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*This was a joint post*

Seeing that the outlaw was sleep again, Chance rose from where she sat and motioned to Daisy and Min to join her in the far corner of the cabin, speaking quietly so his sleep would not be disturbed again. "If he is really the deputy's kin, I should go to town and let her know he is alive. And I can check on this Alex fellow for myself."

Min nodded glancing at Brian a moment. "You and Daisy go ahead, I'll keep an eye on him. When the stew's done I'll make sure he eats and keep his bandages dry."

Chance smiled at her friend. "Believe me, I know he's in good hands." The lady gambler slung her rifle over her shoulder and whistled for Gambit. "Don't let anyone in the cabin." Daisy left the cabin and Chance followed her out, but not before throwing one last grin and remark over her should. "TRY not to break any furniture while I'm gone. I can't afford to replace it."

"I'll keep that in mind." Min went by the door watching as the two women got ready to leave. "Just both just be careful, all right?"

Chance nodded, and in less then five minutes She and Daisy were galloping back to town on Gambit and Lady, not knowing who and what they would find when they arrived in town.

On the trail, Daisy couldn't help but ask..."Break furniture?" The lady gambler chuckled..."That's nothing. In Mexico we damn near had to pay for a whole new saloon, but thats another story....."

Min had carried a chair from the table over to the bed and had kept watch over the sleeping outlaw. She wasn't sure how much time had passed, maybe minutes or hours she couldn't be sure. A small groan got her attention and leaning forward; she reached out and touched his dark hair. Brian began to stir and a smile came to her face.

"You're all right Brian, you're safe. It's just you and me here now but that's okay. I told Chance I'd take care of you."

(cue Brian or anyone)

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Brian murmured an answer without opening his eyes. "Mmm. If...you charge by the hour for this....ah'm gonna go broke."

He gave a small grin and let out a long sigh. His sobering mind knew that he'd have to get up soon, test his strength, and deal with the aftermath of the shootout. But he expected he'd only have to hit the outlaw trail, and catch up with Alex somewhere. There'd be cash enough from the stolen horses for both of them to be on the lam awhile. Thus were the thoughts that kept Brian resting in comfort....

(cue anybody in town...Garrett? Val? Or anybody else)

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“They got Jericho!†Rick shouted as the bunch of riders galloped there horses down the main street then veered sharply into an alley way.

“We’ll get him on the way out!â€Lowell shouted back as they came up to the back entrance of the Doctors office.

There Scott waited patiently with Chet’s skittish Red gelding, it was all he could do just to keep the horses reins in his hand. Nervously the Red horse reared to the sky and gave a shrill cry. The other men tied there horses and broken into the rear of the Doctors building and made there way through the back rooms.

Meanwhile inside the Doctors room still laying in bed Chet had herd the familiar eerie cry of his horse and he forced himself to sit up as painful as it was. He grabbed his pants from the near by chair and was buttoning them up when Lowell and his men burst into the room guns drawn.

The Doctor yelled an pounded on the door of one of the rooms demanding that they let him out, a chair set wedge under the door handle. Brandie awoke at the sudden crash of Chet’s rooms door and was on her feet in an instant in sheer startle.

“Chet! You are alive!†Lowell said gathering his comrades belongings from the chair an handing them to him.

“No kidding!†Chet said wincing as he attempted to slip on his shirt.

A wave of darkness swept over his mind and Rick and Lowell barely caught him from collapsing to the floor his face withering in pain. His right hand pressed over the bandages covering the severe bullet wound in his gut. Lowell tossed Chet’s things to Skud and took Chet under the arms nodding to Rick to do the same.

“Were going to have to carry him out of here, theres no way hes going on his own will power.†Lowell said.

Rick nodded and threw one of Chet’s arms over his shoulder and put his arm around Chet’s back, Lowell did the same.

“No! No! You can’t take him! He’s too weak! He’ll die!â€Brandie said in protest her voice high pitched and shrill, tears poured down her cheeks.

Chet groaned in protest at the movement as his friends lifted him, he winced an swallowed hard.

“Its ok....Brandie....there gonna...help me.†Chet spoke to her in a dry soar voice as they began to carry him out the back exit.

(Cue Anyone)

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(sorry I'm behind all, but I think see an opening and a way to catch up with ya if you'll have me, :wink:)

The Strate twins stood on the boardwalk of Rhuebottom's General Store. It was just yesterday when they witnessed the wild gunslinging that took place on this very road. The memory played back in Valerie's mind as the image of Rosco and her brother walking up to the fallen Duke boy and the young girl who shed tears for him. Supposely he lived, but how his condition was now, folks weren't sure.

Now as the dawn's light was past and into mid morn, the twins had roomed at the saloon for the night and get some supplies for home, maybe find clues as to who stollen Val's ear rings, all in the morning.

As they tied their horses to the rail of the boardwalk and dismounted, a posse of ombres came kicking up dust down the road. The men came from the direction of the Sheriff's office and some of them looked fimilar.

One of the larger ones shouted out, " They got Jericho!"

Then another shouted back, "We'll get him on the way out!"

The posse then turned back to Doc Applebee's office.

Val turned to her brother, "Did you just see what I just saw?"

"I think I seen what you said you seen you saw..." Enos blurbed back.

Val gave him a look then shook her head, " I think that was those badies from yesterday, that were with Chet."

"Possumonagumbush! Yer right Val. Those are the badies from yesterday, that were with Chet." Enos exclaimed.

"Ok quit that, it's gettin' a little anoying." Val replied.

"Quit what?" Enos shrugged.

Val sighed and grabbed Enos's hand, "Come on! I think they might be trying to get Chet."

The pair untied their horses then road them down the street to the Doc's home. They dismounted.

(More in a bit, just give me about 4 hours, I got a class to go to and I'll be back)

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Val gave Enos the reins to whisper as they stood at the side of the Doc's home. She put her index finger to her lips and made a quite guester to Enos. Enos nodded back and held the horses while Val snuck on the side of the house. Before she got to far she realized she needed to get something from her horse. She came back to Enos and the horses.

"What are you doin' Val? They're gonna get away if ya don't hurry!" Enos whispered to her.

She repeated the quite gestuer and pulled a fancy sport rifle from her blanket roll. The rifle had fine engraving on the stock. It was Valerie's own personal show rifle. Then reaching into one of the saddle bags on Whisper she pulled out some bullets for the gun.

"I hope I don't need it..." She whispered back then closed the chamber on the rifle. Enos just watched her as she snuck back against the white wash house. She peeked around the corner to see a man with a Red gledding. The man's back was to her but the horse could see her there. She turned back to side of the house and took a deep breath. Setting the gun down out of view on her side of the house, she thought up a plan. Quickly she removed her hat and let down her long brown hair, unbuttoned her lacey collar and straightened herself up to look less 'ridged' and more demour.

She then sashaed over to the man with the horse and smiled sweetly, "Oooohhh! Look at that beautiful animal! Oh can I pet him? Can I? Maybe we can go for a ride somewhere."

She raised her eyebrows at the man and gave him a special look to see if he would buy what she was selling... even if she really wasn't selling anything.

(cue Chet)

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The ride into the town was uneventful, compared to what was happeaning in town. Daisy and Chance met noone along the way and soon the barmaid lead Chance right up to the jailhouse door.

Hearing commotion and raised voices inside, the lady gambler withdrew her rifle and gestured for Daisy to keep out of harm's way. Something bad was definitly going down inside the small building. Still in the saddle, Chance raised the rifle, aiming at the door.

The next person coming through that door would have a nasty surprise waiting for them.

(Cue anyone)

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(Way to give a Doc a coronary, deputy)

Chance saw motioned of the door and not taking any chances with who might be exiting, cocked the rifle and aimed....

...And had the sun not hit the deputy's badge as MaryAnne stepped out, she would have fired.

Instead, Chance raised her barrel skyward, making a wild guess to the woman's name. Although looking at her, it was obvious she and Brian were kin. "Deputy Coltrane, I presume?"

(cue Maryanne, or anyone)

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(Coronary's are my specialty. Khee!)

"Yeah, that's me--" MaryAnne turned to look at who had spoken and the deputy flinched seeing the rifle pointed in the air. MaryAnne had hers half way brought around to bear when she stopped, realizing the woman wasn't moving to take a shot.

"@%$! If yer gonna shoot me, better make it quick."

(Cue Doc)

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Chance couldn't help but grin. Yeah, this woman was related to the smartmouthed outlaw all right.

"Maybe some other time. I have word of your kin, deputy."

The lady gambler's gaze went from MaryAnne, then back to the curious looks of the people in jailhouse, then back to her. Chance wasn't sure who she could trust in her infomation and Brian's life. But she wasn't about to make the knowledge she had public for all ears.

(cue MaryAnne or anyone)

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MaryAnne picked up on the lady stranger's desire to share whatever information she had with as few ears as possible. She waved for the woman to dismount her horse and step aside with Rosco and herself.

"You know where Brian is?" was all the others heard MaryAnne say. The lady gambler spoke her answer quietly.

Meanwhile, down the street at Doc Appleby's....

(CUE CHET! And only Chet!)

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(The one and only....Dont worry MA Im still here.)

Chet winced as his comrades half carried half dragged him out to his horse just as Val came up to Scott who was still struggling to hold onto Chet’s horse.

“Don’t you touch this horse lady! If he don’t tear you apart his owner.....†Scott’s words drop onto the ground as his eyes landed on Rick, and Lowell half carrying the once mighty gunfighter towards him.

Red reared pawing the sky with his hooves and gave a shrill cry, scared and unhappily the big horse touched back down and began to paw the ground as the three men drew closer. An finally they brought Chet to the big Red gelding, the horse calmed and began to sniff his owner all over.

“Easy my....old friend.†Chet said rubbing one hand on the horses forehead.

Lowell and Rick looked at each other, Red had to be the by fare the tallest of all there horses and as light and lean as Chet was it would be hell boosting him into the saddle.

“Chet how we gonna get you on him?†Lowell asked looking at the battered younger man.

Chet only looked at his comrade an gave a sigh, he swallowed and took hold of his horses reins. He knew how close he was to the big horse, they were best of buddies and there was nothing that the horse wouldn’t try to do to please him. Still leaning half his weight on his friends Chet spoke to Red in the strongest but friendliest voice he could manage.

“Please Red....my friend, my comrade....bow big fella....bow Red!†Chet said watching the big horse.

Red pawed the ground a couple of times and nervously got down on one front knee stretching out his other front leg as his owner had requested. Chet watched him and gave a light smile at his friend as the horse did as he asked, an then he cleared his throat and asked one more request of his loyal stead.

“Good boy Red....good boy.†Chet placed a caring hand on the horses head. “Down Red....down.....come on big guy....down.†Chet watched hoping and praying that the horse remembered the old tricks that he had been taught, even though he hadn’t done them in years.

Flicking his ears back and then forward again the Thoroughbred stood up on all fours and pawed the ground in nervous irritation, he understood what was being asked of him, but he didn’t understand why. None the less he replied un gracefully, he bent one front knee and then the other. With a big groan of effort the horse tucked his rear legs and laid down on the ground.

Wincing back the pain Chet stepped forward and hugged the horses head, not a soul on earth could ask for a more loyal partner then he had.

(Cue MaryAnne and only MaryAnne)

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"Judas Priest on a pony..." was Rosco's vocal reaction to the news the lady gambler provided on Brian. He then turned to MaryAnne. "Maybe you should go with this lady and Daisy and say howdy to him."

MaryAnne snorted. "What's the matter, you afraid I'll shoot up the town if I got with you down to Doc Appleby's?"

"Yes! So git!"

MaryAnne sighed and rolled her eyes. "Awright." She looked at the lady gambler and nodded. "Show me the way to him...."

Meanwhile, back at Doc Appleby's....

(Cue VAL!! And only Val!)

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Val stepped back and watched the young gunslinger mount the majestic beast. She was now close enough to slide back and grab her sport rifle. The rest of the outlaws were all focused on getting their fallen comrade back on his saddle again. However, while their attention was diverted, she retrieved her gun and gave a slight nod to her brother.

Enos watched her movements carefully and pulled out his own weapon from the blanket roll that Val packed for him. He cracked the gun open and loaded it. As he did so, he prayed that he wouldn't have to use it. Once his weapon was ready he mounted Justice and approached Val. Whisper followed right behind to where the female trick rider stood.

"Ok, Boys... jigs up." Val replied holding her rifle neutrally across her chest and tossing her hair back.

"Drop yer weapons! Ya'll are under arrest!" Enos commanded as best he could his shiny star glistened against the brown cloth of his suit jacket. He felt better with his trick shot sister with him but anxiety still hung in his throat, "Please..."

"ENOS! Ya don't have to say, Please." She chastised back.

"Yes, ya do... it's polite." He reassured then swallowed slightly trying not to let his nerves show. He realized they were grossly out numbered and out guned, even if Val trained with Miss Oakely. The deputy knew his limits and his sisters. He now determined in his own mind that Buffalo Bill was a bad influnce on his sister, especially to make her so bold.

"Alright, you are correct brother... Please drop your weapons boys and do what the nice Deputy tells you to." Val reiterated then smiled smugly at them.

(cue Chet, or someone on the opposite thread)

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“Valerie Strate!†Chet’s voice rang out pinched in pain.

His horse raised back to its feet with him hunched over in the saddle, one hand pressed over the wound in his gut, the other grasped the reins.

“Your out numbered...Valerie.....get outta here.†He demanded ridding his horse up closer to her.

“I don’t want anyone.....else in Hazzard.....hurt because..... of me.....just get outta here. Both of you....†He winced and backed the horse up away from her turning him towards the other open end of the alley.

“Come on guys.â€

(Cue anyone)

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Val's eyes narrowed as she watched the riders turn and leave. Once there were to the end of the alley, she hopped up ontop of Whisper, "Come on we can't let them just get away. They've caused too much trouble to just leave and get away with it!"

"Val! No!" Enos brought Justice closer to Whisper and grabbed her reins, "I'm not letting you... We have to re-group!"

"But they're gonna get away!"

"And we're out numbered!" Enos explained back, "We can't make a safe arrest. We need the Sheriff and MaryAnne."

"Rosco would tan yer hide cause you let them yellow-bellied bullies get away!" She snapped back.

"And I'm gonna tan yer hide if ya don't settle down. Val we got to find the Sheriff..."

"But, but..." She whimpered watching the riders slowly disapear down the alley way, "They took my earrings!"

"Val... Val, sugar just settle..." Enos answered clamly. His blue-green eyes looked at her with calm thought, "Val ya don't know that for certain..."

"They're horse theives! They'll steal anything!"

"Val..." He realized she was thinking from the gut level.

It was clear these outlaws needed to be stopped but not yet. Someone needed to follow them. Someone who would just keep tabs on them and find out where they were but not make a move till help arrived. Val, he was afraid, would jump the gun and try to go it alone.

(cue anyone)

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*Please note that this is a joint post with both Brian and Min*

The scent of a slow-cooking stew coaxed Brian's slumbering mind to consciousness. He awoke from his long rest with a soft groan, his dark eyes opening to find a female presence hovering nearby.

“Welcome back--†Min smiled as she leaned over and touched his forehead, relieved to find it cool to the touch. She brushed Brian’s dark hair from his face and carefully sat down on the edge of the bed. Giving the comforter a pull, she brought it up higher on the outlaw’s bare chest.

“How are you feeling?â€

"Alive,†he murmured, his eyes focusing on the saloon girl. A smile creased his face. "Nice to see ya again, Min."

Her smile widened at the mention of her name and she touched Brian's hand, giving it a gentle squeeze.

"I didn't know you knew my name. I didn't know yours till I got here." She glanced over her shoulder a moment at the bubbling kettle on the fire.

"The stew is done, I really think you should try and eat some of it. What do you say?"

"I heard yer name when all you hens were talkin'," Brian explained. He lifted his head from the pillow and gazed in the direction of the fireplace cook pot. Giving a nod, he began to push the blanket down.

"Reckon I could eat a bite. First tho', you'll have to excuse me. Ah'll be right back."

After the half-bottle of medicinal whiskey, the call of nature was a screaming demand. Brian freed himself from the blanket, getting a good look at the bandage around his lower torso for the first time. There was some residual pain, but the blood staining was minimal. He had been well-cared for, and the clean bandaging was testimony to that.

His lower body was still covered in black denim jeans, though his boots and socks had been liberated. Not that Min hadn't seen him in less...but when on the lam, it paid to be clothed enough to run on short notice.

Brian managed to swing his legs out from the bed and stand. He moved slowly, and used the wall to brace himself while he straightened up. Finding that he was steady enough, he walked to the door, peered through it cautiously, then walked outside.

After making good use of a tree's privacy, Brian walked to a nearby stream and waded into the water. The cold spring was invigorating, and the sun on his bare shoulders heightened the glorious sensations of life. Carefully, he knelt into the water, dunked his head beneath it a moment, then tossed it back up with a sputter, shaking water everywhere. He spent a moment washing the dust, sweat and blood from his body, until the cold water had him shivering.

Dripping wet, Brian returned to the cabin. He wasted no time getting back inside and taking position by the cook fire. He stood there and basked in the warmth, combing back his mane of brown hair with his hands. It was good to be alive. Very good....

“If you wanted to clean up I could have helped you.†Min wrapped a thinner blanket around him, rubbing his arms to not only dry him off but help him warm up.

“Come on, I think you’ve had enough activity for one day.†She grasped his arm, led him back to the bed and sat him down on the edge of it, then wrapped the blanket tighter around him.

She picked up an end of the blanket and wiped the water droplets from his face.

“You could have fallen and hurt yourself worse out there.†Going over to the table, she picked up a bowl and spoon and served a hearty portion of the steaming stew from the pot.

“Here, let’s try some.†Min set the chair directly in front of Brian and sat down, then dipped the spoon into the stew and held it up for him to taste.

“I made it myself.â€

Brian chuckled. "Ah'm a grown outlaw. No need to fuss over me so." All the same, he didn't object to the nursemaiding. He recognized the concern for what it was, and accepted it...along with the mouthful of stew. He nodded to show it was tasty.

"Mmm. Dee-licious. Gimmie the spoon, there, and ah'll do some real damage."

Min sighed and reluctantly handed over the bowl and spoon.

“Some nurse I turned out to be.†She stood up and ran her fingers through Brian’s wet hair trying to fix it.

“But I’m still glad you’re up and around, shows how strong you are.†She took the comforter from the bed and set it over his shoulders.

“There.†She took a seat beside him watching him eat. “Now that you’re feeling better, what are you going to do?â€

"Ride like hell,†he answered between mouthfuls. "That ruckus in town ain't gonna be forgotten anytime soon."

"Well no, of course it’s not forgotten...Chet Duke is alive." Min shook her head.

"Brian you can't just ride off, no doubt your kin are looking for you and what about your friend?"

The stew was nearly spat out, but Brian stopped himself.

"Chet Duke survived? Damn...gonna have to look over mah shoulder a whole lot more." Sitting the empty bowl down, Brian looked at Min.

"That's more than enuff reason to ride off. Besides, I'm gonna try to meet up with Alex...he's bound to have some cash by now. And I'm sure my kin's gonna be lookin' for me.....but it's best if they don't find me, under the circumstances."

"Brian..." Min sighed a moment as she shifted to the other chair, looking him directly in the face. "Alex isn't on the trail, MaryAnne arrested him. Daisy told me she saw him being taken to the jail with his hands tied along with those horses."

"Oh Lord." Brian threw the covers off his back and stood up.

The movement was too quick, and he hissed and pressed a hand to his side. He paced around barefoot, obviously disturbed by the news.

"She'll hang 'em for a horse thief. Ah've gotta bust 'em outta there.....damn!"

Min got to her feet fast and touched his bandaged side, covering his hand.

“Brian, you’re in no shape to go staging a jail break.†She blocked his path bringing his pacing to a stop.

“I know you’re worried for your friend but you’ve been through a lot and you have to give yourself a little time to recover.†She saw the concern on his face and her expression softened.

“MaryAnne is a good Deputy, she’s tough but fair. I doubt she would just find the nearest tree to string Alex up, a lot has happened in town and she and Rosco are going to have to sort some stuff out before they start tying nooses.â€

"I can't take that risk." Brian's tone was low and troubled. "It's mah fault Alex is mixed up in this. And Lord knows what story Chet spun to the law...or what his gang might try next. Alex is in danger from both the law and the lawless."

Gently, Brian pushed his way past Min and headed for the rest of his clothing. His articles had been washed and hung on pegs near the fire. He pulled on socks and boots, then grabbed his black shirt and shrugged into it, wincing a little.

She watched him get dressed then put herself between the outlaw and the door.

"All right, if you want to go back to town that's fine, but you're not going alone."

Min planted her bottom firmly against the wooden door, her gaze as equally as determined.

Brian tucked in his shirt, not answering. He pulled on his long black coat and then placed the rustler's hat on his head. He pulled the brim down and looked at Min from beneath it. "Ma'am, ah appreciate what you n' Chance did for me. But heah is where we part ways."

Min held her ground, though she offered little resistance to the outlaw, who towered over her. "Take me back to town with you; I don't have any other way back." She stepped closer to him and put a hand on his arm.

"You can’t just go charging back to Hazzard like one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse Brian. You can hide out on the upper level of the saloon until you can determine what’s going on and the best way to get Alex out of the jail.â€

Min’s hand roamed down Brian’s arm and touched his hand, her small fingers curling around his. “Please…I don’t want to have to help patch another hole in you.â€

"It ain't safe for you to be seen with me,†Brian explained. "Min, ah'm in a whole helluva lotta trouble. Chet could have more of his gang roamin' the county...and seein' as how I dispatched a number of 'em, they've got no reason to be kind if they find me."

Pausing, Brian added, “The law is a problem all its own. You don't wanna be sharin' any rope with horse thieves."

"Don't you think that should be my choice? I knew you were in trouble when I came out here, but that didn't stop me than and its not going to stop me now. We can take the back way into town and go straight to the saloon." Min sighed a moment closing her eyes briefly. “After that, if you don't want anything more to do with me...I'll understand."

"Oh, it's yer choice." Brian placed his hands around her waist, moving Min aside firmly, but without being rough. "If you got your own horse heah, I can't stop you from followin'. But if you don't...then you'll have to wait until your gamblin' friend comes back."

Brian flung the door open and practically jumped outside. "Damascus!" He called to his horse. "Damaaaaascus! Git over heah! I got sugar!"

A bellowing whinny sounded from a short distance away in the woods. Something large came bounding and crashing through the trees, heading for the cabin. The large black horse galloped into view, still wearing saddle and tack.

Brambles were stuck in the horse’s tail, and the animal looked as though a mud bath had been indulged in....but the horse's ears were up, and Damascus nickered happily at the sugar cubes Brian dug from his coat pocket. The horse halted smartly beside his black-clad owner, and slobbered up the sugar.

"Good boy..." Brian murmured. "Now stand still, this is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you...."

Brian stuck one boot in a stirrup, reached up to grab the saddle horn, and pulled himself up, swinging a leg over the back of the large horse. He gritted his teeth as he settled into the saddle. He could ride, but it wasn't going to be pretty.

Taking the reins in hand, Brian looked back at the cabin.

Min came out of the open door watching him. Though her face bore a less than happy expression, she went over to where he and Damascus stood and stared up at him.

“You be careful all right? Chet Duke is bad news, when you and Alex get out of this you ride out of Hazzard as fast as you can.†A small smile spread across her lips then, lighting up her face brighter than the sun that shone down on her.

“I still owe you for saving me from him; I’d like to repay that debt one day.â€

"You don't owe me anythin',†Brian said quietly. "But ah'd be honored to be one of your regular customers, once all this trouble settles down."

With that, Brian reached up and touched the brim of his hat in farewell. Then he shook the reins and gave Damascus a light kick to the sides.

"HYAAAH!" The big horse sprang forward, collecting its long legs into a gallop and thundering away.

Raising her hand, Min waved goodbye as Brian and Damascus took off in a cloud of dust. She crossed her arms over her chest as she watched the outlaw shrink in the distance until he finally disappeared. A smile came to her face knowing she would see him again and that took some of the sting out of his hasty departure. They would have much more time together in the future…hopefully the near future.

Sighing, Min went back inside the cabin and closed the door.

(Cue anyone!!)

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The gang of outlaws galloped there horses fast headed for the end of town in the opposite direction then the way they had come in.

“Hey! Where are we going we got to go get Jericho!†One of the men yelled above the thundering hooves.

“Forget him! Hes dead by now.†Another man shouted back as they came to the end of the main street and took the back route out of town.

Chet rode along hunched forward in the saddle, his right hand grasping the reins and his left hand pressed firmly over his gut. As they rode down the back route ever so slowly Chet began to drift back in the line, an he hunched forward further the pain in his abdomen growing to unbearable.

Rick and Lowell rode beside each other in the front of the pack, they both noticed Chet slowly falling back and they noticed the way he began to hug his horses neck after only a mile out of town. Lowell leaned towards Rick and whispered to him as the group of riders galloped hard.

“He’s finished Rick....hes never going to make it outta the county.†Lowell spoke in a low voice.

Rick nodded. “What should we do?â€

“When a horse is dying you do the humane thing.... an put it out of its misery.†Lowell drew back on his horses reins. “He’ll never see it coming.â€

Rick’s brow wrinkled but he nodded, there was no doubt in his mind. He had seen the way Chet was suffering, bent forward in the saddle, barely keeping from falling off.

At Lowell’s cue the riders drew back on there heaving mounts and came to a stop in the middle of the rode.

“What are we...stopping for?†Chet asked his voice badly pinched in pain his face tight.

“That posy is gonna ride up on us fast, I figured it would be a good time to give you back your guns Chet, your gonna need them.â€

Chet nodded and watch Lowell twist around in his saddle and dive his hand into his saddle bags, he drew out Chets matching holsters, then his shoulder holsters, all of them heavy with fully loaded .45's and shells.

Lowell handed the guns over to Chet an the young black haired Duke boy strapped on the guns and tied the hip holsters raw hide down around his thigh. Done Chet sat up in his saddle and pressed his left hand back over his wound, he winced as it burned and throbbed.

“Alright....Im ready.†Chet said.

“I’ve got one more thing for you Chet.†Lowell said as he looked into those mismatched eyes one final time, he would never forget those eyes for as long as he lived.

Hunched back over in pain Chet only raised his eyes to his comrade in reply, suddenly Lowelly drew his right hand Colt from its holster on his hip and fired off a shot. The bullet slammed into the left side of Chet’s chest, the impact throwing the mangled outlaw to the ground.

Landing on his chest Chet lay still his right cheek pressed against the dirt and his black Stetson lay on the ground beside him. The men surrounding him looked shocked, there eyes wide an intent on there leader.

“Lets ride!†Lowell said roughly jerking his horses head around and giving the tired horse a kick to its ribs with his spurs.

The gang of outlaws rode away leaving Chet laying in the dirt, blood oozing down his back from the wound in his left shoulder, the bullet had missed his heart by only inches. Red stood close by nervously, his ears perked listening.

Twenty long minutes passed an slowly Chet regained consciousness, he groaned and rolled over wincing. His first concern was not the fresh wound to his shoulder, but the more suveer wound in his gut. He opened his heavy leather duster and looked down at the front of his shirt.... thank god... he wasn’t bleeding again.

Slowly he sat up reverting his attention back to the fresh wound in his shoulder, the bullet had passed through an missed his heart. He removed the bandanna from around his neck and placed it inside his shirt over the wound as he leaned against a near by tree.

“Red.... what do you say after this we retire? That sonofa@#$%^ fully intended to kill me.â€

The big Red Thoroughbred bobbed his head up and down in a hasty reply.

(Cue Anyone.)

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After the gang had raided the jail, Alex had grabbed a rifle when the Deputy did snatching one from a nearby cabinet. And that wasn’t all, he also picked up his holsters and guns that MaryAnne had confiscated earlier. Strapping them back on, he cocked the rifle and followed the lady Deputy out the door.

He recognized the blond woman waiting just outside and the barmaid with her. The mention of Brian had him wondering but when Chance wanted to talk in private to the two law officers, he didn’t interfere. He was soon joined by Bo and Luke, the cousins had fixed the cell door and locked Jericho up. They also had grabbed rifles aiming to help MaryAnne and Rosco capture the outlaw gang.

Finally after waiting for what seemed like forever, Alex decided that manners be damned…Brian had become his friend and he wanted to find him as much as his kin did and approached the threesome. He overheard the last bit of conversation between Rosco and MaryAnne.

“If you’re going to look for Brian I want to come with you.†He said, his gaze bouncing between both MaryAnne and the lady gambler.

“Please. You shouldn’t go anywhere without an escort of some kind.†Alex then looked at the Deputy and inclined his head.

“No disrespect intended Deputy; I just want to help find him.â€

Now that the meeting had been abruptly ended, the two Duke cousins stepped forward.

“We’ll go down to the Doc’s place with you Rosco.†Luke stated and Bo nodded in agreement.

“Right, we’ll help you get the rest of that gang and put them with their friend.†He motioned back over his shoulder towards the cell.

“Plenty of room for more in there.â€

(Cue MaryAnne or Anyone!!)

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Chance had been silent the entire time, not really having much to contribute to this conversation. Although she had taken the time to give the blonde outlaw a good once over. Maybe Min had a point about bad guys...

Forcing herself to interruppt that thought for now, she answered Alex. "I'll lead you to Brian. Both of you. But I can take care of myself, I don't need any escort service."

She chuckled. "Of course Min is with him, now so if we don't get moving, lord knows what shape hes going to be in by the time we get there."

(cue MaryAnne or anyone)

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MaryAnne snorted at Alex's "escort" comment. "This badge works pretty good as an escort, thankyouverymuch."

"That's right!" Rosco said. "And bein' that she's got a badge, I seem to recall she hauled you in for horse theivin'..." He looked at MaryAnne. "You gonna let him go with you to find Brian? He's supposed to be in jail! He'll probably just take off like a scalded cat soon as the opportunity comes."

MaryAnne looked at her cousin, looked at Alex and then held her rifle up and admired the barrel. "Well if he does that he'll be a dumb, dead scalded cat, won't he?" MaryAnne looked at Rosco and then at Alex again. "Rosco's right, you should be in jail. But seeing as you've been helpful thus far, you can come along, but remember you're still in the custody of the Hazzard Sheriff."

Rosco glanced at Alex and then looked away, trying to hide his own facial expression, which bascially said "and she ain't likely to let you forget it..."

(cue Alex!)

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The Deputy had raised the business end of the shotgun up, giving Alex a view of the long hollow barrel. He stared down the black cylinder then raised his gaze to the women standing on the other side of it.

The mention of a dead scalded cat made him nod slowly. The subtle words spoken by MaryAnne summed it up nicely.

He might have been walking around free, but he was far from it.

“Right…still in the custody of the Hazzard law, I understand.â€

He handed the rifle he had taken from the cabinet inside the jail back to Rosco, hoping that being less armed would put the two badge-wearers at ease and convince them that he spoke the truth about wanting to find Brian.

The Sheriff would need all the fire power he could get his hands on if he and the Duke cousins were going to head down to the Doc’s place.

“Looks like you’ll be needing this more than me.â€

Alex would keep his pistols, both in his coat pockets and in his holster. Hopefully that would be plenty of weapons to find one missing Coltrane.

(Cue MaryAnne or anyone!!)

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The twins realized they needed to split up to tackle this job. Enos decided he would follow the outlaws and stay far enough behind, so as not to be spotted. Yet he could track them down then return to the Sheriff and Maryanne with the location of their hideout. Val's job was to find the Sheriff and Maryanne.

So the bay horse and rider when back into town toward the Sheriff's office and the dapple gray walker headed down the alley and out of town. Enos could just bearly see the ridders on the horizin and it'd take him a bit to catch up. Heading toward a treeline for cover he noticed part of the band broke off. His stomach turned as he wondered what he may be in for.

(cue someone at the Sheriff's office, Min, or Brian....)

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Whisper's hooves started galloping in the direction of the Sheriff's office. Thats when a growing fear, grew inside Val. What if he get's caught! He'll be out gunned and alone! Enos, that's suicide!

The Strate woman pulled back on the bay horse's reins and Whisper slowed up and raised her front hooves in the air. A shrill whinney came from the bay as if to say, make up your mind! Then the horse returned to all fours and stood still.

"Sorry, Whisper...." Val replied and rubbed the equine's neck. She then made a clicking sound and gently turned Whisper around, "We have to help Enos. I don't care what he says. He can't go this alone."

Whisper bobbed her head as she walked while turning back. When the horse was in straight alingment, Val then spured the bay to move. They raced out of town till they reacted the edge and spotted Enos following the treeline toward a broken off group of Ombres. Val caught up with him and brought her horse along side her brother's.

"What are ya doin' here! Yer gonna get yourself in trouble! Now did ya find the Sheriff?" Enos chaistized back.

"No... I couldn't leave you alone to do this. You said it yourself, you'd be out gunned."

"Val, I don't plan to encounter'em. Just find out where they're hidin' so I can tell the Sheriff."

"Uh huh, and what if you get caught? It'll be just you and them and I'm not leavin' ya to go off and get your fool head shot off alone."

"I won't get my head shot off."

"Well now you won't cause I'm comming with you."

"Val!" Enos whinned, "You can't go along. It's too dangerous!"

She flashed her brother a definant look.

Enos softened, "Alright... just stay close."

"That's if we haven't spoked'em away with all our jibbering."

Enos nodded in responce and they headed closer to the treeline. Soon they came up closer to the band that had broken away. The pair was covered in the brush enough to not be noticed. As they eased the horses closer to the area which the band was, only to find Chet Duke with another bullet in him leaned against a tree and his horse Red.

Enos and Val came out of the brush, then dismounted their horses. They came closer to the horse theif.

(Cue anyone)

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Hearing the brush rustle with movement as Val and Enos came out of it, Chet Duke quickly drew from his right hip and leveled the gun on the pair. His mismatched eyes dark and glaring, his hand steadily clutching the gun.

“Don’t come any closer!†Chet snapped at the pair.

The young dark haired Duke boys eyes fell over Val and Enos, they were just another part of the law on the man hunt to take him into custody. Not this Duke boy... Chet thought. He wouldn’t go back to jail... no matter what. The only way he was going back to Hazzard right now was strapped over the back of his horse.... dead.

“Im warning you....†He swallowed his shoulder stinging. “You should have stayed out of this, just stay back... I don’t want to hurt either of you but I will.†His eyes stayed dark with a deep intense glare.

Red laid his ears back flat on his thick neck and snorted, his right hoof pawed the ground with heavy strikes in warning. The big horse sensed the anger in his comrades voice, unhappily the horse reared for the sky pawing in warning to stay away.

(Cue Brian)

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