Well, it might not seem like much of a place t’you, ‘specially now, but it seemed worth fightin’ over fer a lot of folks. I heard about it a few months before any trouble started, when it wuz just another rock mesa among countless others in the Great Maze. Ah, but like some others, this one held the promise of a vein o’ that precious, precious ghostrock. People were quite willing to mine it or kill other people for doing the same. Seems like squabbles over ghostrock mines were common all along the crazy canyons and canals of what used t’ be California. That feller Kang may have had an ironclad boat on his side, but we had the Troubleshooters.
The first time the Abysmal “visited” us, it pretty much shot up the town with its cannons, and Kang left a buncha’ his goons ta make sure we didn’t interfere with HIS plans for Boswell Island, so we few survivors spent most of our time hidin’ and tryin’ to scrape by without gettin’ gunned down by his men. Escape from the island wasn’t really an option without a boat. I seen things in the waters around here that could gulp down any feller foolish enough ta try swimmin’. We had some food and ammo stashed away, but it wa’nt gonna last, so a few of the boys and me, we crept up to the remains of our shanties ta see what we could scrounge up there. We found a whole lot more than we bargained for.
Cletus saw the smoke first, it looked like another vessel wuz anchored next to the island, so we crept up ta see what new varmints we would have to avoid. Not much surprise when we spotted the first fellow of the group, another Oriental type, no doubt yet another one o’ Kang’s lackeys, proud as a peacock, but certainly not dressed as well. He didn’t even have a gun on him that we could see!
The rest of the group sure didn’t look like the regular hired guns we had gotten used to avoidin’. Oh, the man in black was definitely a gunslinger, but he walked with precise step and his steely eyes glanced around fer danger everywhere. Then there was another rifle-slinger type, but she, SHE, seemed to take in one glance how many hidin’ places there were in the wreckage. It seemed like she saw me and my boys for an instant and then coolly kept on walkin’. There wuz another woman, or I should probably say a proper lady. She walked with an even more delicate step than any of the others, like even though she was walking on rough ground ta her it was smooth carpeted floor under her heels. Cool green eyes, raven black hair and a creamy complexion that was quite a contrast to the trailblazed face of the other woman.
So the two leader-types, the new one and the old, started conversatin’ in Chinese. At least, that whut I figgered it ta be, coz I certain couldn’t make heads or tails of it. They were havin’ some heated discussion, with the new feller mentioning Kang a couple a times. So it seemed fer a moment we were certainly done in. With these new recruits, Kang’s men could certainly comb the island and find us all and then either put us ta work for him minin’ the ghost rock WE had claim to, or just toss us in the river ta be eaten by some a’ those nasty water-critters or jus’ torn apart by some of those big brutish THINGS Kang’s boys had with ‘em.
But then, everything changed in just a moment. Whetever the new feller was tryin’ ta sell, Kang’s boys weren’t buyin’ it, and suddenly the shootin’ started. Maybe it wuz that old “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” bit. Maybe it wuz because the rifle totin’ gal had obviously seen us but kept quiet-like. Or maybe, just maybe, what we saw in the new arrivals didn’t match up with the evil men who were gunnin’ against us. We saw hope out of our troubles, so we started shooting Kang’s boys too!