varitas的炼金工房

现在炉中火已烧成灰烬,灯光也摇摇欲坠

Four Score and Eleven years ago our fathers brought forth on this land, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
八十七年前,我们的先辈们在这个大陆上给我们带来了一个新的共和国,她受孕于自由的理念,并献身于一切人生来平等的理想。

This portion of the battlefield is where a great man, only one year past, laid down his life for this nation. The normal course of our lives has become steeped in death. Engaged as we are in the great civil war, we lay down our lives in the defense of the propositions of our fathers. That equality and freedom has begat strife and discord is a cause for despair, but the land under our feet is proof that we must stand steadfastly beside those principles.
就在一年前,一位伟人在此处的战场为国捐躯。如今,死亡在我们的生活中已无处不在。但为了守护我们先辈的信仰,我们在这场内战中依然视死如归。平等与自由的信条带来了不和与绝望,但为了我们脚下的土地,我们必须坚守这些信条。

This land flourishes. It receives the sun and yields up the fruits of the earth. Only one year past the greatest loss this nation has ever known, the land grows. I do not say this to diminish the memory of those that fought here. Great men consecrated this land with blood that will call out to us until eternity falls and we await god's judgement. Yet their loss did not destroy this land. It did not render unto us the fruits of that violence. Like our fathers before us, those who lost their lives here gave their fullest devotion to the principles of freedom.
就在一年前,这个国家遭遇了前所未有的灾难,但如今大地依然在阳光的照耀下生生不息,茁壮成长。我们不会因此淡忘那些在此奋战至死、血洒疆场的勇士,我们对他们的怀念将永无止境、直至末日。但他们的牺牲并未令这片土地分崩离析、令我们饱尝苦果。正如我们的先辈们一般,他们是为了守护自由的信条而牺牲的。

It is in their names that we must devote ourselves fully to the preservation of those principles. We must bring forth on this land a new birth of freedom. We must come together with our brothers and ensure that the proposition of our fathers does not pass forever from this land.
我们将以他们的名义奋战,为实践他们的信条而战,为让自由重获新生而战。让我们如兄弟般携起手来,共同守护我们先祖的土地与信念。

Abraham Lincoln, 1867. Remarks at Gettysburg on the one year anniversary of the assassination of Ulysses S. Grant and the Second Battle of Gettysburg.
亚伯拉罕·林肯,1867年。为纪念尤利西斯·格兰特遇刺暨第二次葛底斯堡战役一周年在葛底斯堡发表的演说。

The sun was sinking low on the horizon when the president stopped speaking. If for no other reason than avoiding an assassination of his own, she thought it was a good idea when he left to re-board the train that had brought him directly to the stage.
夕阳西斜,总统结束了演讲登上火车。为了避免重蹈被刺杀的覆辙,火车的铁轨直通演讲台。真是个好主意,她想。

Private Joanna Kirkland finished clapping and looked around for the newspapermen. That a gaggle of men had followed the 1st Suffragette Brigade to various events had bothered her only in that she'd went to fight because there supposedly weren't enough fighting men left to conscript.
乔安娜·柯克兰列兵停止鼓掌,四下寻找那些记者。她对一大群男人跟在第一“妇女参政论者1”师团屁股后面东奔西跑感到很不爽:她是因为听说男人数量不足才去应征入伍的。

She thought about the president, his speech, and the days to come. The sack of Richmond had turned the war against the South, perhaps for good this time. In days, she imagined, she would be fighting the Southern bastards in Maryland under General Sherman.
她想到了总统和他的演讲,还有他许诺的未来。里士满2的陷落改变了和南方人的战局,而且应该是往好的一面改变。她想或许有一天,她可以在谢尔曼将军3的指挥下在马里兰州和那些南方杂种们决一死战。

She gave only a little thought to what she might do after the war. Maybe go back to Pennsylvania. Maybe go into the west.
一个念头在她脑海中一闪而过:自己战后该何去何从?是回宾夕法尼亚,亦或是去西部?


PROCEED IMMEDIATELY TO RIDDLE WYOMING STOP INVESTIGATE LOSS OF SEVERAL AGENTS AND PARCELS STOP LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT PROVIDING ASSISTANCE STOP KEEP LOGS OF ALL ACTIVITIES THROUGHOUT
立即前往怀俄明州里德尔镇停止调查当地特工与包裹的损失阻止当地司法机关介入停止记录行动日志

Telegram to Agent Kirkland from the office of the Union Investigative Unit, 1878.
联邦事故处发给特工柯克兰的电报,1878年。

Mark Mayfield and Jim Johnson wondered at the beauty of the eclipsed sun, staring a bit too long at the sky. The hoof beats of a horse that wasn't hitched to their postal wagon stood out from the sudden silence. Both looked down at the horse's rider. A single man, unarmed, galloped towards them on a black horse.
被日蚀的奇观所吸引,马克·曼菲尔德与吉姆·约翰逊长久地注视着天空,直到一匹不属于他们的邮政马车的马蹄声打破了这寂静。二人看向那个骑手,只见他独身一人手无寸铁,骑在一匹黑马的马背上疾驰。

Neither man raised their rifle to draw a bead on the rider. Neither man wished to provoke a violent end, nor appear to be fearful in the eyes of the other. The rider came closer.
二人没有举枪射击骑手,既不打算以暴力解决问题,眼中也没有惧意。骑手越来越近了。

Joseph cleared his throat, "It's a frightful day to be riding alone! What uh, what business have you with us?"
约瑟夫清了清嗓子:“这日子一个人骑行可真吓人!那,你找我们有什么事?”

The rider didn't respond or slow down. He was almost upon them now. Both men gripped their rifles a bit tighter. The rider failed to slow. The eclipse was still ongoing, and in the darkness they couldn't make out the details of the man's face. Phillips felt sure, though, that the man was branded across both cheeks and along his hands and arms.
骑手既不回应也不减速,很快便离二人近在咫尺。二人握紧了手中的枪,但骑手丝毫没有放慢脚步,日食仍在继续,骑手的脸在黑暗中模糊不清。但不知为何,菲利普很确信骑手的双手双臂与双颊上满是烙印。

The two men relaxed when the rider passed them by. Joseph looked at Phillip and shook his head in amusement as the left side of his face exploded outward in a bloody spray. Phillip's motion to turn around and face the now stopped rider was interrupted by a bullet entering and exiting his neck. He slumped over, gurgling a protest.
骑手从二人身边擦身而过,让他们松了口气。约瑟夫看向菲利普,好奇地摇了摇头,随即左脸爆裂开来、血肉四溅。菲利普想要转身看向骑手,但骑手停了下来,一枪击穿了他的脖子。他倒在地上、发出汩汩的无声抗议。

The gunman produced a match from his pocket, and struck it near the canopy on the back of the wagon. The cloth lit up immediately, and in a few moments the entire back of the wagon was ablaze.
枪手在口袋上擦着了根火柴,扔到马车后座的棚盖上。篷布随即被点着了,不一会儿整俩马车就被烈焰所吞噬。

The horses at the front of the wagon, either out of fear or sensing the heat, neighed and bolted down the road, carrying the men and burning cargo along with them. The rider smirked under a wide brimmed hat and dropped the pistol he'd used. It disappeared before it reached the ground. Before the sun began to peek out from behind the moon, the man himself had also vanished.
马匹被高温与恐惧鞭笞着、拖着两具死尸与熊熊燃烧的马车在路上嘶吼狂奔。骑手在宽檐帽下露出一丝假笑,手枪从他手中滑落,在碰到地面之前便消失了。在太阳从月亮的阴影中露出真容之前,骑手也消失的无影无踪。


Hell's own train-ride, I surmise, would be less troubling than that which I undertook last night.
我敢打包票,通往地狱的直达列车也不比我昨晚经历过的事更麻烦。

From sundown to sunrise horsemen engaged in dogged pursuit of the locomotive. Hidden in the darkness, as they were, the men proved impossible to identify. A fellow passenger with more laudanum than sense spoke of their pursuit as a regular occurrence. The trainmen did not seem particularly flummoxed by the development. Perhaps she recited some truth that only they know.
那些骑手藏身于黑暗中,整夜都在追逐这辆火车。

Regardless, the rise of the sun also brought with it a nearness to our destination that made sleep a forlorn hope of its own. My vigilance overnight has evolved into a sense of weariness that will only be sated after the full development of my day's task. I hope this deviation from routine was not as much of a folly as I suspect.

Excerpt from the journal of Agent Joanna Kirkland. August 9th, 1878.
节选自特工乔安娜·柯克兰的日记。1878年8月9日。

Agent Kirkland set one unsteady foot on the landing. She followed that step with another. No one gave her a second glance as she disembarked and dragged a bag behind her containing most of her belongings. It thumped onto the landing as she left the train. Agent Kirkland looked up at the town in front of her and rested her left hand on the pistol at her hip.
柯克兰特工跟着众人鱼贯而出离开车厢,摇摇晃晃地站到地上。她把那个装着自己所有身家财产的背包卸下来摔到地上时,周围人也没多瞥她一眼。她环视了一眼小镇,左手摸了摸别在自己屁股后面的手枪。

The town's construction was haphazard, with hasty construction peppering the main thoroughfare. The majority of business appeared to be performed out of or inside the dozens of tents pitched along the mud road. A cluster of buildings halfway down that road was her destination.
这座小镇的布局杂乱无章,潦倒破乱的建筑沿着主干道星星点点地分布着,泥泞的道路边搭着几十个帐篷,承担了城镇的主要功能,而她的目的地就是路那边的几栋建筑。

Joanna hefted the bag over her shoulder and leaned forward when a bald man in a dusty but expensive coat stepped in front of her and produced a bottle with a bright red and white label carrying the name "Dr. Wonder's Miracle Cure-All!" in plain letters. Joanna waved her hand and moved to go around the man when he stepped once more into her path.
乔安娜扛起背包,这时一个秃头男子挡住了他,只见他穿着一件价格不菲却满是尘泥的大衣,手中举着一个贴着显眼的红白两色标签的瓶子,标签上用朴实无华的字体写着“Dr. Wonder的万灵药!”乔安娜挥了挥手绕开了他,但他又挡住了她。

He lifted the bottle up as he inched forward. "Good lady! I believe you could stand to benefit from Dr. Wonder's curative tonics! Your countenance betrays your weary nature."
他举起瓶子,向前靠了靠:“夫人您好!您的气色表明您空虚寂寞、疲惫不堪。Dr. Wonder的大补药想必对您大有裨益!”

Joanna rolled her eyes and stopped. "I'm sorry. You have me at a loss. Mister…?"
乔安娜转转眼睛,停下了脚步。“抱歉,你把我绕晕了。呃……?”

"Cozen. We may not yet be acquainted but I have here," he motioned to the bottle with his free hand, "the one thing you truly need, if not desire."
“叫我科赞4就好。尽管我们并不熟悉,但我还是为您准备了,”他把瓶子挪到自己的另一只手上,“您唯一需要与渴望之物。”

"Mr. Cozen. My countenance is no one's business but my own. I have important matters to discuss with the marshal. If you would kindly remove yourself from my path and inflict your opinions on other visitors, I would appreciate the favor."
“科赞先生,我的气色怎么样不关你的事。我有很重要的话和法警说。如果您能把路让开,去和别的游客推销,我会感激不尽的。”

Mr. Cozen seemed to ponder this for a moment, and then stepped to the side. Joanna walked past him, dusted herself off, and continued down the thoroughfare towards the city marshal's office.
科赞思考片刻便让开了道。乔安娜一边从他身边走过,一边拍拍身上的灰,径直向市法警署走去。


Dear Mrs. Kane,
敬爱的凯恩夫人,

It is with heavy heart and great sorrow that I must report to you the loss of your son. Sergeant Kane was a good soldier and a great friend to those under his command. I feel the need to impart to you the level of heroism your son displayed during the Second Battle of New York. When his position was overrun, and those under his command faced certain death at the hands of the Confederates, he led a piercing action through the enemy lines. If not for that bravery his men would've likely perished.
我怀着沉重的心情与无比的悲伤通知您,您的儿子已不在人世。凯恩中士是位好战士、好上司。他在第二次纽约战役中英勇奋战,当他的部队所在位置过于突出而被邦联军队包围、危在旦夕之时,他对敌人的战线发起了英勇的突击,这份勇气挽救了他的属下。

It was brought to my attention that Jacob's brother was also lost in the same battle, but as part of the opposing force. I cannot imagine the level of grief you must feel at this time, and only wish to offer my condolences. Please know, that even as this war continues, these lives are not lost in vain.
我注意到,雅各布的兄弟加入了对方的军队,并在同一场战役中牺牲。我深知自己无以体会您的悲痛,谨在此献上我的哀悼。请您明白,即使这场战争仍在继续,他们的牺牲也绝非毫无意义。

Excerpt of a Condolence Letter.
Captain Malcolm Fisher, the Army of the Potomac, 1867.
节选自一封悼念信。
马尔科姆·费舍尔上尉,波多马克军团5,1867年。

Just as Jacob said it, he knew he'd provoked a response he wouldn't appreciate. But he'd said it anyway. Jacob's partner was cooking a snake over the fire at the small camp they'd set up overlooking the mine. Their horse was already saddled, and the bags along the side were weighted down with gold.
雅各布知道对方不会给自己什么好听的回应,但他还是说出口了。他们在矿井边上搭了个简易营地,旅伴在一旁靠着一条蛇,马匹已经上好了鞍、沉甸甸的包中满是黄金。

The old man cocked an eyebrow and scoffed. "And I expect you think that makes you different?"
老头挑了挑眉,发出嘲弄的声音。“我还寻思你觉得你不一样呢。”

"From?" The younger man stood up from the fire.
“和谁不一样?”年轻人从火边站起身来。

"Different from me. From the rest of the poor souls traveling the wastes."
“和我,和所有那些在这废土之上游荡的可怜灵魂。”

"It doesn't, as far as I've seen, endear me to my fellow man. Something I've come to accept."
“要我说,对于没法让我和我的同事变亲密这事,我也无可奈何。”

"You're not special." The old man poked at the fire. "Nobody wants to be different than they was. We spend our lives trying to move forward without letting the air or water or fucking earth we pass through alter us in some way."
“你可不是什么独一无二之人。”老者捅了捅火堆。“也没人想变得脱胎换骨。我们一生都在试图向前迈进,而不是让我们被空气水源或者该死的大地改变。”

"I'm not talking about alteration."
“我不是在讨论变化。”

"Then what the fuck are you talking about?"
“那你他妈在说什么?”

Jacob reached down and grabbed his rifle and canteen. "I just don't want to change."
雅各布伸手取下自己的步枪与水壶。“我只是不想改变。”

"Yeah. You and every other poor sod that's walked the earth. But that mine," the old man pointed to the opening behind them, "that'll change any man. There's gold in there. A few weeks of this and maybe I won't have to live like a prehistoric."
“是啊,你和其他在地上行走的可怜魂灵都一个样。可是那矿,”老头指了指背后的开口,“能改变随便什么人。在这座金矿里摸爬滚打几周,我就不用过这种原始人的日子了。”

Jacob walked to their horse and hooked his canteen and rifle along the side. "This ain't how they lived."
雅各布走向他们的马,把水壶与步枪挂在马鞍上。“原始人可不过这种日子。”

"How the fuck would you know."
“你他妈怎么知道的?”

"I'm just saying, this living feels a bit too comfortable. A little too safe." Jacob mounted the horse in one swift motion. "I figure they'd be watching the horizon looking for danger."
“我只是说,对原始人而言这种生活过于舒适安逸了。”雅各布轻轻一跃翻身上马,“我寻思他们这个时候应该在盯着地平线看,担心有什么危险出现呢。”

"Yeah. Well. You ain't got a warrant out on you for murder, so the horizon probably feels a mite more welcoming."
“得了,只要你过会儿没有因为谋杀而上通缉令,那地平线上就没啥可担心的。”

"I'll accept that as a possibility, but if I don't make the horizon in the next couple of hours you'll be stuck digging in the ground all by your lonesome."
“但愿如此。但如果几个小时后我看不到地平线,你就得一个人在这里孤苦无依地挖地啦。”

"Shit. You make Riddle every night without a hitch. Get fed, get fucked, and get back on the road." The old man winked. "And if you think you can convince one of those Belle girls to come back out with ya, I'd appreciate it."
“该死。你每天晚上都在里德尔镇横行无阻,吃喝嫖赌,然后大摇大摆地从路上回来。”老人眨了眨眼。“要是你能再哄骗个漂亮小妞儿回来,我就谢天谢地啦。”

Jacob laughed and turned his horse to go.
雅各布发出一阵大笑,调转马头出发了。


My precious butterfly;
我可爱的小蝴蝶:

When the Confederates overran us at Gettysburg, I thought I'd spend the rest of my life searching for the kind of peace and tranquility I had the night before the battle. We were all so certain of our righteousness. Yet there I lay in the mud afterwards, trying to come to terms with the loss.
自从邦联军队在葛底斯堡把我们打的落花流水,我就一直将自己的余生用来寻找战前那种平稳安宁的夜晚。我们曾经认为那是我们无可动摇的天赋人权。但如今我坠入泥潭,不得不接受这种事实。

I've never told you about that battle, or the horrors that we suffered in captivity. I did not feel the need to lay that burden on your shoulders. Yet you have lightened it somewhat. If I'd known then that one day I'd have found one such as you, I could've endured a thousand years of captivity with those Southern bastards and a thousand more besides.
我从未告诉过你战场上的经历与被囚禁的恐怖。我不认为有必要让你承受这份重担,但你却让这份经历变得不那么痛苦了。若是早知道有一天我会与你这样美好的人相遇,即使被南方混球囚禁千年我也能忍受。

Even with the war's end I failed to find tranquility, but my love, you have brought peace to my heart. The house in which our family will be blessed and borne is finally built. The arrangements are made with the Jennings coach company. Pack up your things, and bid San Francisco a fond farewell. The town of Riddle has need of your light.
战争虽早已结束,我心却无法平静。但我的爱人啊,是你为我的内心带来了安宁。詹宁斯家具公司已经装修好了一栋房子,让我们能幸福的生活在一起。打包好东西从旧金山过来吧,里德尔镇需要你的光芒。

Last night I slept well. I await your arrival and the start of a new life together.
昨晚我睡的很好,期待你来到这里和我一起开始新生活。

With love and always yours; Conrad Drake.
永远爱你的:康拉德·德雷克。

Riddle town Marshal Conrad Drake's hand twitched. The man on the other end of the bar stared at Conrad with a practiced eye. They both knew this would come to a showdown. The room, previously roiling with noise, was silenced in anticipation. Then the man on the other end of the bar grabbed his shot glass and downed it, followed by Conrad.
里德尔镇的联邦执法官康拉德·德雷克的手颤抖着。他正和一个眼神老练的男子在一间酒吧中相对而坐,而现在就是二人一决胜负之时。曾经喧闹无比的酒馆现在屏息寂静。对面的男子举起玻璃杯一饮而尽,而康拉德也照着做了。

The two men continued their stare-down while Joanna watched from the front door of the bar, and the man Conrad had been drinking with passed out. The onlookers rolled their eyes and went back to their own drinks and games. Conrad used the bar to steady himself as he reached into his pocket, pulled out a small red capsule, and swallowed it.
乔安娜在酒吧前门看着二人的针锋相对。终于,康拉德的对手倒下了,旁观者们揉揉眼睛,继续之前的狂饮与玩乐。康拉德则靠在吧台上,从口袋中掏出一颗红色小胶囊吞了下去。

The marshal noticed Joanna looking at his badge as she approached him. "Agent Kirkland?"
执法官看到了向自己走来的乔安娜正盯着自己的徽章。“柯克兰特工?”

Joanna nodded. "I went to your office but it was locked." She paused. "A reprobate outside said he was awaiting the conclusion of your business here so that he could be arrested?"
乔安娜点点头。“我去过你的办公室,但大门紧锁。”她停顿了一下。“有个无赖正在门口等着你完成工作,然后去逮捕他。”

"That's just Phillip. Man has a propensity for public urination."
“那是菲利普。他有在公开场合小便的癖好。”

"I noticed."
“我看到了。”

"It's my own damn fault for having Miss Lula cook him his meals. Man ain't never had it as good as he does inside my cells."
“我不应该让卢拉小姐给他做饭的。他在牢房里过的太舒坦了。”

Joanna picked up the empty shot glass in front of Conrad and examined it. "Regardless. I would speak to you in the privacy of your office, if you have concluded your business here?"
乔安娜拿起康拉德面前空荡荡的旧玻璃杯把玩起来:“不管了。我有些私密内容要在办公室和你说,你这边的活计都搞定了吧。”

Marshal Drake looked at the bartender. "Tell Miss Lula I'll settle up next time I'm in. And thank her for the cornbread."
德雷克执法官看着吧台。“和卢拉小姐说一声我下次再结账。还有她的玉米面包味道不错。”

Joanna and Conrad both walked out the door of Saloon No. 19 into the street.
乔安娜和康拉德一同走出了19号沙龙的门。


Mother,
亲爱的妈妈:

I yet live. I cannot tell you where I am or what I am doing. I apologize. Abe is not well. We met by purest happenstance on the battlefield in New York. He fought for his home and I for my principles yet our bond of brotherhood proved stronger than death itself.
我还活着,但很抱歉不能告诉你我在哪里做什么。亚伯的状态不太好。我和他在纽约战场的相遇完完全全是个巧合。尽管我们分别为自己的家乡与信念而战。但我们的兄弟情谊比死亡更为强大。

I do not think the east will be a safe place for us anymore, regardless of who succeeds in this horrid war. My time here is limited. I write this letter only to inform you of our survival, and to impart the news of Abe's health. We will stay here until he is well enough to travel. Please give Iris our love.
不论最后哪方赢得了这场恶战,东部对我们俩都不是个好去处。我的时间有限,写这封信的目的是告诉您我们都活着,并且通知您亚伯的健康状况。亚伯的身体康复到可以远行后,我们就离开这里。告诉伊里斯我们爱她。

Your loving Son; Jacob Kane.
爱你的,雅各布·凯恩。

Jacob Kane could hear the sounds of Riddle behind him as he left. The horse under him rebelled almost as much as he had at the thought of leaving before the sun rose. Still if he was to add to the deposit at the bank tomorrow night, he'd need to hurry. He whipped the horse once, and finally got underway.
雅各布·凯恩听到里德尔镇的喧闹在自己背后传来。为了在明晚前往银行里多存一笔款,他加紧步伐试图在日出之前离开,但胯下坐骑却拒绝听命。给了那畜生一鞭子后,他终于出发了。

The landscape of Wyoming's Red Desert spread out before him, and the cool night air encouraged him onward. Jacob crested a hill just in time to see a group of riders on black horses trailing behind an incoming train. Jacob's heart jumped into his throat at the sight, and he pulled his horse to turn around.
清爽的夜风催促着雅各布一路前行,将怀俄明州的红色沙漠风光甩在身后。然而他登上一座山丘后,却发现一伙骑着黑马的骑手正在追踪一辆火车。他的心提到了嗓子眼,慌忙催促着自己的马掉头。

The horse, however, neighed in distress at the very sight of the riders and threw him to the ground. Jacob tried to hold on but the horse ripped itself from Jacob's grasp and bolted away.
但那匹马一看到骑手们就发出哀鸣,将雅各布掀翻在地。尽管雅各布试着翻身上马,但它却摆脱了他的驾驭,独自逃走了。

Jacob grabbed his forehead in pain and felt a slick wetness on his skin. He shook his head, reached for the pistol on his hip and checked to see if it was loaded. Three riders had broken from their pursuit of the train at the sound of his horse and were now headed in his direction. He had five shots.

Jacob knelt down at the top of the hill and targeted the lead rider. As he pulled the trigger, he knew his first shot had missed. He pulled the lever back for the second shot and pulled the trigger. The lead rider slumped in his seat but remained upright. The remaining two riders began to fire back at him with their own pistols.

He tried to crouch down further but a bullet caught him in the shoulder. He flew backward and rolled down the hill, screaming in pain. He lay there, only half conscious, as the riders drew closer. Then, as the sun's first rays shone over the horizon, he passed out.


The town marshal is a drunkard who speaks of inanities as fact. I believe he missed his calling as a writer, the fantastic tales he has spun whilst we've investigated the attacks have been at the very least entertaining. He is currently regaling several prisoners with a story of how he destroyed a creature of the night with feline urine and silver bullets.
镇执法官是个满嘴跑火车的酒鬼,我很遗憾他没能顺应天命当个作家。在我们调查袭击案时,他讲的故事可真是天花乱坠。他现在正在给几个囚徒讲他是如何用猫尿和银子弹打爆一只夜行生物的。

Following the telling of this tale and the conclusion of my meal, we will seek out a prospector at the doctor's office down the street. Reportedly, this prospector was brought in this morning half-delirious and speaking the name Virgil Jones. Mr. Jones is a known road agent, wanted in the Dakota Territories for stagecoach robbery. If this young man knows where to find Mr. Jones, I will bring him in for questioning.
等我吃完饭而他讲完故事,我们就去街上的诊所找那个矿工。据说那个矿工今天早上神志不清地被带到诊所,嘴里还念叨着“维吉尔·琼斯”的名字。琼斯先生是个臭名昭著的公路强盗,并因抢劫公共马车被达科他领地悬赏。如果那个年轻人知道怎么去找琼斯先生,我就得去审问一下他。

Excerpt from the journal of Agent Joanna Kirkland. August 9th, 1878.
节选自特工乔安娜·柯克兰的日记。1878年8月9日。

Conrad and Joanna entered the infirmary. The floors were covered in blood and a variety of other dried liquids. The whole place smelled strongly of formaldehyde and death. Jacob Kane lay on a bed in the back of the room. He whimpered, to no one.

Joanna turned to Conrad and whispered. "This seems like an ideal situation for a doctor."

"It would be, if we still had one. We wired to Cincinnati about the whole mess but until some enterprising fellah decides to come this way, I think we're gonna be out of luck."

Joanna walked up to the bed of the man and took his hand. "Hello. Can you hear me?"

Jacob looked up at Joanna and smiled. "I can, ma'am."

"Who shot you?"

Jacob looked over at the marshal for a moment before continuing. "I didn't see their faces."

"The gentleman who brought you in said something about a Virgil Jones."

"Ahh. Yeah. We have a gold claim out in the desert. All the deposits at the bank are under my name. I was hoping someone could see to getting them transferred."

"Where's the claim?"

"The old Anderson Mine. Marshal can tell you where."
“那座老安德森金矿。执法官知道在哪里。”

Joanna looked up at Conrad who nodded. "Thank you, sir."

"Thank you ma'am. You mind if I talk with the marshal a spell? I got some other business to put in order."

"Of course." Joanna stood up and let Jacob's hand go. She moved to dust off her shirt but smeared blood across it instead. She stopped for just a moment before composing herself and leaving the Doctor's office.

"Connie. You know what comes next."

Conrad nodded, moved to stand beside the bed and removed his hat. He pointed at Jacob's shoulder. "That's gonna end you."

"Yeah." Jacob pointed at Conrad's hunting knife. "Figure you can end it quicker for me."

"Your brother still an asshole?"

"It ain't his fault. He ain't never been quite right after he died. He knows about you though."

"Alright." Conrad grabbed the knife from his belt and plunged it into Jacob's chest. The man's chest heaved once, and then was still. Conrad moved to clean the knife on some nearby rags and left the room to join Joanna outside.

An hour after Conrad left, the geometry of the room went wrong for a moment. There was a low hum as Jacob's body fell upwards into the air and then slammed back into the bed when the room's geometry became more sane. Abel sat up in the bed where Jacob had just been, cracked his neck, and a black pistol materialized in his hand.


What strikes me as most troubling is just how appropriate your leaving is. I wish you could've stayed. I wish we could've built that family you begged me for. I cannot conceive of what the future holds for us, but I know my future doesn't lay down the train tracks in San Francisco with you. You're stronger than I ever could be, because I can't even try to leave this life.

If I could cover the distance between us every night I would. But it is wrong of me to hold you back if I will not go to where you are. Fly free, my beautiful butterfly. Find love where the world is warm and soft. I'll add the tale of your love to my stories. No one will believe you were as perfect as you were.

Excerpt of a Love Letter. Conrad Drake. 1875.

The sun was hanging low in the sky, but the fire above the mine was untended and burning out. Joanna and Conrad, already dismounted, walked towards the mine entrance. Both had their hands on the guns at their hips, waiting for a confrontation.

"Virgil! I know you're in there."

The old man's voice echoed off the walls inside the mine. "Take another step marshal and I'll blow your goddamned head off."

Joanna took a half a step back while Conrad continued to shout. "This pretty lady here just wants to talk to you."

"We're outside town limits marshal. You got no call to ask me about anything. Pretty lady or not."

"She's with the UIU. You can talk to her or the next two dozen agents they send out here."

There was a silence for several seconds, then a rustling inside the mine. Virgil shuffled out of the mine. He looked at Joanna and raised his eyebrow. "What do you want?"

Joanna stepped forward again. "Two weeks ago a postal wagon on the road to Rawling disappeared. Where were you?"

The old man shook his head. "Here. I don't rob wagons no more."

"Can anyone corroborate that?"

"Jacob Kane."

Conrad shook his head. "Jacob's dead, Virgil."

Virgil rolled his eyes. "How long?"

"Long enough."

"I done told that asshole havin' the deposits in his name was a bad idea."

Joanna cocked her head to the side and pulled the gun from her holster. "You're under arrest."

Conrad's eyes went wide. "The fuck he is. You said you needed to ask him some questions. They're asked."

"Even if I had a guarantee he's not behind the wagon robberies, he's wanted in Dakota."

The old man's hands went to his belt. "You better talk her down marshal. I'll kill her."

Conrad took two steps back and pulled his own gun, pointing it at Joanna. "Look. You're new out here, so you don't know the score. He will kill you."

Joanna stared Virgil down. "How?"

"It's complicated."

A fourth voice from behind Conrad spoke up. "It is very complicated."

Virgil looked over Conrad's shoulder and saw a man in black with a gun trained on Conrad's back. Virgil pulled his own pistol, almost provoking a response from Joanna. Virgil didn't turn his body, however, and instead pointed it at the new arrival.

"Abel. I need your brother."

"You'll have him. Eventually."

"No. I'm thinking now. You done murdered enough folk to bring the UIU down on my head. I want my share of the gold."

The four of them stood there, guns trained on each other for at least a minute while the sun sank further in the sky. Conrad spoke first. "You gonna shoot me in the back Abel?"

"I'll make it a fair fight. Turn around."

"No."

Abel pulled the hammer back on his black pistol. "Then again you did shoot me in the back last time."

Virgil held his gun up higher as he spoke. "We don't have time for this. The sun's going down."

Conrad nodded and dropped his own pistol. "I know."

Virgil cracked a small smile. "So we all wanna hide until morning and shoot each other then?"

Conrad shook his head. "No. I'm thinking we fight the riders instead."

Abel's body untensed a bit. "Virgil can't beat them. You can't beat them. I've lost three times."

"What riders?" Joanna interrupted.

Conrad dropped his gun, as did Abel and Virgil. "The 682nd Cavalry."
康拉德、阿贝尔和维吉尔拿起枪:“第682骑兵旅。”

"I think I saw them when I first came here? They chased my train."

Abel stepped forward. "Yes. They do that."

The sun dropped below the horizon and the sound of hoof beats began. Abel, Virgil and Conrad stepped away from the mouth of the mine and turned to face the riders in the distance.

Conrad looked back at Joanna. "I'd suggest you get out of here." Conrad pulled a red capsule out of his pocket and placed it into his mouth. "I've always wanted to do this."

"What about the law in Riddle?" Joanna said, stepping backwards.

"You seem to care a lot about the law. It can be your problem now, if you want."

Joanna wasn't sure what to make of the scene in front of her, as the three men stepped forward into the night. Abel dressed in black, pulled a large gun from thin air. Conrad spun the chambers on his pistols to make sure they were loaded. Virgil let his dusty coat fall to the ground behind him and he suddenly seemed smaller to her. He turned his head around fully to face her without moving his body and smiled a crooked, twisted smile.

Her eyes went wide and she turned to run to her horse. The full moon rose from behind the dark riders and the three men readied themselves for the battle.

Abel laughed a bit. "So what's the plan Condraki?"

"Don't call me that." Conrad paused. "You fellas do what you want, I'm gonna try to ride one of those horses."


And if you give yourself to the hungry, And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness, And your gloom will become like midday.
你心若向饥饿的人发怜悯、使困苦的人得满足.你的光就必在黑暗中发现、你的幽暗必变如正午。

And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
耶和华也必时常引导你、在干旱之地使你心满意足、骨头强壮.你必像浇灌的园子、又像水流不绝的泉源。

And those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.
那些出于你的人、必修造久已荒废之处.你要建立拆毁累代的根基.你必称为补破口的、和重修路径与人居住的。

Isaiah 58:10-12
以赛亚书 58:10-12

Joanna stepped out of the telegraph office after filing her report. She had already decided to go back to Washington and make her full report there minus a few details. As she stepped into the street she noticed Phillip the drunk standing awkwardly outside the sheriff's office. She ignored him and made her way down the thoroughfare.

Along her path to the train station she noticed two thefts, a violent argument, and at least one dead body in the middle of the street. With no law, the town was already eating itself alive. Still, she had her job to do.

She stepped onto the train station platform and noted that Mr. Cozen was still present, though he avoided her. As she waited for the newly arrived passengers to disembark, she observed them. These men and women had no idea what was in store for them here.

The last passenger to leave the train was a tall woman with a prosthetic facial plate made of porcelain. She carried a doctor's bag with her. She'd seen the prosthetic in the past on soldiers who'd received facial wounds in the war. She weighed speaking to the doctor about her experiences of if they'd ever fought in the same battles, but decided to give the doctor a wide berth.

As she passed the doctor from a fair distance, Joanna smelled the faint odor of rotting flesh. Joanna stepped onto the train and found her seat. She looked out the window at the town, sinking into chaos and smiled as Mr. Cozen accosted the new arrivals.

When she closed her eyes she saw the doctor's porcelain face instead. Joanna startled awake, stood up from her seat and walked onto the train platform with her bag in tow. She looked down the thoroughfare, dusted her shirt off, rested her hand on her gun, and walked toward the marshal's office.

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