Sheriff Jones

"Ah, just the man I wanted to see," Doc says as he pockets his I-Browse before getting up and turning around. "Name's Shaw. Doc Shaw. And you are?" he extends his hand for a shake.

The man's thumb remains firmly hooked. "Jones. Monroe County sheriff. Whadder you doin' prowlin' round back here?"

Doc instinctively reaches out with his mind to sense the man's emotions. Suspicion, stress, and a general feeling of grumpiness, probably stemming from poor gastric health, judging by the smell.

"I'm looking for my uncle, Dr. Ritenrong. We just got in from Cleveland, and I heard he's being tried for murder!"

"That's right. Fraud, too. Can't make the Pains and Penalties stick, seein' as he wasn't here on no official Ohio business. That still don't 'splain whatcher doin' sneakin' 'round the church."

"A passing stranger told us he was in the courthouse basement."

"He ain't down there no more, jes his effects. They's evidence. He's over at my office, behind bars. You wanna see him, you follow me."

Doc whistles to Thunderhorse and waves him over.

"Keep that horse off the grass!" Sheriff Jones yells at Thunderhorse. "Got two gol'darn Governors in town." He gets upset when Thunderhorse does not obey. "Hey! What'd I jus' tell you?!"

"Sorry, sir. My half brother is a bit touched in the head. Chew?" Doc offers the sheriff some of his Mail Pouch.

"Don't mind if I do." The sheriff accepts his offer, grabbing a pinch while examining the anachronistic packaging. "Ain't that some fancy stuff," he remarks as he shoves the stuff into his cheek. The gift does not seem to appease the man's grumpiness, but at least he's laid off Thunderhorse for now.

The Sheriff leads Doc and Thunderhorse down the road towards the river. Doc takes the opportunity to press the old man for information.

"What are the particulars of the case against my Uncle?"

"Perticulers? Wadd'ya mean?"

"What evidence do you have against him?"

"Whatter you, a lawyer?"

"Does he have legal representation?"

"Said he'd represent his self. 'Sides, ain't no lawyer 'round here has any interest in keepin' him alive. Why? You gonna be his lawyer?"

"I guess I'd like to talk to him, first."

"Ain't no wrong in that, by me. You ain't the first visitors he's had. Matter 'a 'fact ol' Lucas his self was there talkin' to him just an hour ago."

The Sheriff's office is a small brick building near the edge of the river, just across the street from the ferry docks. There's a beautiful steam powered paddle-wheel river boat named the Chesapeake resting in the waters. Dockworkers are hastily unloading its cargo, while the militiamen Doc and Thunderhorse ran into earlier oversee the proceedings. A dockworker drops a small crate into the water. The Captain heartily chews him the fuck out.

Doc instructs Thunderhorse to wait with Lightning in the stables as he follows the sheriff inside. The sheriff's office is a small thing, one room hardly 20x20 feet with a row of iron bars sectioning off the back third into two cells. Dr. Ritenrong is lying in a bunk, but he gets up when he sees Doc enter.

"Hello, Uncle," Doc calls to him, catching him up on the lie. "My brother Don and I just got in from Chicago to pay you a visit."

"So I see," the Doctor replies. His once nice suit is down to just a shirt and tattered trousers. His ankles are shackled. He leans against the bars. Doc steps up close. "It's good to see you." They shake hands.

"What happened?" Doc asks.

"It's hard to say." Dr. Ritenrong nods towards the Sheriff, who's leaning back in a chair watching them.

Doc calls to the Sheriff. "Can we have some privacy? Attorney-client privilege."

The Sheriff looks at him hesitantly, then gets up and steps outside.

"So what happened?" Doc asks again in hushed tones.

Dr. Ritenrong whispers back. "I came here attempting to acquire a specific antique in the possession of one Mr. Joseph Brown. A corncob pipe, to be exact. When I learned he'd been found dead in the river, I posed as a coroner in an attempt to... extract it from his person. Unfortunately, I did not properly research the ruse beforehand. The sheriff arrested me under the Pains and Penalties act, but when they found out I wasn't really sent by Governor Lucas, they changed the charges to fraud. And now, they suspect me of murdering the poor man!"

"Why do they think you did it?"

"I don't know! Probably because they've got no other suspects and because I'm the most suspicious person in town. Did you tell them you were going to be my lawyer?"

"Not as much as they assumed I was."

"Well, we don't have time to wait for an acquittal. We don't have time for the trial. If we're not out at the Phillips farm by nine-o'clock tomorrow morning, this entire mission will be a failure."

"Why, what happens tomorrow at nine?"

"The Battle of Phillips Corners. A pivotal moment in this time sector. Your history records that this was a brief affair, some shots were fired, no one was hurt. This path of history leads to certain destruction. We need to alter this path to save our future. I've done the calculations a thousand times, there's no other choice. We must make sure at least one bullet finds a target. We must turn this war bloody."

1 comment:

ERR said...

Doc uses Read Emotions. -1 Chi, Speechcraft +2
Just determined what this thing actually does
Doc Bluff check: 19 (13+4+2) vs. 15, Success! XP+15
It's not easy to accept Thunderhorse and Doc as related, but not too far fetched.
Doc Charisma check: 11 (7+4) vs 20, Failed. XP+2
The sheriff's not a friendly kind of guy
Doc Bluff check: 19 (15+4) vs 10, Success XP+10
The lawyer lie was easier to believe.