Bad Times In LA

Parte Veinte

Nancy Smith

"Hold your fire men!" Commanded DeSoto, trudging up to the lancers. "Corporal Sepulveda, what's going on!" he demanded, sternly.

Sepulveda quickly lowered his rifle, stood at attention, and saluted. "Mi Alcalde, we're being attacked, by Indians!" he replied, anxiously.

"Indians?! I don't see any Indians! What's the meaning of this, Corporal?!!" bellowed DeSoto, angrily.

"That's right Corporal, what's the meaning of this?" echoed, Mendoza.

"Shut up Mendoza!" snapped DeSoto.

Sepulveda, pointed to the entrance of the pueblo. "See for yourself, Mi Alcalde! Indians!"

Michaela and Victoria, stood in the doorway, and anxiously watched, Diego and Alejandro, walk out into the plaza, toward DeSoto, and his men.

"Alcalde, what's going on, out here?" demanded Diego, eyeing DeSoto sternly, as Alejandro looked on.

DeSoto snapped his head around, and glared at Diego, and Alejandro.

"What are you two, doing out here! Get back in the tavern! Corporal Sepulveda, has just informed me, that we're being attacked, by Indians! If you value your lives gentlemen, I would suggest, you get back inside!" he stated, gruffly.

"That's ridiculous Alcalde! We haven't been attacked by Indians, for ten years! Besides, The Chumash Indians on the reservation, are peaceful. They have no cause, to attack us!" stated Diego, earnestly.

"That's right Alcalde! We've had a treaty with them, since they arrived, and so far, they have honored that treaty!" remarked Alejandro, heatedly.

"Ha! Just like you de la Vegas, to take sides, with these savages! Remember, there's always a first time!" he replied, harshly.

"Mi Alcalde, look! Indians!" Mendoza stated worriedly, as he glanced up, and saw some Indians, heading toward the pueblo.

As Sully neared the pueblo, he reined in his horse, and hopped off. He walked back behind his horse, pulled the blanket up around the young Indian boy, laying on the travois, and gave him a drink, of water. He poured out some water from his canteen, onto his bandana, squeezed it out, and gently wiped, the young boy's fevered face. When he was done, he walked over to the small band of Indians, sitting on their horses, and held up his hands.

"Wait here! Don't be afraid! I can help you." He said, reassuringly. He turned, and walked toward the entrance of the pueblo.

Michaela, stepped out onto the boardwalk of the tavern, and looked intently at the lancers, fiercely guarding the entrance, of the pueblo. Suddenly her face paled, as she saw Sully, walking through the entrance.

"Oh my God, Sully!" Michaela said, with a hint of panic, in her voice. She quickly stepped off the porch, and started running, toward Sully.

"Michaela no! Come back!" Victoria called out anxiously, her face, laced with worry.

DeSoto quickly jerked his head around, and saw Michaela, running toward her husband.

"Private Sanchez, grab that woman!" DeSoto commanded.

Sanchez, quickly slipped his arm through the strap on his rifle, slung it over his shoulder, and ran toward Michaela, grabbing her, before she could reach, Sully.

"Let me go! Sully!" Michaela cried out, as she struggled, against Sanchez's grip.

Sully quickly raced over to Sanchez, grabbed his arm, and forcefully broke his grip, from Michaela. "Let her go!" he growled, through clenched teeth. As he pulled Sanchez away from Michaela, he landed a solid punch to his face, sending him sprawling, to the ground.

"Mendoza, Sepulveda, arrest that man!" Growled DeSoto, pointing to Sully, as he marched over to him.

Sully wrapped his arms around Michaela, and hugged her.

"Michaela, are you all right?" he said, looking upon her worried face.

"I'm all right ... now." She said, hugging him tight.

Diego and Alejandro, raced over to Michaela and Sully, just as DeSoto and the two soldiers, were approaching.

"You can't do that, Alcalde! He was just defending, his wife!" responded Diego, adamantly.

"Stay out of this, de la Vega! He assaulted an officer, of the King's Army, and the penalty is jail!" DeSoto snapped, angrily.

Sully gently pulled Michaela, from his embrace, and turned to DeSoto. "Alcalde, before you arrest me, there's something I have to tell you!" he stated, eyeing DeSoto, earnestly.

"What's that Señor?" replied DeSoto, sternly.

"There's a small band of Indians, just outside the entrance of the pueblo, who need our help. Some of them are sick, and need medicine. We have to help them!" he stated anxiously.

"What?!! You brought those Indians, to this pueblo? Well, not only are you under arrest for assaulting an officer, but also, for being an Indian sympathizer! Sergeant, put an extra guard, on this man's cell! He hangs, at dawn!" Replied DeSoto, sternly.

Mendoza and Sepulveda, grabbed Sully's arms, and began escorting him, to the cuartel.

Michaela, felt a sinking feeling in her heart, as tears came to her eyes. "Sully NO!" she cried, as she wrapped her arms around him, hugging him tight.

"Sully, they can't do this!" she cried.

Diego walked up to Michaela, and gently put his hands upon her shoulders. He looked at Sully compassionately, as Michaela slowly released Sully, from her embrace.

"Don't worry, Sully. I'll have a talk, with the Alcalde. Surely he'll listen, to reason." He stated earnestly.

"Oh I doubt that, Don Diego. The Alcalde, is not too lenient, with Indian sympathizers." Remarked Mendoza, shaking his head, sympathetically.

"Let's go Señor!" Mendoza said sternly, as he and Sepulveda, escorted Sully, to the cuartel.

Sully turned, and looked back at Michaela. "I love you, Michaela." He called out, his voice, slightly wavering.

"I love you, too!" replied Michaela, trying to hold back the tears, that threatened her eyes, as she watched them, walk away. Diego reached in his pocket, pulled out soft linen handkerchief, and handed it to her. Michaela took it, and gently wiped her eyes and nose. She looked at Diego, with tear stained eyes.

"The Alcalde, won't really hang Sully, will he?" she asked nervously.

Diego put his hands upon her shoulders, and looked compassionately, into her eyes. "I'll do everything I can, to help Sully, Michael. Trust me, Sully, will not hang!" he replied.

As Michaela looked into Diego's eyes, that certain familiarity returned. But this time, she saw a gentleness, and softness, that she didn't see, before. Somehow, she knew, she could trust him.

Just then, they heard one of the lancers, calling out, to the Alcalde.

"Alcalde, the Indians are still outside the pueblo. What do we do?" asked Sanchez, brushing off his uniform, and rubbing his jaw.

"Get rid of them, private! Shoot them, if you have too!" Groused DeSoto.

"Sí, mi Alcalde!" Replied Sanchez saluting.

"Alcalde..." Diego called out, walking over, to DeSoto.

"Please Diego, I have work, to do! What is it?" he replied gruffly.

"Alcalde, you can't shoot those Indians. Sully just said, that some of them are sick, and needed medicine. Please Alcalde, tell your lancers to let them come inside, so we can help them. We have the medicine, inside the tavern." Diego responded, earnestly.

DeSoto flashed a heated look, at Diego. "Absolutely not! Those Indians, can just go back to the reservation. We can't take any chances, on them reinfecting anyone else, in the pueblo, with whatever disease, they have! No Diego, I'm not letting them into the pueblo, and that's final!" he stated, firmly.

"Alcalde, if they can't come inside the pueblo, then let us treat them, outside the pueblo! It's the least we can do, to help them! Besides, the governor prides himself, on maintaining good relations, with the Indians. You wouldn't want to do anything, to spoil that now, would you, Alcalde?" Diego asked, eyeing DeSoto, sharply.

DeSoto stroked his beard, then looked at Diego, thoughtfully. "Well, I suppose you're right! All right, Diego. You and the good doctor, may help the Indians, but only if they stay, outside the pueblo! Is that clear?" he demanded, sternly.

Diego nodded. "Thank you, Alcalde. I'll speak to them, right now."

"I'll send a couple of my lancers, to go with you, Diego. I can't take a chance, on any of those Indians, harming you." DeSoto stated, decidedly.

"Alcalde, these Indians, are friendly! I won't be harmed." He reassured.

"Look Diego, those are blood-thirsty savages! Either go with the lancers, or don't go, at all!" He stated, with a stern look, on his face.

Diego shook his head, and sighed. "All right, Alcalde. I'll go with the lancers. But they must do, what I tell them!" he replied firmly. "I'm going there, to help them." He added.

"All right, Diego! Do what you have to do, and get it over with!" Replied DeSoto somewhat harshly.

"Sanchez, Romero, escort Don Diego, outside the pueblo, so that he can talk, to the Indians. And remember, follow his orders, and do what he says!" commanded De Soto.

"Sí, mi Alcalde!" Sanchez and Ramero, replied saluting.

De Soto returned their salute, and walked back to his office.

Alejandro and Michaela, walked over to Diego, just as the two lancers were coming toward him.

"Diego, what are you going to do?" asked Alejandro.

"I'm going out, to reassure the Indians, that we can help them." Stated Diego.

"Be careful, Diego! While you're talking with the Indians, I'm going to have a talk, with DeSoto, and try to persuade him, not to hang Señor Sully." Responded Alejandro, earnestly.

"Don't worry about me, father, I'll have an armed guard, going with me." He replied, gesturing to the lancers. "Oh and good luck, with DeSoto. Sergeant Mendoza said, that he's not too lenient, with Indian sympathizers."

"We'll see about that, Diego!" Alejandro replied, sternly. He turned, and strolled off, towards DeSoto's office.

Michaela smiled at Alejandro, as she watched him walk away, then turned, to Diego.

"Your father, is a good man!" she commented.

"Gracias, Señora!" replied Diego smiling.

"I only hope, he can persuade your Alcalde, to release Sully." She stated, anxiously.

"We can only hope, Michaela." Diego replied, earnestly.

Michaela glanced towards the Indians, and then, looked at Diego.

"Diego, I'd like to go with you, when you talk to the Indians." She stated.

Diego nodded. ", you are welcome, to come along."

"Are those lancers, necessary?" she asked, staring sharply, at the two lancers.

"I'm afraid so, Michaela. DeSoto has little regard, and no trust, in the Indians." Commented Diego, ruefully.

Michaela sighed wistfully, and shook her head.

"I feel sorry for your Alcalde, Diego. He has so much hate, inside him. It makes you wonder, if there is hope, for someone like him?" she commented, looking pensively, at the Alcalde's office.

Diego mildly shrugged. "One can always hope, Michaela. However in this case, I think it would be, futile!" he stated, shaking his head.

Michaela nodded, in agreement.

"By the way Diego, I need my medical bag. Would you mind waiting, while I go get it?" she asked.

"Not at all. I think we should take the horses, as well, it will be quicker." Commented Diego.

Diego and Michaela, walked back to the tavern, while the lancers, waited at the entrance, of the pueblo. As they walked up to the entrance of the tavern, Victoria looked at them, anxiously.

"Michaela, what happened to Sully?" she asked, with a concerned look, on her face.

Michaela shook her head, and sighed.

"Your Alcalde, had him arrested, for assaulting an officer, and being an Indian sympathizer. He even plans on hanging Sully, at dawn!" she replied, sadly.

Victoria looked at Diego, anxiously. She was about to speak, when Diego, held up his hand.

"Michaela, you go get your medical bag. I need to talk, to Victoria." He said, calmly.

Michaela nodded, and walked into the tavern.

Diego and Victoria, walked over to one of the empty tables outside the tavern, and sat down. Victoria held his hands in hers, as she sat beside him, and looked anxiously, into his eyes.

"Diego, you can't let the Alcalde, hang Sully, just for helping the Indians. It's not fair!" her voice, was almost a whisper.

"Victoria, I have no intention, of letting DeSoto, hang Sully. Don't worry, I'll think of something! Father is having a talk with him, right now. I hope he is successful." He replied, shaking his head, worriedly.

"What are going to do?" Victoria asked, with a heavy look, in her eyes.

"Trust me, Victoria, Sully is not going to die!" replied Diego, gazing steadily, into her eyes.

"I wish Michaela, could be as sure of that, as I am." Replied Victoria, with a discerning look, on her face.

"Somehow, I have a feeling, she knows." Replied Diego, as slight smile, crossed his lips.

A curious look, suddenly appeared, on Victoria's face.

"What do you mean, Diego?" she asked, looking into his eyes, with an inquisitive gaze.

Just as Diego was about to answer, Michaela walked out of the tavern, firmly clutching her medical bag. She looked around, and saw Diego, and Victoria, sitting at the table.

"Diego, I'm ready!" Michaela stated, walking toward them.

Diego smiled warmly at Victoria, as they stood up, and briefly pressed a tender kiss, to her hand.

"Michaela and I, are riding out, to take some medicine, to the Indians. We won't be gone, long." He stated.

"Just be careful!" Victoria stated cautiously to Diego and Michaela, with a concerned look, on her face.

"Don't worry Victoria, DeSoto has ordered two of his lancers, to ride with us. I think we will be, well protected." Replied Diego, somewhat smuggly. A slight chuckle, escaped his lips, as he shook his head.

Michaela and Victoria, looked at one another curiously, and shook their heads.

Diego smiled. "Forgive, it was just an idle thought." He replied. "We should go, before it gets too late." He commented, turning to Michaela.

"Yes, I think you're right." Replied Michaela.

"Adios Victoria! We'll be back in few hours!" replied Diego. 'Imagine, DeSoto sending his lancers, to protect us, against a band, of sick Indians! Incredible!' thought Diego, walking to his horse.

"Adios!" Victoria replied. She watched them, as they mounted their horses, and rode to the entrance of the pueblo. Soon they were met by two lancers, on horseback. The lancers followed them, as they rode toward the small band of Indians, still waiting, on the outskirts of the pueblo.

Victoria was about to go inside the tavern, when she looked around, and saw Alejandro with an angry look on his face, storming across the plaza, toward the tavern.

"Don Alejandro, what's wrong?" inquired Victoria.

Alejandro shook his head, and sighed. "Forgive me Victoria ... " he began, stepping up on the porch, and sitting on a bench nearby. "it's about DeSoto! I tried to reason with him, and persuade him to release Sully, but it was no use. He refused, to let him go! He wouldn't even post bail! He's determined to hang Sully, and there's nothing, we can do!" he stated angrily, as he ran his fingers, through his snow white hair.

Victoria put a reassuring hand, on his shoulder.

"Don't worry Don Alejandro. I have a feeling, that Zorro will save Sully."

"Let's hope so, Victoria. Right now, Zorro is our only hope!" he replied, looking at Victoria, earnestly.

Victoria nodded, in agreement. "Don Alejandro, I will gather some extra blankets, and food, for the Indians, and you and Felipe, can take it to them." She stated, smiling.

"I'll be glad to help you, Victoria. I need to tell Diego, the bad news, anyway." He replied, slowly rising, from the bench. They walked into the tavern, and began gathering, their supplies.

The two lancers, stood guard, as Michaela and Diego, administered aid, to the Indians. Wise Eagle, an old Indian chief, gazed at Michaela in amazement, as she took out her medical instruments, and began examining the ones, that showed obvious signs, of illness. He walked over to Diego, and pointed, with curiosity.

"Who, is that woman?" he asked.

Diego looked at him, and smiled. "Her name is, Doctor Quinn. She is a doctor, like Doctor Hernandez. She has medicine, to help your people." He stated, resolutely.

Wise Eagle, shook his head. "A woman doctor? That, is hard to believe." He commented, staring at her, in amazement.

Diego put a reassuring hand, on his shoulder, and smiled. "Trust me, Wise Eagle. She is really a doctor, and a good one, at that! She has helped Doctor Hernandez, a great deal, during this epidemic. She can help your people, too." He replied, earnestly.

Michaela walked over to Diego, and sighed, as she brushed a strand of hair, from her face.

"I wish the Alcalde, would let us bring some of these Indians, to the tavern. Some of them need special attention, that we can't give them, here." She commented.

Diego, shook his head. "I'm sorry Michaela, but the Alcalde refuses, to let them into the pueblo. He is afraid, that they might contaminate the people in the tavern, who are getting well." He replied, apologetically.

She sighed, and shook her head. "Your Alcalde is a stubborn, and foolish man Diego." She remarked, with a slight edge to her voice. "I suppose we'll just have to do, the best we can." She added, decidedly. She gazed compassionately, at the small band, gathered around a campfire, sitting on their blankets. She and Diego, quickly looked around, in time to see Alejandro and Felipe, arriving in the wagon. The two lancers, who were standing guard, quickly mounted their horses, rode to the entrance of the pueblo, and halted Alejandro, and Felipe.

"What's the meaning of this?!!" grumbled Alejandro.

"I'm sorry Señor, but we can't allow, you to pass. Only Don Diego, and the woman doctor, are allowed outside the pueblo." Said Private Sanchez, sternly.

Diego quickly mounted his horse, and glanced down, at Michaela. "Wait here. I think my father, may need some help." He stated. He gave his horse, a firm nudge in the flanks with his heels, and rode to meet, the soldiers. He reined in his horse, and gave a stern look, at the soldiers.

"What's the problem, lancers?!" he asked, earnestly.

Private Sanchez, looked at Diego.

"I'm sorry, Don Diego, but we are not allowed, to let anyone else, pass through the gates."

"Diego, we've brought some supplies, to the Indians, courtesy of, Señorita Escalante. The lancers, refuse to let us pass!" responded Alejandro, sternly.

Diego looked at Sanchez, earnestly. "Lancer, I'll take full responsibility, for my father, and Felipe. Let them pass!" he replied.

"But, what about the Alcalde?" Sanchez asked, worriedly.

Diego smiled. "Don't worry, Private, if the Alcalde has anything to say about it, he can say it, to me!" he replied decidedly.

"Sí, Señor! You may pass, Señor de la Vega!" replied Sanchez, motioning to Alejandro.

Felipe quickly slapped the reins, against the backs of the horses, as they proceeded to follow Diego, to the Indians.

As they handed out the much needed supplies, a worried look, appeared on Alejandro's face.

"What is it, father?" Diego asked, noticing the expression on his face.

Alejandro looked around, taking note of where Michaela was, at the moment.

"Diego, I have some bad news about Sully." He replied, looking at Diego anxiously.

"I take it your meeting with DeSoto, wasn't successful." Replied Diego, with a discerning look in his eyes.

"Alejandro shook his head. "I tried to persuade him, but he wouldn't listen. Sully still hangs, at dawn! I even threatened, to write a letter to the governor, but even that, didn't phase him! I tell you Diego, DeSoto is truly a tyrant!" he replied, shaking his head in disgust. He looked earnestly, at Diego.

"Diego, you stay with Michaela. I'm going to ride to Santa Paula, and speak to the governor, in person. Hopefully, the governor can do something about this!" he responded sternly. "I'll take your horse, ride back to the hacienda, and get a fresh mount, then leave from there." He stated decidedly.

"Don't worry father, I'll take care, of Michaela. Be careful!" replied Diego, looking at Alejandro anxiously.

"I will, Diego! Hopefully, I'll be back in time, to save Sully's life!" he commented, earnestly.

Alejandro quickly mounted Diego's horse, waved good-bye, and headed toward the hacienda.

'I'm not waiting, for the governor!' thought Diego, as he watched his father, ride away.

"Diego, is there something wrong? I just saw your father, ride off." Commented Michaela curiously, as she walked toward Diego. Diego turned, and looked at Michaela.

"Oh, he had some urgent business, he had to attend to, back at the hacienda." He replied.

"What about your father's meeting, with the Alcalde? What did he say?" she asked, as she looked at him, anxiously.

As Diego glanced around, he noticed that the two lancers, were busy guarding, the wagon. Luckily, they were unable to hear, what he and Michaela, were saying. He put his hands on her shoulders, in reassurance, then looked at her, earnestly.

"I'm sorry, Michaela, father was unable to talk the Alcalde, out of hanging Sully. He is going to Santa Paula, to talk to the governor, about it." Stated Diego, keeping his voice, almost a whisper.

"The governor? What good, would that do? Sully hangs, at dawn!" Michaela stated worriedly.

"Don't worry Michaela, Santa Paula, is not that far away. Hopefully, he can convince the governor, to reduce Sully's sentence. After all, you and Sully, are not legal citizens, of our pueblo. You should not be subject, to our laws!" stated Diego.

"I only hope, he makes it back in time!" she responded anxiously.

Diego nodded, in agreement. "So do I!"

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