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High Noon (IC)

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Silently, the spacecraft glided into Freedom City, unnoticed due to its stealth mode.

Standing on the ship's bridge was a man dressed in all black with slick black hair and clear blue eyes. He quickly finished combing the handlebars of his mustache before saying, "Looks like I finally found ya, partner. Now I'm gonna make ya pay fer all that ya put me through."

---

Colt had spent the afternoon lifting weights to stay in shape. He finished putting away his equipment on the weight racks, and walked out into the rest of the base with a towel over his shoulders. Moving to the elevator in the center of the compound, he punched the number for the proper floor and waited for it to ascend. He thought only briefly about how the other Interceptors had been so busy lately that he had barely seen them. The Underground was quiet these days.

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"Alright, boys, here's what we're gonna do." Said the figure in the black coat, "We gotta find this one guy in this whole city. But don't worry. I think I know how ta draw him out." He looked around at the other members of his crew. All were dressed as cowboys, but they all had strange looking weapons. Nothing like your traditional six-shooters. "Now, all we gotta do is..."

---

The shower felt amazing. It was always great to relax after a good work out. Finally, Colt stepped out, dried off, and began dressing in his traditional cowboy uniform.

Once he had finished his dressing ritual, he cleaned and oiled his guns. Another ritual he did daily. This one he was so practiced at, he could do it with his eyes closed.

Finally, Colt looked at the clock on the wall. Though he dreaded doing so. Because, just as he discovered, it was still morning. He'd done a work out, showered, and cleaned his guns, and the day was still barely started. Today was going to crawl.

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"Alrighty, Vince," Colt said as he came out of the elevator, once again entering The Underground. "What have ya got fer me?"

"Well, I'm just pleased as punch to tell you that today's been quite uneventful!" The computerized voice rang back. "There was one minor bank robbery, but the crooks didn't make off with much money."

"Well, reckon that's better'n nothin'. Tell me more." Colt sat in the swivel chair in front of the large computer screen.

"Sure thing! The criminals made off with about $1000 in cash. Oh now that's interesting!"

"Reckon I'll regret askin', but what's interestin' 'bout it, Vince?"

"It seems the crooks were all dressed as cowboys! I'd say they were stealing your thunder, partner!"

Colt sighed and shook his head. "Well, I reckon I'm gonna have ta put'a stop ta this here travesty." Colt said, depositing his hat on his head and rising from the chair.

"One more thing, Colt! The Police found a small device at the crime scene, they don't seem to know what it is. I believe they're still there trying to figure it out. If you can get a hold of this device, I might be able to figure out what it is."

"Well, then, guess I better be on ma way." Colt replied, and turned down the hallway that led to the garage.

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"Well, that's about it, Colt. There's nothing else I can tell you about what happened here." The police chief explained. The situation was pretty cut and dry. After Colt arrived on his bike, he questioned the athorities and they gave him a lot of the same information that Vince had.

"Reckon it's a mighty fine job ya done here, captain. Now about that there piece'a tech y'all found. Might'n I be able ta take a crack at it? I think if'n I c'n take't back wit me, I might be able ta crack this here case wide open."

"I got that right here!" called another one of the police officers on site. A uniformed officer jogged over with a small evidence bag. He handed it to Colt with one hand and brandished a clipboard with the other. "I'll need you to sign for it though."

"Sure thing, partner!" Colt's expression was cheery. He tucked the evidence bag into his coat pocket. Upon brief inspection, it turned out to be opaque enough that he could not see it's contents. Better wait til home. I ain't gonna live it down if'n I lose some'a this here evidence...

"Well, I'll be seein' ya, folks. I'll let ya know if'n I find anythin' chief." Colt mounted his motorcycle once more and sped off across freedom city, back towards The Underground.

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"This is quite interesting, Colt." Vince spoke once his analysis was complete. Colt had slipped the small microchip he had received from Freedom's chief of police into the computer not five minutes ago. "It seems this small chip contains a recording."

"Well, go'n then. Play it back fer me." he prompted Vince.

"Sure thing ol' buddy ol' pal!"

The screen lit up and flashed for a few seconds as the gaudy game show host was replace by a face that Colt recognized, to his displeasure. Though he noted the man looked much older than he remembered. His short stay in prison must have added years to his face.

"Well, well, well. What do we have here?"

"Angel Eyes!" Colt snarled.

"It's just a recording!" Vince's voice reminded him.

The recording continued. "If it isn't Billy Renolds. Glad I finally found you. It wasn't all that hard ta track ya across the dimensions, what with the new technology we been comin' up with in recent years. I'll tell ya though, that stay in prison taught me quite a bit. All fifteen years of it."

FIFTEEN YEARS?! Not possible it's only been a few months since I left my own dimension!

"Specifically," The recording continued, "it taught me how to really get to people. You see, I had no end of fun tormenting all the guards I had in that prison. Just like I had no end of fun blowing it to smithereens once I got out."

"Bastard!" Colt spat.

"Now, I came ta this here dimension to make good on my threat. Problem is, y'all went'an ran away on me! And you know what that means. I had to go and take it out on a few of your loved ones." The camera quickly swapped to an image of a lady in a polka dotted dress tied to a chair. "I must say, the years have not been kind to this one. After all, she did lose her only son at an early age..."

"Mom?" Colt was shocked. The woman he saw was much older than he remembered. But it was unmistakably his mother. "Damnit, Angel Eyes! You leave her out of this!" Colt was fuming.

"He can't hear you, Colt! It's just a recording!" Vince reminded him.

The recording plowed ever onward, the image returning to the cowboy, "Now. By my calculations, you'll have gotten this recording from the nice gentlemen that I left it with at about 10am. There's a train, leaving from a rail yard in the West End at about 10:10. It would behoove you to be on it." And with that, the recording cut out.

Colt simply sat in stunned silence as Vince's picture came back up on the big screen. "Colt, I..."

Colt held a hand up in the air. "Save it, Vince. Reckon I got'a train ta catch!"

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"Damn it!" Colt swore. It was already 10:09, and the schedule at the train station showed that there were three trains all scheduled to leave in less than 60 seconds. He quickly flagged down a station attendant. "Howdy! Listen, ya gotta stop these trains that're scheduled at 10:10. Somethin' bad's bound ta happen if'n they wind up leavin'."

"Well, I'm sorry, sir, I can't do that. I don't control the scheduling."

Colt sighed, this day was getting better and better. He couldn't believe not two hours ago he had thought he was going to be bored all day. "Well, c'n ya't least tell me what they're haulin'?"

"Now that I can do. Two are just freight. The third is passengers, and it looks like a postal and bank shipment as well." The railway employee responded.

"That's the one! Thanks!" and with that, Colt was off running to his bike which was parked nearby.

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The train chugged away from the station as Colt leaped onto his bike from the rear. He slammed down on the clutch, shifted into gear, and rocketed out of the station, coat billowing in the wind. His hat flew back off his head and he snatched it out of the air, quickly stowing it in one of the hidden compartment's on his bike. Guiding the bike with his knees, he managed to pull his goggles up into position. He was ready to give chase to the train.

Pulling up along side of it, he tried to review what he had found out. Angel Eyes had his mother captive, and he didn't know what the man was planning. He did know that he was supposed to be on this train, however. He lifted off the ground and took his bike to the air. Even if this was a trap, he couldn't ignore it. His mother was too important.

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Colt flew above the train, his coat whipping in the wind. He switched the bike to autopilot and balanced himself momentarily. All at once, he was standing on the seat of a motorcycle flying through the air at 50 mph.

He jumped.

Landing hard on the top of the train with a resounding thud he rolled to keep his footing. Drawing the remote from his pocket, he sent the bike away so that it would fly nearby the train.

In a crouched position, he looked around to get his bearings. He was on top of one of the passenger cars. Remaining crouched, he moved towards the front of the train.

If'n my thinkin's right, that Angel Eyes'll be up front. If'n I c'n find'em maybe I'll know more'a what's goin' on.

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After a few harrowing leaps from car to car, and a couple of close calls Colt finally reached the front of the train. He lept down into the conductor's cabin to the sudden surprise of the man working there. "Now don't panic," He held his hands up apologetically, "Reckon I ain't here ta cause no trouble."

"What a shame!" came a voice from behind him. "I am!"

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"Alright, get'em up!" Angel Eyes barked, "Both'a ya." He shook the gun in his hand towards the sky indicating the desired action the others should be taking.

Keeping his gun focused on Colt, he approached the conductor and grabbed him by the shirt collar. The man whimpered as Angel Eyes dragged him to the door way. "Now, the nice cowboy and I are going to have a little chat," he shot colt a look, "Alone." and threw the man out the door.

"Bastard!" Colt yelled, and made a motion to run for the door.

"HEY!" Angel Eyes interrupted him, brandishing the weapon once again. "Y'all stay put." Keeping the gun trained on Colt, he moved towards the the front of the cabin. He took a look at the controls, and laid his hand on the throttle. He stroked it once, "Dogone, I love technology. Y'all remember when they invented them floating trains? Sure was a hoot to rob them!"

Colt could do nothing but scowl.

"Now that we're alone..." He shoved the throttle's lever as far forward as it would go with a clunk, "Let's talk!"

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As Angel Eyes refocused his attention on Colt, there came a loud rushing sound. Suddenly, a large, sleek aircraft appeared out of nowhere gliding right above the train. "Now, I ain't the type of man to exact my revenge quickly. I'm not going to kill you, Colt. Well, at least not until I make ya miserable. Go ahead, climb back up on top of the train." He supplied the same gentile gesture with his gun as before.

Colt complied, grumbling to himself as he went. Once the two were on top of the train, Angel Eyes gestured once more to the ship.

"Ain't she a beaut? I'd love ta tell ya all about how I saved an saved just so's I could afford 'er, but I didn't. I stole her instead!"

Colt was reminded of how just about everything this man stood for was like grains of sand in his eyes. It irritated his very existence. "Ya really are scum, Gillman."

"Oh that ain't the least a' it! I stole that ship, just like I'm gonna steal this here shipment'a money."

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Reckon I shouldn'ta expected nothin' less outta him. Colt mused as he waited for Angel Eyes to reveal his master plan. Typical old western train robbery. Should'a seen't comin'!"

"And your not gonna stop me." Gillman continued.

Colt turned to face Angel Eyes and looked him dead in the eyes. "If'n you think that there pea shooter's gonna stop me from-"

"Oh, I ain't plannin' on shootin' ya, Colt. We go way too far back fer that!" Colt watched as a rope descended from the ship. Two men slid down it onto the back of the train. "Yer just gonna be too busy to stop me. What with saving yer mother and all. I reckon she should be comin' into view any second now." Gillman lowered the gun, and raised his hand to his eyes to shield himself from the sun. He peered down the track ahead of the train. "Here, this'll give ya a better look." He drew a small flat plastic device from his coat. It was about the size of a small TV screen. It held the image of his mother tied to the train tracks.

"No!" Came Colt's reply, riddled with dread.

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There has to be a way out of this. Colt thought desperately. My Bike! Damn! The remote's in ma pocket. Colt listened to Gillman ramble on about how he had no time to spare, in his typical villain way. But when he got to describing how he had waited for this moment for so long, Colt couldn't stand it any longer.

"Yeraahhhh!!!"Colt jumped, quick as a flash. Gillman reacted just as quickly. Colt managed, to tackle Gillman, but his gun had gone off while Colt was still in mid-flight. The laser hit Colt square in the chest. It hurt like hell, but thankfully it wasn't enough to throw him off target. The quick scuffle that ensued was enough for Colt to get the remote for his bike from his pocket without Gillman noticing.

Then Colt was rolling on the top of the train again. Gillman having managed to throw him off was struggling to his feet. Colt's roll took him to the edge of the train and he toppled over the edge. He pressed a button on the remote as he went, but he was then forced to drop it as he caught the edge of the train to keep from falling. He hoped it wouldn't matter any longer...

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Colt could hear screams coming from within the passenger cabin as his dangling feet clacked against the train's windows. Great, now I got the people involved. I hope none'a 'em try'n stop the robbers."

"Damn it, Colt! Don't you know you can't beat me?"

"I did it once --" Colt supplied.

"You got lucky!" Gillman cut him off. "That'll never happen again!" Gillman walked to the edge of the train and began grinding Colt's fingers beneath his boot.

H"Ahrrghhh!!!" Colt screamed in pain before yanking his left hand away from the edge of the train. e continued with a grunt. "Ya didn't let me finish!" Colt responded, sounding hurt. "I'm 'bout ta do't again!"

*Wham!* The Stellar Cycle hit Gillman in the back of the head. The only command that Colt had managed to give it had been to wait ahead of the train hovering about 15 feet above the tracks. His guess had been right that the train would drive under it, but anyone standing on the train would be knocked stupid.

With a surge of strength, Colt grunted though the pain in his chest and fingers. He swung his free arm up to catch the under carriage of the motorcycle as his spot on the train passed by. From there, he hoisted himself into the seat and grabbed the controls.

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Colt didn't stop to see what happened to Gillman. He was too concerned with saving his mother's life. He dropped the Bike down so that it was beside the train tracks. Once again, he fired up it's motor and went screaming off after the train. In order to keep up with the train's advanced speed, he needed to keep the bike on the ground where it would be faster.

As he rode up along the side of the train, he could see the two men that had descended on the rope using it to hoist a safe out of the train car. Colt drew his pistol and fired bullet after bullet at the rope. After a few shots, he managed to cut the rope with a bullet. As he sped on, he turned to see the safe fall dangerously close to the ground before it was caught in a shining green light. It began to ascend once more towards the ship. The two men jumped into the green light and began ascending as well. "Damn!" There's no time!" Colt sped onward.

He approached the front of the train, and could see something lying on the tracks in the distance. He was running out of time...

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Colt thundered ahead of the train, pushing his bike to the limit. He could hear the motor chugging ahead, and knew that it wouldn't hold together forever. As he passed the front of the train he drew Jericho from the holster at his hip. "Reckon I gotta do somethin' ta stop this train!" Turning in the seat, he reached back over his shoulder and fired a bullet at the front of the train. It was a crack shot, one only he could have made. It glanced off the lever that controlled the train's throttle and knocked it down a few notches. "Now, about those ropes!" he said to himself.

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As Colt sped onward, he took aim at the person lying on the track. He spun the gun around in front of himself and fired off another round. It tore into the ropes, but left the person unharmed. As colt approached, his mother was still struggling with the ropes. He holstered his gun, and rode right past, managing to reach down and scoop her up in front of him as he drove. "Yer safe now, ma! I got'cha!" he said as he skidded to a stop away from the train.

"That's great 'an all." Said a voice a lot deeper than it should have been. Colt looked down, and a holographic image of his mother - ropes and all - faded away and was replaced by a man holding a gun. "But I ain't yer ma!"

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"Oh, now that just TEARS IT!" Colt yelled. "I swear t'day's just been PERFECT!" Colt threw his hands into the air as he flipped out. The man in front of him was quite taken aback. He stood and stepped away from the bike, still brandishing his pistol in Colt's direction.

"Y'all gotta be kiddin' me!" Colt stood from the bike and pulled Marlin from the holster on the side with viscous determination. He ripped off his goggles and slammed his hand on a button on the console, revealing the secret compartment for his hat. "First y'all rob a bank in my town!" He threw his goggles unceremoniously into the compartment and pulled out his hat. "Then y'all taunt me wit' ma mother. WHO TURNS OUT, isn't real." Colt slammed his hat on his head.

"I...uh..." The man started.

"Oh no ya don't," Colt cut him off. Taking a step towards the man who was STILL brandishing a pistol at his chest. "It don't stop there. Ya drag me across town jus so's ya c'n rob a train right beneath ma nose." Another step. This time the man began to retreat. "Then I get shot! An' nearly thrown off'a train." Another step. Another retreat. "I finally save ma mom, an' the crooks still get away. But no. It don't stop there. SHE AIN'T REAL! SHE'S YOU!"

Colt quickly advanced on the man. He never had time to pull the trigger. Colt slammed the butt of his rifle into the man's gut, then brought it up into the man's chin as he recoiled from the first blow. The man was out cold before he even hit the ground.

"An frankly, I ain't in the mood ta be shot again!" Colt stared down at the limp form of the man. "An people wonder why I drink." He sighed.

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Finally back at the Underground, Colt tossed the still limp form of his captive into one of the Base's many holding cells. He was still too angry at the man to bother taking him to the infirmary. He'd be conscious soon enough. An when that flea bitten scoundrel finally wakes up. I'm gettin' ta the bottom'a this.

Colt instructed Vince to inform him as to when the prisoner had woken. In the meantime, he retreated to the medical bay himself. He decided a quick trip to the Base's healing chamber was in order. He needed to have the bullet removed from his chest.

Once he was healed, he whittled away the remaining time trying to perform more analysis on the microchip he had received from the police. However it proved to be futile. Reckon if'n only Razorwing were here. He'd be able ta get somethin' outta this. He placed his head in his hands, unsure of how to progress.

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"Alright, I know yer awake. Now get!" Colt yelled through the bars at the man laying on one of the cots. The cell door clanked open. Colt stepped inside. "I said get up!" Colt kicked the cot over and the man fell off with a yelp.

"Hey what's the big idea? I should-"

"Ya should what?" Colt asked, suddenly in the man's face. When he was met with only silence he frowned. "Now that's what'a thought. How's bout you start talkin'?"

"I'll never tell you nothin'!"

"Oh, I reckon ya will. Or'm I gonna have ta make ya." Colt growled.

"I can't tell you anything! Angel-eyes'll kill me if I-"

"Who are ya more afraid of? Me 'er him?" He asked, his stare slowly convincing the man.

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It always amazed Colt how persuasive the cold steel of a gun barrel could be when pressed to someone's temple. Even when you have no intention of shooting someone, there are a few tricks you can do and easily get information out of them. For instance, threatening someone with a gun does almost nothing. However, if you then cock the gun, and place it back against someone's head, it becomes that much more serious of a threat all of a sudden. Further still most will defy you by saying something along the lines of, "You don't have the guts." If you balk, you lose your leverage, but this problem can be easily rectified. You simply remove the gun, and fire it either into the air, past their head, or in between their feet. This shows them that you are serious, even if you are not. It was through this fashion that Colt was able to pick the criminal's brain.

"Where is he?"

"I won't tell you nothin!"

"I said, where is he?" *click*

"You...you won't shoot me! Yer a lawman, ya can't-"

*Blam* the smoking gun next to the man's ear almost deafened him. *click*

"Last chance. Where is he?" The smoking gun barrel was hot from a recently fired bullet. It burned a ring into the man's forehead. Colt could hear the skin on the man's head sizzling, and still he pressed the gun in harder.

"Alright! Fine! I'll talk!"

Works every time! Colt smiled smugly as he waited for his answer.

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The things Colt discovered from his captive were quite astonishing. It turned out that there was good news and bad news. But mostly there was just bad news. "So lemme get this straight," Colt stared down at his captive, arms folded and gun holstered. "Y'all can't get back? Yer stuck here just like me?" His tone told the man that he was astonished. Reckon that's the good news?!

Jose, as he was named, had explained that they had managed to jump the gap in the dimension much the same way that Colt had. Through a malfunction of one of the hyperspace gateways. In their case, it was a little different, however. They had caused the malfunction. Unfortunately, as they had found out and as Colt had already known, this method of travel was a one way ticket in. Even though they now knew how to overload a hyperspace gate, the fact remained that this world didn't have any. No gate to overload meant that there would be no return trip. They'd come in blind and paid for it.

Colt had managed to squeeze a little more information out of the man. Most of it was of little use to him, though. As just a hired mercenary, he knew little of the ship Mark Gillman had stolen, and even less of the plans he had laid out. One thing he had been sure of, however was that they now had money. "So what do ya reckon they're gonna do now't they got what they came fer?" Jose asked him.

The question was rhetorical, but Colt answered it anyway. "They're gonna lay low fer a while. Reckon there ain't nothin' else fer'n outlaw t'do when'e goes'n pulls a successful heist." Colt was sure that he hadn't heard the last of Angel Eyes, but he knew it would be a while before the man showed his face again.

After he finished questioning Jose, he had the man taken up the river. The police were even nice enough to reward him, as they now had bounties out on Jose and the rest of Gillman's crew. Colt smiled flipping the money through his fingers as he walked down the front steps of the police station. "Good thang too." Colt opined. "Reckon I'm'a gonna need some extra money ta throw 'round with all the work I got cut out fer me." The sun was setting as Colt mounted his motor cycle once more. Colt revved the engine, intending on starting his researchat home.

Colt turned the Stellar Cycle westward. As he took off down the road, he thought about how he must look. A tired out cowboy riding a motorcycle into the sunset.

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