The whir of power drills and the banging of hammers echoed throughout the once haunted brewery as the skeleton of Lazarus Corporation began to become fleshed and vital. As the infrastructure of the building was installed, a rudimentary break room and intelligence center had been thrown together in what once was a laboratory. Two men drilled a 40 inch flat panel into the wall, while another dragged a vending machine into the room.
James Bond paced in front of the television set. Dormitories had finally been installed in the brewery, and Bond was glad to finally have a semi-permanent place to hang his hat. it was strange to think--a year ago he had moved into Orpheus' training dorms and this whole crusade had begun. Today he wore a black suit and tie. His hands were dusted in dry erase marker, and the whiteboard was covered with strategic scrawls. Edmund sat on the new couch rubbing his chin idly.
"i think it's pretty obvious that the pigment trade is bifurcated," said Edmund, "with Bishop controlling the cults' portion and 'Squib' controlling the other half. South America and Mexico are probably Squib's..."
"And Bishop controls Eurasia." replied James. "So if we find the Klein Pharmaceutical labs and destroy them, that at least takes Squib out of the picture."
"But what was Bishop doing working with a spectre anyway? And the angel motif? It still doesn't make sense."
"Agreed. The Hives, the pigment--none of this seems worth it. Why breed more spectres? To what end?"
James looked around "Where the hell are Alice and Siouxise?"
"And Skip. I haven't heard from him all day."
James collapsed into the couch. The workers finished securing the television to the wall. One popped batteries into a remote and turned it on.
"Looks good." said the other, tossing the remote to James. "Here, man, watch whatever, everything's set up."
James nodded and flipped through the channels. "Nothing good on."
"And on 800 channels no less," replied Edmund. "Wait? A Western?"
Plaintive strains of old timey music poured out of the television. A husky voiced announced the show as "Dogs in the Vineyard"
"Sounds idiotic." said James.
"Let's give it a shot. Nothing else on," replied Edmund.
The intro sequence was austere. Mostly silent--white text on landscapes. Sand blew through deserts and water flowed in snowmelt rivers. in flashes, gunfire, tears, blood, and the sound of prayer. A sad song began, and when it had finished, the image of two Dogs stood superimposed over the receding sun. A sharp edit segued into an introductory sequence. The season opened with no mention of Brother Edden and his gang, instead focusing on a traveling preacher and a closet heretic--Brothers Carrington and Jonah Sand. Following a tip in New Bethlehem, the dogs headed north, into the mountains to Carrington's mountainous home town of New Tyre. There, the mayor, and acquaintance of Carrington explained that he had some problems with newly converted Cherokee working in the town's silver and iron mines. A flashback introduced Carrington as an envoy to the Cherokee, one who had converted many of their number to the Faith. The mayor implicated the Indians in thefts in the miner's housing, and when the two went to investigate, they found a fist fight in progress. The mine overseer blamed an Indian for stealing his expensive tools. In fact, many miner's had accused Indians of doing the same, and constant fighting had disrupted work at the mines. A young man had apparently been beaten by a Cherokee, but things were not as they seemed. None of the Indians seemed to possess the things they "stole", and the chief denied any wrongdoing.
When night fell, the two made off to a local meeting hall where miners were fraternizing. Attempts to get to the truth of the thefts prompted violence, and the two were forced to shoot a man to save their lives. It seemed this man had lots of money, and even wore gold jewelry--a rarity. The two returned to the mine and discovered a hidden seam of gold being mined by laborers, who promptly began to shoot Carrington and Jonah. The Dogs prevailed and escaped, and discovered the mayor's involvement. After fighting off some goons, the two returned to town to confront the mayor. With a mob gathered, the mayor confessed to stoking tensions among the converted Indians and the townspeople such that fights might disrupt mining. With such privacy, the Mayor and his thugs could mine the gold and keep the profit for themselves. Apparently, the Mayor had been using the money to finance a lavish lifestyle for his wife in New York City, and intended to slip away when the next trade caravan came through. The dogs turned him and the gold over to the town's authorities and set off to uncover further sins.
James had poured himself a glass of whiskey from a liquor cabinet and sipped it as the credits rolled. "Much better than I anticipated."
"Quite." replied Edmund.
"I suppose all this sturm and drang can wait until we've watched a few more episodes."
"Hmm, there's a rerun next. 'Edden and his band of Dogs resolve a town's water dispute, uncovering secrets and violence.' Sounds interesting."
"Play it." said James with another sip.
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