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[DECK-01] SD-01 Stampede Mix-Up

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    [DECK-01] SD-01 Stampede Mix-Up

    Herdland - Digital Entertainment Country Kingdom

    [DECK-01] SD-01 Stampede Mix-Up.
    By Darrel Vanwinkle (Lord Pouchlaw)

    Chapter One.

    Steven Eric Duke was just a little upset over the latest move their family was having to perform after his father lost the latest election and Mr. Duke had stated that if he lost the election, he would not remain dwelling in the crooked town where the ballot stuffing old mayor was residing. Steven was not surprised as there seemed to be more ballots than adult citizens in their current town. And no one in town had questioned it. Steven had bright red spiky hair, green eyes and tanned skin. He was fond of plaid western shirts and blue jeans. He also had brown leather work boots. He was just barely nineteen years old, while his older sister, Louise Anne was twenty-three years old.

    His father, Lionel Michael Duke, had accepted a mayor's job in one of the animated worlds but he was being quiet about the exact locale. His mother, Leila Cecelia Farms-Duke, was going to be holding a home off campus in another animated world where his sister was planning on schooling. Acme Looniversity of Mythos Bay. This meant that the lady folk would be living on a different world while the men folk would be on the other world. His father's new job had better be as nice as his father thought it was.

    Steven carried his footlocker out to the car and got into the back seat to wait for the rest of the family to emerge and join him.

    When his sister arrived with a small cosmetic bag, Steven asked, "Where are your clothes, Louise?"

    Louise replied, "My scholarship permits me to get a new wardrobe at the college. And I needed new clothes; even mom said my old set was falling apart."

    Then their parents emerged from the rental house and more luggage along with Lionel's dog, a working class retriever, was loaded into the car.

    As they were driving out of town, they had just barely left the city limits and had topped the hill outside the community where they saw nearly the entire city populace with banners and signs. Most read as "We will miss you, Duke family." Although a few signs by young people read as "Your handiwork is better than all of our carpenters and plumbers, Steven!" A third sign read as "We voted for you, Lionel!" Steven said, "Dad, this is nearly the majority of the town gathered out here. Adults and children."

    Lionel waved at the townsfolk as they drove on down the highway.

    At the first animation world transport station, Lionel unpacked his dog and luggage while Steven unloaded his footlocker. Leila got behind the wheel and drove the car on toward the college transport station. As the men and dog approached the transport check in point, a raccoon wearing western clothes and a white leather vest met the humans as the passport agent checked their passes carefully. "Mayor Lionel Duke? Thank you for accepting our invitation to help us govern over our town. I assume the Republican cheated?"

    Lionel remarked, "Stuffed the ballots all the way. I cannot prove he did but nearly the entire town turned out outside the city limits to see us off when we left and the old mayor was not present among them. Steven, you go ahead with your footlocker and I'll be along shortly with Mr. MacCoonis." And as Steven carried his footlocker on his back toward the transport star gate, no one noticed when the star gate flickered when the young man approached to step through the energy field.

    After Steven passed through, an alarm sounded to indicate that the destination was not reached safely. Security technicians immediately started going over the star gate's programming. They soon announced that sabotage had been put in place to send humans to an alternate destination. Lionel demanded to know where his son had been sent to. Checking security cameras, they soon saw the crooked mayor setting a destination into the star gate the moment it detected a Duke human adult approaching the gate.

    Apparently the destination was simply a string of random numbers which started with the numbers of 4-15-14-11-5-25-4-5-13-15-3-18-1-20. Sabotaging a star gate was grounds for criminal proceedings in a court of law. The old mayor had fucked up finally by being filmed performing the deed. The Star Gate technicians said, "We have determined that his arrival world was Herdland, a zone within the Digital Entertainment Country Kingdom. It had been off limits to visitation due to ironing out the arrival conditions. We will do all we can to get your son out of there. But be warned, arrivals are changed into the local species. He won't look like a human when located. But again, we will do all we can to get him restored to normal. And now for another bit of bad news... there is a time difference between Earth and Herdland."

    "During the short time of his entering," started another technician. "A few weeks have already passed for Steven. If he is clever, he will survive until rescued."

    The Planet Authority Lady in charge of safe visitation said, "We will be having that man arrested for attempting to get rid of you, Mr. Duke. But how did he learn that you would be coming here? I find that questionable."

    Lionel remarked, "That's a good question. I told no one; not even my family members. I was super careful about making my plans. The only time I mentioned the destination was to the gate authority last night over the phone. I suppose the old mayor had my phone lines tapped. The time-date stamps on your videos show that he made these changes this morning."

    He sighed. "I hope Steven is as crafty as he was back home. As long as he is able to retain his well toned body, he will be fine."

    MacCoonis had the star gate set to his western town in the coon's animated world and he escorted Lionel and his dog through the star gate.

    At the former town where the old mayor was smugly sitting in his office making more crooked plans, the entire city was (without warning) seized and put on lock down by the National Guard of that state. FBI agents invaded the mayor's office with their guns at the ready and the old mayor was arrested for industrial sabotage and attempted murder. Naturally, he played it smooth and maintained his innocence. UNTIL... he got into court and the incriminating video showing him by recognizable face and clothes changing the destination coordinates of the star gate to get rid of his former political opponent was shown to the jury and those in the peanut gallery. His demeanor fell all to pieces at that point as he started spouting off false accusations about Lionel Duke and his family.

    Testimony from towns citizens owning businesses in the city in question further incriminated the old mayor as all of them gave testimonials of Steven's professional craftsmanship.

    End of Chapter One.

    Chapter Two.

    Backtracking a few weeks in Herdland... Steven knew something was wrong when the ground beneath his feet dropped unexpectedly out from under him when passing through the star gate and he crashed into the dusty ground with his footlocker directly on top of him.

    His next waking moments was laying on his back in what appeared to be a one-room old time doctor's office. Despite hearing the doctor in the next room speaking to what sounded like a cowboy, his latest distraction was noting the horse's muzzle sticking out of his face. "What's wrong with my face? Whom put the horse mask on me?" Reaching up with one hand, he noted that his hand was covered in fur as he touched his muzzle's lips. "It's not just the mask; it seems to be a full body suit."

    "But my lips and tongue move when I speak through the mask. Oh my fucking god... I've been changed into a talking horse."

    Looking down toward his lower legs, he saw his one-toed horse hoofs. "I hope I can learn to balance and walk on these stupid things."

    He swung his legs and hoofs off the side of the examining table and carefully holding on to the table with his powerful arms and furry hands, He made the attempt to stand up next to the doctor's examining table. What he expected to be an embarrassing fall to the floor never happened as he found his new body's balance and then he saw his bright red tail and caught sight of his bright red mane. "At least my hair color is the same as before. I'm not vain, but I need to look in a mirror." His hand fur color was Sandy Blond.

    As he was looking for a mirror, the Pinto colored doctor came into the room just as Steven saw his footlocker laying nearby.

    The Pinto doctor as well as the dark chocolate thoroughbred saw him kneel down and carefully mess with the combination lock on the footlocker and actually open the damned thing. It contained cloth/elastic undergarments, a spare set of brown leather work boots, cloth/elastic knee high socks, several denim blue jean pants and multiple varieties of plaid work shirts, some short sleeved while others were long sleeved for Winter weather. then he found his hand held shaving mirror with his shaving supplies, cleansers and deodorants.

    "Oh good, my eyes are the right color!" There were also books and magazines as well as several bottles of leather working oil in the footlocker. He closed it up and re-locked the combination lock on it. Then as he hefted up his footlocker, the Pinto doctor wearing country styled cloth and black leathers said, "He doesn't look all that injured to me, Clyde. I guess you got lucky when you found him." Steven quickly turned and was looking directly at the two anthro stallions. "Steven Duke, former human from Earth."

    The thoroughbred said, "Clyde Coppola, I own and operate the Copper Hills Ranch outside of this town. We could always use new ranch hands to help take care of the ranch and our cattle. You implied you were a hard worker despite your impressive body."

    Steven said, "Straight. I like girls. First stallion that plays with my ass gets the fuck beat out of them. Even if they think they are helping me get clean in the shower. Ask first; don't just assume that I am okay with being touched."

    The Pinto doctor said, "I'm Dr. Pinto, the only doctor in Herdland. Clyde found you muzzle down in the dirt outside of his ranch and he brought you to me to check your health."

    Clyde commented, "That trunk of yours is heavy. But seeing you handle it as if it was nothing is impressive. How would you like a job at my place? And I have a mare."

    Dr. Pinto said, "That might be a good idea, Steven. If the authorities get to looking for you later, it would be better if you were close to your crash site."

    Steven asked, "Do you have any other ranch hands?"

    Clyde replied, "A few; although they were obviously not on the ball during your arrival since they could have been first to greet you rather than my going around to check their work at the fences. I would assume they were all over at Bare Back Farm yet again playing games and having sex. Makes me wonder sometimes why I even employ them. Are you more into fences or the smithy?"

    Steven smiled. "When I tell you what my specialty is, either your mare or you will think you've hit the jackpot." And he began describing his skills in being the ultimate craftsman in fixing and repairing just about everything around the home. Plumbing; metal working; floor, wall and ceiling repair; furniture repair; insulation; roof repair; mechanical alteration; as well as some sewing knowledge and leather working. "And when I am not working, I like to lift weights and keep my body in shape for the ladies."

    He then added, "I don't think much of sex; quite a useless endeavor unless you are starting a family."

    Clyde remarked with a smile. "Some stallions would call their dongs an important muscle."

    Steven smirked, "A stallion's dong can be measured by the kind of mare they have claimed. Or in some cases, the other way around..." He winked with a knowing grin.

    Clyde said, "My mare is going to enjoy your humor. One of my sons hangs out with a native brave stallion. They are sometimes gone all day long but my son comes home clean. That's more than I can say for my ranch hands. At the ranch, you may choose where you'd like to dwell and work, Steven. What has your fancy the most in your own opinion? With your humor, I cannot wait to hear the answer."

    Steven smiled again. "The smithy where I can have access to the branding and tattooing irons and needles. Ever hear of a gelding?"

    Clyde was laughing again as he escorted Steven out of the doctor's office and off toward the Copper Hills Ranch outside of town.

    End of Chapter Two.


      Chapter Three.

      At the ranch, Clyde's mare, Sharlene called out, "You boys need to come home for dinner! Clyde is bringing a stud worker home!" She shook her head. "I swear, I think they would rather be pervert gay stallions than decent colts whom want to please their parents."

      A local native stallion's son turned to one of Clyde's sons and said, "Your mother is calling you and your brothers home. Apparently your father hired someone new to work in the forge. Do you think the new stallion would repair my shaman's broken staff?" The son said, "You can only ask, Running-Feather. I hope he is more decent than those other lazy stallions whom go gambling at Bare Back Farm and return smelling like dirty ass sex."

      As Clyde and Steven approached the front gates of the ranch, several teenage colt boys and girls quickly herded into the back of the ranch house in a hurry. Steven remarked, "You have daughters?" Clyde replied, "Two. I don't know whom the other fillies belong to yet. But if they want to date my sons, they better be able to prove they can work for it. I am not fond of lazy horse flesh. But my mare, Sharlene, is sure to love your humor."

      Inside the ranch house, Steven and Clyde washed their hands before taking seats at the family table. In addition to the native stallion, Running-Feather, there were Eight fillies along one side of the table and eight colt stallions along the other side. At the head of the table were Sharlene, Clyde and Steven. "This is a fine spread, Mrs. Coppola," Steven said with a smile. "You must have worked all afternoon on this."

      Sharlene remarked, "You have manners, young stallion. Although I'd imagine those will vanish after you've worked here for a while."

      Steven smiled. "I am Clyde's new Duke of all trades. I'll be managing the forge and repairing things around here." He then placed a napkin under his chin and he brought his hands up in front of himself as he bowed his head. "Come O'Lord, be our Guest, let this food of ours be blessed. Amen." He lifted his head and said, "Now we may eat safely. Yes, I was raised well with manners and with the respect of my sire and mare. In my family, all siblings pull their own weight to receive the blessings of the family."

      And he began filling his plate.

      Running-Feather lifted his head toward the ceiling and said, "Great Spirits... Clyde's new forger has beliefs different from our own. Please show kindness and watch over him as you would the rest of your people within this new land. I fear his resolve will be sorely tested." And then he lowered his head and he filled his plate. "May you find safety and luck in your work here in Copper Hills. I apologize if your lord is offended by the spirits."

      Steven said, "My Lord is without form and can take on any appearance to guide his flock."

      After dinner, Steven and Running-Feather headed out to the forge to get the place ready for work. While cleaning the forge hopper, Steven came across an adult mare's skull. "Uh oh... I can't work here, Running-Feather. This is a clear omen to leave. Do you know another forging locale I can set up and work at?"

      Running-Feather looked at the feminine skull. "I often wondered what happened to Clyde's first wife. There is an unused forge at the train depot near what used to be a General Store. Before they built the town, the depot General Store doubled as the post office and telegram office for the rail line. Do you want me to take you there?"

      Steven grabbed his footlocker and said, "Yes please."

      Leaving the mare skull on the work table facing the doors, Steven and Running-Feather departed the Coppola Ranch and arrived late at the old depot Forge station. There was an opening in one wall facing the nearby rails to the North and it was obviously cold inside the forge building. "We'll have to repair that hole if we are to have warmth in here." Steven said. "Where can I bunk down at without freezing." Running-Feather pointed toward a wooden ladder leading up into the loft. "The space up there is wind shielded."

      He then added, "You may not like what I am about to say, Steven... But you will need my help to stay warm in this building tonight when I share my body warmth with you."

      Steven said, "Emergency assistance so I don't freeze and you are asking first. I am normally straight; but I will accept your help tonight."

      Running-Feather then said, "I will also help get this place operational. Repairing my grandfather's staff is important."

      Within the hayloft, Steven and Running-Feather removed their leggings while the native brave unpacked a native colored blanket as he laid down in the hay with the former human and covered them both with the blanket. After that, Steven felt Running-Feather's shaft sliding into his anal docket as the native stallion held him as closely to himself as possible which quickly began to make all the space under the blanket feel like Summer time. Running-Feather kissed Steven's neck lightly before saying, "See you in the morning."

      He then added, "You may do to me as I am doing to you if you feel that it is only fair. Our native spirits would not frown if you did so. Sleep well."

      Steven knew he was straight; but there was something honestly likeable about Running-Feather that stirred feelings within the former human turned stallion. Maybe this meant he was bisexual instead of straight; Running-Feather did ask for permission in a polite way before proceeding toward keeping him from freezing in the middle of the night. Male-male interaction with a native American back on Earth never ever crossed his mind and... this wasn't half bad. As strange as it was to admit to himself. He actually liked this stallion.

      And the rest of the thoughts vanished as he drifted off to sleep sharing body heat with his new friend.

      End of Chapter Three.


        Chapter Four.

        The next morning, Steven awoke to find himself returning the favor with Running-Feather. He didn't know when he inserted himself into the native stallion brave. But as before, the whole experience just felt natural and fun. He knew his friend gave him permission to do this before they got some sleep. But he never thought he would ever do it.

        Running-Feather suddenly said, "I am glad you got over your fear of male on male sex. We have work to do when you are done back there."

        Steven asked, "When did I begin returning the favor with you?"

        Running-Feather smiled. "About an hour before sunrise. Don't worry; you were gentle with me. And clean."

        "I don't remember being awake at that time," remarked Steven as he checked himself. "I am going to need to use the bathroom soon and find a meal before we repair the building."

        "I'll show you where to release and help you get a meal later," was the reply.

        After the morning ritual was completed, a hammer, a saw, a bag of nails and lumber was purchased; repairs on the depot forge and shop was conducted. This was not to be a one day repair job, however. Not only did they repair the ground floor, but the repairs to the loft bedroom was also worked on. Sleeping on the floor was all well and good for Running-Feather; but Steven was a mattress and box spring person; he also needed appropriate blankets and bedding for the bed. Cleaning out the forge and acquiring fresh coal for the hopper was to be next. Getting a spare anvil from the smithy in town was actually easier than thought since the smithy had one that was cracked and he was about to throw it out into the town dump. Steven knew how to repair cracked anvils; but he didn't let on that it wasn't a lost cause; getting a free anvil with smithy hammer was ideal.

        While repairing the anvil, he removed all former ownership markings from the hunk of metal and he carefully placed his own marking on the anvil. As Steven did this, Running-Feather made a secret trip out to the Coppola ranch where he acquired an old box springs and a like-new mattress from the family attic. He also convinced Sharlene to donate bedding, sheets and warm blankets for a homeless stallion he claimed to be helping. Sharlene not suspecting a thing gave Running-Feather what he was asking for.

        Returning to the depot forge and utilizing the new stairs they had built inside the building, he carted the bedding gear upstairs and began setting it up for Steven and himself to use. In the meantime, an Army Stallion officer from the army fort to the North came by and asked Steven questions; in the end, Steven convinced the Captain to permit him to reopen the depot forge and general store to carry supplies for the army stallions to the North since the town was often cheating them. He also negotiated a load of coal.

        The full repairs took all week.

        Then Steven was fully open and already had army, miner and ranch stallion customers coming in nearly every day.

        One afternoon, the unexpected set of customers came in while the army captain and Running-Feather were both there. Clyde Coppola and the local Marshal came into the forge and the moment Clyde saw Steven working at the anvil, he exclaimed, "I thought you were dead! I saw the skull in the ranch forge building and I told the Marshal! Why didn't you stay at my ranch to do the job that I offered you?"

        Steven explained that when he started cleaning out the forge for fresh usage, he found the mare's skull in the bottom of the Forge belly itself. A clear omen not to stay there.

        Clyde remarked, "A mare's skull? I honestly thought one of my hired hands had killed you."

        The Marshal said, "The town doctor told me whom you were, Steven Duke, and what you are waiting for during your time in this world. You are hoping the authorities come to rescue you and get you back to your father. I contacted the star gate through one of my contact means to let them know where you arrived in our little world. Why is there an Army Fort Captain here? I recognize his uniform."

        Steven replied, "I made a deal with the Army Stallions in regards to the Depot Forge and Army Surplus General Store. Not only am I working here but I live upstairs in a part of the hay loft converted into a decent bedroom. There is a wall with door separating the hay loft from my living quarters. I bartered for most of the goods I got during the repairs with Running-Feather's assistance."

        Clyde looked sincere for a moment. "I am sorry the mare skull spooked you, Steven. The Ranch was owned by another stallion before I purchased it from auction cheap. Now I know why it was so cheap. Some stallion had killed his mare and disposed of the body in a gruesome manner. I never bothered to clean out the forge to make it fresh for use. The former owner skipped town after his mare disappeared. I have only been married to one mare, Running-Feather. Sharlene is that mare. She's a great cook; we have several children."

        He then added, "My one son is wondering why you don't spend time with him anymore."

        Running-Feather replied, "I was earning a repair job from Steven by helping him to get this place functional. My grandfather's staff which Steven only recently repaired last night. You once voiced that you didn't want me hanging out with your son and now that I am helping someone else, your son is demanding that I come back. You cannot win for losing where your son is concerned. I obey your original orders and now, your son is crying for me."

        The Marshal said, "He's got you there, Clyde. I recall your saying you didn't want any son of yours running around in nothing but a leather flap."

        Clyde remarked, "My son regards his time with you as a friendship. He has no one else and it's not really crying as much as bitching at me for killing his friendship."

        End of Chapter Four.


          Chapter Five.

          Several nights later, Steven properly closed up the general store and the depot forge before locking the door and heading up to the loft bedroom. Within the small bedroom, Steven saw Running-Feather laying on the bed with Clyde's teenage son, a young colt stallion named Isaac Coppola. "What are you guys doing? I'm about to get some sleep."

          Isaac replied, "Running-Feather said I could spend the night with him."

          Steven grabbed a warm blanket out of their clean bedding chest along with a spare pillow and one of his reading books. "I'll be out in the hay loft for privacy."

          Isaac said, "I don't understand. Running-Feather said you wouldn't mind the extra body heat."

          Steven turned back to face the two on the bed. "I'm straight! I don't lift my tail for just any guy! You can stay with Running-Feather but if I catch your cock near my tail hole, your father will receive it as a lunch meal in brown paper butchering stock! I need my sleep! Goddamned perverts!" And he opened the door to the outer loft and went through it to find a good comfy spot to get some decent sleep at; by himself.

          Running-Feather sighed. "I forgot he would react that way. I helped to keep him from freezing for a week; but always with his consent. Now I fear he hates me."

          Isaac said with a trembling lip, "It's my fault. I should have let you do the talking."

          Running-Feather remarked, "Try to get some sleep. He wasn't raised like we were."

          Isaac got up and went over to the hay loft door and stuck his head through it. "Steven... Please don't be mad at Running-Feather. I was spending time with him so our friendship didn't crumble. I was not familiar with how you were brought up. When I realized that I spent a little too long here at the depot with Running-Feather, he said I could spend the night and go face my parents in the morning. I said the wrong thing to you. Running-Feather would be helping me to stay warm, while being in the middle. Please don't be hateful."

          Steven had not laid down yet as he looked over at the open loft door. "Perhaps Running-Feather forgot his schedule that we had talked about a few days ago. He's been spending a little too much time around us modern stallions and he needs to take his grandfather's staff back to him. He is supposed to head back to his tribe tomorrow morning. Then I'll have to run this place without his assistance. The army stallions have offered to have a few of their trainees come in and help me; but that Captain is the only one that I like."

          He then lowered his head and somberly said, "I'm sorry I exploded at you. But I'm not like every other stallion around here."

          Isaac suggested with a hopeful look on his face, "Suppose I work for you until Running-Feather returns. He is a likeable stallion as you likely already learned."

          Steven replied, "It's hot and sweaty work around the forge. If I thought you were as good with numbers as I trained Running-Feather to be, then you could do his job."

          Isaac said, "Running-Feather once said that I was a quick study; my father would more approve of my being with you than my spending time with the native stallion."

          Steven stated, "I can give you a trial run; you better get Clyde's permission before you just show up to work for me. He had the Marshal with him the last time he came around."

          He then headed back as he said, "One night with two other stallions can't hurt. Just keep your hands and penis away from me." And he re-entered passed Isaac and said to Running-Feather, "Remember that you have to go report in to your grandfather in the morning. Isaac has offered to do your job while you are gone. I'll miss you since you were always polite during your time with me. You will be in the middle, Isaac on the other side of you and I'll be over here."

          Running-Feather smiled since Isaac saved the friendship with Steven. "Just remember that I will be nearby if you need me in the middle of the night."

          The night was soon upon them as Steven was out pretty fast. Somewhere around three A.M., Steven awoke to shaking from Running-Feather's powerful hands. "Wake up!"

          As Steven sat up, He saw burning smoke in the bedroom air and it seemed to be coming from both the hayloft and the forge downstairs. "I securely sealed off the flue last night before coming up here! Where is Isaac?"

          Running-Feather replied, "I sent him after some water! I think the locals whom were tired of your business did this! Get your clothes on and gather what you care about!"

          He was quickly down the stairs into the forge where he grabbed his grandfather's staff from where it rested.

          Picking up his footlocker and positioning it on his back, He took a run through the hayloft door straight through the inferno just beyond that door and he leaped out the outer loft doors which were wide open and Steven knew they were closed the night before. Landing just beyond the other side of the tracks, he set the footlocker down and returned to the forge whereupon he hefted up the anvil and sledgehammer before darting back outside to where he left his footlocker.

          When he arrived, he saw two stallions trying to force open his footlocker. He dropped the anvil and with a mighty smithing undercut swing, he bashed the closest stallion in the jaw which caused a shattering sound. Then a second strike was performed on the second stallion's groin, leaving the stallion in a fetal position.

          Glancing over at the surplus store, he saw that the entire depot was in flames! They had barely gotten out of there!

          End of Chapter Five.


            Chapter Six.

            Come the morning, the Marshal and the town doctor were on the scene along with the undertaker and an entire contingent of army soldiers from the nearby fort. Steven explained what they awoke to in the middle of the early morning. And then he pointed his smithing hammer to the prone stallions nearby whom he caught trying to break into his steam trunk.

            Steven then glared at the undertaker stallion. "WHOM TOLD YOU THAT THERE WOULD BE BODIES AT THE DEPOT, UNDERTAKER?"

            The undertaker stallion started stumbling in his blathering since Steven was aiming his hammer at him.

            The Marshal said, "Tell the truth or else I'll let Steven use that hammer on you like they got!"

            The undertaker stallion sighed. "The town banker and the town smithy said that Steven had to go; he was putting them out of business. They said if I came out here in the morning, there would be work for me. As in unmarked graves. Exact words." He then looked fearfully at Steven. "Please don't hit me with that hammer! Word is that you had your god bless it to be Holy! I don't want to die!"

            Steven remarked as he lowered the hammer, "As I told you army stallions and later the Marshal... the town has been cheating the public and the army for years. And then, an honest schmuck like me comes in and they feel threatened. Trying to murder me, Running-Feather and Clyde's son Isaac should not be tolerated. Not to mention, their arson attack was on an army owned depot. I dread to think what punishment they are going to invent because of this."

            The Army stallion Captain turned to his Commander. "Sir, permission to escort Steven Duke whom still has a contract with us to our personal forge at the fort so he can resume business there. Running-Feather will be given permission to return to help Steven since he was helping the nice boy anyway. I like Steven myself but for clean and respectable purposes. He was not wrong about this town's merchants, sir. He gave me a numbers and prices lesson when I first met him. The boy knows his craft."

            The Army stallion Commander said, "Permission granted, Captain. As for the rest of you, this town is to be officially closed and razed off the face of the map. And since we also own the ell rail line that came down here, the rail and train supplies access to this area are to be legally removed. Outlaws will be informed that it will be perfectly alright to attack and harass this former Western town."

            The Marshal remarked, "Now wait a minute! That would make my job tons harder! What is Clyde to do about his family?"

            Steven pointed his hammer at the Marshal now. "Not so fast, Marshal. When you initially saw the Army Captain in my forge, you reacted as if you thought you were being caught red-hoofed. You acted as if your masters of whose cocks you have been sucking were about to be closed down. Not the reaction and muzzle expression of a real law stallion. Care to explain your behavior to the Commander? And also, what happened to the investigation regarding the mare's skull that Running-Feather and I found?"

            He then said, "Isaac told us that you told Clyde to forget about it since there was no case to investigate. Were you involved?"

            The Marshal was starting to turn red as he now realized why he didn't like this smart boy. And before he could pull his gun to shoot the strong shit... A bolt of lightning came out of the sky and floored the Marshal into the dusty ground. Standing nearby with Running-Feather was the venerable Native stallion shaman grandfather still holding his lightning rod in an up-risen position. "That worked better than usual, grandson. The spirits smile upon you."

            Running-Feather replied, "I really like Steven Duke, grandfather. He repaired your broken shaman staff the other day."

            The grandfather grinned. "You mean he repaired your shaman staff."

            The rest Steven didn't hear since the soldier stallions were placing the so-called Marshal under arrest and in cuffs. The army traveled across the western town to tell the locals that the town itself was being evacuated to get rid of disease and pestilence found within. The entire town was to be burned to the ground. Anyone staying would be branded as outlaws. When the banker and town smith tried to sneak out, they were caught and arrested before being locked into the jail itself which was then set ablaze.

            Clyde and family disassembled their entire ranch and loaded all of it into their wagons for the overland route to the army fort. Clyde was pissed when he learned about the depot.

            It took all day and the next two days as well, but by the evening of day three, Steven and Running-Feather were up and operating at the Army Fort's Forge and Surplus Store while living in a decent larger home a few buildings away. Running-Feather looked agitated since he learned that his grandfather had been grooming him as the new shaman for the tribe. A.K.A. the new tribal leader. Repairing the staff was another test to see if he could get it done. His grandfather had broken his own staff on purpose as part of the test.

            And it was worse that Steven had forged a metal lightning rod down the center of the staff to prevent a second breakage. Even Running-Feather thought it was a smart idea at the time and now, no one could break it ever again. "I feel like the world's dumbest Native stallion. How could I not see that grandfather was testing me with the shaman staff?" Steven smiled as he replied, "The repair is not foolproof, Running-Feather. It could be broken again. Had I used the metal that keeps my steam trunk locked, then forget it."

            Running-Feather arched an eye looking hopeful. "What metal is on your lock and how could the staff be re-broken?"

            Steven replied, "It is a compound metal that I don't know how to make. It is called Titanium Steel. As for the staff, just let a train snap it in two by running over it."

            The Native stallion's eyes lit up as if he was seeing the light of salvation.

            End of Chapter Six.


              Chapter Seven.

              A few nights later came the night of a local super event that Steven had never seen before in this particular way. The full moon appeared in the sky in an almost pulsing manner and it had a Native halo around it. Running-Feather had convinced Steven to bring his steam trunk outside. Then it happened.

              Running-Feather placed one of his mating necklaces around Steven's neck and within full view of the moon, he hugged the former human and kissed him on the muzzle!

              Steven felt mystic ripples cascade all over his undercoat as a shaft of moon light came out of the sky and illuminated a column of red light nearby.

              Running-Feather sighed. "Your ride is here, Steven. I'll miss you. I-I-... I love you. You have taught me so much. I wish you didn't have to leave."

              Steven hefted his footlocker up on his back and he returned a kiss on the Native stallion's muzzle lips. "I know I said I was straight initially, but... I love you too, Running-Feather. Spirits willing, perhaps I can be permitted to come back someday. I initially hated changing into a fresh stallion, but you have opened my eyes. Gods and spirits, I am going to miss sleeping with you. On the other side, I am only human. I've never had a power before, but spirits willing, perhaps they will let me have the ability to cross the barrier at will. Thank you for the necklace; I'm sorry I don't have anything to give you in return. Except my undying love in which you taught me was valueless. I need to go before the light turns off."

              Running-Feather said, "Oh Steven... you have given me the crest of hope and freedom. Think of me often. Love doesn't have to mean sex."

              Steven with his steam trunk secured on his back stepped into the moonlight hesitantly. He was torn since he had learned how to open up from Running-Feather and this seemed like a betrayal for the love given freely to him. "Great Spirits, please grant me the ability to return when I like for Running-Feather's heart and feelings. He has taught me much." And he stepped forward into the moonlit corridor.

              And then Steven felt as if his world was being turned upside-down. He held on to his footlocker as he then felt the fall on the other side.

              When he next awoke, he seemed to be in the back of an Army covered wagon being checked out by both a raccoon and a skunk in military doctor garb. A wolf military officer was standing just outside of the wagon talking to a Native coyote from one of the many tribes along the rail route. "And you say you found him in the exact spot where we wanted to have a fort once upon a time?" The reply was, "That trunk of his is heavy, Commander. When I saw the name on the trunk, I sent word to your people immediately."

              Steven once again had bright red spiky hair, green eyes and tanned skin. He was fond of plaid western shirts and blue jeans. He also had brown leather work boots. He was just barely nineteen years old. And thankfully he was human once again while still wearing the native stallion necklace. He remarked, "You said you recognized my name on my footlocker. I take it that my father is still helping MacCoonis. What world am I on?"

              The skunk military doctor replied, "This is the Zoologically Owned New Extension, often shortened to the ZONE. The authorities haven't initiated your rescue as yet, Steven."

              The raccoon military doctor asked, "How did you get back into our world from DECK's Herdland?"

              The wolf commander turned to pay attention to this reply as he was curious himself since the Star Gate technicians had not finished their calculations as yet.

              Steven replied, "The Native stallion tribe called the event the Spirit's Super Moon. They said the Spirits would help a worthy soul to make the crossing. A feat accomplished through my honesty and good deeds for their noble citizens. Even though I am straight... I fell in love with the shaman's grandson whom helped me to do most of these good deeds. And now I am saddened that I may never see him again. Although, he gave me this necklace as a gift of his love."

              The wolf commander looked to the Native Coyote and asked, "What do you make of this, Sand-Tracker?"

              Sand-Tracker remarked, "His body and his mind may be with us; but his heart is elsewhere. The Spirits obviously know more than they are letting on. I must commune with them."

              The wolf commander stated, "So you are saying that this is some sort of spiritual lesson they are enacting upon our nice boy? Seems mighty cruel. But what do I know?"

              Sand-Tracker shook his coyote muzzle. "I place no explanation in place where Spirits and Gods are involved. Steven may have asked for this himself."

              The wolf commander then said, "Let's get the boy back to his father in Masked Canyon. Mayor Lionel Duke will be glad to get his son back."

              The trip back down South then commenced as Steven did ask questions about his rail side arrival zone since the army mentioned that they once wanted their fort built there. He explained the type of business he had been doing for the Army Stallions. But when he mentioned the dishonest dealings the original South town in Herdland had been involved in, the wolf commander took special note and attention. He recalled MacCoonis mentioning the corruption and activities in town before their old mayor left town.

              It was too much of a coincidence that the other world was having the same problems and Steven had found them out.

              As the army covered wagon came into town, Steven noted that the depot location had the army fort sitting on top of it, but otherwise seemed identical. The army rail ell ended at the army fort. The town otherwise was identical to the one in Herdland right down to the jail, mayor's office, bank, saloon, general store, smithy and undertaker's office. Steven had an instant dislike of this place. The wolf commander heard the young man mutter, "I cannot stay in this town."

              End of Chapter Seven.