The terriers raced headlong down the hill, headed toward the dusty trail that was worn deep by wagon ruts. They planned to follow the path taken by the stagecoach. They knew it was headed to that small town they’d seen from the top of the mesa.
The terriers' focus was on the road, their attention was on the town in the distance. They paid no attention to the Guardian Brigade, racing down the hill behind them, growling their warnings to the terriers.
Dom and Jubilee finally managed to get ahead of the terrier stampede. They wheeled around, braced their feet wide, and bared their teeth.
Pagan Marie ran into the back of Connor, who bumped into Scotti Tucker, who plowed into Bo’sun Howatt, who skidded to a halt at the sight of the Guardians’ shining teeth. Dom and Jubilee hid their smiles as they watched their wee terriers piling up in a heap in front of them.
“What do you think you’re DOING???”Dom demanded, glaring fiercely at the terriers.
Katie got to her feet, dusted herself off, and braced her paws on her hips.
“And what is YOUR problem??? We’re chasing that stagecoach! We’re headed to town!!” she announced, rolling her eyes that she should even have to explain.
Jubilee stepped forward, joined by Honey Bear and Jake. The Guardians had one goal, to protect these wild terriers. Sometimes, the job was almost beyond reason. This seemed to be one of those moments.
Dom calmly explained. “ Look. All we know is that we’re in the old West. We don’t know WHERE, we don’t know WHEN, and we don’t know what the local situation is around here. You can’t just sashay into town in a wild rush! You must plan this out, you must be circumspect, and you must blend IN!!”
Katie acknowledged the logic in Dom’s words. She nodded, and immediately began dividing the BASH bunch into small groups.
Maggie Reyner, Sophie Smith, Elfie Wiese, Cinderella Kuhlmey, Agatha Bruce, and Lucky Laddie Ziegler would leisurely walk into town and head to the General Store. They assignment was buy food and supplies. It would give them a chance to hear some local gossip there.
“If we’re buying supplies, what do you suggest we use for MONEY?” Agatha asked.
“Ohhh, I took care of that!” Darby Lawrence announced gleefully. “I knew that one of Riley’s BASH adventures would call for cash. So, I cashed in Mam’s savings bonds, put a second mortgage on the house, and brought THIS!"
Darby stepped back and emptied the huge backpack into the dust. Gold coins rolled out of the bag, dozens and dozens of gold coins. The pile continued to grow larger. The terriers stepped back in awe!!!!
“Way to GO, Darby!!!!” Katie shouted. Turning to the BASH gang, she announced, “Darby’s financing the BASH!!!”
Cheering erupted as everyone patted Darby on the back, then hurried to the huge pile of gold to fill their jeans pockets with the bouillon.
Bailey Doud, Megan Wynne, Mac Tracey, Sam E Williamson, Katie Mac, Reagan Wion, Alex Mathisen, and Breeze Oglesby were sent to find lodgings for the BASH gang in town.
Riley, Robbie McGillivray, Bucky Sheets, Dughul Williams, Bartholomew, Emmitt, and O’Reilly headed for the livery stable. They had decided that the BASH puppers needed transportation. No self-respecting cowterrier would EVER be caught on paw !!!
A minor crisis ensued when Hamish MacBeth Wilson and Baxter Arthur Nyberg approached the group. They asked that some of the wee lasses take charge of wee Megan Wilson and Bridget Ann. They worried about their cowterrier reputations if they were seen as the sole guardians of two such wee babes.
Maggie Nuckles, Shiloh Quarry, and Agnes Donnelly volunteered to play Mam to the two small ‘teeth machines’. Bridget Ann squealed happily at the thought of an adventure such as this. She looked up into Agnes’ face and smiled sweetly. She knew she had Agnes wrapped neatly around her paw. She winked conspiratorially to Megan. They were going to have an adventure of their own!
The elders were sent on a mission of their own. Ali and Ziggy Riches, Nicholas Mitchell, Ace Graves, and Dunc McGillivray left for town. They were seeking the City Fathers, the foundation of the town, the lawmakers. They expected to find a wealth of information from these city leaders.
The Guardian Brigade dispersed with the groups, each group being accompanied by at least one protective Guardian. The plan called for the BASH adventurers to return in two hours to the outskirts of town, meeting behind the livery stable.
The exploration teams left to complete their assignments. The remainder of the BASH puppers made their way around the town, stopping to take possession of several pies found cooling on a kitchen windowsill. The afternoon passed too slowly for the waiting BASH puppers. They were eager to hear about this western town.
At the end of two hours, the teams began returning. Soon, the BASH gang was completely reunited. Katie called for silence, and asked for the report.
“ The town is called Toughton,” Ali announced. “The mayor and the city council are useless. They’re terrified of some gang of outlaws that seems to stop here frequently, to cause trouble, and intimidate the citizens. The sheriff is beyond useless. He’s afraid of his own shadow, and agrees with whoever is standing closest to him at the time. The city council asked for our help. They want us to help rid them of this gang."
Everyone began talking at once, their terrier attitudes coming to the surface as they anticipated the challenge, looking forward to the confrontation. After a quick vote, it was agreed that the BASH adventure would take place in Toughton, as they helped the citizens free themselves from the outlaw gang.
“Where’s Riley and his group? How’re we going to impress the citizenry with our fierceness, if we go into town on PAW!!!”
“You called???” Riley smiled as he rode into the center of the group. Everyone grew more excited as the remainder of the group rode into the temporary camp.
“Our transportation!” Emmitt announced. Behind him came wagons, buggies, horses, mules, donkeys, and one small push cart.
“Hi, Yo, COWterriers!!!” laughed the wee adventurers as they sorted out the transportation problem. In mere minutes, everyone was onboard and ready to ride into Toughton.
Riding into town, the BASH puppers weren’t able to take everything in at once. It was as if they had stepped onto a movie set. Mothers and their children walked the wooden sidewalks on either side of the dusty street. Wagons were being loaded and unloaded with goods from the nearby ranches. Pianos tinkled their music as the BASH terriers rode past one of several saloons, their doors open, to lure the customers inside.
The faces of the terriers were lit with excitement, with the anticipation of an adventure, with the sounds, smells, and activity of the old west happening all around them.
And, it was then, that the gunfire began!!!
“Let’s go SEE! Come ON!” shouted Huck Finn and Sera as they jumped out of the buckboard, heading in the direction of the gunfire. Haley and Heather Sue Devine were right behind them, excitement gleaming in their eyes. Sparcky Tucker grabbed Angie Riches paw and pulled her out of the wagon.
“Hurry, Angie!Let’s see the shoot-out!” Sparcky encouraged, as he and Angie joined the terriers who were just turning the corner ahead.
Once again, the Guardian Brigade saw their well-organized group slipping through their paws. Honey Bear hurried forward to stop the curious terriers. Dom, KayCee, and Callie brought the rest of the group along, trying to keep the over-eager terriers under control.
Just as they reached the corner where Honey Bear had her group restrained, they heard more gunfire, heading their way.
“Get DOWN!” Dom shouted.He hurriedly put the smallest of the BASH puppers under the wagons for protection, placing KayCee there to watch over them. He saw the terriers braced, feet wide apart, their ears pricked forward, tails straight and stiff.
“Ohhhhhhh, NO! Not NOW!” Dom mumbled, wondering how he would EVER get this many terriers to ‘stand down’.He had moved to the front of the group, once again planning to use reason to reach his wild wee terriers.
Around the corner at a run came a man, rail-thin, with an empty holster bouncing against his hip.
“You’d better HIDE!” the little man shouted as he raced past, then turned down the alley to hide in a barrel. Dom caught sight of a star pinned to the terrified man’s vest.
“Oh, HE is a big help!!!” Dom grumbled disgustedly. He fought the shiver that moved down his spine.He could sense danger. Alert now, Dom moved to the front of the group, to take control.
They heard the clatter of hooves approaching, moving fast. The gunfire was louder now. Dom glanced behind him at the terriers. They’d gone into full terrier mode, braced and ready for action. He knew they would handle themselves well when the time came. He saw the older terriers organizing the group. Ace Graves, Dunc McGillivray, Ali Riches, and Nicholas Mitchell had grouped the terriers up into teams.
The horses came around the corner at a dead run, dust flying up behind the thundering hooves. The terriers stood their ground, bared their teeth, and began growling low in their throats. As the horses spotted the terriers in front of them, they skidded to a stop.
Dom, KayCee, and Jake saw the kerchiefs across the bandits’ faces. They saw the bags of money hanging across the saddles. They immediately realized they were facing the gang that was causing so much trouble in Toughton. Dom remembered the sheriff who’d decided to hide rather than deal with this gang. He quickly looked behind him. This WCGang would be more than glad to take care of these outlaws.
Dom stepped boldly to the front of the group. The Guardian Brigade stood at his side, showing their might. The terriers were crowding closely behind, eager to bring this confrontation to a fight. Riley, Emmitt, Connor, Gus Oglesby, Bartholomew, Seamus Wynne, Duffy Tracey, Katie, Barney and Bucky Powers, Sofy Bradberry, Bruce, Divot Tortarella, and Gracie Brand were all pushing forward, wanting to have a turn at the robbers.
Ms. Sophie had the Bad Pups in Training lined up in formation, and was giving them instructions as to how to create chaos among the horses. Janice, Cassie, and Angel were gleefully snapping their teeth, eager to add a little excitement to the situation.
Dom glanced back one last time to the WCGang. They were ready. He turned back to see that the gang had gotten control of their horses and were looking at the WCGang in amazement.
“MOVE, shorty!!” one of the gangmembers said, looking at the terriers.
“Watch who you’re calling SHORTY!” Riley growled, stepping closer to the gang.
Just as the WCGang was about to take the battle to the robbers, more gunfire erupted, this time from overhead. Everyone stopped dead in their tracks, as they saw the dust around them splatter with the gunfire.
Dom raised his paw to stop the WCGang. Looking up, he saw another bandit above them,on the balcony of the saloon. The bandit didn’t seem to be concerned. In fact, he was propped against the railing, as he leaned against a post. A cigarette hung out of his mouth and his gun was aimed directly at the street below, pointed at the WCGang.
“Now, Spotty,” the bandit leader jeered, as he pointed the gun at Dom, “you didn’t plan to get in the WAY of my boys, now didja???? Ya KNOW that wouldn’t be smart. But, maybe y’all don’t THINK smart!” The bandit smiled evilly, and pushed the brim of his hat back on his head with the end of his gun.
“Where ARE my manners? Maybe you don’t know who you’re messing with, Spotty!” the bandit leader taunted. “I’m Sneaky Pete, and these guys are part of my gang. Surely, you’ve heard of the Puhdul Pack! You should know better than to get in the way of our little FUN here abouts!!! “
Sneaky Pete’s gaze slid over the group of angry terriers below. He sneered again, and added, “Now, Spotty, why don’t you and this little ragtag bunch of flea-bitten, ankle-high lapdogs go back to your little velvet footstools and let US get on with our fun!!!”
Dom was seething. He could FEEL the anger building in the terriers. He didn’t need to look around. Anyone with half a brain would be able to read that expression in the terriers’ faces. Sneaky Pete had no idea what kind of hornet’s nest he’d just stirred up. But, seeing Sneaky Pete’s gun waving lazily around as he talked, Dom knew that now was NOT the moment. The WCGang was at a disadvantage. He looked up again at the bandit leader on the balcony. Dom understood how the bandit leader had gotten his name. Sneaky Peter didn’t have an honest bone in his body, he didn’t play by the rules, and didn’t know the meaning of the word honor.
Dom turned to the BASH gang behind him and stated softly, “ Now is not the time. Stand down. Let them pass... for now!”
The BASH adventurers didn’t agree, they wanted to take the Puhdul Pack NOW. But, watching Sneaky Pete chuckling evilly at them, still waving the gun for emphasis, they realized that Dom was right.
With a taste in their mouths that was as bitter as gall, they stepped to the sidewalk, to allow the gang to pass down the dusty street. Dom and Honey Bear made certain that the WCGang was safely protected UNDER the balcony roof as they helped clear the street.
The Puhdul Pack crowded closer, ready to ride out of town. Sneaky Pete leaped over the balcony railing, landing astride the horse tied at the hitching post. He ripped the reins off the post and wheeled the horse around. With an evil laugh, he rode out of town at the head of the Puhdul Pack.
With a last wave over his shoulder, Sneaky Pete threw one last insult. “Thanks a lot, Spotty! You’re a smart fella!”
Sneaky Pete and the Puhdul Pack rode out of Toughton in a cloud of dust. Sneaky Pete didn’t see the seething anger in the small terriers, he didn’t see the intense, heated conversation that lasted only minutes. He didn’t expect to ever be challenged. He apparently had never dealt with terriers.
Sneaky Pete didn’t realize that he was about to face the Wild Child Gang.
The dust still swirled following Sneaky Pete's hurried departure.
Yet, the terriers were already planning their retribution. Riley, Hoagy Devine,
Bear Powers, BonnieScot Bugle, Karey Lawrence, Wolfgang Yeager, Angus Wynne,
Campbell Donnelly, and
They returned almost immediately, leading dozens of horses, and several wagons. The Guardian Brigade made no effort to control the terriers' anger. They felt the same rage themselves. Their focus now was on catching up to Pete and his puhduls and bringing them to justice. The fact that it would be terrier justice made it even more desirable.
Jake and Reggie Lawrence, Sugar Bear Palouse, and Honey Bear made certain that the youngest terriers were placed in the wagons, under the watchful eyes of Ali Riches and Sadie Yeager.
"Mount up, BASH puppers!" Riley called as he swung into the saddle. "Let's go catch some PUHDULS! Let's give them a little taste of the Wild Child Gang!"
Wild cheers erupted as the terriers eagerly anticipated the coming confrontation. As they quickly mounted, the horses caught their excitement. Several Scotties were hard-pressed to remain in the saddle, as the horses pranced and reared. The quick paws of the Guardian Brigade on the reins of the most excited horses calmed them enough to keep the terrier riders safe.
Katie looked around at her friends. She smiled as she saw the looks of grim determination on their faces. She knew that this group of terriers would give a good account of themselves in the coming battle. She calmed her horse, and spoke to the assembled terriers.
"We have a debt to pay. We have a responsibility to justice and honor. We will find this gang of thieves and we will introduce them to the Wild Child Gang!"
Wild cheering erupted. Everyone was ready, they were eager to get on with it.
"We have business to finish,WCGang," Riley called. With a wave of his paw, he called, "ARRRROOOOOOOOO!"
The air was filled with the repeated choruses as the BASH posse galloped out of town.
The Puhdul Pack was about to meet the WCGang!
The WCGang followed the trail left by the Puhdul Pack for hours. Sunset found the BASH posse doggedly trailing the bandits, refusing the rest breaks that were suggested by the Guardians. They were gaining on the Puhdul Pack, and the terriers vowed to see the bandits in custody on the morrow. Rest would come after their mission was completed, relaxation would come when the thieves were brought to justice.
The WCGang continued their quest through the night, taking turns at the front of the posse. Bandit Palouse, Midget Wion, Shado Tortarella, Reggie Lawrence, Dougan Gray, and Maxxie Meverden took the lead in the wee hours of the morning, walking slowly at the front of the posse, their noses to the ground, searching in the dark for the telltale tracks of the Puhdul gang. The BASH posse followed quietly along behind the trackers, knowing that to rush them would likely cause errors in judgment. They were willing to take their time, they knew the importance of determination and persistence. They knew what the outcome would be, of that there was no doubt.
Hours passed in the dark, as each group of terriers took their turn at the front of the posse, tracking the bandits. The other terriers rode along on their horses, sometimes dozing in the saddles, taking their rest whenever they could. But, there were no complaints. Even the wee'est terriers understood the goal of this night. Bridget Ann and Megan were quiet and restrained as they watched the adult terriers. They had never seen these looks before. The expressions on the terriers' faces would have frightened the two babies, had it not been for the fact that they knew they were wrapped safely in the security of the terriers' love.
The fresh breeze that came with the dawn renewed the terriers' spirits. Smiles and the occasional light-hearted remark revealed that the BASH posse was not finished yet. As the golden sun climbed into the sky, it seemed that the terriers took nourishment from its warmth. Paws moved faster, determined faces searched the distant horizon, eager for to catch the first glimpse of the bandits. They knew the puhduls were tiring, as the trackers saw the trail growing fresher with each passing hour. It would not be long now!
Sherman Mathisen was the first to notice the dust rising on the far horizon.
"There they ARE! Look, I see the dust from their horses!!" Sherman shouted, pointing toward the horizon.
Dakota Powers looked in the direction Sherman had pointed, then looked at the trail they were following. A puzzled expression crossed his Siberian Husky features.
That dust can't be the PUHDUL Pack. The trail we're following heads southwest. That dust on the horizon is coming from the west. Whoever that is, they're moving fast..... and they're moving THIS way!"
Honey Bear, KayCee, Jake, Dom, Gracie, and Callie immediately brought the younger terriers into the center of the group, for safety. The Guardian Brigade took their responsibilities seriously. They knew the wee terriers would handle any situation, of that they were certain. They simply had to make certain that the terriers didn't bite off more than they could chew. They knew from experience, that the terriers did tend to ignore the logic of any situation, preferring to live by their fiery terrier attitude.
The WCGang continued moving forward, never faltering, as they tracked the bandits. Now, however, the terriers kept one eye on the horizon and the dust that was now just over the hill. The trackers stopped when they saw that the trail they were following was about to intercept the approaching riders.Katie stood in her stirrups, shaded her eyes with her paw, and peered into the distance. She stopped, looked at her friends, then looked back at the approaching riders. A puzzled expression was on her face.
"What's wrong, Katie?" Webber asked, as he brought his horse to a stop next to hers.
"I don't believe it. Surely, it's not!"she muttered to herself.
Her confusion brought the rest of the WCGang to a halt. Everyone began staring intently at the fast-approaching riders. As the riders came withing shouting distance, several gasps were heard.
"It CAN'T be him!!!" Katie said, turning to look at her friends with confusion clearly written on her face. "Our's has black hair and his eyes are blue. I don't know what color his eyes are, but even from here, you can see that this man's hair is red. Let's not jump to conclusions. Don't say anything. Let's see what their explanation is!!!"
The WCGang watched with growing amazement as the horsemen pulled their horses to a stop at the front of the BASH posse. It was a Cavalry detachment, apparently on patrol. They were looking for a wagon train that had become lost. But, it was the Chief Scout, sitting tall on his Appaloosa stallion that gripped their attention.
This man had a commanding air about him. He controlled the restive stallion with negligent ease, needing only to place a hand on the horse's sleek neck, to quiet the huge beast. He wore buckskin leggings, which fit tightly to his muscular thighs. A fringed buckskin shirt, decorated with beadwork down the front, could not hide the muscular physique of the man. His auburn hair shone almost gold in the morning sunlight, and his green eyes took in the WCGang with one glance. This man was accustomed to laughter, as the lines around his mouth belied stern expression on his well-tanned face.
The terriers were openly staring. Furry heads were tilted sideways, trying to understand what they were seeing. They KNEW this man. Yet, they didn't. And, they didn't understand.
Riley pulled his horse to the front of the WCGang, with Katie and the entire BASH posse standing at his side.
The tall buckskin clad man opened his mouth to speak, and as he began talking, the terriers' faces broke into wide smiles. The man had a thich burr to his speech, straight from the Scottish highlands.
"Aye, wee ones. Ye seem to be a wee bit bemused! Do ye not ken a Cavalry regiment when ye see it??"
Katie quickly recovered from her shock and quickly began to explain.
"Sir, we're the Wild Child Gang. We left Toughton yesterday, tracking the Puhdul Pack. They robbed the First Scottie National Bank, and we've vowed to bring them in. Let's just say that we have a personal score to settle with those thieving mongrels!"
Katie smiled, and added,"You remind us of a dear friend of ours. We left him at home, but you could be his twin!!!"
The man smiled broadly, a devilish gleam in his eye. "Aye, he must, indeed, be a fine figure of a man!"
The terriers laughed out loud. They KNEW that devilish gleam. This mystery continued to wrap its spell around the terriers, who were now obsessed with unraveling this puzzle. They looked at Katie, nudging her to ask the question, they just had to know.
"Sir, excuse me. But, who are you??? We're sure we've met before," Katie asked.
"Nay, lass. I dinna think we've met. I'm Fergus Terry, Captain of Scouts for the 5th Cavalry hereabouts. These lads call me Captain "Scot" Terry, as they say my 15 years in this country has nae gotten rid of me Highland Burr. I dinna think we've met, lass. I'd have remembered wee ones from the old sod!"
Excited whispering erupted among the WCGang. They couldn't believe it!!!! This handsome Scotsman HAD to be the ancestor of THEIR Captain!!! The resemblance was uncanny. Same name, same build, same devilish gleam in the eye. It just HAD to be!! The terriers were actually wiggling, they were so excited!! They were standing here, talking to their beloved Captain Scotty Terry's ANCESTOR!!!
"How COOL is THIS!!" Emmitt and Duffy Hoffman muttered to each other under their breaths.
Suddenly, on the distant wind, came the sound of gunfire. Immediately, the demeanor of Captain Terry changed. No longer was he the smiling face that they knew. This face they saw now was chiseled in granite. He turned to the regiment behind him, and with a wave of his hand, signaled the troop to move out.
Not to be outdone, the WCGang also moved out, parallel to the Cavalry unit, moving in the same direction, following the tracks of the bandits, following the gunfire.
The two groups of fighters raced onward, toward the southwest, toward the danger. Captain Terry raised his hand as he topped a ridge. The troop behind him stopped, as did the WCGang. Below them, on the prairie floor below, was the beleagered wagon train. Now, however, the wagon train's troubles had increased. The lost wagon train had, indeed, been found... by the PUHDUL Pack. The wagon train was not equipped to deal with the deceit and violence of the puhduls. Left to their own devices, the wagon train would not last another hour.
Captain Terry looked at the WCGang, telling them to stay behind, to stay where it was safe. He and his troop would go in to relieve the wagon train. He immediately had over a hundred ANGRY terriers on his hands.
Riley spoke through gritted teeth, speaking for the entire BASH posse.
"Captain Terry, we've come a VERY long way, and we WILL finish this quest. We have made a vow that these vicious bandits will face our retribution. You may come WITH us, or you can move OUT OF OUR WAY! Let's GO, WCGANG!"
Captain Terry stared in shock as the wee terriers rode down the hill as if their very lives depended on it! He turned to his troops and shrugged.
"Lads, methinks they're starting this shindig without us!!! Let us join the party!"
Captain Terry and the Cavalry troop rode down into the wagon train camp, to lend support to the WCGang who was already giving the PUHDUL Pack a lesson in retribution.
And the battle was joined.
The wagon master breathed a huge sigh of relief when he saw the U.S. Cavalry galloping down the hill toward the circled wagons. A closer look revealed a second group of riders charging down the hill. These riders, however, were shouting at the top of their lungs as they raced toward the wagons.
The WCGang was in full voice. Arrrroooo'ing loudly as they tore down the hill, their attention was completely focused on the Puhdul Pack that was victimizing the wagon train. Ziggy, Nicholas, and Gypsy Rose Kitty were all sharing one horse as they raced to rescue the wagons. Gypsy Rose Kitty had her claws out, with a death grip on Ziggy's collar. She had never run THIS fast, and the feeling was overwhelming. She tried to remain calm, and had to concentrate on using her claws ONLY on the collar, and not poor Ziggy's furry back.
Chester and Morgan Palouse,Maggie Johnson, Scarlet O'Terror Smith, Sadie Williams, Heidi Delli Carpini and Bucky Sheets, Darb-K Tortarella, McKenzie Sue and Scarlett Barfield, Alexander Bradberry, Dakota Powers, Duffy Hoffman, and Murphy Beach followed the WCGang down the hill, bouncing wildly in the open, over-crowded buggy. Duffy and Darb-K tightly gripped the sides of the buggy, after having almost bounced OUT of the buggy when it hit that boulder back up the hill. Reaching the wagon train, Bucky steered the buggy to the far side of the wagons, closest to the attacking Puhdul pack. Wheeling the wagon around, he presented the broad side of the buggy toward the overhanging rocks that hid the bandit gang. Giving a command, the buggy warriors opened fire on the hillside.
Bonnie Belle Mitchell, Maggie Mac, Agnes Donnelly, Ace Graves, Molly and Mandi Reyner, Piper Almandinger, Floyd Johnson, Billy Delli Carpini and Lucy Sheets, Darby Yeager and Emmitt, Fala Devine, Turtle, Duffy Barfield, Holly Grant-Atkins, Mickie and Shiloh Quarry, and Molly Wynne rode at the front of the WCGang. Their horses easily jumped the wagon tongues that were propped on barrels and trunks to provide cover for the defenders, and wheeled to a stop in the center of the wagon circle. Leaping off their horses, they dove under the nearest wagons and began returning fire.
Captain Fergus 'Scotty' Terry positioned his troops between the wagon train and the bandits hidden in the rocks. The Australian Mayne mob, Camilla, Sky, Reba, Hazel, and Sydney hurried to help the troopers. Miss Sassy Williamson, Dottie Scottie Smith, Rose Oglesby, and Ms. Sophie laughed as they saw the Mayne mob heading toward the cavalry unit. The ladies knew that the Cavalry PROBABLY didn't need the scotties' help. But, after exchanging quick glances, the girls quickly headed toward the troops themselves.
"A nice way to meet some handsome soldiers," the lasses thought to themselves, a broad smile on each furry face.
The Guardian Brigade made a quick survey of the WCGang fighters, insuring that each terrier was well-protected as the battle raged. Bridget Ann and Megan were throwing huge fits at being placed in a far corner,shielded by huge boxes away from the action. Austin and Bohdi Tucker, Polly Riches, Chak the Mitey, Annie Laurie Quarry, and Murphy Williamson courageously braved the open area between wagons as they hurried ammunition and much needed weapons to the terriers under the wagons. The terriers lay down a deadly barrage, all directed toward the overhanging boulders on the nearby hill.
The PUHDUL Pack had never faced such tenacity from their adversaries. They were accustomed to their victims giving up easily when faced with the PUHDUL threats. They had seen the Cavalry troop arrive, and Sneaky Pete had growled angrily when he saw that the terriers from town had arrived with them.
Sneaky Pete suddenly realized that the terriers were gaining ground. With each passing minute, the terriers were advancing on the hillside. He sneered as he watched the wee warriors move forward, without fear or hesitation. He glanced around at his own pack. They also saw the fierce determination of the terriers and began to doubt their own abilities. The puhduls began slinking away, trying to escape what was becoming an obvious rout. The goal now, for the puhduls, was survival. Retreat was the only option left open to them. Quietly, the deceiving puhduls began to slip quietly away, heading away from the wagon train. They would escape this band of aggravating terriers and face them another day, when the terriers would least expect it. The PUHDULS would use the deception, the treachery that had brought them success in the past,that would guarantee the Puhdul Pack the victory.
"Yep, next time we'll sneak up on 'em and catch 'em when they don't expect us," Sneaky Pete mumbled to himself, as the PUHDUL pack reached the top of the hill. He smiled nastily at the thought of once again escaping the paws of justice.
Pete and his gang of cutthroats had just reached the peak of the hill, when they heard it. The click of a gun being cocked. The bandits searched the area, then stopped and stared. Just ahead, leaning against a huge boulder, was the Cavalry Captain. He held his Colt revolver in his hand, and seemed completely at ease, as he leisurely pointed it toward the Puhdul Pack.
Sneaky Pete whirled around, intending to retreat back down the hill. But, that escape route had also been slammed shut. The WCGang had raced up the hill and had the PUHDUL Pack surrounded.
"Going somewhere???" Riley asked, smiling broadly as he saw the thieves fall to their knees in surrender.
Sneaky Pete considered a paw-to-paw battle, but only for a second. He'd seen too many terriers' lips curled back, he'd seen too many huge terrier teeth glistening in the sunlight. He didn't have the backbone to face THAT much courage. With a sneer, he raised his paws and announced with a whine, "Don't shoot. We give up. We wouldn't have hurt those people down there. Honest! We wanted only to help them find their way across the prairie. Honest. Don't hurt us!!"
Riley stepped up to Sneaky Pete and jerked the gun from the bandit's paw. He shoved the bandit leader down the hill. The WCGang rounded up the rest of the thieves, intending to deal with the puhduls in their own way. They intended to bring their own form of justice to the puhdul gang. Captain 'Scotty' spent many long minutes reasoning with the angry terriers. Realizing that he was losing the argument, he made one last request.
"Give me the PUHDUL Pack. Let my troop take them to the fort for trial. Do it for the friend you left back home. Do it for that friend that I remind you of." Captain 'Scotty' looked directly at the terriers, waiting.
Riley finally nodded. "Okay, you take them. But, you make sure that those mongrels don't get out to cause any more trouble!"
Riley turned to his BASH friends and shrugged. "This Captain is DEFINATELY related to OUR Captain. They both know how talk us scotties into doing things THEIR way!" The terriers laughed at the truth of Riley's words.
The WCGang watched as the troop took the bandits into custody,then rode away, to disappear over the horizon. They walked back down the hill to the wagon train, where they were greeted as heroes. Everyone on the wagon train knew that these terriers had saved their lives. A celebration was planned, with the cavalry and WCGang as guests of honor.
Captain 'Scotty' told the wagon master that the troops would have to return to the fort with the prisoners, but that he would remain to represent the U.S.Cavalry at the celebration. The WCGang looked forward to the party, and threw themselves into helping with the preparations.
The remainder of the afternoon was spent preparing the huge fire for the great quantities of meat that would be roasted over the open spit, making the dozens of biscuits that would bake in the dutch ovens and placed under the coals in the great fire, and readying the enormous kettle of beans that would accompany the meal. Groups of terriers helped clear the center of the camp for the dancing and partying that would take place after the sun set. Other terriers helped repair the wagons and get them ready to continue their journey at sunrise. The camp was buzzing with activity.
Captain Fergus Terry didn't notice the almost constant stream of terrier traffic that seemed to move in and out of one wagon at the far end of the camp. The canvas flap was tied shut at the back of the wagon, shielding the activity within from prying eyes. Anyone passing by the lone wagon was sure to hear much whispering, hammering, and grinding. Arguments flared frequently, but were always quieted by soft, whispered words of warning. Terriers leaving the wagon always wore a wide smile on their faces, apparently quiet pleased with the progress being made inside.
As the sun slowly set, everyone gathered at the huge campfire in the center of the circle of wagons. The evening was spent eating, sharing tall tales of past adventures, dancing around the great fire, and listening to the tales being spun by Captain Fergus Terry. The party lasted well into the night, until finally, Captain Terry announced that he would have to return to duty at the fort.
Scotties hurriedly prepared for the Captain's departure. As he mounted his Appaloosa stallion, Katie Wild Child climbed onto a nearby stump and held up a paw. The Captain eased the huge horse nearer the stump, then rested his hands on the saddle, and waited.
"Captain Fergus Terry, the Wild Child Gang has been honored to make your acquaintance on our BASH adventure. It means more to us than you will EVER know. We will forever remember this encounter, and you will forever be in our hearts. We would wish that you, also, would rememer us. The WCGang has spent the day making this gift for you. It is a gift from each of us, and with it comes a piece of our hearts. We would hope that you would think of us each time you wear it."
Katie lifted her paw toward the Captain, saying,"Captain Fergus Terry, to us you will always be 'Captain Scotty'!"
And with that, she presented the Captain with an exquisite sterling silver ring, set with a rich carnelian stone. Atop the stone sat the silhouette of a scottie. Captain 'Scotty' sat motionless as he looked at the gift, presented with such respect and love. He looked down at the wee terriers, then slipped the ring onto his finger.
"Ye lads and lasses will forever be in me heart," the Scottish scout announced. Then, with a final wave, he turned the stallion toward the northwest, and rode off into history.
The WCGang left the wagon train soon after the Captain. They had to make it back to the mesa above Toughton before dawn. The portal back to the Ancient Cypress at Francie LaRoux's would close at dawn. Bidding the members of the wagon train a fond farewell, the BASH adventurers mounted their horses and began the long trip back toward the present.
Several hours of hard travel in the dark found the terriers nearing the mesa where they began this incredible adventure. Looking toward the east, they saw the sky beginning to pinken with the dawn. Knowing they had no time to spare, they raced for the mesa above Toughton.
Leaving the buggy and horses at the base of the mesa, they reached the summit with minutes to spare. The BASH adventurers had become quite experienced with traveling through time. Moving to the very center of the mesa, they grasped paws, stood closely together, and closed their eyes. They could feel the present slipping nearer, they could feel time slipping through their paws. Eyes tightly closed, they didn't need to see it, they could feel the time rushing back toward them.
The townsfolk of Toughton never noticed the intense light that flashed brightly on the summit of Terrier Mesa at sunrise that morning. They didn't notice the departure of the WCGang. They only knew that their town had returned to a quiet, peaceful settlement because a gang of rowdy terriers had stepped in to defend their town. Another quiet, peaceful morning began in Toughton, as the citizens wondered what had become of their heroes.
And, Terrier Mesa wasn't about to share its secret.
The BASH adventurers opened their eyes, to find themselves back around the ancient cypress tree in Francie LaRoux's yard. Everything was as if they'd only just left. They all raced across the yard toward the swamp buggies. They stopped at the porch, to thank Francie LaRoux, who sat quietly rocking on the wide veranda. She smiled knowingly, and waved the terriers on their way.
The swamp buggies were soon crowded with excited, talkative terriers, all eager to get home to share this tall tale with their plain, ordinary NON-adventurous friends. The swamp buggies tore back through the swamp, bouncing and bucking across the rocks and limbs hidden in the thick mud. Once again, mud flew up from the speeding buggies, hiding the riders under several layers of thick, smelly ooze.
The journey back OUT of the swamp seemed much shorter than the journey INTO the swamp, and the terriers cheered when, at last, the swamp buggies broke through the dark, thick foliage, and emerged at the far end of the airport flight line. They expected to see their beloved Scotcorde, waiting for them. And they were not disappointed.
The sleek, silver jet sat parked at the end of the runway nearest the swamp. As they sped closer, they saw their OWN Captain Scotty standing at the top of the stairs, leaning against the open doorway. He waved to his wee terriers as he watched their swamp buggies skid to a stop in the grass next to the plane. The terriers hopped down from the buggies, waved goodbye to Lucy and Bucky, who were taking Heidi and Billy home, and raced for the Scotcorde.
Captain Scotty ignored the filthy terriers who raced up the stairs onto the exquisitely furnished Scotcorde. He ignored the smelly mud that covered them, he was simply glad to see that his wee terriers had returned from yet another BASH adventure. He'd accompanied them on a few of their BASH travels, and it was definately not for the faint of heart. Smiling, he waved them to a seat, then headed toward the cockpit, ready for the homeward flight.
The terriers hid the huge smiles that threatened to break across their dirty faces. They saw their Captain in an entirely new light now, they knew where his devilish smile and the twinkle in his eyes had come from. They knew the ancestery behind his name, they knew the long line of Terrys that had obviously shared those laugh lines around the mouth. This was THEIR Captain. There was a LOT that they now noticed, that they'd not seen before. And it pleased them greatly.
As before, the engines of the great jet roared to life. As always, the lights in the cabin were dimmed. And, as always, the exhausted terriers collapsed into the first available seat they could find. Almost before the Scotcorde became airborne, the BASH adventurers were asleep, curled comfortably in the seats, sleeping soundly. The Guardian Brigade, as always, was stretched out down the aisles, to prevent any of their terriers from causing any disturbances.
Honey Bear made one last check on Bridget Ann and Megan,who were asleep in their baby carriers. The huge Malamute stopped. She stared.
"Now, HOW'D they get THAT???" she wondered.
Carefully, with her huge Malamute paw, she reached down to the tiny, puppy mouths and plucked bits of pastel PUHDUL hair from between clenched wee puppy teeth. Shaking her huge head, she walked on down the aisle to find her own place to stretch out. Just before her eyes closed, she thought, "My, my, these scotties DO start their attitudes at an early age!!!" With a soft smile, she laid her huge head on the massive paws, and with a sigh, was soon asleep.
Captain Scotty finished delivering his terrier cargo to their homes that same night. As the sun rose, he taxied the Scotcorde to its private hangar at an unknown airport in an undisclosed location. He touched a remote button, that opened the huge hangar doors. He taxied the huge jet to a stop well inside the mammoth hangar, then shut the engines down.
Turning off all the instrumentation, he made one last check to insure that all was secure. The Scorcorde team would arrive shortly to begin maintenance on the jet. It always did need refitting and restoration, after a BASH adventure. But, no one minded. No one cared. Money was not an object, not with THESE terriers!!!
Captain Scotty stretched as he reached the bottom step, and walked across the hangar to his waiting car. The small, sleek sportscar sat where he'd left it. He slid behind the wheel, put the key into the ignition, and listened as the powerful engine roared to life.
It was a short drive to his home, an unusual home, to be sure. Just off the airport grounds, he'd purchased an old railroad depot. With time and money, he'd converted it to a state of the art home, equipped with all the conveniences he could ever want. He pulled up to the front door and pushed a button. The front wall lifted, and he drove into a huge area that served as his indoor garage. He pulled to a stop next to an ancient stagecoach, and an old railroad car.
Stepping out, he stretched again, as he made his way to his apartment. Reaching his bedroom, he hung his uniform jacket on the hangar and moved to the tall dresser in the corner of the room.
He stopped and stared again at the unusual ring. He'd wondered about this ring many times since he'd begun piloting the BASH adventurers. Exhaustion began creeping into his thinking. He carefully placed the ring into its box, and closed the lid. He turned the lights out and climbed into bed.
Just before he fell asleep, he decided, "Someday I'll have to find OUT about this ring."