An excerpt from the journal of Gene Cerney
I am siting in the office of the Office of Indian or Mining Affairs. The staff itself cannot seem to decide on a name. I worried that I would make a fool of myself trying to lead this expedition and it seems, I am living up to my own expectations. Chaos followed us here. After gathering all the members of our travelling group, there was a commotion at one end of town.
People were in a panic, running for their lives down Main Street. I have learned to respond to that kind of fear with haste. Lives depend on it. I picked my way down one of the boardwalks, dodging feeling citizens to get a sight line to danger. I spotted through the throng an Indian riding down the center of the street putting arrows into victims at random. He was a large fellow, paler than other natives I’ve seen.
Cyrus spoke some words of faith and took off in a furious charge, drawing and swinging his saber with fanatical fervor. I drew my own weapon and sought cover closer to the native. I drew a bead and fired a shot. Joseph and Johnny also lent their aid in the struggle and, with our determined intervention, the murderer fell.
A group of dog soldiers led by a native with half his face painted red and two feathers in his hair arrived. They gave surprising aid to the removal of the unsightly dead bodies and expressed their sympathies for the citizens of Deadwood in the attack. Cyrus was able to help us discern what the natives were saying. They explained the native had attacked their own people as well and they had been unable to quell his assault before he rode into Deadwood. We promised to convey his message to the town’s leadership.
I hurried to meet with Joseph Bearclaw and leveraged the inattention of his office assistant to ensure I would be able to speak with the native representative in Deadwood and make my case for a telegraph across the prairie. My research on that topic led me to believe that the Natives would not allow permanent fixed structures on their land. I presumed that any discussion around such a disapproved subject would by necessity be clandestine. So I phrased my rationale in misleading fashion as a need to plant trees.
I made a critical miscalculation of Bearclaw. He is a straightforward man. My inquiries cost me my involvement in the meeting. Bearclaw ejected me to sit on this damnable bench in a dejected state. I am left to depend on Miss Blackstone’s powers of persuasion. I am left to question my own capabilities. I marketed myself as a partner who could handle the business set up and earn the confidence of my investors. But as I sit here, it is the paramore of my investor rescuing me from my own faults. I am sure it will cost me.
And it reminds me that I still do not know what Ms. Blackstone is doing on this venture. Is she proof of Jake Kilburn lacking faith in my ability? Is he just protecting his investment? Or is she here to further some more personal goal. I really must find out more about her, lest I find myself perpetually under her thumb or in her debt.
I require a distraction from all these disappointing thoughts. I think I will go investigate Chinatown to see if I can find a gift for Ming.