.

“There I was, sitting in my tent, hoping like Hell the whole damn thing wasn’t going to up and blow off down into the Basin, when I look up into the sky and see this flash of fiery light. It started careening downward and I yelled for the other fellers in the camp to ‘take cover’ but then I saw it was more southerly than I thought.

Then, this ball of flame streaked down toward old Doc Keeler’s place on Church Street. It was as if the Devil’s own billiards were being played in the Nevada sky. I saw the fire alight down behind the house, but lost track of it after that. All I did was hear a terrible crash-—and then the eeriest nothing you ever didn’t hear. It was like the storm stopped to listen to things for a moment. Then the thunder cracked and the weather took to stormin’ up again.

The next day, I half expected to hear that the Keeler place was a-fire. It weren’t—-and I’m glad of it, mind you. Nevertheless, I’ll never forget the way that fireball careened through air, not like it was fallen, but like it was flyin’ itself. Damnedest thing, I tell you.”

Anyone else have a story of the Paiute Springs Fireball to report from that night? What about Geraldine Keeler? We at the Sentinel approached the owner of the house for a statement and actually received one! Indeed, Miss Geraldine confirms that a flying machine of undetermined origin crashed into her back yard. She is personally investigating the device and its origins and hopes to present your humble reporter with more information within the week!

Stay vigilant, gentle readers. And watch the skies!

Confederate Spies Infiltrate Paiute Springs

by Oliver Milhouse

There's been a fair amount of gunplay going on in our fair town this past week. It turns out that a band of Confederate spies had come Paiute Springs to foment trouble and cause unrest.

It began with the arrival of "Miss Lavern Stefano" (if that is her real name) and her "cousin" Max Tucci. They and their entourage of ten "ranch hands" began snooping around town on March 7th. It turns out many of their inquiries concerned the flying machine found in Miss Geraldine Keeler's backyard. I am proud to say that your humble editor did not fall for their story and remained vigilant, as promised, against trouble. I never trusted that woman, but I digress.

This snooping precipitated a meeting between our esteemed Mayor and our beloved Town Marshal, who both descended upon the Keeler House to confer with Miss Geraldine. Now, I was not privy to that conversation (and have been stonewalled at every turn by Town officials), but it was sufficient to cause Miss Keeler and her boon companion, Roland Dupre, to high-tail it out of town.

The two were pursued by a couple of the "ranch hands" employed by Mr. Tucci. Mr. Dupre, in the process, was shot in the arm, but Miss Geraldine made it out of town.

This action seemed to anger our "visitors", who posted guards at the each of the main intersections leading out of town and "Miss Stefano" and "Mr. Tucci" began to hole up in the Prince Royal—with our Town Marshal and Mayor helplessly in tow.

Meanwhile, Miss Geraldine returned with a squad of Union soldiers from nearby Fort 51. The soldiers infiltrated the Prince Royal and captured the ringleaders!  

Currently, "Miss Stefano" or "Miss Josephine" (depending on who you talk to) is being held in our town jail, awaiting pick-up by the Union authorities. The Confederate "troops-in-sheep's clothing" have been escorted to the Arizona border.

But the question remains—just what was it that Geraldine Keeler found in her backyard that so interested the Confederates? She's not saying and it seems our Town officials have been sworn to secrecy by the Union. But will the rebels return to claim their bounty? Is the town really safe?Only time will tell..

The Arachne Circle to Meet

by Oliver Milhouse

"The Arachne Circle", a meeting of the town's spinsters, will take place in Mamie McDaniel's Boarding House three o'clock this afternoon. Miss Imogene Crane welcomes any woman who wishes to join them for tea and fellowship.

Get Well Soon!

by Oliver Milhouse

Best of wishes to Clara Dunwoody, of the mining camps. She's gotten pneumonia pretty bad. Friends are soliciting food and funds for her speedy recovery. Contact Jeb Wallingford for more information.

Ask Aunt Sally

by Sally Mae Baumgarten

Dear Aunt Sally, I often come home from a rousing night at the Imperial and wake up feeling poorly. Do you have any suggestions for a "morning after" cure? — X.

Dear X, Other than simple clean living, you might find that this will help. Drink plenty of water. Find some ginger root or prickly pear cactus—either one of these might help. But, most of all, your morning after is cured by your night before—consider a change there and your ills will be over! — Yours, Aunt Sally. 

Dear Aunt Sally, I just can't stand my boss. I need the money though. What can I do? — P.

Dear P., You have to ask yourself what you need more—peace of mind or the almighty coin. What are you willing to put up with? Nobody's boss is perfect—and I am my own boss. But you have to figure out what your heart and soul will survive. Also, you might try settling your differences with your boss—you could be pleasantly surprised! — Yours, Aunt Sally.

Dear Aunt Sally, My Mister is a miserable old cuss. He didn't used to be, but now I can't stand to breathe the same air as him. Is God going to strike me down if I take the next stage out? — D.

Dear D., I'm sorry you're so unhappy. As far as the proverbial lightning bolt, that's a question for Reverend Gage, I'm afraid. But I can say that marriage is sometimes hard and you have to work at it to get it right. Before you head to the stage coach, try fixing what is broken. The work may be worth it. — Yours, Aunt Sally. 

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Local Boy Still Missing, Presumed Dead
March 5, 1876

The Paiute Springs Sentinel

Sunday Edition

March 5, 1876
"Ever Vigilant, A Beacon of Truth!"
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Local Boy Still Missing, Presumed Dead

by Oliver Milhouse

Our own "Little Jake" Botham, only ten years of age, has been missing since the night of February 28. He was last seen at the traveling carnival that had visited our fair town, "Aloysius P. Southmeyer's Traveling Mysterium," at the tent of the Bearded Lady. Young Jake never returned from the tent to his parents.

Witnesses in the mining community confirmed that the lad was last seen in the company of a "grandmother" and led into a tent in the shantytown that surrounds the town proper. Investigation into the matter by local citizens Geraldine Keeler and Roland Dupre resulted in the the shooting death of a woman only identified as "Gerde," who owned the tent in question.

According to Town Marshal Lila Kimsey, there was evidence that this "Gerde" had taken the child at one point or the other. There were burnt remains of the child's clothing in her woodstove, as well as eyewitness placing her with the child that evening. Apparently, when confronted with these accusations,  she bodily attacked Miss Keeler.  Her companion, Mr. Roland Dupre, is an accomplished gunman and managed to fight the woman off of Miss Keeler—at the cost of her own life.

Miss Keeler had no comment on the matter, but Roland Dupre did. "That old woman was a fiend out of Hell. She…changed. Her jaw…dropped. It up and tried to take a hunk of flesh out of Geraldine's arm. So, yes, I shot the thing in the gut until it couldn't get back up. And I'd do it again, if in the same tent on the same night."

Nevertheless, no sign of the boy has been found other than scraps of clothing in the woodstove of this "Gerde's" tent. Townsfolk, as well as carnival folk, search the town and its environs, for signs of foul play, but nothing was turned up.

Town Marshal Lila Kimsey has officially declared the search over. "I'm afraid that boy is gone. It's time to give those folks of his closure. Life is for the living."

There will be a candlelight vigil and memorial service for the boy at the Paiute Springs Church tomorrow, March 6, at seven in the evening.

The Sentinel tips its hat to the parents of "Little Jake" Botham, "Big Jake" and Sally Botham. Say a prayer for these folks, when you get a chance.

Town Enjoys Traveling "Mysterium"

by Oliver Milhouse

Our fair town was visited by "Aloysius P. Southmeyer's Traveling Mysterium" last week and thoroughly entertained in the process.

The "Mysterium's" main event featured a tightrope walker, a pair of married trapeze artists from New York, a trio of acrobatic clowns, a trick rider and sharpshooter, and a Sioux knife thrower. The thrills were non-stop and the performances breathtaking. Of particular note was the performance of Jamie Smith, the Sioux knife thrower. Even our own town curmudgeon, Geraldine Keeler got in on the action and volunteered to be a target on the first night of the three-night engagement. Smith threw her blades with precision and managed to miss our Miss Keeler, all while blindfolded!

The sideshows were the typical fare of bearded ladies, strongmen, and sword-swallowers. Still, the performers were top-notch and definitely "the real deal." Of note is the display of the Fiji Mermaid. I defy anyone to find the fakery in that specimen!

The "Traveling Mysterium" was a truly entertaining show and a welcome entry into the Spring season for our community, local tragedies aside.

First Annual Garden Club To Meet

by Oliver Milhouse

The first annual Paiute Springs Garden Club is to meet Wednesday March 8th at Town Hall. The ladies will discuss the establishment of a town garden, the election of officers, and other official business. It is our hope that the Garden Club will become a perennial favorite!

Dunmoody Announces Engagement

by Oliver Milhouse

Jeb and Delores Dunmoody would like to announce the engagement of their daughter, Alice, to Jim Cleveland, a local boy from here in Paiute Springs. No date has yet been set for the pending nuptials. Yee-haw!

Dupre to See Judge Perryman

by Oliver Milhouse

Local gunfighter, card player, and raconteur Roland Dupre will be arraigned before Circuit Judge Bradford Perryman on Wednesday, March 8th on charges of manslaughter and creating a disturbance. These charges are in connection with the what has become known as the "German Grandmother" case. If found guilty, Dupre could face fines and up to 10 years in federal prison.  The Sentinel wishes Roland the best of luck!

Dear Aunt Sally…

by Sally Mae Baumgarten

Dear Aunt Sally, My husband refuses to eat my cooking. He says he'd rather eat "chicken feed" and goes off to the Prince Royal and spends too much money at the restaurant there. What can I do? —H.

Dear H., First of all, it is not a crime to not be a chef in the kitchen. The Lord knows I'm not. But you can take steps to ensure you don't drive your hubby away to Mayor Jefferson's Den of Iniquity ('wink wink,' JP). First of all, practice for your friends. See what works and what doesn't before you cook for your husband. Second, play to your strengths—if pork chops are too much for you, quit cooking them! Find out what works and stick with that! Finally, if the other steps don't work, join your husband at the Prince Royal and order the filet mignon. Yours, Aunt Sally.

Dear Aunt Sally, My name is [removed] and I have heard rumors that Der Kinderfresser has come to this town. Is this true? Ist my little Michael and my little Liese safe? Or is it true that the card-player killed the Teufel?—R.

Dear R., There's a lot of fear in your letter. I'm sorry that our stories keep you so anxious for your children. But remember, the actions of the good people around you, and of you joining forces with them, will always defeat evil. As far as the "child-eater", if there ever was such a thing, rest assured, it is gone now. No more children have disappeared since that night. Roland Dupre, though only recently come to Paiute Springs, is a friend of the Sentinel, and has proven himself to be not only a deft hand, but a good heart. So, yes, the fiend is dead and Roland killed it. With a bullet or with the Truth, one way or the other, the fiend is dead. Rest easy, friend. — Yours, Aunt Sally.

Dear Aunt Sally, I got me the gas real bad. My wife done kicked me out of the bedroom. It seems like no matter what I eat, too. Doc's got me on castor oil (hate that stuff). Bought some Elixir from this Briggs feller. Taste like I licked my mule and did as much good. What can I do?—J.

Dear J., Eat and drink what you want. Learn an outdoor trade. Invest in a cork plug or get used to the couch. Seems to me you've tried everything else. May as well enjoy yourself. — Yours, Aunt Sally.

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Freaks Attack Passengers at Last Switch
February 6, 1876

The Paiute Springs Sentinel

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February 6, 1876
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Freaks Attack Passengers At Last Switch

by Oliver Milhouse

This past Monday (January 31), Charlotte Romine, esteemed shotgunner for the Old Barcelona Line, came riding into the township on a runaway stage, alone, and at night. When Lionel Putnam, local livery owner, managed to calm the horses attached to dusty Concord, the gathered townsfolk found that Charlotte was in a state: bloody, bruised, and nearly dead. Doc Fabry was sent for and she was helped out of the coach's driver's seat. All she could say was "Last switch. Need help. Teeth. Too many teeth."

Town Marshal Lila Kimsey was on the scene and immediately called together a posse to go check out the goings on at the Last Switch, some fifteen miles to the north of town. For one thing, driver George Hawkins was missing and for another, Charlotte had just been assaulted something fierce.

Lionel Putnam and his son, Darius, volunteered, as did local card player and gunman Roland Dupre. The four men headed up Church Street and stopped in at the home of Geraldine Keeler. Apparently she was interested in the affair, as she joined her horse to theirs and the five rode north, lead by Geraldine's lantern.

As to what happened that night, we have reports from eye witnesses. Folks, it is a strange tale indeed, and violent.

According to Marshal Kimsey, the posse rode up on the switch. After checking out the situation in the wagon yard, they found signs of a struggle, a great deal of blood on the ground, and a pistol marked "G.H."—George Hawkins.

The lights were on and smoke trailed from the chimney of the house.

Miss Keeler snuck around the perimeter of the house and peeked in the windows. Inside were two women sitting on the sofa, an older woman comforting a younger one. Gathered around the kitchen table were five men, including a Union soldier and a Paiute scout. And George Hawkins, nursing a wound to the head. The menfolk were all in a heated argument of some sort. 

Miss Keeler came back and reported to the posse. Then Marshal Kimsey went and knocked on the door. One of the men that was arguing, a younger man with a large mustache and fancy suit, opened the door with a big smile and welcomed them in. The Marshal identified herself and avowed that she wanted to talk to George.

"That's when we all knew something was afoot," Marshal Kimsey said to me, later. "George is an honest sort and what he was sellin', we just weren't buyin'. All of them in there, 'cept the womenfolk, tried to come off as if everything was sweet as peaches but somethin' was rotten."

"Mr. Hawkins managed to convey to Miss Keeler that there was a trap door beneath the central rug," said Roland Dupre. "That started us on the trail to wondering if the truth was beneath our feet."

The posse reconvened outside the switch house and started searching the grounds. Eventually, Miss Keeler and Mr. Dupre checked the shed beside the house.

Miss Keeler led the way with a lantern. Sure enough, there was a door in here leading into cellar, connected to the house. Miss Keeler opened the door and went inside.

"We were immediately set upon," said Mr. Dupre. "It was a monstrous-looking man. Bald, with bat-like ears. Deep, dark eyes with red points in the center. Long, clawed fingers. And long, needle-like teeth protruding from their blood-red mouths. He jumped forward swiped at Geraldine with his long fingers, quick as a breath. We both drew iron and tried to send it back to Hell—but it just seemed to ignore us. It was relentless as the Mississippi in flood season."

According to Mr. Dupre, the freak tried to drink Miss Keeler's blood out of her throat. The two of them managed to switch places in the doorway so that it could concentrate on him instead of her, but it was strong as an ox and just as stubborn.

Miss Keeler apparently hit upon a new idea and left the cellar, only to return a moment later with a wood axe. By this time, it had latched on to Mr. Dupre's neck.

"It was strong, and its teeth were sharp, like little steel knives cutting into my neck. I'm not ashamed to say my knees gave way when Geraldine came back," Mr. Dupre said.

In one mighty swing, Miss Keeler managed to remove the freak's head from its shoulders. It collapsed to the floor, releasing Mr. Dupre.

By this time, the upper door had been opened, making Marshal Kimsey and George Hawkins witness to the life-saving blow. It also shed light on the remaining horrors of the cellar.  

Another of the freaks was holding a young girl hostage down there, his long-fingered hand resting on the moppet's innocent head. Further, the corpses of the Clarkes, the family that ran the switch house, littered the floor.

"The freak had the nerve to try and negotiate his way out, with the little girl, Jasmine, in tow," Marshal Kimsey said later. "I told him where to stow that noise."

Apparently reaching a stalemate, the freak reached down and bit the little girl on the neck! Marshal Kimsey started firing on the thing and Miss Keeler approached with the axe, but apparently the weight too much for the woman, for she kept missing the fiend.

The Marshal, dissatisfied with the uselessness of her bullets, jumped down into the cellar and took the axe from Miss Keeler. Then, in a mighty swing, took the head of the second freak.

"Damndest thing I ever saw," Marshal Kimsey said. " I know I hit that thing with a Peacemaker, but I may as well have thrown jelly beans at it."

The little girl, Jasmine Justice, formerly of Tombstone, Arizona Territory, is recovering from her wounds and has moved on to Pioche with her mother, Lucille. Mr. Dupre is also fully recovered from his ordeal. Miss Keeler is also recovering nicely.

The bodies of the freaks, still unidentified, will be on display in front of Allan's General Mercantile until Friday, and then they will be interred in unmarked graves at the west side of the cemetery. The nature of the strangers is still unknown, though Miss Keeler asserts that they are examples of genetic mutations of some sort or another. Marshal Kimsey asserted that she wouldn't dare speculate and don't rightly care—they're dead as dirt now and that's all that matters. Roland Dupre would only smile and say "the only difference between a monster and a genetic mutation is that one keeps you up at night."

Good night, friends.

New Visitors to Paiute Springs in Aftermath of Violence 

by Oliver MIlhouse

Paiute Springs would like to welcome our newest visitors, newly come in the aftermath of the horrific events of January 31, as previously reported.

Matthew Briggs is a seller of elixirs and powders from Virginia City He plans to stay in Paiute Springs and ply his trade for a spell. If that dries up, he'll head to Pioche.  

Gertrude Mankowitcz is a Polish immigrant from Chicago who has come to Nevada to live with her son, Christopher, a prospector in Pioche.

Robert Farmer is a prospector and businessman on his way to Pioche to check on his holdings there.

Major Adam Traynor (Ret.) is a former Union officer returning home to Pioche after sustaining an injury.

Shane "Three Feathers" Robinson is a Paiute scout employed by the Army on a courier mission to Pioche.

Lucille Justice, and her daughter, Jasmine, are both traveling to Pioche to stay with Lucille's mother-in-law after the untimely death of her husband, Gordon, back in Tombstone, Arizona.

If you see any of these folks before they return to Pioche, give them a big Paiute Springs welcome!

Funeral Services Friday

by Oliver Milhouse

Funeral services for the Clarke family will be held at the Paiute Spring Church this Friday, February 11, 1876 at one o'clock. Internment will follow.

The Clarkes were Edna, Paul, and young Travis. They ran the last switch of the Old Barcelona Stage Line between Paiute Springs and Virginia City.

Dear Aunt Sally…

by Sally Mae Baumgarten

Dear Aunt Sally, my ding dang horse has gone and gotten hisself a cold. What can i do?—H.

Dear H, mix four ounces of egg whites, 1 ounce of camphor, 1 ounce of ginger, 1 ounce of camuel, 2 ounces of licorice powder and honey. Use two bowls the first day and one bowl every day until they come out all right. Yours, Aunt Sally.

Dear Aunt Sally, There have been a lot of strange things happening of late. I'm beginning to be frightened. What should I do? —F.

Dear F., We do, indeed, live in strange times. But we must be brave and carry on. Our faith and our native strength will carry us on. Keep strong, F., and maintain your faith in your neighbors and in your Lord. Yours, Aunt Sally. 

Dear Aunt Sally, You really are a silly old bat, ain't you? —R.

Dear R., If you can't say anything nice, then do as my sainted mother said. Shut yer face. Yours, Aunt Sally.

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Daltry Bros. Purchase Mechanical Mule
January 30, 1876

The Paiute Springs Sentinel

Sunday Edition

January 30, 1876
"Ever Vigilant, A Beacon of Truth!"
$0.05

Daltry Bros. Purchase Mechanical Mule

by Oliver Milhouse

Asa and Randall Daltry, two silver miners encamped around our fair town, have gone in together on the purchase on one of those wondrous contraptions made available by the Smith & Robards outfit out of Salt Lake City. Their previous mule, Bessy, being a cantakerous beast by all accounts, was not well liked and was unceremoniously sold to Mr. Han, our local launderer.

The arrival of the mechanical model by air carriage last Wednesday was the most exciting thing to happen in the town all week. The carriage landed just outside the outskirts of town and set down gently. Two gentlemen trundled out the crate and announced themselves and their intended addressees. The Daltry Brothers came forward and signed for their package and then the air carriage gentle rose on gossamer wings once again. It was breathtaking.

It took about half an hour for Asa to figure out how to get the confounded device started. But once he did, he and Randall walked it back to their camp. Soon they and some of the children around town were having mule rides—until it shut down again. They managed to solicit the help Geraldine Keeler, the town's local tinker, to get things right again. Soon, the miners and the children were cavorting through town on "Bucket" once again.

Deirdre Hollingsworth Dell

by Oliver Milhouse

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Deirdre Hollingsworth Dell (b. March 1, 1806). "Dee Dee" was a staple of the mining community and welcome face at the Imperial. Her razor-sharp wit and no-nonsense attitude were her defining characteristics.

She is survived by a daughter, Samantha Jane (Dell) Case of Virginia City, and a son, Edgar Daniel Dell of Pioche.

Wanted: Thomas Wayne Michaelson

by Oliver Milhouse

Town Marshal Lila Kimsey is offering a reward of $100 for the arrest of Thomas Wayne Michaelson. Michaelson apparently came into the mining camp and absconded with some supplies from various tents in the area. A poster is available in the Jail.

US Government Denies Existence of Strange Lights

by Oliver Milhouse

Your intrepid reporter has contacted the officials at the United States government facility to the north of Paiute Springs, colloquially known as "Fort 51" concerning the strange lights sighted in that direction.

I have received the following "official response.

Dear Mr. Milhouse,

Thank you for your inquiry. There are no experiments, "illicit" or otherwise, being performed at Fort 51 by the United States Government, that can account for the "strange lights" you or your readers report. Might I suggest your community look a bit closer to its own affairs instead of toward imaginary illuminations far into the desert skies.

Yours,

Captain Jay Kyle, 10th Cavalry Regiment, United States Army

Naturally, the authorities would have us deny our own senses rather than address the matter. Rest assured, gentle reader, we will get to the bottom of the matter. Truth will out!

Dear Aunt Sally…

by Sally Mae Baumgarten

Dear Aunt Sally,

I can't seem to get my husband to pay attention to me. He comes in from a day of prospecting and tells me about his day, but when I go to describe how my day with the children has gone, he ignores me or interrupts with "more important" things—like inquiries about dinner. I think what I do is important, too. Is there a way to make him see this? — C.

Dear C.,

Of course what you do is important. Without your important work, the household would fold around this old coot's ears. He just seems to have forgotten that. Sit down and talk to your husband about this one evening, after all the chores have been taken care of and there is nothing to distract from your talk. If he still doesn't listen, well, then quiet perseverance, the watch-word of the fairer sex since time immemorial, shall be your shield I'm afraid. — Yours, Aunt Sally.

Dear Aunt Sally, I can't stand my father-in-law. Can. Not. Stand. Him. He's a Confederate Sympathizer, for one thing. For another, he's a snuffer. Disgusting habit. At any rate, my wife dotes on the old man—a real "Daddy's Girl." But if I have endure another family dinner with this man, I may have to call him out, "in the Southern Way." What can I do?" —F.

Dear F., I'm afraid you married into your wife's family when you took your vows. Didn't you meet her family when you were courting? At any rate, you should have known exactly what you were getting into. Further, think of your wife before making any false moves. Your duty to our wife necessitates that you indulge her in this. Duty before comfort, always. — Yours, Aunt Sally.

Dear Aunt Sally, I'm pretty sure my neighbor stole my German Chocolate Cake recipe—the nerve! And she never has the class to mention where she got it. What should I do about it? — D

Dear D., My dear this is greatest of problems! Simply invite her to bake more cakes! Then you get more cake. Sure, she may get credit, but you get free cake! —Yours, Aunt Sally.

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Showdown at High Noon!
January 24, 1876

The Paiute Springs Sentinel

Special Evening Edition

January 24, 1876
"Ever Vigilant, A Beacon of Truth!"
$0.05

Showdown At High Noon!

by Oliver Milhouse

A dramatic scene played itself out at high noon today on Main Street as the mysterious, skull-faced stranger returned today to call out our town's spiritual advisor, Reverend Timothy Gage—or rather, Timothy Gaught—as the the stranger referred to him as. It appears our esteemed pastor has a checkered past of some sort, if he felt the need to change his name before heading into parts West.

At any rate, credit must be given to the Reverend for facing down the formidable stranger in the middle of the street with nothing but his faith and old Doc Keeler's duster to protect. Yes, friends and neighbors, our own Miss Geraldine Keeler must have made a loan of the eccentric doctor's allegedly bullet-proof garment to the Reverend, for it made an appearance today.

The two men, sinner and saint, exchanged heated words across the dusty street. The skull-faced man, calling the Reverend names like "lily-livered," "deserter," "disloyal," and "traitor," while the Reverend maintained a steely determination to see the confrontation through, each stared eah other down before, finally, things came to a spectacular climax.

Suddenly, the skull-faced man was rocked nearly out of his boots by blast coming from somewhere near the Imperial Saloon. Then the Reverend held aloft his crucifix and began reciting the Lord's Prayer at the stranger. And, lo and behold friends, the stranger began to cower in onslaught! He started backing his way down Main Street, making his way out of town. He never even reached for the Navy pistol he had tucked in his the waistband of his trousers. He just railed against the Reverend and warned him that a "storm was a-comin'. Yes indeed, you all are going to reap a whirlwind!" But the coward backed his way out of town and left.

Neighbors, I have never seen such a demonstration of the power of faith in all my years. Here we had a powerful mean man, a gunman and a bully, cowed by the power of faith. If that, my friends, doesn't put you into a pew on a Sunday, then your soul just can't be saved.

Checkered past or not, the Sentinel gives a tip of the hat to Reverend Gage for his demonstration of faith in the face of adversity.

 

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