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EliseHill
Secret Service recruit

Sweden
6 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2020 :  00:25:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote


The Night of the Fractured Partnership
Washington D. C.
Chapter 1

It had taken Nolan W Edgerton a long time to reach the top of the secret service, years in fact. These people was responsible for the death of his father and brothers, especially the team of Artemus Gordon and James West. The first thing he was going to do was separate them with an entire country between them. He was going to have to make this look like a presidential order splitting them up. He sat down behind the massive desk in his new office and ran his hands over the surface of the desk smiling in anticipation. James West and Artemus Gordon were never going to know what hit them.

Opening the desk he took out paper and began writing the orders that would split up the best two agents the secret service had. He called his secretary in and had her telegraph the orders to West and Gordon.


Denver
Chapter 2

“Look James I don’t like it any more than you do but orders are orders. This new temporary director is going to chain me to a desk and you’re going to get a new temporary partner.”

James West angrily paced back and forth along the length of the parlor trying to figure out a way to keep his longtime partner with him. He did not like working with others, Jeremy Pike he could get along with, but he wasn’t Artemus. Frank Harper he had worked with before on a case in San Francisco when Artie had broken his leg, but his partner had been with him and he was able to discuss his thoughts, plans, and ideas with him.

Now, his partner for over fifteen years was being recalled to Washington D.C. by a new director. The man was a career military man, who did things strictly by the book. He was as inflexible as they came. The first thing he had ordered was the breakup of West and Gordon. As far as the new director was concerned, they had far too much leeway and needed more direct and intensive supervision. He had telegraphed the agents and ordered them to return to Washington D. C. as soon as they possibly could. He stood ram-rod straight, his suit immaculate, nothing was out of place. The train came to stop alongside the platform and a large of steam was released from the engine and he saw the two agents exit the end car of the short train.

“I see that you can at least obey orders. Mr. Gordon, you will remove your belongings and find a place to live here in Washington."

" Mr. West you are to remain with the train, you will be accompanied by Mr. Tudor Jones. When he arrives he will brief you on your new assignment. Once briefed, you will head to San Francisco and contact a Colonel Weismann who will complete your briefing, do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.” The two men returned to the end car and entered.

A half an hour later Artemus stood on the back platform of the train and shook hands with James. “Watch yourself James, and be careful.”

“Will do. Keep in touch.”

They shook hands and Gordon followed the new director out to the main street passing in front of the train station.

San Francisco
Chapter 3

Tudor Jones was a hand-picked man of the new director’s and James West did not trust him one bit. The man was a clothes horse, uncompromising in his attitude and had expressed exactly what he thought of the parlor, the far too small bedroom and the accommodations in general.

From the moment he had met James West, Tudor Jones had looked down his aristocratic nose at the shorter man. He had taken an instant dislike to the wiry man dressed in his to tight blue suit. From reading his personal file, Tudor Jones knew that James West had the reputation of being indestructible and the best agent in the secret service. Tudor Jones also knew that President Ulysses S. Grant depended heavily on both West and Gordon, they answered directly to and took their orders directly from the President and what the President didn’t know wasn’t going to hurt him.

He wanted that role, coveted it actually and that was one reason he had been chosen to partner with James West. The new director had an intense dislike for both West and Gordon and had been trying for years to figure out a way to rid the secret service of both agents. So far the director’s plan was working flawlessly they had separated the two agents and now he was going to undermine West’s reputation and was more than happy to do it. He watched the much shorter man pace the length of the car, back and forth between the swinging door and the outer door.

James disappeared into his dressing room and changed into his blue day suit, made sure that his boot heels held explosives and fuses. His sleeve gun held a derringer and a small vial of acid while he put two derringers in to the left hand pocket of his jacket, his lock pick went under his lapel and his throwing knife at the back of neck. He also included extra fuses attached to his belt and the buttons of his vest were more than just buttons, they also contained an acid that would eat through anything from metal to wood. He fastened his belt around his hips and tied the holster down on his upper thigh. He exited the dressing room, speaking to the pigeons up above the door. “Henry, take care of the girls, I’ll see you when I get back.” Going to the front car he saddled his horse and opened the ramp and led the black stallion down to street level. He swiftly mounted the animal and headed into town.
Once at the treasury building he dismounted and tied the horse to the hitching post. After entering and presenting his identification he was directed to the new reginal manager’s office. James knocked at the door and entered when he heard the command. “Colonel Weismann.”

“Sit down Mr. West,” The man behind the desk indicated the chair directly across from him.


“No thank you, I prefer to stand.” James stood automatically at parade rest waiting for this man’s orders. “Your orders, sir?”

“I want you and Tudor Jones to investigate the murder of two treasury agent and the disappearance of two of our agents. Here is the file,” He held out a file folder to West who took it and began leafing through the papers. “Included in those papers are police reports eye witness statements, their own investigations and what they had discovered. “I expect you to work closely with Tudor Jones, West, I want those responsible brought to justice as soon as possible.”

“Yes sir. Is there anything else?”

“No. You’re dismissed Mr. West.”

James nearly saluted, but stopped himself in time, turned on his heels and left the room closing the door behind him. Reaching his horse, he shoved the file into his saddle bags, mounted and headed back toward the train. After reaching it he tied his horse to the final rail car. He removed the file and entered through the door.

“Well?” Tudor Jones rose to his full six foot six height and looked down his nose at James.

Removing his hat, he dropped it in the chair near the door. “Colonel Weismann want us to investigate the death of two treasury agents and two of our own. Here’s the file.” He dropped it on the desk as he walked past heading for the sideboard and the decanters sitting there. He poured himself a drink and looked over the top of his glass. “Aren’t you even going to look at the file?”

“I will when I get around to it. Right now I am in the middle of my research for the Colonel and this file can’t wait.”

“I don’t think so.” He noticed an open package lying on the table next to the sofa. “What’s that?”

“Oh sorry, that’s for you.” Jones pointed at the open box and grinned ferally as he continued what he was doing.

West stepped over to the small side table and picked up the box torn wrapping still clinging to it “Who gave you the right to open my mail?”

“I had to know if was a bomb didn’t I?” He looked up the much shorter man, his eyes wide with innocence.

“Don’t open my mail again, do you understand?”

“Don’t make much difference to me if you go and get yourself blown up.” He looked up and actually looked directly into West’s angry green eyes. He stared the man down, and noticed that James had no intention of backing down, not even a little bit. “You’ll get your comeuppance one of these days and that day is coming sooner than you might think.” He continued to glare at his new partner.

James shook his head in frustration and disappeared through the swinging door into his dressing room. He set the box on the counter, closed and locked the door, then turned back to the box.

Opening the lid he noticed several items, one was a new sleeve gun, with a note attached, “Made in improvement in the action, this should react much faster than your old one. Included are several new types of smoke bombs, tear bombs, water proof fuses, moldable explosives and Oh yes, your birthday present. Artemus.”

He smiled as he finally reached the bottom of the box. He carefully lifted out a gold foil wrapped box. He set it down on the counter and pulled the satin ribbon and untied it. He couldn’t help but wonder what Artie had gotten him this year. Every year it was always something different James remembered one time Artie had given him tickets to the theatre and a very pretty red-head to go along with the dinner, theatre and dancing afterward. It was great.

He undid the wrapping and lifted the lid. Inside was an exact match to the revolver he usually carried. This one looked slightly different. He closely examined the weapon and noticed that the grips were just slightly wider than the one he habitually carried. He tapped and pressed, then slightly twisted the black and silver snake grip and found that it slid sideways and contained inside the grip were several very small transparent balls.

He took one out and rolled it around in his fingers. It was soft and became warm and started to grow hot, then realization hit and James flung open the window and threw the ball outside, there was a popping sound and a brief puff of smoke from the explosion. “Damn it Artie the least you could have done was warn me about that.”

He muttered as he pulled the window closed and began to laugh, he knew better than to touch anything Gordon had made until he had a chance to explain in detail exactly what it was and what it was capable of doing. Searching through the box he finally found the letter, opened it sat down on the chair at the desk and began reading.

James My Boy,

Hope you are at least tolerating your new partner. This place is driving me crazy. They have me doing nothing but paperwork, paperwork, and much more paperwork.

At least I get time in the lab to experiment and create new gadgets. Hope you like the ones I sent to you. I had the gun specially made for you. Please be careful of the grip as it contains a very dangerous explosive, just roll it around in your fingers, and once it gets hot make sure you throw it as far from you as possible before it explodes.

There are six of these explosives three on each side of the grip, and you can double load the chamber for twelve shots instead of six. I would’ve loved to be there to see your face when you found those explosives. Also along the bottom of the barrel is a long tube which contains fuses and several malleable explosives.

James, be careful there are rumors going around here about someone wanting to destroy either us or the service, or maybe even both. I have also heard a very disturbing rumor concerning your new partner. James, whatever you do don’t trust him for any reason, I’ve been told by some very reliable people here that Tudor Jones is not all what he seems.

Be very very careful my friend,

Keep in touch by post if nothing else.

Artemus.

He returned the letter to the box then went over to the board where he kept his weapons and returned the gun he normally carried to the board and put the new one in its’ place.

He opened a very small box containing the explosives, replaced the one he had accidently set off and rotated the grip back in place and holstered the weapon. He took the rest of the boxes contents and put them on the shelf above his suit rack. He shut the pocket door and unlocked the door.

He headed into the kitchen and lifted the coffee pot. Heaving a sigh, filled the pot with water, threw in some grounds, put on the lid and added some wood to increase the heat. It didn’t take long for the water to start boiling and the federal agent let boil for several minutes, then removed the pot, took down a coffee cup and poured himself a cup. If Tudor Jones want’s some he can get his own. He opened the tiny ice box took out some slices of ham, mustard, bread, and lettuce. He fixed himself a sandwich and began eating he hadn’t realized just how hungry he was until he started eating. He wolfed it down and made a second and rapidly finished it off.

Finally satisfied he left the kitchen and headed toward the front of the car removing his clothes as he went. He entered the bathroom and plugged up the tub and filled it with as hot as water he knew he could stand. He finished stripping and slid into the hot water up to his neck sighing with the warmth that penetrated his muscles. He was still a little bit stiff and sore after the last case he and Artie had completed.

Twenty one days in the saddle on a horse that was constitutionally incapable of standing still for a single moment had taxed even his prodigious skills. Once the water got too cold to soak in any more the agent climbed out wrapped a warm towel around his hips and used a second one to dry his hair and upper body. He moved over to the sink, mixed up some shaving cream, applied it and shaved.

Finally finishing, he went back to his dressing room and changed into one of his traveling suits then re-entered the parlor. Tudor Jones was sitting exactly where James had left him earlier. “Going out again?”

“I need to check on several things Colonel Weismann mentioned in his files. Have you read it over yet?”

“Sort of flipped through it. Not much there information wise. Who are you going to check with first?”

“Local Police, then treasury. I want to speak to his colleagues and find out what they can tell me about the murdered men. I also want to talk to our people about the missing men, who they worked with and what cases they were working on. I’ll send you a message if I need you.”

“Fine by me. Anything else?”

“No.” James walked to the end of the car, retrieved his hat, put it on his head at a jaunty angle, opened the door and left the parlor.


Washington D. C.
Chapter 4

Artemus Gordon sighed heavily as he flipped through several of the books he had stacked at his reading corral. The Library of Congress was a great place do research, but gods it was driving him up the proverbial wall. He hoped that James had gotten his birthday present he made sure to send it far ahead of the second day of July. He continued to make notes in an already overly full notebook. These books that he had been looking through had given him new ideas for chemical mixtures for different explosives, smoke bombs. There were several stacks of chemistry books both organic and inorganic as well as pharmacological chemistry. Some of it was confusing even for him and putting all this together was not what he really wanted to do. What he wanted was to be in San Francisco helping his partner with whatever investigation he was involved in.

Artemus had been hearing rumors that Tudor Jones was not to be trusted or relied on to protect those he worked with. He would rather work alone, than with a partner, especially a partner like James West. There were times when he knew that James could need careful handling if not down-right sneakiness and guile to get him to rest, eat and take care of himself. It had taken him several months working closely with James West behind the enemy lines during the war before he finally understood his new partner. Once understanding had dawned, he could just about talk James into most things. But there were times when even his prodigious skills of talk couldn’t move his partner from his intended course.

He sighed and leaned back in his hard wooden, stretched his arms over his head feeling his shoulders, and spine pop and crack as the tension was released. He was deeply worried about his partner and what was so frustrating was that he had no one to talk to about his concerns with regards to James. “Well, I’d best be getting this completed and head back to the boarding house, organize my notes and eat whatever Mrs. Pringle has prepared. He gathered up the books took them back to the reference desk, informed the clerk that he would be back the following day and asked if they could hold the entire group for him.

The young man behind the desk nodded, made a note attached it the top book and set them on the holding shelves. Gordon said good night to the clerk and left the building headed toward his boarding house.

Finally reaching the house, he entered smiled at his landlady and headed up to his room. He put all his notes on the tiny desk in one corner of the room and returned downstairs for dinner. As usual it was nearly inedible and he had to choke on the meal. “This is the last time I’m eating here, I’d rather starve than die from food poisoning.” He finished eating what he wanted, he thanked his landlady and disappeared upstairs to his room.

He closed and locked the door, turned up the gaslight on the desk, then sat down and began organizing his note. Finishing that, he started on his letter to Jim, letting him know about the goings on in the nation’s capital, both political and military, as well as civilian. He had been to several half-way decent concerts, and one or two plays, but found those so dull he had actually fallen asleep in the middle of one of them, much to his embarrassment.

By the middle of the month he had received James’ letter. He spoke of Tudor Jones’ lack of cooperation and almost down-right refusal to assist him in his investigations of the murder and disappearances of secret service personal and treasury personal. The local constabulary was cooperating and he was even getting information from contacts down on the wharf and in the poorer parts of town. The weather was hot, sunny and dangerously dry, there had even been several small forest fires and people were starting to get worried. What was worse was there was nowhere to go to escape the heat, not even on the beaches what there were of them. As he read further on, he became increasingly worried for his partner’s safety.

Tudor Jones was as good as useless and James was pretty sure that he was the one who was going to pay the penalty for the man’s inaction. James had thanked him profusely for the gun and additional explosives and the new sleeve gun. West letter indicated that he was already carrying the new weapon and was very glad to do so. Jim went on about several lady acquaintances of theirs, what restaurants he had visited, even the new one, and the occasional theatre nights. West wrote about his investigations, who he has spoken to what questions he had asked, and the answers he had received and so far he was making absolutely no progress and the new Colonel Weismann was putting on the pressure for him to do something.

Artemus began writing his letter replying to the questions and answers then added his own questions to ask and he made suggestions for further investigation. James needed a sounding board and he was more than happy to be one, but this communicating by letter was ridiculous and perilously slow. He knew he could use a telegraph, but the telegraph was only to be used for government business and nothing else. He pulled out his pocket watch and looked at the time, it was nearly after midnight. “Might was well finish up tomorrow and get it in the post tomorrow afternoon.”
He yawned, stretched and shut off the desk lamp. Changing into his night shirt he crawled beneath the covers and by the time his head hit the pillow he was sound asleep, and the nightmare began.

He watched James West ride up to the Wanderer and dismount his stallion and tie the animal to the back of the train.
There were no lights on either on the outside or inside the parlor car. Jim drew his weapon and cautiously moved to the door.
He rested his back tightly against the wall as he cautiously opened the door into darkness.
Slowly, moving into the door way he was framed by the moonlight at his back. A shot rang out and James dropped like a rock to the floor as a bullet penetrated deep into his skull.
West was dead even before he hit the carpeting of the parlor.

JAMES!!

Artemus sat bolt upright in bed his partner’s name still ringing in his head. Gasping and wiping the sweat off his brow, the federal agent swung his legs over the side of the mattress and rested his weight on his hands as his heart and breathing gradually slowed.

Finally rising, he walked over to the wash stand and poured water from the pitcher and poured it into the bowl and rinsed his face and hands. After drying them he returned to the bed and dropped down on top of it. Finally, he dropped back onto his mattress, pulled the cover over himself and drifted off to sleep again.

San Francisco
Chapter 5

James West walked along the wharf in the light of very few street lights and open low class dives that were scattered along the waterfront. He lit a cigarillo as he strolled between dives. There was a gentle tap on his right shoulder,

“Senior West, you come with me now please?”

The heavily accented Spanish voice caused him to draw is weapon and whirl around and look at a man who was even shorter than he was. The little Hispanic nodded, the turned and led the federal agent up a dark alley and through a large poster adorning one wall of a dive. He was met by several men who surrounded him, but did not attack him.

“Please come with us, Mr. West, our boss wants to have a word with you.”

He was lead into a very opulent sitting room where a large man sat waiting patiently for him to arrive. “Welcome, Mr. West, thank you for coming. My name is unimportant, but the reason I have had you escorted here is that I have information for you. Please have a seat, would you like some brandy?”

“No thank you. Now about that information?”

“Very well. One of the men you are looking for is a man names Jericho, Jericho Salvatore he is an enforcer for one of the local Tongs run by Ho Sing Mei. Apparently, one of your victims was a heavy gambler and owed quite a small fortune to Ho Sing, and since he was unable to pay Ho Sing had him eliminated as lesson to others who owed him money. And another of your victims Thomas Greene was shanghaied and taken to the orient where he will be put to work in the mines. He is far beyond even your government’s reach.” The man said as he leaned back in his couch. “That is all the information I have for you right now, Mr. West. Oh, but I do have one warning, whatever you do not trust the man who has been assigned to watch your back, he is a stone cold killer and he will not hesitate to eliminate you if you get in his way.”

“Why are you giving me all this information and what do you want for it?”

“I like you Mr. West, you are honest, and incorruptible, and once you have given your word whether or not you like it you stick to it, I admire that. Tudor Jones is a very bad man, even I don’t like him, and I work with criminals all the time. If you start having trouble with him let one of my men know and I guarantee he will not be a problem for long.”

“Thank you, but I can handle Tudor Jones. And I haven’t trusted him since I met him. Thank you for the warning.”

“My man will escort you out, do be careful Mr. West. If I come across any information that I believe that you need I will contact you again.”

“Thank you for the information.” West rose and followed the man through a series of room, every single one completely different.
The silent man finally reached the main doors and opened it for James. He politely thanked the man, who bowed his head in acknowledgement, the shut the door on the federal agent’s heels. West put his hat on at its usual jaunty angle and continued his walk along the wharf.

Finally returning to the train, he found the lights were out even at the back of the train. Drawing his weapon, James climbed the stairs cautiously and pressed his back against the door frame. He slowly turned the handle and pushed the door open there was no movement that he could discern, so he cautiously entered the parlor. The full moon behind him highlighted his silhouette clearing showing his profile to anyone who was looking. A shot rang out grazing his skull deeply, but not deep enough to penetrate. West reached up and hesitantly touched his temple, then the world went black. He collapsed to the floor unconscious.

Tudor Jones rose from the darkened end of the car, smiled his white teeth flashing in the moon light. He slowly approached the motionless figure lying beside the desk. He casually kicked West’s gun and hat out of the way as he left the car, closing the door behind him. He laughed quietly to himself as he left taking West’s horse.

The next thing he knew he was flying through the air and landing with a bone jarring crunch across a set of rails. The black stallion came after him, rearing and striking out at him with his front hooves. He rolled out of the way trying to escape those killing steel clad instruments of death, he could hear a train whistle blowing in the distance and coming closer at a rapid pace. The stallion kept coming after him heedless of the approaching train. He continued to roll out of the way and right onto the rails of the oncoming train. The horse kept striking at him preventing him from moving off the rails. The train whistle screamed as did Tudor Jones once just once as the train ran right over him. The big black stallion snorted in satisfaction and returned to ramp and walked into the front car and stopped hip shod and waited patiently for his human to come unsaddle him, feed and brush him down

Washington D. C.
Chapter 6

He watched James West ride up to the Wanderer and dismount his stallion and tie the animal to the back of the train.
There were no lights on either on the outside or inside the parlor car. Jim drew his weapon and cautiously moved to the door.
He rested his back tightly against the wall he cautiously opened the door into darkness.
Slowly, moving into the door way he was framed by the moonlight at his back. A shot rang out and James dropped like a rock to the floor as a bullet penetrated
deep into his skull.
West was dead even before he hit the carpeting of the parlor.

JAMES!!

Artemus Gordon bolted up right in bed screaming his partner’s name. He threw off the blankets and dropped his feet to the floor. He was soaked with sweat and breathing hard as if he had run for miles instead of just having a nightmare. He rose, put on his dressing gown and left his room for the bathroom.

It was a good thing that this boarding house had an indoor water closet and bathroom which was the reason he had chosen to rent a room at this particular boarding house. He took care of business, then filled the tub with hot water and got in. After nearly two hours, the federal agent climbed out and pulled the plug letting the water disappear down the drain. He wrapped a towel around his waist and used a second one to dry his upper torso and hair, then put his dressing gown back on and threw the towel over one shoulder and left the bathroom.

Early the next morning, he stopped at a telegraph office and filled out a form, then took it to the counter and handed it to the clerk. The man behind the counter counted the words on the telegram. “That’ll be fifty cents, sir.”
Artemus took out a coin and set it on the counter.
The clerk took the coin and put it in the drawer then sat down at the telegraph and began tapping the key sending the telegram on its way to San Francisco.

Once, he finished Gordon nodded, then carrying a briefcase he left the small office and headed back to the Library of Congress. He stopped at the desk picked up his books from the reference desk went to a carrel and seated himself to begin his days’ work. He knew that it would take at least a day to receive Jim’s return telegram. He planned to stop in at the telegraph office on his way home to check to see if he had received a reply.

He finished the day stopped at the telegraph office and found nothing waiting for him. That night the nightmare came again, only this time it was far more real and terrifying than the previous two nights.


The night was dark as velvet as he walked toward the rear of the train.

There were no lights on either on the outside nor on the inside of the train.

He paused at the foot of the stairs and drew his gun, then slowly proceeded to take each step cautiously, making sure that he made no noise.

Flattening himself against the wall he slowly reached for the handle of the door.

He turned it as slowly as possible until there was a slight click and it swung soundlessly inwards.

He peeked around the edge of the door frame. He stepped into the doorway and a shot rang out slicing deeply into his skull.

The darkness embraced him and he knew nothing else.

James!

Artemus cried his partner’s name sitting bolt upright in bed breathing hard, his heart racing as he tried to slow his rapid breathing. He got out of bed and poured himself some water and chugged it down. He leaned heavily on the dressing table, his body trembling he looked at himself in the mirror and saw the tears streaming down his face.

“Oh gods, please, please don’t let this nightmare be true.” He rested his weight on his hands and tried to calm his breathing and his heart rate. Nothing really helped, so he tried to return to bed and laid down.

Drifting pieces of his nightmare haunted him throughout the night. Fragments of his memories with James, their shared laughter and even sometimes tears. He missed his partner much more than he could vocalize. These were only nightmares, harmless yes, disturbing yes, but harmless he wasn’t so sure. He finally settled himself for sleep, but it did not come no matter how hard he tried.

Finally the time for him to rise for work. He rolled out of bed, dressed then went downstairs and tried to eat, but couldn’t even choke anything down, not even coffee. He rose, grabbed his hat and briefcase and left the house.

Completely losing himself in his research he finished the day and returned to the boarding house. The nightmare came once again.

The night was dark as velvet as he walked toward the rear of the train.

There were no lights on either on the outside nor on the inside of the train.

He paused at the foot of the stairs and drew his gun, then slowly proceeded to take each step cautiously, making sure that he made no noise.

Flattening himself against the wall he slowly reached for the handle of the door.

He turned it as slowly as possible until there was a slight click and it swung soundlessly inwards. He peeked around the edge of the door frame.

He stepped into the doorway and a shot rang out slicing deeply into his skull.

The darkness embraced him and he knew nothing else.

James!

Bye the time a week has passed Artemus Gordon was bordering on a complete collapse when he received a summons from the White House. He put on his best burgundy suit with matching vest and tie, hailed a cab and instructed the driver to take him to the White House.

After arriving and removing his hat, the federal agent entered the presence of the President of the United States.

“Gordon, what the hell has happened to you? I’ve seen corpses who look better than you do.” President Ulysses S. Grant removed the cigar from his mouth and regarded one of his favorite secret service agent.

“I’m sorry, Mr. President, I’ve been ill.”

“Gordon, I have to go to San Francisco and I want you going with me. Meet me at my train in two hours, Mr. Gordon, you have your orders. I expect you to obey them. And bring all of your luggage with you, that’s an order.”

“Yes, Mr. President.”

Precisely two hours later Artemus Gordon completed his walk through of the presidential cars. The train had been cleared all the way through to San Francisco with only short stops for water and coal.

The President boarded, sat down at a desk and began to look over the treaty he was formally signing and the speech he would be giving afterwards. He and the Premier of Australia were signing a mutual defense pact. It will only take them three days instead of the usual five days. Grant looked up as Artemus entered the parlor and stopped at the desk. “Gordon, go get some sleep and something to eat, you look terrible. I don’t want to see you again until we reach San Francisco, I expect Mr. West to meet us at the platform and I am sure that he’s in much better shape than you are right now.”

Gordon, nodded his head turned and left the parlor headed straight to the guest room allotted to him. He entered closed the, removed his gun belt hanging it over the back of a chair, then draped his jacket, vest and tie on top of that. He dropped exhausted on to the bed and was sound asleep in minutes. Once again the nightmare struck only this time with such intensity that Artemus thought that he was having a heart attack.

He stood in the funeral parlor the mahogany casket stood on a bier in front of several large displays of flowers.

Each one different all saying R.I.P. Requiescat in Pace or Rest in Peace.

Reluctantly he moved toward the bier and stopped at its’ side. He was afraid to look into the large mahogany casket. Taking his courage in hand, he looked down into the face of his partner.

"Oh gods no this can’t be true, he can’t be dead, not James. He…he can’t be dead….please god…please I can’t have lost him." Tears were streaming down his cheeks unhindered and he slowly reached out and touched his partner’s hand.
It was cold and lifeless.

The usually mobile face and twinkling eyes and he knew that he would never see them again. Gods James, I’m going to miss you, more that I could ever tell you. I love you.

Rest in Peace, James.

He sat bolt upright on the bed and wiped the sweat from his face and sat shaking and breathing hard. He rose and went over to a small night stand with a pitcher and bowl on it. He poured the water into the bowl and splashed the water on his face. He closed his eyes and splashed more water on his face, then grabbed the towel and dried his face.

Still breathing hard he returned to the bed and sat down. How many more of these nightmares was he going to have to endure? “As many as I have to until I can see James again.” He thought to himself. "I have to find James, but I’m responsible for the President’s security.

He quickly changed into his dark brown and gold vest, chocolate colored tie, gold shirt and tope colored frock coat and matching trousers. He added his matching hat, gun belt and pulled on his cavalry boots and headed into the parlor.


The President looked up as he came walking into the parlor. “Gordon, take this with you to the treasury building, I want West here with us when we sign that defense pact. The signing isn’t until six this evening, so go find your partner.”
Before he could respond there was a knock at the door to the parlor and one of the presidential guards opened the door and Colonel Weismann stood in the doorway.

“Colonel Weismann to see the President.” He announced as he removed his hat, and entered the parlor.

President Grant turned in his seat and looked at Colonel Weismann. “Yes Colonel what is it you want?”

“I am sorry if I am disturbing you, sir, but …” He stepped into the parlor and stopped next to Artemus.

“But what, spit it out.”

“I received your telegram this morning and I have some bad news sir.” He hesitated.

“Well, get on with it.” The President was quickly running out of patience. “What the hell do you want Weismann?”

“I’m afraid that Mr. West will not be able to accompany you to the signing.”

“And why not, precisely?”

“He’s in the hospital in a coma sir. Someone shot him in the head, the doctor’s don’t hold out much hope for his survival or recovery. And his partner Tudor Jones cannot be found anywhere.”

President Grant slowly rose to his feet and narrowed his eyes at the Colonel. “I sent my best agent out here to assist you, and now I find out that he’s not likely to live! I want to know exactly what happened Colonel and I want to know right now!”

“We don’t really know what happened Mr. President. Mr. West’s temporary partner Tudor Jones has disappeared and there is no trace of him.
Both agents were assigned to work on a case involving missing treasury men and two of our own agents, one found dead in an alleyway down along the wharf.
West didn’t report in for over five days. We started a search and found him lying unconscious in the parlor of his train. He was taken to a local hospital where he remains in a coma.
According to the doctor attending him, there is very little hope of him regaining consciousness. If he does there is also the question of possible brain damage, although the bullet that grazed his skull did not penetrate his skull, the doctor believes that some and maybe a great deal of damage has been done.” Weismann reported.

President Grant looked at his guard and ordered. “I want a carriage and I want it now, Weismann which hospital is James in?”

“Toland Medical Center. He’s in room five twenty five.”

“Weismann, until further notice you are relieved of your command. Mr. Babcock I want you to get hold of Colonel Richmond and have him resume command of the secret service out here and Mr. Porter I want Colonel Weismann and every one of his subordinates arrested and locked up by midnight tonight Washington time, is that clear?”

The two private secretaries quickly scurried to do the President’s bidding.

“Gordon, you come with me, we’re leaving now.” He paused putting on his hat and looked at Babcock. “Orrville, there are rolling cells on the Wanderer put the Colonel in one and make sure he does not communicate with anyone, is that understood?”

“Yes, Mr. President.” Two armed men of the President’s personal guard quickly removed Weismann of his weapons and escorted him off the train and onto the train standing next to the Presidential train. “Oh, and one more thing Horace, get Mr. Gordon’s luggage transferred to the Wanderer and see to it that Tudor Jones’s is removed and sent to his family.”

“Let’s go Gordon.” The President put on his hat left the train and climbed into the carriage. “Toland Medical Center, and step on it.”

The carriage driver tapped the pair of horses and they took off a fast clip.


Toland Medical Center
Chapter 7

James West lay in a coma and unresponsive. The doctor who was attending to him gently tapped his elbow and patellar tendon. There was no response from his patient. The young man lay motionless in the bed. The federal agent was steadily losing weight and condition.

In the beginning when he had been brought in the emergency personnel had found a deep gunshot wound to his skull. It was that injury which was the reason for his coma. According to what they had been told, it had taken five days to find him lying on the floor of a very luxurious private train car. He had been brought straight here, but there was nothing he could do to improve or even help the young man. It was so frustrating that modern medicine knew so little about the brain or even things related to the brain.

There was a commotion out in the hallway and the door opened to reveal a man in a tall hat, dressed in black with a full beard and the bearing of someone used to being in command. He stared into the icy blue eyes of the President of the United States. The man removed his hat and entered the room silently, he moved to the bedside and looked down in to the motionless face of the young man.

“I don’t like this Gordon, he’s never that motionless, its’ not natural.” The man turned suddenly and those icy blue eyes looked him up and down and quite simply found him wanting. “I want to know in exact detail what is wrong with Mr. West?”

“Mr. West is in a coma, as the result of a gunshot wound to his skull. He was brought in unconscious and has remained so. He does not respond to any type of stimuli. There is a very real possibility that he will never regain consciousness and a very real likelihood that he could die. I just cannot give you an answer, Mr. President. His injuries are very serious and are life threatening. Where the human brain is concerned, we do not have enough information as to what happens when it’s injured.”

The President looked at Artemus and he slowly approached the bed. “Gods he looks like he’s dead already.” He found a chair and pulled it over to the head of the bed and nearly collapsed on to it.

Finally reaching out a trembling hand he gently laid it on his partner’s shoulder. “I’m here James, come on back now, it’s time to wake up the President is even here and your scaring the life out of him. He doesn’t want to lose you any more than I do.

I think in his own way he thinks of you as his son, James he really does love you.

You’re scaring the hell out of me, James, please come back. I need my partner back, come back to me. I’m too old to go to hell and back.” He choked on the words as he bent his head tears slid unnoticed by anyone in the room.

There was a moan from the bed and James slowly reached up and touched the side of his head where the bullet had grazed it. “Oh my head.” He complained as a hand grabbed his.

“Take it easy, James. You’ve been shot.”

“What again?” West complained as he squeezed his partner’s hand.

“Seems to be the case. Jim do you know who shot you?”

“No idea. The car was dark, no light inside or out and moon was behind me. Last thing I remember is opening the door to the car and the sound of a gun going off. I never saw who pulled the trigger. How… Artie how long have I been here?”

Gordon looked up at the young doctor and asked. “Well how long?”

“You…you…you’ve been in a coma for twenty one days Mr. West. Your service didn’t find you for five days. From what I have been hearing your partner has disappeared without a trace.”

“He was never my partner. The only partner I have is Artemus Gordon, he’s the only one I trust to be my partner. We’ve been together fifteen years.” James pointed towards Artemus and looked into the smiling eyes and face of Ulysses S. Grant. “Mr. President.”

“Never mind that James, I’m just glad to see you awake. I don’t like it when you’re not moving somewhere or doing something, makes me nervous.

I’m sure that you’ll be glad to know that Colonel Richmond is back in charge of everything from San Francisco to the Mexican border.

I’ve had Weismann and all of his subordinates locked up and I will deal with them when I get back to Washington.

Now, as for you, and Gordon here I don’t want to see hide nor hair of either one of you for the next six weeks.

Artemus, take James some place nice and quiet where both of you can stay out of trouble if that’s at all possible. And that gentlemen this is a direct order. Now if you’ll excuse me I have a mutual defense pact to sign.” He replace his hat on his head, paused in the door way and looked back over his shoulder.

“Oh and gentlemen no communications either, disconnect that dratted telegraph in your car, I don’t want to hear from either of you. And I will make sure that no one bothers you. Good day.” He grinned as he disappeared.

The young doctor looked at the pair. “Was that really the President?”

“Yes.” They chorused. “Impressive isn’t he?”

“More than a little.”

The two secret service agents laughed and Artie shook his head. “President Ulysses S. Grant has that effect on people.”

He was a humble unassuming man, who had reunited a country at war with itself and was trying to heal those wounds.

Neither agent knew that it would take over one hundred years for the reconstruction of the south to really begin at last, and the President they loved would almost be forgotten by the people of the country he loved so very much.

It would be one hundred fifty one years before his presidency would be re-examined and the truth would start to come out about what an amazing president he had actually been in spite of the scandals that surrounded him and his administration.

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