Chapter 4: A Pleasant Morning.
Hobbs woke up to someone kicking his foot. He opened his eyes and sat up...holstering the revolver that he had slept with. The remington was at half cock so it was harmless but it was also instantly available. The huge Texas Raider was standing there, glanced at the weapon, yet said nothing. The big Texan himself was loaded for bear. He was armed with a brace of horse pistols and had a monstrous double rifle slung over his back. Being a Texan he probably had all kinds of swords, knives and even hatchets hidden upon his person. The big man leaned over and handed Hobbs a mug of a mildly corrosive brew masquerading as coffee, offered him a hand up, then casually yanked the Sergeant to his feet. Either the Texan didn't know his own strength or he was showing off. Hobbs almost spilled his coffee. Even so being stiff and sore from yesterday Hobbs appreciated the help.
Coffee! Hobbs gratefully but cautiously took a sip.. It was Texas coffee...a horseshoe would by god float in it. Briefly. Before dissolving. It was wonderful.
The two men wandered over to the defensive works that Hobbs had supervised being built the day before. Captain Halsey was already there as was a lion man and a bat, all of whom were cautiously sipping on the Texan brewed ichor. They were all gathered on the berm and alongside the pole palisade. The unlikely group looked over the countryside while they sipped coffee and talked.
"Excellent job on these fortifications Sergeant, very well done. I've seen permanent installations that were less secure." said the big Texan in admiration. Captain Halsey nodded in agreement. The two natives made no comment.
. "Thank you Sir. What the hell kinda mess we got ourselves into Capt'n? " asked the Sergeant. "where the hell are we?".
" I have no earthly idea." said the Texan...sipping on his coffee.
"In fact, and considering that I've been to a great many places on earth, and this doesn't much look like any of them...I'd say...." his voice trailed off...
In the distance they heard a terrified horse's scream. The scream was followed by a loud squawk. They turned toward the sound. A huge flightless bird was chasing one of their horses. One of the rat packs harness birds had somehow survived. Possibly the horse had seen an opportunity to escape yesterday in all the commotion and was now regretting the decision. The horse was trying it's best to outrun the big bird and regain the safety of human companionship but the big bird had other ideas.
The bird's idea had to do with lunch. The horse was on the menu. The bird was overtaking the horse.....hissing and cawing furiously as it ran.
That the mare had survived the night in the carnivore infested forest was remarkable. It apparently had enough of being a wild horse and was trying to regain the protection of humans. That wasn't likely to happen. The butcher bird rapidly gained on the doomed equine.
….the bird stopped in it's tracks as if it had run into a wall, then collapsed in a heap. The force of the half pound ball of lead that had smashed into it had totally negated all forward motion, and ruined the birds whole day.
Hobbs cringed at the loud report and plaintively asked the Texan "What the hell kind shoulder cannon is that?"
The Texan grinned broadly and boasted "It's a Holland and Holland two bore, double rifle. My dad gave it to me for my birthday. I went to Africa to hunt Rino, Cape Buffalo, and Elephant with it. It's also pretty good on American Buffalo, looks like it kills Big Birds just fine also. It throws a half pound bullet at fifteen hundred feet per second which impacts with over seventeen thousand foot pounds of energy."
The Yankee Captain shook his head indulgently. A Texas gun geek in full cry...what could you say?
Hobbs looked at the monster shoulder howitzer for a moment then looked again out over the land before them. That was an evil looking gun. It had saved the frantic horse.. It was comforting, in a way, to have such a weapon given their circumstances.
The Texas Raider turned to Sargent Hobbs and said in a conversational tone " As I was about to say...it doesn't appear that we're in Kansas any longer Sargent, or Utah...or even Earth."
The Texan nodded toward the Lion Man who was part of the group drinking a cup of the Texan's coffee.. and at the Bat. They both seemed to savor the corrosive brew.
"Yeah" said the sergeant warily eying the two native life forms ."I'd say that you're probably correct. I don't recall seeing anyone like these guys back home"
The Texan grinned and took a sip of his coffee..."Very astute of you sergeant."