Greetings dear reader, it is I, your judicious and perceptive narrator, E. Rutherford Rhodes, and do I have a story for you. A story of danger, intrigue and those eldritch horrors one does not dare even contemplate in their more quieter hours. A story of a group of mismatched adventurers who journeyed to the brink of the known universe, and perhaps their own sanity, to return to see the world through different eyes.
We begin with your humble narrator chained to a group of ruffians and outlaws on a stagecoach bound for the Kansas State Penitentiary.
To my left there was the quiet and aloof Cal Hancock, a man who’s reserve must disguise a ferocity of which this author does not want to be on the receiving end.
Beside him, the celestial gunslinger Chiang Kai-Lao the master of an alien art of fighting of which I am as unfamiliar as I am wary.
To my right, the enigmatic Johnny Lee Harker, a man who has a darkness about him which gives your loving narrator the vapors.
Next to him, Reginald Snipes. A man of distinguished breeding who shares with me a love of the mysterious and the profane. Though his first instinct is to shoot it, which leaves much to be desired.
And sitting on the other side of the coach, chained together, were the two roses of this here thorn bush. Two gentlewomen as diverse in nature as the men were numerous.
What can one say about Tornado Tess? A woman with a more mannish countenance this narrator has never seen. A rough and ready tomboy who’s life spark is a breath of fresh air amongst us dour folk.
And finally, the beautiful and intelligent Dr. Clementine Bell. A scientist and investigator who’s skills are unmatched amongst the fairer sex, at least as far as this author is concerned.
But what were we all doing chained together en route to prison? I knew a few of us must have been criminals, but for the others, your narrator included, the very idea of breaking the law was anathema to us.
All became clearer when the coach came to a stop and we disembarked, to be greeted by a mysterious man in a well trimmed suit, who identified himself to us as one Agent Henry Cutter. Agent Cutter had a deal for us all. A deal he thought would be foolish of us to refuse.
Presenting us all with wanted posters each adorned with our likenesses, some real, but others faked (including that of your innocent narrator) Agent Cutter presented us with what those legal types would refer to as an ultimatum. Retrieve for him and his surreptitious “Agency” some stolen weapons from Colorado, or face prison time on existing warrants or trumped up charges (for this author, it was definitely the latter).
Having agreed to Agent Cutter’s terms under pain of incarceration, or the sense of adventure as far as your intrepid narrator was concerned, this rag-tag group of misfits sallied forth in the direction of Colorado. Our fates both intertwined and uncertain…