[USS Vanguard] The Coyote Ranch

  • From: Kieran Darkwater <kierandarkwater@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ncv80221@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 13:42:43 +0100 (BST)

Dusk was settling slowly as Kieran stamped the dust off his boots and stepped 
over the doorstep into the spacious kitchen. The sun had been harsh across the 
bottom of his face where the broad-brimmed hat had failed to cover him during 
the late afternoon, but it wasn't too bad.
He was by no means an unfit man, but he was a laboratory worker by day, and the 
physical demands of herding the cattle had him aching all over. It had been 
good to get back on a horse, but he'd not ridden for that long at one time in 
his life, and he knew he was going to suffer when he got up in the morning.
"Everything is packed up out there." he assure Kate as he hung his hat, and she 
simply nodded, though he noticed he'd gotten a smile for stamping first. The 
food was wholesome, if uninspiring, a little lacking in some vitamins, but it 
wasn't the right season for some vegetables. Tucking in, he surprised himself 
with how fast he finished, but Kate was obviously prepared for it, and she had 
the pot and the ladle ready to dish up more as Des came and joined them.
"Busman's holiday?" he asked, with what he hoped was sympathetic smile, but Des 
just shrugged a little as she sat down, arching her back a little. With the 
meal finished Cynan sat back on his chair, and Molly lit a small lamp in the 
centre of the table.
"You'll all be wantin' to be findin' yer beds soon." Kate observed, leaning 
against the doorpost to the living area. "Molly's put out beddin' fer y'all in 
the ranch-hands quarters across the yard." she pointed. "Mrs Brown can have 
Molly's room fer now, she'll bunk in with me."
Cynan nodded at the arrangement, though he did have a slight concern about 
splitting the group, even if just for the evening. Des rose to find her bed, 
knowing there was likely to be more hard work in the morning, but Cynan and 
Kieran both started up, reaching for weapons.
"What is it?" Shar asked.
"The cattle have gone quiet." Cynan observed, warily, moving towards a window 
as Molly turned down the lamp.
"Resonance signature." Kieran pointed to the old upright piano in the corner 
that was emitting a very slight, low hum.
"What's causing that?" Des asked.
"Raiders!" Kate explained, reaching around the corner to pass a bolt action 
rifle to Molly. "Up on the roof girl, go on."
Reaching inside his shirt, Kieran pressed his communicator suspiciously, noting 
the lack of signal. Raiders may well be coming, and the cattle and piano might 
well herald their arrival, but what was causing the effects was a powerful 
subspace field. He needed to get clear to check his tricorder.
"Do you have a cellar in which you can hide?" he asked, drawing an incredulous 
look from Kate.
"You think I'm standin' by an' lettin' those roaches have my cattle?"
"Right." Cynan interrupted, hoisting his rifle. "Kieran, Shar, wide of the 
gate, set up a killing zone. Des, here at the door. Let's go."

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