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broadwaybeyonder, September 12 in CBUB Rated Matches
The Night of the Last Round Up
The figure panted for breath as they ran past the barn. They ran along the fence as cattle raised their heads and mooed at the individual that had interrupted their sleep. They were being pursued by three men on horseback, one of them with his pistol drawn. He fired a shot that ricocheted off the corral.
“Watch it, Billy!” the oldest of three said in a thick, Irish accent. “You’ll hit one of our steers shootin’ in the dark like that!” Billy took aim again at the trespasser. “They ain’t our steers, Lonergan! They belong to Mr. Statler! And he says that if we don’t catch the ones rustling his herd, he’ll beat us with a brandin’ iron! So quick bellyachin’ and hush up so I can put down this dog down!” The pistol rang out again and the figure cried out in pain. They fell down clutching their leg, then struggled back to their feet. “One more oughta do it,” Billy said as he aimed at his victim struggling to limp out of range.
“Put that blasted thing away!” shouted Lonergan. “Buck! Lasso this spalpeen before Billy wakes up half the county!” Buck lifted the lasso off his right shoulder and after giving it a few spins hurled at the trespasser. The rope wrapped around their shoulders, and Buck pulled tight and heaved as he brought his horse to a halt. The figure was lifted off their feet and swung into the wall of a barn. They fell down slumped onto the grass.
Lonergan dismounted and hurried over to their captive. “Right. Now, we’ll get some answers from you, lad. Like why you runnin’ around Master Statler’s at night, and where you’ve been runnin’ off with our…” Lonergan fell quiet as he drew near the figure’s prone body. Billy and Buck stayed on their horses and watched as Lonergan knelt next to the trespasser, then turned them over.
“Saints and Mary preserve us!” Lonergan gasped. He backed away from the body and hurried back to Billy and Buck. “What’s the matter, Lonergan?” asked Buck. “Is he dead?” Lonergan jumped back onto his horse. “No, lad. She isn’t.” The cowhands looked at each other in shock as Lonergan turned his horse back to the main house still shouting instructions. “You and Billy get her into the stable. Board it up so she can’t out! I’ll get Jacobson to bandage that wound, and tell Mr. Statler to get the sheriff! Quick now! Before anyone sees her!”
Billy and Buck brought their horses closer until they could finally see the person they had been pursuing clearly. The light from a hanging lantern revealed that the body of their prisoner was female. But the head of the prisoner was the head of a cow.
A week later, Artemis Gordon stood looking out the window of Horace Statler’s house. Through the curtains he could see hired hands standing huddled together, whispering to each other and pointing at the barn. In the well-furnished living room behind him, James West sat on a couch across from Statler himself. Statler was a balding, stocky gentleman with a look of perpetual impatience on his face. He drummed his fingers on the arms of his chair. The town sheriff stood at his side, nervously clutching his hat. West smiled at the maid who offered him a glass of brandy then turned his attention back to Statler. “Please believe me, Mr. Statler. Mr. Gordon and I mean no offense. You are the owner of one of the biggest stakes of land in the territory.”
“The biggest,” Statler interrupted. West took a sip of brandy before he went on. “However, you’ll forgive us if we are a little confused as to why you needed the secret service here. Your sheriff’s letter said that you have a lady prisoner, but it was vague as to what crime you are accusing her of, or why she is here instead of in Sheriff Franklin’s jail.”
Sheriff Franklin cleared his throat. “Mr. West, sir, you need to understand that this is a mite… unusual situation we got here. You see, Mr. Statler has been having problems on his ranch. Cattle stolen, barns burned up. My deputies and I have been workin’ our tails off trying to catch the culprits but…”
“Oh, enough of your excuses, Silas!” barked Statler. “I’ve lost money and manpower through this ordeal and all I’ve gotten from you is talk! Well, turns out I could have saved my money that goes to pay your salary and just hired more men like Billy! He’s the one that caught the vandal!” Artemis Gordon walked over to the couch. “Begging your pardon, Mr. Statler, but do you mean to imply that this one woman has been the cause of all your trouble?” Statler glared at Artemis. “Don’t take me for an idiot, Mr. Gordon! Maybe she’s a spy! Sneaking around my ranch, finding weaknesses so the gang she runs with can cost me more money!” Artemis and James glanced at each other. “Even so, Mr. Statler,” West said. “This still seems to be a local, territorial matter. Why don’t you get down to the reason why you sent for us?” Statler grunted then grabbed his cane to lift himself out of his armchair. “Fine! I’ll show you! Then you’ll see!”
Statler led the agents and the sheriff out of the house and across the lawn to the barn. Billy and Buck stood at the door, both armed with rifles. The sounds of commotion were heard through the door. “Your prisoner makes a lot of noise for a woman who just got shot in the leg,” said West. Billy smirked and winked at Buck. “It’s feeding time. Lonergan is getting her supper.”
The door of the barn swung open, and Lonergan raced out, a tray of food flying through the air after him. “You filthy, low-down poisoners can keep your dagblamed slop!” a woman’s voice roared from within. Lonergan scrambled to pick up the tray as hurried to Statler. “She’s got a temper that would put my auntie to shame, sir! The next time I go in there it’s with a whip and a chair!” Artemis gestured to the open door and grinned at James. “Well? You wouldn’t want to keep the little lady waiting.”
“Whatever she is, Mr. Gordon,” said Statler as he stomped into the barn. “She’s not a lady.”
The men all entered the barn. One of the stalls had been blocked off with some hastily placed planks of wood to form a cage. Within the cage, James and Artemis saw the prisoner. She wore a blue riding jacket and a bandage on her left leg. She had reddish hair and eyes that glared through the bars. And her face, though still strangely attractive, had a prolonged snout that resembled a cow’s. “Well?” the woman snapped. “What are you all standing there gawking for? You turn me loose and I’ll give you varmints something to stare at!”
“Great jumping balls of St. Elmo’s Fire!” Artemis breathed. “I don’t believe it!” The cow-woman rattled the wooden planks of the stall. “Oh, believe it, mister! You’ll do more than believe once I get my hooves on you!”
“Is it really necessary to keep her cooped up in here?” asked West. Statler scoffed. “Of course! She attacked my men! You heard what she says! She’s violent and dangerous!”
“I’m sure you’d be to if you were locked in a stall for a week,” West said. Statler grumbled as West drew closer to the barrier. The cow-woman looked at him with distrust. “My name is James West. I want to help you if I can.”
“Right,” the cow-woman laughed humorlessly. “Help me? You’re just like them.”
“I assure you, ma’am, I’m not. I just want to find out what’s been going on here. How about we start with your name?” The cow-woman looked unsure. West smiled. “It’s only fair. I gave you mine. And I always like to know the name of the lady I’m talking to.” The cow-woman snorted. “Some smooth talking flatterer, you are.” She glanced at the small space she was trapped in and her expression softened. “But my name happens to be Cudster. Cowlamity Kate Cudster.”
“Cowlamity?” Artemis said under his breath. “Oh, Aunt Maude if you could see your boy now.” West shot Artemis a look and he fell silent. He shrugged and motioned to Statler and the sheriff. “How about we leave these two alone for a while?” Statler opened his mouth to object, but Artemis already had taken him by the arm. “Don’t worry, sir. My boy James is a professional. Right this way.”
With the door slammed behind them, Cowlamity lowered her voice. “Listen, mister. There’s only one way you can help me. Get me out of here! These no-good bushwhackers already took a shot at me. I can see it in their eyes they are gonna want to do it again!” West touched the tips of Cowlamity’s hand poking through the bars. “It’s not that simple. Mr. Statler is under the impression that you have something to do with the vandalism and rustling problems he’s been having around here.”
“But that’s a load of nonsense!” Cowlamity said. “I never heard of no Statler! I don’t even know how I got here!”
“Do you remember where you are from?” Cowlamity started to say something, but then paused as if thinking better of it. “I was out riding. There had been some strange happening near my ranch. The land jumping around, sounds like thunder with not a cloud in the sky. I was riding along, when all of a sudden it felt like the ground fell out from under me! When I woke up, my horse was gone, and I was a couple mile away from this place. I came here to find some help, but instead I got those trigger happy loons shooting at me!” West considered her story as Cowlamity shook her head. “I know you don’t believe me. But you gotta know that there’s gonna be a posse looking for me! And if they come here, I’m afraid someone’s gonna wind up hurt!”
“Don’t worry, Cowlamity,” said West. “I won’t let that happen. I can have my friend Artie get some supplies from our train to make sure we can keep Statler’s men in line. And if your ‘posse’ comes looking for you, and you don’t have anything to do with Statler’s ranch, then we might just be able to get this sorted out peaceably. Do you trust me?” Cowlamity thought for a moment, then slowly nodded. “Yes, I reckon I do. You are different from the others. Even though you’re still…” She stopped herself. “I’m still what?” asked West. Cowlamity blushed and gave a small smile. “Well, pardon me for saying so, Mr. West, but you are kinda funny looking.”
High atop Moo Mesa, Marshall Moo Montana gazed over the edge. It wasn’t every day that cows traveled here. The mesa towered over the clouds below. Anyone who lost their balance would probably die of fright before the reached the ground. “I still think we’re wastin’ time!” grumbled Cowlorado Kid. Montana stepped away from the edge and turned to face Cowlorado and Dakota Dude. “Take it easy, fellas. It’s the first lead we’ve had in days.” Cowlorado kicked at the dust. “Aw heck, Moo! I’ve been getting saddle sores on top of saddle sores riding this far! I’ll bet you a cold sarsaparilla that the Masked Bull has Cowlamity and he just slipped you that message telling us to meet him here to send us on a wild goose chase. What you think, Dude?” The largest of the law-cows snorted and nodded. “Sure looks that way to me.”
The ground began to shake and explosions were heard. The C.O.W.Boy’s horses neighed in alarm as Dakota and Cowlorado tried to calm them down. “They’ve been getting louder,” said Montana as he grabbed his horse’s reins. When the earthquake had subsided and everything fell silent again, the C.O.W.Boys heard a voice.
“Good evening, gentlemen.” The three law cows spun around to see three people standing behind them. The one was a lady in a gown holding a parasol, another was an extremely tall man glowering at them. The third was a little man who couldn’t have been more the 4 feet tall.
“Hey!” shouted Cowlorado. “Where’d you spring from?!” Montana held Cowlorado. “Easy, kid. You folks wouldn’t happen to be the ones who slipped that note under my office door, would you?” The short man smiled and bowed. “A slight over dramatic to be sure, Marshall. But given the situation, I’m sure you and your friends can understand why I prefer our meeting here, away from prying eyes. Allow me to introduce my associates. The lady Antoinette, Voltaire, and I am Dr. Miguelito Loveless.”
“Quite a big name for a little fella,” muttered Cowlorado. “Yup,” said Dakota.
“Well, then,” said Montana. “Since we’re all here, why don’t you start telling me what you know about Cowlamity disappearing?”
Dr. Loveless sighed. “I truly regret this terrible situation, Marshall. You see, several months ago I began an expedition to discover your mesa. There had been stories of a community of, if you’ll pardon the expression, animals that walked and spoke like men. As a scientist, the existence of such a place fascinated me. Upon discovering the mesa, I began the process of scaling it.”
“You mean you three climbed all the way up here?” asked Cowlorado incredulously. Loveless chuckled. “Oh no. At least not entirely on our own. You see, one of my many inventions is a powerful explosive. Not only did it enable me to blast through miles of rock in days, but I was able to convert it into a means of propulsion. That’s how my friends and I appeared so suddenly. A series of elevators that use my explosive to ascend or descend your mesa in a matter of minutes.”
“What about Miss Cowlamity?” grunted Dakota. Loveless looked embarrassed. “Your friend managed to ride her horse over one of the platforms. One of my workers brought it back down, and she was brought down with it. She hit her head against one of the supports and was delirious. Before we could stop her she had fled out of the shaft to the surface. She wandered to a ranch where a man named Statler has captured her. Even now, he’s preparing to turn her over to cruel man named James West, to take her to Washington for… observation.”
Cowlorado took a step towards Loveless and Voltaire stood in his way. “This is all your fault! If it wasn’t for you digging around our mesa…!” Montana put his arm on Cowlorado’s shoulder. “Stop your bucking, Kid! At least he’s doing the right thing now.” Cowlorado shrugged Montana’s arm away. “But what about Cowlamity? We’ve got to rescue her!”
“Which is where I may be of assistance,” said Loveless, gesturing to where he, Voltaire, and Antoinette had been standing. “I would be more than willing to allow you to use my elevator to get down the mesa and save your lady friend. But be careful! Mr. West is a very dangerous man. Be on your guard at all times!” Montana tipped his hat to Loveless. “Will do, doc. Thanks for your help. Come on, boys! Let’s rodeo!” The C.O.W.Boys led their horses to the platform. “You think these folks are tellin’ us everything?” asked Cowlorado. “Nope,” said Dakota. “Just remember what it says in the Code of the West,” said Montana, as they moved themselves into position. “If you’re drowning, and someone offers you a hand, take it, and be ready for something up their sleeve.”
“Stand ready, gentlemen!” Loveless called. “Statler’s ranch is some 20 miles south of the exit to the shaft! Hold on tight! Now, Voltaire!” The giant man knelt down and moved aside some brush to reveal a plunger. He pressed down on the plunger and another explosion rang out. The platform carrying the C.O.W.Boys quickly descended, and a metallic sheet made up to resemble desert ground slid into it’s place.
Loveless giggled and jumped up and down with glee. “Perfect, Antoinette! It worked perfectly!” Antoinette smiled lovingly at the doctor. “I knew it would, Miguelito. But what happens if they come back too soon?” Loveless brushed the thought aside. “Oh, I’m sure Mr. West and Mr. Gordon will keep those bovine bumpkins busy. At least long enough for us to collect the last fragments. Are the workers almost done clearing out that vein, Voltaire?” The giant nodded and grunted. Loveless rubbed his hands together. “Imagine! Fragments of the fabled comet that caused this mesa rise from the Earth. The comet that caused these animals to evolve into higher forms of existence, just as Darwin theorized! Oh, Antoinette! Think of the fun we could have! Once I master the power of those fragments, I can raise an army of animalistic soldiers to do my will!”
“And what about these creatures?” asked Antoinette. “Do you think there is anything more of value we can… liberate from them with their precious Marshall gone?” Loveless clasped hands with Antoinette, smiling deviously. “Oh, my dear Antoinette. Oh, I’m sure we are going to milk this situation! Heeheehee! For all it’s worth!” Antoinette joined in with Loveless cackling as Voltaire smiled and nodded absently.
“It’s all a load of hogwash!” complained Statler. “My men caught her on my land! I should decide what to do with trespassers on my property!”
“You gave up that right when you decided to bring in the secret service,” said West. “This whole mess could spiral even more out of control if we’re not careful.”
There was the sudden rumbling of thunder. Sheriff Franklin peeked out the window. “Funny. Don’t look there’s a cloud in the sky.” West’s eyes focused on the distance. A cloud of dust was drawing closer to the ranch. “Statler,” he said, still looking out the window. “You better tell your men to be ready.”
“Ready? Ready for what?” Statler blustered. West checked his pistol and put it in his holster.
“You’ve got company coming for supper.”
West and Gordon: Gordon will be bringing weapons and equipment from the train and will get to the ranch before the C.O.W.Boys. They win by holding off the C.O.W.Boys.
C.O.W.Boys: They win by rescuing Cowlamity and defeating West and Gordon.
Statler’s men will also there to fight off the C.O.W.Boys and West and Gordon if they try get to the barn where Cowlamity is.
(4K) The Wild Wild West S01E03 - The Night The Wizard Shook The Earth (Oct 1, 1965) - YouTube
Wild West C.O.W. Boys of Moo Mesa - Bang 'em High - YouTube
Another very good set-up, broadway. Good, kooky Western story, and good debut for both profiles. I'd think @Twogunkid might also appreciate it, since I think he's one of our resident Western experts.
Been a while since I've watched a clip of C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa, and if that episode of Wild, Wild West was par for the course for the show itself, the show may not have been much less over-the-top as I keep hearing the Will Smith film was. Anyways, everyone seems right in-character. I mean, I remember C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa well enough, but the Wild, Wild West people seem well-represented as well.
As for the match, West seems very resourceful and quick on his feet (a cowboy doing a jump kick and climbing support beams? Are you kidding me?), and Artemus is also clever with his disguises and whatnot, but the C.O.W.-Boys' abilities are almost on another level. I'd say the C.O.W.-Boys would win a straight fight, but both sides would stop fighting before things got serious and pretty quickly realize that the little Loveless dude is the real threat.
The recap on this one ought to be fun.
I feel like the cartoon logic might take the win here. I, like Dskillz, am looking forward to the bottom line.
Another great match
I'm not too familiar with either characters. The only Wild, wild west I have some knowledge of is the movie with will Smith. It's been too long since I've seen that one and I don't remember the characters. I remember the giant mechanical spider, the decapitation flying magnetic disc and the fight between Will Smith and the guy with no legs. It's been a minute since I've seen it
So with all that to say, I really don't have an opinion on who would be victorious
Match Final Results
Member Ratings:5.00 - Twogunkid
5.00 - StormChaser
4.70 - DSkillz
4.30 - Boratz
FPA Calculation:4 Total Votes cast
19.00 Total Combined Score
19.00 / 4 = 4.75 Final Rating on the match
MATCH SCORE James West and Artemis Gordon: 1C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa: 3
A great matchup and pairing, broadwaybeyonder
THE BOTTOM LINE
Moo Montana stood straight in the saddle as the C.O.W.Boys rode up to the porch of the Statler house. Statler’s men stood with rifles in hand as James West and Artemis Gordon walked up to meet them. “My name is James West,” said the secret service man. “How can we assist you?”
“My name is Marshall Moo Montana of Cow Town,” said the law cow. There was some snickering from Statler’s ranch hands, but Montana went on. “And you can assist me by handing over Cowlamity Kate.” West glanced at Artemis. “That might be a little difficult. Miss Cudster was found on Mr. Statler’s property. She’s been accused of trespassing, rustling, and destruction of property.”
“That’s a load of hooey!” shouted Cowlorado. “You just telling us that so you can take her away, like the little doc said!” West’s eyes widened. “The little doc?”
Suddenly a shot rang out. The horses reared up and whinnied in fear. Billy took aim with his rifle as Statler urged him on. “You clumsy fool! Shoot those creatures! Get them off my property!” The other ranch hands raised their weapons as West and Gordon drew their pistols, moving back-to-back to try to cover the cows and Statler’s men. “Hope you got one of your bright ideas, James,” Artemis muttered.
“Statler!” James called. “Tell your men to stand down! Nobody wants a shootout!”
“Mind your own business, West!” snapped Statler. “This is my land and I say that freak in my barn isn’t going anywhere!” Montana nodded to Cowlorado and Dakota. “That barn? Guess that’s all we need to know, huh, fellas?”
“Yup,” grunted Dakota.
With a swift gesture, Montana drew his pistol and fired. The hands ran for cover as West and Gordon split up. Artemis ducked behind a door and heard the thud of a tin star striking the frame. He looked in confusion as the unusual ammo. “Wonder how he loads that thing?”
Cowlorado leapt off his horse, spinning his lasso as a group of hands led by Buck charged towards him. “YEEEEEHAAAAW!” he hollered as he let the rope fly and neatly catch all of his attackers. “Yippie-ai-oh-kai-yay!” With a flick of his wrist, all the hands were sent spinning at a tremendous speed across the yard before crashing and splashing into a watering trough. “Figured you weird looking bushwhackers could use a bath!” Cowlorado called, just as West delivered a kick to his back. The law cow staggered forward, and spun around, his eyes going red. “Oh, you want a good ol’ fistfight, huh?” Cowlorado charged forward, only for West to duck out of the way and collide into the door that Artemis hid behind. Artemis pulled out a small smoke bomb and threw it to the ground. He covered his mouth and ran out the door as the knockout gas caused Cowlorado to cough and groan until he fell unconscious.
Dakota barreled through a line of hired guns, tossing them into the air with ease. Buck took aim with his pistol only for Montana to shoot a star that clipped his hand. He yowled in pain and dropped his weapon just as Dakota lifted him up by his collar and hurled him into Statler. “Lonergan!” Statler howled. “Guard the girl!” Lonergan scrambled for the barn and closed the door behind him. “Follow him, Dakota!” shouted Montana. “Yup!” said Dakota as he charged towards the barn. Artemis leapt onto the law cow’s back but was easily shrugged off. James ran to catch up only for Montana to grab a hold of his arm. James delivered a punch that nearly bruised his hand. He went for a leaping kick, only for Montana to catch his leg and slam him to the ground.
When Dakota reached the barn, he snorted and cracked his neck. He then grabbed a hold of the structure and heaved. To the shock of all present, the bottom of the barn began to crack and come apart. Dakota lifted the entire barn off it’s foundation and hurled it like a shot put a mile away. Lonergan stood looking bewildered as he looked around at the stalls, now with nothing but some twisted bits of wood between him and Dakota. The law cow loomed over him, glancing over his shoulder at Cowlamity, still trapped in the stall. “You.. you gonna hurt me, lad?” Lonergan stammered. “Nope,” said Dakota. He threw a right fist that shattered the wood beams that held Cowlamity prisoner. “She is.”
Cowlamity leapt out of the stall and started punching, kicking, and biting Lonergan. West and Gordon rose up to their feet as the unfortunate ranch foreman scrambled to get away from the vengeful cow lady. “That’s for feedin’ me nothing but that rotten slop, you sidewinding son of a gun!” Dakota offered his arm and helped Cowlamity walk through the debris. “You alright, Cowlamity?” asked Montana. “Just as soon as I get home, Marshall,” she replied.
“What are we gonna do, Jim?” asked Artemis. “We can’t just let them walk away.”
West turned to where the new voice had come from. “I think we’ve got bigger problems now, Artie.”
Dr. Loveless, Voltaire, and Antoinette were standing before them, along with five men with guns drawn. Loveless clapped his hands and grinned. “I must say, you’ve put on a very good showing, Mr. West. But seeing as how my farmyard friends are unlikely to finish the job, I’m afraid this is where I must intervene.”
Artemis glared at the C.O.W.Boys. “You work for Loveless?”
“He’s the one that told us where you were, Cowlamity,” said Montana, his eyes focused on the doctor. “But I’m guessing that it wasn’t out of the kindness of his heart.” Loveless pointed to the lead box that Voltaire was holding. “Not particularly, no, Marshall. Your search for your lady friend has given me ample time to acquire these fragments. And your skirmish with Mr. West and Mr. Gordon has confirmed that they will be very useful in my plans!”
“Another mad scheme to conquer the world, Doctor?” asked James.
“Oh, this ‘scheme’ is far from madness, Mr. West. My men starting a few fires and rustling a few head of cattle may be childish pranks, but I assure it’s only the beginning. What’s in this box may seem to you just a few bits and pieces of glowing ore. But I believe they are the remnants of the comet that legends say brought about the miraculous change that allowed these creatures to evolve into what you see now.”
“Who you calling a creature, short stuff?!” shouted Cowlamity, held back by Dakota. “So all of this was so you could find pieces of the cow-met?” asked Montana. Loveless gritted his teeth and took a breath. “Comet! Not cow-met! Com-et! Hmph! I sincerely hope that the anthropomorphic soldiers I create will not have your incessant verbal tics, Marshall. But for now, as much as I long not to terminate my relationship with Mr. West, I’m afraid the time has come to bid you a fond, if bloody, farewell. Boys? Kill them!”
Everyone braced themselves as Loveless’ gunmen took aim. But they stood still, frozen with guns raised. “What are you waiting for?!” barked Loveless. “You have your orders! Kill them!” The gunmen began to flinch, groaning and holding their heads in pain, closing and shielding their eyes. “What’s wrong with them?” asked Dakota. West looked on as the men fell to their knees, then to the ground. Their bodies slowly began to decay and turn to dust. Within seconds, all that remained of them were five sets of empty clothes. Loveless stared in shock as Antoinette drew close to him. “Miguelito! What happened?”
“I… I don’t understand!” sputtered Loveless.
“I may have a suggestion,” said West. Voltaire took a step forward to block West from getting to Loveless. “Those fellas wouldn’t happen to have been the ones you had digging for those rocks, would they?” Loveless glanced at the box in Voltaire’s hands, realization starting to dawn on his face. “Yes, Mr. West. In fact, they were.”
“And if you’re right about these people,” West went on, motioning to the C.O.W.Boys as Montana carried the still knocked out Cowlorado Kid to his horse. “Don’t you think it’s odd that an entire herd of cattle started walking and talking and owner of the herd didn’t report it? Unless something happened to men who owned that herd.”
Loveless started to sweat, then shouted out to Voltaire. “Drop the box, Voltaire! Drop it now!” The giant grunted in panic and tossed the box to the ground. Loveless glared up at West. “An unfortunate oversight on my part, Mr. West! I should have realized the possibility that the comet could have an inverted effect on humans!”
“Oh, you would have had your army, Loveless,” said Artemis. “But you would be a pile of sawdust before you could give them their first order.”
“It’s over, Doctor,” said West. A mad look came into Loveless’ eyes. “Not yet, Mr. West! I may not have my army, but I can still use those rocks to kill you!” Loveless scurried for the box, only for a tin star to ricochet off the lid. “That’s far enough, doc,” said Montana, readying to fire again. “By the authority vested in me by the citizens of Moo Mesa, I’m placing you under arrest for theft and accessory to cownapping.” Loveless held up his hands and smirked. “You gentlemen do seem to have me at a disadvantage. However, we shall have to continue this game some other time. Antoinette!”
Before anyone could stop her, Antoinette had reached into her purse and threw down a smoke bomb. The entire yard was enveloped in white fog in seconds. Coughing, the secret servicemen and C.O.W.Boys tried to clear away the smoke. But by the time it had dissipated, Loveless and his allies were gone.
“Clever little fella, ain’t he?” asked Dakota. Montana walked over to the lead box and picked it up. “I figure we should take this back to Moo Mesa,” he said to West. “Wouldn’t want any of you people getting dusted.”
“Sounds reasonable to me,” said West. Montana handed the box to Dakota who tied it to his horse. Cowlorado jolted awake in his saddle. “Wha… what happened? Is the fight over? Did we win?”
“We sure did, Kid,” said Montana as he helped Cowlamity onto the back of his horse. “And now we’re heading for home. That is if you don’t have any objections, Mr. West?” West glanced Artemis. “I don’t have any. Do you, Artie?” Artemis looked confused for a moment, then turned back to Montana. “Hmm? Oh no, not particularly.” Montana jumped into his saddle as Cowlamity looked at West. “Goodbye, Mr. West. Thank you for trying to help me.” West tipped his hat. “Goodbye, Miss Cudster.”
“Alright, boys! Let’s rodeo!” shouted Montana. The C.O.W.Boys rode off towards the desert. “Wait till you see the elevat’r we’re gonna ride up the mesa!” chatted Cowlorado to Cowlamity. “Believe me, kid,” said Cowlamity. “After I get home I don’t want to even hear the word elevator again!” Statler stumbled down the stairs of his porch and pointed at the C.O.W.Boys. “Stop them! What kind of secret service men are you?! You can’t let them get away!” He fell silent under West and Gordon’s gaze. West gestured to the departing cloud of dust. “You want to try to stop them, Mr. Statler. Be our guest.”
That evening on their train, West walked up behind Artemis as he sat writing at his desk. “What you working on, Artie?"
"Just putting the finishing touches on the report before I telegraph it to Washington. It’ll be ready in a minute.” West crossed his arms. “You know, Artie, I don’t know if there’s much for us to report to Washington.” Artemis stopped writing and glanced suspiciously up at James. “And how do you figure that?”
“Well, we were called in to pick up a prisoner at Statler’s ranch, it turns out that the prisoner was a pawn in some plan of Dr. Loveless, and she was released into the custody of a local marshal.” Artemis rose from his seat and put his hands on his hips. “And that’s all there is to it?” James shrugged. “Not sure if it’s our place to say anything else, do you?”
“James,” said Artemis annoyed. “You know I don’t enjoy doing paperwork as much as the next man, but you can’t seriously be saying that we keep quiet about what we’ve seen today? Washington should be told about this!”
“And what do you plan to tell them?”
“Tell them? Why, uh, that we went to Statler’s ranch and found that he had captured a… cow…lady…”
“Named Cowlamity Kate Cudster.”
“….Right. And um, as we were investigating there were three more… ahem… cow…people…”
“Led by Marshall Moo Montana of Cow Town.”
“….Right. And er… there was a shoot-out and one of the….cows got a hold of the barn and he…”
Artemis stopped short as James fixed him with an implacable stare. Artemis groaned, threw his hands in the air, and then sunk back into his chair. “Are you feeling alright, Artie?” asked James. “Oh, terrific,” muttered Artemis as he massaged his temples. “I feel so terrific I’m gonna just sit here, have a drink, and take a nap.”
“But what about the report?” James looked amused as Artemis picked up the report, ripped it up, and tossed the pieces in the air like confetti before putting his head back in his hands. “Forget it.”
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