Justice or Vengeance
An old enemy has returned from the grave to shack the Marshals to their core. The mole has been found but at the cost of a friends life. The Deputies have always known the cost of being an Officer of the Law. But when one of their own has been targeted for assassination the gloves come off.
by Snowfall and Jessie Wolf.
Dedicated to the men and women of the US Marshal Service.
Edited by my husband Paul, Honeysuckle, and djkuffman.
Sam, Annette, and the girls watched as Bobby and Hunter climbed into a different truck. One that was full of nothing but men.
"Why are Papa and Uncle Hunter going in that other truck mama Annette?" Kristine asked to be answered by the woman that was her great grandmother.
"They go to face their demons child." the old woman set Kristine and Kasey on edge. There was something about her that unnerved them both. It was as if she could see their deepest and darkest of secrets. "You will see them later at the welcoming ceremony later tomorrow tonight. As for you four, we have to start getting you ready for your parents' wedding. None of you are on your cycle, correct?"
Both Sam and Annette blushed while Kasey and Kristine just giggled when they heard this. They stopped cold when Smoke Rising looked at them as well. "I was also asking you two as well."
Both girls got very quiet and looked down at the floor. "So it seems that my grandson is truly thrice blessed. He has found not one blessed spirit, but three. One wife and two daughters." She then looked over at Annette. "You too, my granddaughter, have been blessed by the Moon Maiden. A husband that cares to see beyond the past, and a loving sister to share him with. I see more than most, young ones. I may have become stiff with age, but I can still hunt with the braves."
"Um; excuse me ma'am, but what does that mean?" Kasey asked.
Chuckling, Smoke Rising just stared out the truck's windshield. "You have a good deal to learn about your father's people child. Do not rush what should be taught over time. Do not worry, your aunts will teach you all you will need. If they don't, they will answer to me."
Hearing this Little Doe smiled and placed her hand on Kasey's knee. "I got you covered Kasey. Don't let Grandmother's great spooky all seeing ancient one act scare you. She really is a very loving person."
Both teens and their mothers giggled when Smoke Rising just snorted at this comment.
"Reminds me of when Mr. Daymoon visited." Kasey commented.
"Daymoon?" Smoke Rising asked. "Daymoon of the Lakota Nation?"
Kristine nodded. "He visited our teachers."
The elder women gave nods of approval. They too, knew of the powerful and wise Lakota. For the rest of the trip to the reservation the women talked of everything under the sun. Sam knew most of those riding in the pickup and was happy to let her family get to know the women in the rest of Bobby's family. Time seemed to fly by as they were soon driving onto the reservation.
Kasey, Kristine, and Annette became very quiet as they traveled through the economically depressed area. It wasn't until they passed the school that Kasey and Kristine stopped talking all together to stare in disbelief. Annette though could tell that the reservation school was on hard times.
Annette turned in her seat. "Kristine, do you still have those tracking numbers?"
"I know which ones you're talking about Mama Annette. How much should be sent?" Kristine asked.
She knew what Annette was getting at. There was still a very large amount in the old LOG Party bank accounts that only she knew where it was.
"How much is available, Kristine?" Sam asked after she realized where Annette was going.
"At present, twenty-four billion in unclaimed liquid assets, Mama Sam." Kasey answered for her sister. "Of that, eighteen point three are available for immediate transfer."
"I think an even distribution between all Nations' schools would be a good thing, don't you girls?" Annette answered.
"It'll take time mama Annette, but we can take care of it when we get back home." Kristine smiled. "I'll make note of it."
"Just what are the four of you talking about?" Little Doe asked with a little heat.
"Little Doe, this is one of those times that it is better to not ask questions." Annette came back with just as much heat.
"No, one of you is going to answer my granddaughter's question." Smoke Rising said stepping in on the conversation.
"No we're not! Either you respect that answer or you can return us to the airport." Sam told the old woman.
"You dare to." Smoke Rising was interrupted in her rant by Bobby's mother, Morning Star.
"No mother! This is one time you do not get your way! They are Deputy Marshals. I have a feeling that they cannot discuss this with those outside of the Marshals. You have known this for some time. There certain things that we will never know about my son's and now his wives' work. It has to be that way to protect not only them, but us as well."
"Thank you Morning Star. And yes, you're right. This is one time that our jobs and the need for secrecy must come first." Sam told them all. "I will tell you all this much. Our daughters help us in our work and as such, are considered a valued part of our team. Do not ask them or us about what we do."
Smoke Rising looked back at the two women who were her grandson's wives. She could tell that in their eyes, this was a closed topic. When she looked at her two great granddaughters she found the same conviction. There was something about the four females of her grandson's family. Something that she had not seen in too many whites. They had honor, and would kill to protect that honor. The knives they carried proved that point. Steel for their hands, and steel in their eyes.
"Will your daughters be staying here on the reservation Little Mountain?" Smoke Rising asked. When Sam didn't answer Smoke Rising started to chuckle then she looked over at Morning Star. "It seems she has forgotten her name."
It took Sam a few moments to realize Smoke Rising had been talking to her. She had forgotten the name the old woman was calling her the last time they had been here. "Forgive me grandmother. It has been awhile since anyone has called me that."
"You are forgiven Little Mountain. Now, are your daughters going to be staying here on the reservation while you Spotted Pony, and Gray Eyes do your duty?"
"Um, ma'am. Annette's mother looks after them when we are away. So no, they will be returning to our home station with us." Sam replied.
"What of their schooling Sam? Surely they would be better off here, going to the reservation school, than being home schooled?" Morning Star decided to put her two cents in.
"Morning Star, trust me when I tell you, that our two daughters are getting a better education where they are now than anywhere else in the world." When Sam saw the Moring Star didn't believe her she turned to Kasey. "Kasey solo quante lingue stanno attualmente studiando?"
Kasey answered immediately with confidence. "Attualmente stiamo studiando dieci lingue diverse oltre all'inglese. Abbiamo anche coprire tutto, dalla storia alla scienza, la matematica e l'ingegneria per il mare di filosofia e letteratura. Tuttavia, molti dei nostri corsi sono tenuti in Russo e Giapponese."
Morning Star, along with the other women from Bobby's family, sat there in stunned silence. They could tell that the mother and daughter had been having a discussion in another language. What that language was, they didn't know. Only Little Doe found it funny and started to laugh.
"Okay what did you ask your daughter Sam and what was her answer?" Morning Star asked.
"I asked Kasey how many languages they were currently studying. She replied, ten different languages besides English. They also cover everything from history to science, mathematics and engineering to the sea, philosophy and literature. However, many of the classes are taught in Russian and Japanese." Sam started to laugh at the looks she was getting from the others.
"Annette is this true? They are learning ALL that at this school they go to?" Little Doe asked.
"Um, yes Little Doe. They learn all that plus, ballet, gymnastics, cooking, and so much more." Annette didn't think that the Everbrite family was ready to learn about the other stuff the girls learned at their 'school'.
Morning Star asked curiously. "What languages are being taught?"
Kristine smiled. "Italian, French, Russian, Japanese, German, Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish, Farsi and Cantonese Chinese. After we learn all those, we learn more. Those ten are the most highly spoken throughout the world, along with English."
"Damn! That place sounds fantastic. How much is the tuition? It is a private school, right?" Asked Mist on Water. "If they can learn all that, it has to be private boarding school. I'm more than willing to send Falling Feather to some place like that one, if she gets that type of education."
"Mist on Water, the school they go is one for Law Enforcement children only." Sam said thinking fast. "The only reason Kristine and Kasey can go there, is because we adopted them. If we hadn't they wouldn't be going there."
"Damn, that is just wrong. Everyone should be allowed access to that type of schooling." Little Doe's jealousy was showing.
Annette smiled over at her. "What would you say if I told you that I know of someone that has access to several private all girl and all boy schools around the nation and the world?"
"I would ask who this person is and can you do my aunt a favor? Why? It's not like you can just make a phone call and get Falling Feather or any of my other cousins into one of those places. Besides, there is no way our family can afford the tuition to those places." Little Doe thought she had Annette.
Annette smiled and pulled out her cell. After making sure she had signal Annette placed a call. Sam just sat back and giggled. Sam knew exactly who Annette was calling.
Kasey looked over at Little Doe. "Aunt Little Doe, how much you got in your wallet?"
"About fifty dollars Kasey. Why?" Little Doe replied.
Kasey tried not to smile. "I'll give you two to one odds that by the time mama hangs up, Falling Father will be accepted into the nearest school, with a full scholarship. You game?"
"Little Doe, take some advice here. Never make a bet with our daughters. They don't cheat, but they know when and where to place winning bets." Sam said while looking out the window.
"Oh man, I can tell the next few weeks is going to be fun with you gals around." Rain Bird crowed, who had kept quiet until now.
As the small caravan of trucks and cars worked their way through the reservation, Kasey and Kristine realized how good they had it on Ram's Rock Island. In some ways, it was both more, and less, dangerous. Now that they actually thought about it, there was a trade-off; for the price of outside friends and diversions, they gained security and the high level of training they were enjoying. As their Grandmother and Lyssa had said many times, there is always a price to be paid.
"Mist on Water, I can have Falling Feather enrolled at Southern Skies Equestrian Academy for Girls at the start of the year, full scholarship with uniform allowance. My only question is, can she ride?" Annette smiled at Mist on Water.
Mist on Water nodded. "Of course. She's been riding bareback since she could straddle a pony. Does that count?"
Both Annette and Sam cringed when they heard that. "Can she ride using a saddle, Mist on Water?" Sam asked her directly.
"Yes, she can ride using a saddle. No need to be snippy about things Samantha. Your little cousin can ride just fine, so long as it's with a Western Saddle." Mist on Water stated.
Sam and Annette had to stop and think about that.
"Can she use, or would be willing to learn, the English Hunt Seat aunt Mist on the Water?" Kasey asked of her. At her great aunt's look of confusion Kasey explained. "We've heard of the school. SSEA is one of the top Equestrian schools in the United States. At least one of their graduates regularly go on to join the US Olympic Equestrian Team every time. If Falling Feather is any good they'll do their best to get her on the Team."
"Why would a Dakota Maiden want to do anything for a bunch of white eyes? Why should she have to learn to ride like a white? It's not like they're going to do anything for us. All they'll do, is take something else." Little Doe was letting her jealousy get the better of her.
"Granddaughter, if you continue to let your green eyes control you I shall be greatly disappointed. If Falling Feather can get an education from one of these schools by learning to ride as a white, then so be it. Have you forgotten your first lesson?" Smoke Rising wasn't giving Little Doe a chance to recover or answer. "Accept all things as being possible."
"Yes grandmother. I will be happy for Falling Feather." Little Doe was suitably chastised after that.
Kristine spoke up. "Wouldn't she like the chance to compete against champion riders from all over the world, if she gets it? To compete in the Olympics is a high honor for anyone."
Mist on Water looked over at Annette. "Thank you Gray Eyes for doing this. As much as I hate to say this our school has fallen below standards. Most of the young here can barely pass the SAT tests."
"It's the least I can do for family. However, I do have one question. Why have you started to call Samantha, Little Mountain and me, Gray Eyes?"
The five older female members of Bobby's family started to laugh. "I will answer your question Gray Eyes." Smoke Rising set from her seat. "Once we are inside and you have all put away your bags."
Annette, Sam, Kasey, and Kristine all looked out at the cabin they had stopped in front of. At first glance it wasn't much to look at, but Sam knew that there were five bedrooms, two and a half baths, living room, kitchen dinette, and a small office in back. Around back of the main house was a smithy, ten stall barn, and a corral for the horses. Sam was the first to get out of the truck, and grab her bags.
She smiled to herself at being let out here. She remembered this place from her last trip to the reservation. There is a difference though this time, this time it's not Bobby's home. This time it is her's as well. This was the home for her family. Annette and the girls were a little surprised that they had their own home here on the reservation. Sam and Annette chuckled as the two teens went from bedroom to bedroom trying to figure out which one was the second biggest.
It didn't take them long before all bags were put up and the beds were made. Sam, Annette, and the girls set to work on cleaning the house from top to bottom. By the time they had the house clean, it was time for diner. Between the four of them it didn't take long for their dinner to be ready. About halfway through dinner the female members of Bobby's family showed up. Kristine and Kasey ran to their room and came back with the necklaces, and bracelets made of shells to give the younger members of the family.
Morning Star and Smoke Rising were a little surprised to get a set of earrings each from Sam and Annette. When they tried to refuse the gifts Sam hugged them both. After Sam had stepped out of the way Annette was next to hug the older women of the Everbrite family. It would set the tune for the rest of the evening. As the women of the Everbrite family welcomed the four new comers into the fold, Kasey and Kristine came to realize that they truly were welcomed by their father's family.
Later that night Smoke Rising stood by the back door. "Kasey, Kristine. Come with me children. It is time to find your names."
Kristine and Kasey looked over at their mothers. Sam smiled and nodded her head. "Go with her, girls. All will come to light." Annette started to argue with Sam but was stopped. "We need to trust Grandmother. She knows what she's doing. Go now girls. Go find your names."
The two teens stood up and left with their great grandmother. Sam smiled over at Annette and the others. "I wonder when they'll get back and what names they'll find."
"Samantha Justice Everbrite you better start making sense right this minute or so help me. POW! To the moon Alice!" Annette's used of the old sitcom line had the Everbrite women laughing.
"Sis, you have to trust me on this. The girls will be fine. This is all part of their understanding of their father's family and their ways." Sam was doing her best to calm her sister wife.
"I remember when Little Mountain found her name." Morning Star laughed. "Do you want to know why we call her Little Mountain?" Annette nodded her head yes, while Sam was shaking her head no. "The first time Bobby brought our dear little Samantha home they had just finished with one of the longest open cold cases on record. Anyway, their boss at the time gave them a month off. Something about administrative leave with pay. The man was worried about the two of them burning out."
"It wasn't burn out that he was worried about. He didn't want us anywhere near the courthouse when the dirt bag went to trial." Sam had to correct her mother-in-law. The case she was talking about had been one of the worst cold cases that she and Bobby had worked.
"Anyway, the first time she saw Bobby's home she asked where the end of the ranch was. Bobby pointed at the mountain behind the house and told her just short of the ridgeline. To which Sam replied, 'Which ridgeline the one on the right or the one on the left?' Bobby pointed at the left one. Well Sam looked at them both and said 'Oh, the little one.' The mountain she was talking about is one of the tallest mountains on the reservation. When Smoke Rising found out about her calling Mount Franklin a little mountain she just smiled at Sam. My mother then said 'Only a great soul can call a mountain little.' Ever since, we have called her Little Mountain in honor of her very big outlook on the world."
Annette looked over at the blushing Sam and just smiled. Annette could see how Sam would look at the world like that. To Sam there was no problem too big that she couldn't handle it, not even a mountain. As Annette thought about the story something clicked in her mind. "I know this is going to sound stupid, but do any of you know why Smoke Rising called me Gray Eyes? Now that I know that Little Mountain is your name for Samantha; I kind of figured that Gray Eyes was my name."
All the women looked over at little Doe. With a heavy sigh Little Doe smiled over at Annette. "It seems that Grandmother has left me to explain your name among us Annette. We all know that your eyes are brown. However, among our ancestors they would call the warriors who had seen too much war gray-eyed. I saw it, just as Smoke Rising saw it, in your eyes. You have seen too much evil in the world. You see the world in black and white; seeking to find the balance between the two. You look for the gray. So you are now Gray Eyes among us."
"Thank you for explaining that to me. Now, seeing as how we have no idea of when those three will return, let's have something to drink." Annette set action to words and poured herself a glass of wine. It would be close to three in the morning before Smoke Rising and the girls returned.
Only Sam and Annette were awake to greet them. The two mothers just smiled at the very tired teens and guided them to bed. They would wait until after the sun had risen and the girls got some sleep to learn of their names among the people. It wasn't long before Sam and Annette joined them. The small family would awaken to the sounds and smells of breakfast being made by their new family.
Over breakfast Kasey and Kristine told their mothers how they each found their tribal names. Smoke Rising chuckled as Kasey told her mothers about spooking the coyote out of its hiding place. Once the coyote was out of hiding, it turned to face off with Kasey. The coyote and Kasey then proceeded to dance around each other. It was as if they were dance partners, with the coyote being the male lead. Smoke Rising told Kasey once the coyote finally ran off that she was truly Dancing Coyote.
Kristine though took until early in the morning to find her name. The three walked until they came to the ranch's watering hole. There Kristine walked out into the still water following the shadow of an owl. Smoke Rising had stopped Kasey form keeping her sister out of the water. It wasn't until Kristine was waist deep in water that she stopped. Kristine looked down at the still water expecting to see her reflection. To her surprise all she saw was the reflection of the night sky. When Kristine started to cry Smoke Rising asked her what she saw. Kristine answered 'the stars are dancing'. Smoke Rising said 'come out of the water Dancing Star'.
"So now all we have to do is take you four down to the tribal police station and get you all your tribal ids now." Morning Star said.
Sam and Annette looked at each other, then over at their daughters. They knew that having those ids would be both good and bad at the same time. As it was, neither girl had any form of legal id. It was bad enough that Kasey had a juvenile record, and could very well be wanted for probation violation. Then there was the fact that Kristine still had a very large bounty on her head. If anyone had access to the national fingerprint data base they could very well find Kristine. There had been no discussion of this back on the island beforehand.
Mist on Water saw the looks between mothers and daughters. "Is there a problem Little Mountain?"
"Do the reservation police take fingerprints?" asked Annette.
"No. Your fears for your daughters' safety is unfounded here children. No one will ever know of their place here among the people. I know Joseph Iron Horse and his officers. They will never let what they know get out." Smoke Rising could see the concern in the young mothers' eyes.
With encouragement from the other Everbrite women, Sam and Annette took their daughters down to get their Native American ids. They would figure out how to hide that, if they had too, later. This was something that both girls wanted and something the two mothers wouldn't deny. After a quick lunch and showers, they all headed over to the reservation police to get their new ids. Sam knew the way and asked to borrow one of the family cars.
As Sam led the way inside she set off the metal detector at the door. Sam just smiled and showed her badge. Annette seeing this did the same. Kasey and Kristine just shrugged their shoulders and walked through setting off the alarms.
Joseph Iron Horse came storming out of his office after the second time the alarm went off. "Just who the HELL is setting off those damned ALARMS?"
"Hi Joseph! Long time no see." Sam called out.
"Samantha Justice! I'll be damned girl! Where you been? Where's that no good partner of your's at?" the Police Chief was smiling at seeing the pretty petite US Deputy Marshal.
"Bobby's up in the mountains right now Joseph." Sam got out just before the man grabbed her up in a hug. "He should be down sometime tomorrow."
Joseph nodded. "So tell me, what brings you two back to the reservation? You're not here trying to serve an arrest warrant are you?"
"Nope! Nothing like that Joseph. In fact, we are here on vacation and our honeymoon." Sam had no sooner gotten that than Joseph let out a loud whoop.
"About time you two quit dancing around. So you need a reservation id. Just step around the counter and Bill will take care of you." Joseph like most of the men on the reservation was wondering when the two deputies would tie the knot.
"About that Joseph, we need to get a total of four new ids." When Joseph looked at Sam in confusion she explained by stepping over behind Annette. "This is my sister wife Annette Gray Eyes DeMarco, our daughter Kasey Dancing Coyote, and our youngest daughter Kristine Dancing Star."
"Well, I'll be damned! Not only does that buck go and land one of the prettiest Does to walk across this reservation, he bags another one just as pretty. And to top that all off; he comes home with not one, but two maidens just as pretty as their mamas. I think I'll put a few more patrols on out there by your place. I don't need the hassle of a murder investigation. Especially one that involves two US Deputy Marshals." Iron Horse said with a chuckle.
"Um, about that Joseph. There will be four Deputy Marshals out at our place." Sam told the man.
"Four?" Joseph asked. Only to see Annette showing her own badge. "Okay that makes three, who is the fourth?"
"That would be our partner, Hunter Taugh." Annette said with a smile. "We're just here on vacation Chief. Trust me we don't need any hassle."
"No problem Deputy. I only worry when you, or one of your fellow deputies, show up to serve an arrest warrant. Thankfully, you Marshals know to stop here first, unlike some of those cowboys over in the other agencies. Now why don't you ladies step around here so we can get your pictures and then your ids taken care of." Joseph waved them to follow.
As Kasey and Kristine started to round the counter they both stepped near the metal detector again. When it went off again Joseph looked at the teens. Sam stepped over and held out her hands. The teens blushed and handed over the knives.
When Joseph saw the knives the girls were carrying he just whistled. "Why do I have the feeling that if a young buck pushed things with these two, they would be missing body parts?"
"Because they would be, Chief." Annette said with the conviction a mother. "Trust me they know how to use their family knives."
The Indian Police Chief knew by the look in Annette's eyes that she wasn't joking. For some reason he felt sorry for whoever first chased these two teens. He put his concerns aside and set about getting the needed pictures. Once all four had their pictures taken it was just a simple matter of filling out the paperwork and waiting for the computer to spit out their ids. As they waited, two young patrolmen walked in.
"Little Mountain is that you? Damn girl, where you and cousin Bobby been hiding?" The smaller of the two said, as he grabbed Sam in a hug.
Laughing Sam punched the patrolman in the shoulder. "Put me down Sleeping Dog!" Once she was on her feet the second and slightly larger of the two grabbed her up in a hug. "Don’t you start Snow Rabbit. Put me down now you over grown yard gnome."
At the questioning looks from her family, Sam made introductions. "Annette, these two miscreants in uniform are Mist on Water's oldest children. Boys, let me introduce my sister wife Annette, and our two daughters; Kasey and Kristine." When Sam saw the looks the two men were giving their daughters, Sam cleared her throat. "Hang it up boys; they're under age, and I can tell you right now, you couldn't afford the bridal price."
"Sam it wouldn't matter. They don't look like they can even earn the right to court our daughters." Annette's slam had the desired effect.
"What's that supposed to mean? We ain't good enough for your white daughters or something like that? You think they're too good for true braves?" Sleeping Dog growled out.
"OH no, it's not that young man. You see, for any man to court a daughter of either of our families; they have to prove they're worthy." Annette looked over at Sam. "And seeing as how my sister has forgotten this fact, it is up to me to set the test."
"Wait a minute here, you mean to tell that anyone can date your daughters, but they have to pass some kind of test?" Snow Rabbit asked hopefully. He was already thinking for his wife's little brother.
Annette nodded. "Oh yes. They just have to prove their worth to Sam and myself first."
"So what's the test?" Sleeping Dog asked.
"Have whoever you think is worthy of my daughters show up out at the house, noon tomorrow. I will have the test ready for them." Annette had already figured out what the test would be.
The two tribal police officers smiled and headed back out the door. Annette started to grin as Sam, Kasey, and Kristine rounded on her. When the three of them saw the grin their protests died unspoken. "Don't worry girls, I am sure that you can handle the test and win. After all, you've both been trained by some of the best to handle a rifle."
When they heard this Kasey and Kristine started to giggle, while Sam just laughed out right. Joseph having overheard the challenge and the conversation afterwards started to laugh himself. He had already called Morning Star and Smoke Rising to confirm that Bobby had married the two women and adopted the two teens. He found out that Hunter was with Bobby getting ready for their ceremony before the tribe. If those two had been the ones to train the teens in how to use a rifle then the girls would be the ones coming out on top.
"Do you ladies mind if I come by tomorrow at noon? I would love to see your lovely daughters put a few of these bucks in their places." Joseph said with a smile.
"Of course Joseph, you can even bring your son along." Sam said with a smile. "Why we'll even give him a chance at taking the test. He's what, fifteen now? He is old enough to try for Kristine's hand."
"He's fourteen Sam. As far as trying to date your daughter, you can forget it. If she is carrying that short sword with her, there is no way in Hell I'll let him near her. Speaking of which, care to explain why they have them?" Joseph wasn't going to let the girls leave without an explanation for them carrying those knives.
"Don't worry Joseph, they have been trained in how to use a knife. As for why they have them, think about it. All three of their parents are Deputy Marshals. With the knives; they have some form of protection with them at all times. It's better than them carrying a handgun." Annette answered with the smile of a cat in the cream.
As the four of them walked out of the station they heard the laughter of the tribal police chief. It had taken him a few moments to realize what Annette had been getting at. They swung by the local market to pick up something for dinner then headed home. Once there Sam and the girls went inside and started dinner. Annette headed out back. Once there, she went looking for something to hang targets off of. It wasn't until she spotted the two by four frames, setting out around two hundred and fifty meters, that she stopped looking. It didn't take her long to find the silhouettes.
With everything in place, Annette went inside and sat Kasey and Kristine down. "Okay girls, this is what I want you to do tomorrow. When the boys start showing up I will direct them out back. Now there are four silhouette targets like we have back on the island setup at two hundred and fifty meters. When you go out in the morning, I want you to use the M-4s, leave the SABERs behind, until I till you."
"Why Mama Annette? Wouldn't it be better for us to use the SABERs instead?" Kristine asked in confusion.
"Sis, Mama wants us to let the boys set themselves up. The M-4s may have the range but they don't have the accuracy at that range. We go out there and fire off about four or five mags from the M4s. When the guys show up they see us landing rounds all around the targets. Naturally, they'll think we can't shoot to save our asses."
"Oh! I get it now. We let them brag about how good they are, then we make a little bet with them. Once they accept, we go get the SABERs and clean their clocks." Kristine had seen where Kasey was going and finished for her.
Annette just sat there and let her daughters outline their own operations plan down to the finishing point.
"Now they're starting to think like Capizeos and DeMarcos. Are you going to let them set their own stakes Annette?" Sam asked from over by the door. The smile on Sam's face let the two teens know she approved.
"Oh, I was thinking that if the guys win the girls can go out on their first dates without meeting their father. If the girls win, then the boys have to deal with both Hunter and Bobby first. After that, the boys pay for dinner and a movie with all the fixings. How's that sound girls?" Annette had turned to face the teens and saw smiles a mile wide.
Word had already gotten around that Bobby Everbrite was now married with two wives and two daughters, daughters that are in their teens and very pretty. In short, every young man for fifty square miles would be sniffing around the house and those teenage daughters. Annette was merely making it very hard for those young men to date their daughters.
The next morning Sam woke both girls at just before seven a.m. The girls quickly got dressed in tights and leotards. They knew that they may be on vacation, but they still had morning practice. They found the living room setup as if it was a dance studio. The sofa and chairs had been moved off to one side, with the sofa turned around backwards. For the next three hours all four women went through their daily practice to the sounds of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, and Stravinsky. It was to the sounds of this music the first of the boys arrived.
Seeing a chance to add to the deception, Sam invited the fathers of the first boys inside for coffee. Meanwhile, Annette took the girls through the rest of their morning routine. After getting the men their coffee, Sam showed them back outside. It didn't take long for the fathers to tell their sons what they had seen inside. The bait was in the trap and the prey had their heads on the trigger. Everything was set and all the girls had to do, was drive the nail home.
As the girls showered and changed, they could hear some of the comments from the boys outside. The more they heard, the madder they became. The prevailing attitude was one that really pissed them off. Sam had told the fathers that the challenge was simple. All the boys had to do was out-shoot Kasey and Kristine. Naturally the boys heard about the girls doing ballet this morning. What the girls heard the most was how they were going to get put in their place. That there was no way those two prissy ballerinas were going to out-shoot the boys.
When the girls were ready, they were beyond pissed. Oh they would follow Mama Annette's plan, only they were going to do it their way. They weren't going to use the M-4s to start with. No, they were stepping out with their SABERs and were going to make their parents and instructors proud. They were going to blow the centers out of those targets and that was to be the end of it. First though they were going to goat those arrogant males.
Wearing cut-off blue jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers with their M-5 SABERs slung over their shoulders; the two teens stepped outside. Kasey was the first to speak. "So you big strong boys think that two little prissy ballerinas can't handle a rifle, do you?"
"That's what they were saying Sis. We both heard them all laughing it up, while we changed. I say we give them a chance to prove just how good they can be." Kristine's voice dripped heavily with sweetness and sarcasm. Only their mothers knew just how pissed off the teenagers were.
Needless to say, more than a few of the young braves went home hanging their heads in shame. A few of their fathers found themselves joining their sons in shame. The two teens showed the local boys no mercy from the start to the finish. They literally blew away all comers and took no prisoners. A few of the young men came close to out-shooting the girls, but the distance and modern weapons gave the girls the advantage.
About two hours after the last would be suitor left Bobby and Hunter returned home. When Bobby heard what the girls had done later that night, he and Hunter just laughed and hugged the teens. After Bobby and Hunter had showered, they and the ladies, sat down to get caught up. The girls told of how the rest of the women in Bobby's family welcomed them to the family. He and Hunter told of their time with the men in the wilds. Of their shared hunt for the elks that would be used at the wedding feast.
Later that night Morning Star, Mist on Water, Little Doe all showed up to take Sam and Annette with them to the women's sweat lodge. When Kasey and Kristine started to follow, Bobby stopped them.
"Sorry, but you're duty is to take care of me and your uncle till they get back." Bobby said gently.
It took the teens a few minutes to understand, but when they did they were all in. The fact that their great grandmother, grandmother, and aunt were treating them like women made all the difference.
For the next two days the two teens cooked, cleaned and fulfilled the traditional roles of women. For them; it was not a chore, it was more like a dream come true. They were being accepted as women or girls, not boys. They had never thought they would find acceptance like this off the island. Every morning they made their father and uncle breakfast, before the two men would head out to the ranch's forge.
The first time Kasey took their lunch out to them she found the two men hard at work forging what looked like decorative metal. Looking around the forge area she spotted nine different types of metal. Looking over at a billet that was already finished Kasey could tell that is was definitely a pattern-weld Damascus. If her father and uncle were going out of their way to make such complicated billets they must be for something special. Whatever they were making would be beautiful.
On the second day Kristine took them their lunch. She found them cutting the billets into slabs. Hunter would cut each billet into fourteen slabs apiece. Then Bobby would weld those slabs into bars. She watched as those bars were then heated to the point of malleability and twisted ten times. When done each twisted billet was three inches by three inches and eight inches long. When she told Kasey about them Kasey just smiled and asked how many twisted billets did she see.
When their mothers returned on the third day both girls told their mothers that the forge was off-limits. For a change the two women listened to their daughters, and stayed away from the forge. This was helped by the women of Bobby's family showing up the next day to help fit Sam and Annette with their wedding dresses. Even Kasey and Kristine were fit with deer skin dresses like their mothers.
On the day of the wedding Bobby and Hunter finally left the forge. In their hands were four deer hide wrapped bundles. Later that night as Sam and Annette presented themselves before the tribe. When Bobby and Hunter stepped out Hunter acted as Bobby and the women's witness. The three adults pledged their love and faithfulness before the Spirit Woman and Medicine Man. Bobby accepted responsibility for both women and their daughters. Then he presented his wives and daughters each one of the hide wrapped bundles.
When the four of them unwrapped the bundles they found a knife. No ordinary knife though. Each one was made of finely forged twisted Damascus steel. Each knife had a Sheffield blade, nine inches long with a full tang and brass cross guard. The handles were made from black walnut and polished to a high sheen. In short, they were works of art and death. Samantha and Annette could tell that Bobby had poured all the pain and hate he had felt over the loss of his team into these blades. Kasey and Kristine knew that these were more than just their family knives now. They were to be a symbol of the team. Unlike their mothers, they knew that there were more of these beautiful blades back at the family forge.
Later Bobby, Samantha, and Annette were led to a white teepee. There they spent the night consummating their marriage to each other. The fact that the whole tribe could hear them was just spice to the mix. Kasey and Kristine however had already left with their uncle Hunter earlier in the night. They knew that they would see their parents later the next morning as Morning Star had explained the ceremony to the teens that afternoon.
The next morning found a surprise for the small family. Bobby's sister Candice had flown in as soon as she was able. When Kasey and Kristine found out that they had a world famous runway model for an aunt they were beside themselves with excitement. They spent the day talking with Aunt Candy talking about the life of a runway model. Both girls knew not to talk about training with Lyssa and Tiffany. Naturally, Candice was more than willing to talk about her time on the runways of the fashion world.
The small family would spend the next three weeks relaxing at Bobby's home on the reservation. Hunter and Bobby would, during that time, exercise more than a few demons working at the family forge. The two men would produce some of the finest knives the tribe had ever seen. Only Smoke Rising commented on those blades calling them the 'demons of two men's souls.' No one would ever know just how true that name was. The fact that they were all forged out of scavenged rail road spikes allowed Hunter and Bobby to turn out an impressive number of blades.
By the time they were already to return to the island, the tribe had one hundred and thirty finished knives to sell in the reservation truckstop. Hunter and Candice had struck up a real relationship between them. For Bobby, this was a good thing. Candice was finally starting to look around for someone else in her life. For Hunter, it was the first time that the big deputy had even dated a woman not in law enforcement. For Kasey and Kristine, if Candice and Hunter did get married Hunter would really become their uncle. As it was now Bobby's father had claimed Hunter as a son and brave of the tribe, arguing that Hunter traveled with tribal members making him part of the tribe already.
Their time on the reservation passed far too quickly for the small family. The day they left the reservation it was with tears in their eyes and promises to return next year. For the teens it was back to school and for the deputies it was back to work. All five knew that the LOG Party and Vassago were destroyed. There were still evil men and women out there that needed to be brought to justice.
Men and women, who believed that they were above or outside the law. That no one would dare to arrest them or hold them accountable for their crimes. It was for these people that they were formed. They were the truth of the legend. They were the Black Badge Deputies and Hell followed them. They were the shadows in the night that brought Justice or Vengeance.
What could possibly scare four of the meanest, baddest, hard-charging deputies in the US Marshal Service more than an Out of control power monger? What would make these hardened pursuers of escaped drug dealers, bank robbers, rapists, murders, and every form of human scum want to turn in their badges and quit? After taking down the LOG Party, an entire Criminal Organization, and tear out the heart of a corrupt system; what could possibly make these four Deputies want to just walk away? The answer is not what you would think. Then again is going back to HIGH SCHOOL is never easy.
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