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A Case Of Mistaken Identity

A case of mistaken identity (pt 1)
Jules — 14 Sep 1998, 8:07 AM

The main street of Voyager City cleared almost before the echoes of the first shot died away. Some went straight to the livery stables, fetched their horses, and rode on back to their homesteads without even waiting to find out what the shooting was about. Some dived under the nearest boardwalk, or dodged around the side of a building. The more curious souls peeped cautiously over the sill of an upper window. But the very boldest of Voyager City's population headed for the seats on the verandah outside Quark's Bar or, when those had gone, for standing room there instead. As was customary on such occasions, the gaming tables had been suspended for the duration, and the bar's proprietor was taking bets on the outcome.

Miss Megan gave her companion an apologetic glance and sidled out of the door of the jailhouse. She knew that Quark's would now be a flurry of activity. In all likelihood there would be a big run on drinks, and her waitressing services would be required. More shots rang out, and she ducked as she ran.

The first shots had come from above. Cullah Nistrim had indeed withdrawn himself and his ranch hands from the disputed watering grounds down at the Big Coffee, but he had staked out the road into town. It had occurred to him that there were bound to be casualties, and that they were liable to take the dirt track up from the river valley on the way to Doc Holliday's place. So, he set two of his best shots on the rooftops with rifles, and settled down with the rest of his men in Widow Wildman's pigsty, just out of sight.

What he had anticipated was the opportunity to take a few easy pickings from the Ogla ranks when they brought their wounded into town. And indeed, when the Ogla wagon was sighted, it seemed that he'd guessed aright. It hadn't occurred to him however, that it would be the party from the Delta Q ranch that brought the wounded into town. And, unfortunately for Cullah, it didn't occur to his sharpshooters either until they'd loosed their first shots and Miss Kathryn swung Betsy up to her shoulder and started shooting back. She dropped one of them with her first bullet, and the other shortly afterwards.

At this point the Delta Q party and the Marshall would more than likely have stopped to ask questions, but the Nistrim ranchhands conveniently forgot that their men had shot first - in an unprovoked attack - and took their deaths personally. The wagon of wounded was suddenly beset by a hail of gunfire. Miss Kathryn turned her horse on a sixpence dime and called out to her party: "Throw down covering fire! We've got to get the wounded out of the way before this thing escalates!"

Tom, B'Elanna, Lee-Marie and Chakotay joined her, with the accuracy of their firing keeping the Nistrim hands pinned down in the pigsty until the Doctor and Kes had managed to help the injured out of the wagon and into the safety of the Doctor's house. Chakotay was hit in the shoulder by a richochet, but he gritted his teeth and went on firing regardless.

A case of mistaken identity (pt 2)
Jules — 14 Sep 1998, 8:11 AM

"We can keep them pinned down, but I don't see how we're going to do more than that with the cover they've got!" shouted Miss Kathryn to the Marshall. "Any suggestions?"

"The logical thing to do would seem to be to circle around and come at them from behind," was Marshall Tuvok's response. "Unfortunately, we lack the necessary cover to do it. I am not certain yet how we can overcome the difficulty."

Then another shot rang out, from behind the pigsty, and one of Nistrim's men yelped in pain. A second shot rang out, and there was an indignified scramble for their horses from Cullah Nistrim and his men.

Cowgirl Vickie, bringing up the rear with the dead wagon, had caught up with the main party and in the face of these reinforcements Nistrim decided that the only thing to do was to cut and run. Miss Kathryn winged one more of them before their horses took them out of range.

The crisis over, Chakotay had time to notice that he had lost a pint of blood or more and had a ragged hole in his shoulder. Feeling suddenly light-headed, he half-dismounted half-slithered off his horse, and collapsed face down in the dirt. B'Elanna jumped down from her own horse and ran to him.

Marshall Tuvok, directing Deputy Neelix in the procedure of escorting those of the Nistrim fallen who had survived the experience into the jailhouse to await the Doctor's attentions when he had time to spare from tending the wounds of the Delta Q ranch hands and Chakotay, found himself being tapped on the shoulder. He turned, to find himself addressed by a stranger in a city suit. He raised one eyebrow in silent enquiry.

"You were expecting me, I believe? I'm the detective from the Hirogen Detective Agency. Nicholas Locarno, at your service."

(Well, hey if we can borrow Quark from DS9, I don't see why we can't steal a character from TNG as well. Blame Terry. He started it, with all his talk about multiple Chakotays. (He even contributed some thoughts about Mr Locarno's eye colour). And admit it: would you really rather I'd gone with Walter Baxter?)