Bad Times In LA

Parte Uno-A

Nancy Smith

Author's Disclaimer: The characters in this story, Zorro, Victoria, Alejandro, Felipe, Dr. Hernandez and Sergeant Mendoza, are owned by The Family Channel's New World Zorro. Doctor Quinn Medicine Woman, Sully and any other characters mentioned from that show (which will be mentioned in later episodes of this story) belong to Ms Beth Sullivan and can be currently seen in reruns on PAX TV. (Check your local listings.) Zorro however lives on in our memories, hearts, and imagination. (Well maybe on video tape too, if your were lucky enough to tape any of the episodes.)
Maybe one day some enterprising television station will see how popular Zorro really has become, and decide to bring him back into our homes and allow us to relive those romantic, dashing, chivalrous days of yore!
Any other names you read in this story are strictly from the imagination of the writer and are not owned by anyone else. I intend to treat all these characters (my own including) with the respect and dignity they rightly deserve and return them to their original owners completely unscathed.
Memo: The writer would greatly appreciate any input such as comments, ideas, suggestions to add to this story and will write a special acknowledgement to these people at the end of the story. (When, and if she finishes).

When the little pueblo of Los Angeles suddenly falls prey to a deadly virus, Dr. Hernandez wonders if he will have enough medicine to help save the people and how long it will last until he runs out. And when he does, what will he do? Who will save the pueblo then?

In the meantime, Victoria and the de la Vegas wind up being under quarantine at the de la Vega hacienda by orders of Dr. Hernandez. While she is there, will Diego finally confess to her that he is Zorro? And why does she suddenly tell Diego that she doesn't love Zorro?

It was late in the morning and Diego had just finished dressing. He had ordered some new books and was anxious to get to town to pick them up. As Diego walked into the den, he happened to see Alejandro come storming through the front door. He slammed the door behind him and looked at Diego angrily as he walked into the den. Diego looked at Alejandro somewhat surprised. Even Felipe who had been dusting some shelves, became startled when the door slammed and almost knocked a vase over but quickly caught it. Diego glanced over at Felipe with a hesitant look hoping his father hadn't noticed. However considering how upset he was, he probably didn't.

Diego walked over to his father and looked at him earnestly. 'This doesn't look good.' Thought Diego eyeing his father. "What's the problem father? You look as if you are ready to bite a nail in two." Replied Diego anxiously.

Alejandro shook his head in disgust and released a slight sigh. "I tell you Diego, DeSoto has gone too far this time! He has really pushed it to the limit!" Alejandro said grumbling.

'Tell me something I don't know!' thought Diego. "What happened this time?" Diego asked looking at Alejandro intently.

"I was just talking with Don Carlos and he just told me that Roberto Reyes has been thrown in jail for not paying his taxes!" Alejandro replied incensed.

Diego eyed Alejandro calmly and put his hand to his chin. Inwardly however he was just as upset as Alejandro.

"Poor Roberto! That's really a shame!" Replied Diego seemingly resigned.

Alejandro's eyes narrowed and his jaw slightly tensed as he stared at Diego in disbelief.

"Is that all you have to say?!!" He replied harshly. "Here Roberto is just a poor dirt farmer who can barely make ends meet with a family to feed no less and all you have to say is 'Poor Roberto. That's a shame!' I can't believe you Diego!" Rebuked Alejandro angrily as he glared at Diego.

Diego looked at Alejandro and sighed. He truly was concerned over this incident. It was just that sometimes he felt that loosing your temper and going about things when you were angry, was not a good way to solve a problem. He looked at Alejandro calmly and put a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

"I'm sorry father, I didn't mean to sound so apathetic. I truly am sorry that Roberto was arrested. It must be hard on his family. When I get to town, I'll have a talk with DeSoto and try to persuade him to change his mind. Maybe Felipe and I can take some food and clothes to his family." Replied Diego compassionately.

Alejandro's eyes slightly softened and he shook his head. "No Diego, I'm sorry for being angry. It's not your fault that the Alcalde is such a tyrant. It's just that I get so angry with him for what he does! Not only that, Roberto's crops were not good this year and he just barely had enough money to feed his family, much less pay taxes. That's what makes really me mad! DeSoto knew that some of the farmers were having a hard time and he purposely raised the taxes just so he could confiscate some of the property!" Alejandro concluded sternly.

Diego looked at Alejandro resolutely. "I'm sure there must be something we can do. Maybe DeSoto will let me pay for his release. It's the least I can do. At least he can return to his family." Diego replied smiling.

Alejandro nodded and walked over to a picture on the wall and removed it. Behind the picture was a small wall safe where Alejandro kept not only his money but most of the de la Vega valuables. He turned the combination a few turns left and right until he heard a click, then firmly pushed down the handle and opened the safe. He took out a small bag of silver coins and handed them to Diego.

"Here Diego, this should not only be enough to pay for Roberto's release, but also to take care of any debt he owes." Alejandro replied decidedly. He turned and firmly shut the safe and replaced the picture.

Diego took the pouch and smiled and put it in a pocket inside his jacket. He looked at Alejandro mildly and smiled. "Well, if my powers of persuasion won't change his mind, then I'm sure this will!" Diego said somewhat smugly adjusting his jacket.

Alejandro slightly chuckled at Diego's remark. "I suppose you're right son. I've never known DeSoto to turn down money!" He replied smiling. Alejandro's face turned serious. "Be careful Diego, that's quite a bit of money you have there!" Alejandro cautioned sternly.

'Too bad he doesn't know who he's giving this to.' Thought Diego. "Would you like me to take a sword along just in case?" Diego asked resolutely.

Alejandro eyed Diego momentarily and then slightly shrugged. "It probably wouldn't be a bad idea, however I doubt that it would do any good in your case. I wouldn't want you getting killed over money." Alejandro retorted.

Diego looked at Alejandro slightly offended. "Actually father I have been diligently practicing, and I can truly say that I think I'm really getting quite good." Diego replied seemingly confident.

Alejandro eyed Diego with mild surprise. "Well, I suppose anything would be an improvement. It's good to see that you're finally taking an interest in the sword. I was beginning to have doubts as to whether you didn't like it or you just didn't have the skill." He remarked pointedly.

Diego eyed Alejandro with some assurance. "To be honest with you, I think skill is inherent. I mean I've always had the skill, just not the inclination. Up to now sword fighting has always been such a blood sport, and as far as I'm concerned, there were other things that were more stimulating. Things like art, literature, music, science…"

Diego momentarily paused as he saw Alejandro shake his head. "Sorry father I was just trying to explain to you the finer things in life besides physical violence." He replied resolutely.

Alejandro looked at Diego and sighed. "Please Diego, let's not get into that discussion again. Right now I have more pressing matters to attend to! Just be careful and make sure you get to town with that money!" Alejandro replied sternly.

Diego amiably nodded and started toward the door. He momentarily glanced over at Felipe and noticed him surreptitiously eyeing them conversing and winked at him, then walked out the door. Felipe shook his head and smiled, then went on about his chores.

Den
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