Brother David rejoined the group followed by the men from the hill. “This first bear is for the tribe and our Mission family,” Brother David said. He spoke to the armed soldiers, one decorated with metals and ribbons. “Captain Portola, may I introduce our heroes, Paciano and Salvador Tenorio.”
Was this Captain the miracle Brother David prayed for? Sal greeted the soldiers with some caution. They wore uniforms he could not identify. “Without your final bullet we might have failed,” Sal said.
“Not so, it was you two men who were face to face with certain death. You did not waiver,” Capitan Portola said. “We can use brave men like you on our expedition to provide food for our troops.”
Brother David interrupted, “We are called to share what God has provided, but our first commitment is to the Missions.” Sal never knew him to withhold Mission resources from anyone.
“Pardon me Brother, without the soldiers the Missions would not be safe,” Capitan Portola said. He stood erect but did not meet Brother David’s eyes.
“Without God the soldiers are unprotected, sir,” Brother David said. He held the crucifix hanging from his neck to emphasize his words.
“Let me explain, we represent the territorial transition, Governador Fages of México,” Portola said.
Brother David cut him off, “The Governor?”
“Yes, it is he who has commissioned us…,” Capitan Portola said.
“We are all subjects of the King of Spain here, aren’t we?” Brother David said. He would not give way. The conversation volleyed back and forth between the two commanding men
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