The Saga of Miles Forrest

Charlie and I arrived in Silverton amongst a stir in the crowd.  There were several folk gathered at the station and on up the street to the Wells Fargo office.  It was the first time I had ever seen people line up for a parade of gold bullion going down the street.
    We were welcomed as we stepped off the train by Ken Maxwell, a Secret Service Agent.  He was tall and very thin, which made him look like a stringbean especially as he was topped off with a derby.  Walking down the street to the Wells Fargo office he filled us in on the protocol of the shipment.
    These people had seen gold shipped out, but I could see what all the higgledy-piggledy was about for there was a contingent of soldiers from the relatively new Fort Crawford over in Montrose.  Six of them were standing guard outside the office.  As we approached one brought his rifle to bear until Agent Maxwell spoke with him.  Inside the office I nodded at Morgan Appleby and Dick Fletcher, both Wells Fargo men that I knew, a new man looked up when he saw them wave.
    There were six more guards in the office posted in the four corners and two by the safe.  Maxwell took me to the desk to introduce me to the agent in charge.
    “I should have known it would be someone like you,” I said in disgust.  “Always sittin’ down on the job if I remember right.”
    The man jerked up, anger showing in his features, then a genuine smile broke forth through his moustache.  “Miles Forrest!” he exclaimed.  “I would have thought you’d be pushing up daisies by now.”  He reached forth his hand to shake mine.  It was Josh Gibbons, an agent I worked with in the short spell I was in the Secret Services employ.
    “Ah, you two know each other?” asked Maxwell.
    “No!” exclaimed Gibbons, “I always allow strangers to insult me.”  He then shifted his attention to a man at the other desk.  “This is Lt. Oliver Rosecrans Evanston; he’s in charge of the army patrol.  Lieutenant Evanston, I want you to meet Deputy U.S. Marshal Miles Forrest.”
    I reached out my hand, but he didn’t bother to stand, nor bother to take mine.  Reckon they don’t teach manners and proper etiquette to officers anymore.  “Lieutenant,” I gave a nod since he didn’t take my hand and I pointed to Charlie.  “This here is Sheriff of the county, Charlie Gold.  If we can be of help…”
    I didn’t finish, as he abruptly interrupted.  “We have it all under control!”
    Looking over at Gibbons, I shrugged as if to say, “is he for real?”
    “Miles, we have one more agent who is currently out to lunch.  I’ll introduce him when he gets back; fellow by the name of Troy Linton.  Have a seat and I’ll fill you in on the plan.”
    Glancing at the Lieutenant I noticed that he had propped his feet up on the desk and was leaning back, very nonchalant acting as if he were above shipping gold to the treasury in the capitol.
    After I sat, I nodded with my head toward the lieutenant.  “Kinda brash for a youngster, ain’t he?”
    “He thinks he’s another Custer,” remarked Gibbons.
    Looking at the man again, “Well, Josh, I can tell you he’s no Custer.  I served with the General, and sure he was arrogant, up to a point, but he was also courteous and very appreciative of his troops.  Reckon he’s more like his name sake.”
    Gibbons gave a shrug as if to say that’s enough about him then got down to business.  “Here’s the plan.  It’s no big secret, I wish it was, but these troops will stay with the train until we reach Las Animas where they will be replaced by troops from Fort Lyons.  They will then travel with us to Kansas City.”  He gave a smile and wiped down his chin.  “You’ll be leaving us there.”
    “Why bring Sheriff Gold up here?  He has no jurisdiction outside the county,” I inquired.
    Gibbons looked over at Charlie, “No meaning to slight him, but I wanted it done mainly as a course of protocol.  I’ve worked with law officers enough over the years that to trample on some’s jurisdiction they can get riled.  The sheriff will not be going with us but I wanted to include him in the plan.”
    Charlie nodded with a smile.  I knew he wasn’t hankering to travel all the way to Kansas City, in fact, neither was I but it was part of my job.  I liked knowing that Josh Gibbons was in charge of the operation.  
    “We have two hours before the turn around is complete, and the cars placed appropriately,” Gibbons began again.  “I couldn’t say much about the Silverton-Durango train, but was able to get the passenger cars behind the baggage car.  From Durango to Las Animas there will be only one passenger car.  I had hoped to have none with us, but can’t stop the power of the mighty railroad completely.”
    “You fellows hungry?” asked Gibbons.  “No, Molly prepared us a lunch which we ate on the way up.  I could use a cup of coffee though, if there’s some made.”  I knew there would be or Appleby and Fletcher were falling down on the job.
    “Gilcrist!” hollered Gibbons and the new Wells Fargo man lifted his head.  “Would you be so kind to bring the three of us some coffee!” it was not a question.
    He had just sat the coffee down on the desk when in through the door walked a man dressed similar to Agent Maxwell and Gibbons.  They just needed to do something about dressing more appropriately.  What they were wearing might be fine back in Philadelphia or Boston, but they were a dead giveaway in Colorado.
    I turned my head to see the man then frowned.  I peered over at Charlie to see his expression.  His was frowning, his forehead all wrinkled up.
    Gibbons waved him over to the desk.  “Marshal Forrest, Sheriff Gold, this is our other agent Troy Linton…