The main street of Fair Play was uncharacteristically deserted for a typical early evening. Fair Play was hardly a bustling metropolis at the best of times (being host to neither much industry nor entertainment to speak of), but even that being the case, the lack of witnesses as the dusty stage coach rolled into town was grounds enough to take note. Or it may have been, had the unlikely combination of passengers, then emerging from the coach, been at all familiar with the town (which, given Fair Play’s distinct lack of much to do or see, would have itself been surprising).
First to disembark from the coach was perhaps the least likely sight of all: A tall, heavily-built, oddly-dressed character carrying a large gun jumped off the roof of the coach. Under the thick layer of road dust, greenish skin may have been just barely discernible. At any rate, the upturned nose, pointed ears, jutting jaw and teeth were unmistakable: this was a “ speed freak”, and the very act of a speed freak leaving a stage coach upright, undamaged, and full of living occupants was nearly out of the realm of conceivable probability. As if to have one last, bitter laugh in probability’s face, leaving probability utterly stunned and adrift, this particular speed freak had, pinned neatly upon his chest and showing no trace of the dust that blanketed the rest of his person, a shiny metal star which had been amateurishly but meticulously inscribed with the letters “MARSHUL McTEEF”. McTeef took one brief look around before sauntering off to the saloon.
The rest of the passengers then emerged from the slightly less-dusty passenger compartment. First Eliza Jenning, a lithe, dark-skinned humanoid who carried two large sabers, followed by Nelli, the other a trail-worn felinoid with a laser rifle. Last, a very handsome man carrying a huge railgun: James McClairen. These three brushed themselves off and meandered towards the hotel.
The marshals did some investigating around town and determined the local sheriff and deputy have been killed, and the town is being terrorized by bandits. After speaking to the proprietors of the newspaper and general store, as well as the watchman in the jail, they learned there is a bounty out for Barret Newburg and his cronies, Landon Wylam and Leo Rukavina. The three ruffians typically show up most nights after dark, and generally bust up the place. They have caused a lot of property damage, but luckily no serious injuries.
Eliza and Nelli were the first to pitch in together, taking out the roof of the saloon. James independently took up a sniper position in this room at the top of the hotel. Caleb thought it best to keep an eye on the inside of the saloon (and its wares). The four Marshals kept a watchful eye on the paths in and out of town all that night, but to their surprise, the ruffians did not show up in the town. The only item of note was that the town watchman mysteriously departed the Sheriff office just after dusk, headed roughly south-west past the graveyard, and returned again just as the sun returned to the sky.
Nelli and Eliza set upon the watchman and easily terrified him into telling them his secret: he, and the Newburg gang, are working for a business man in Grunting Hollow. The aim is to have the River Junction/ Albion Water stage coach line redirected through Grunting Hollow instead of Fair Play. The watchman and the bandits will be paid once the redirection is official and permanent. Caleb, informed of this, went to the stage coach stop and was able to confirm due to the ruffians’ antics, the stage coach has indeed been re-routed to Grunting Hollow until the issue is resolved. Despite using all his charms, Caleb was unable to convince the stage operators that it is safe for the stage to resume its normal route until the bandits are fully dealt with.
It seemed if there was to be much hope of the Marshals ever leaving Fair Play, they were going to have to work together to take care of this bandit problem. With four stubborn and independent law-men/-women, used to working on their own, working together was not going to come easy. Eliza tracked down James and Nelli found Caleb, and after much debate they agreed to cooperate. After locking the watchman up in Eliza’s hotel room, the Marshals gathered at the hotel dining room for breakfast and the formulation of a plan. It seems that the watchman had been instructed to wait until the Marshals had given up and left town, and then he was to set off a flare to notify the Newburg gang it was safe to come back and resume their mayhem. It was agreed that they would wait until near dusk, set off the flare, and then load the jaws of their cunning trap.
Caleb went and purchased himself a crisp new bowler hat, and had his hand-made badge shined up by the blacksmith, before everyone took their positions. As the sun began to fall below the horizon and shadow fell over the town, Nelli set off the flare.