California Territories - 1847

"Well howdy folks. Ma'am. This is gonna go real smooth if y'all just stay calm and place your valuables, quick and quiet-like, in the bag." Jesse Earl held his Colt Peacemaker on the stagecoach passengers while Bobby Earl spoke. "We ain't here to hurt nobody. Just come to remove you of your earthy possessions." The two male passengers emptied their wallets into the burlap sack that Bobby Earl held.

"Ma'am," the outlaw said under his red handkerchief, while holding the sack out to the lady.

"And if I refuse?" the girl asked.

"Ah, Ma'am. You don't wanna go and do that. Jesse Earl don't get too happy when you go and do that." Bobby Earl said. "Why don't you just put that pretty broach around your neck into the bag, and we can all get on our way."

"This broach is an heirloom from my mother. It will leave my neck when I am dead and gone. And If you lay one finger on it, my father, Captain Monterey of the United States Army, will track you down and hang you where he finds you!" Rebecca spat at the criminals.

"Your Daddy's the law around here, is he? Ewwwie, boy, I tell you what. Daddy Monterey is too busy dealing with Santa Anna to worry about catching us, so how about you give that broach over before Jesse Earl gets rough." Bobby Earl lunged at the girl, prompting a scream from Rebecca. Jesse Earl was about to shove his peacemaker in the girl's face when a silver star-shaped disk pierced Jesse Earl's trigger finger. Jesse Earl did not cry out (he had no tongue to do so) but did whip around to see who, or what attacked him.

A hangman's noose flew through the air, wrapping around Jesse Earl's neck and hoisting him out of sight. Bobby Earl scampered back at the image of his brother being hung and looked up above the Stagecoach. A Chinaman (actually, Japanse, but Bobby Earl never understood the difference) stood on the coach, in a red tunic and straw hat. In one hand he held a rope, that was flung around a nearby branch, holding Jesse Earl in mid-air, clutching at his throat. The other hand held more length of the rope, this end too tied into a Hangman's noose.

Bobby Earl tried to run for it. He never was a fighter, and depended on his borhter's strenght for the tougher scrapes. The rope flew, yanking Bobby Earl off his feet. Now, both brothers were being hung on the same rope, but the length of rope was too great, and Jesse Earl fell to the ground. The attacker then grapped the rope by the middle, and hoped down from the Stagecoach.

"Excuse please, Rebecca Monterey?" Hanzo asked the young woman sitting in the stagecoach.


"I am Hanzo Obigashi. Your father sent me to wait on you. I am your new attendant." Hanzo bowed to the lady. The lady attempted a bow back. "If we may, it seems dangerous here. May I accompany you back to San Francisco?"

"Thank you Mr. Hanzo. I would be delighted.' Hanzo bowed again and jump up to the bunkboard. The stagecoach driver had made off in the robbery, but Hanzo had been trained for all of this. Taking the reigns, he steered the horses back onto the trail and North, to San Francisco. A ninja, clad in blue, with a red scarf masking his face, leapt down from the trees to where the Earl Brothers still lay gagging.

Strider Mori was pleased with the way his pupil had defeated the outlaws and secured his place as Miss Monterey's personal attendent. With Hanzo in the Monterey household, Mori would soon know all the tactics the Captain would use to keep his boss, Santa Anna, out of San Francisco. Then, they could defeat the Americans and the Mexicans would occupy more of California, and the Striders would be paid handsomely, with a new ally in the west. Looking down at the ruffians, Mori unsheathed his Cypher blade, a four foot long sword with two hilts, and slew both brothers. Not bothering to hide the bodies, Strider Mori mounted his horse and rode off towards his ship, The Blue Dragoon.