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A Face In The Grandstand

A Face in the Grandstand
Ginny — 21 Sep 1998, 9:07 AM

The distinguished older man stepped into the shadow of the grandstand, his legs trembling. The encounter with Nicholas Locarno had shaken him badly. Now, all he wanted to do was find a quiet place to sit down and pull himself together. He debated whether he should take a seat in the grandstand and continue searching the crowd, when what he really needed was a drink. He had been by Quark's Bar earlier in the day, but had only ordered coffee. He was beginning to regret that choice.

The race was already underway when he reached the top of the grandstand. The racegoers, after the initial excitement of the start, were settling down into conversations with neighbors or placing side bets with friends. He scanned the crowd again, hoping to see a bright auburn head among the shifting mass of townspeople. He had been sure that Kathryn would be here today. After all, Tom was riding in the race. He wouldn't have thought that anything, even Santa Annorax and his whole outlaw army of Mexi-Krennim soldiers, could have kept her away. But she was nowhere to be seen.

He spotted a pretty, strawberry blonde woman making her way up the grandstand steps, a sasparilla in her hand. She sat down on the bench in front of him, smiling and waving at another young woman down on the ground.

"Excuse me," the man said, leaning forward to speak into her ear. "I was hoping to see Kathryn Janeway at the race today, but I haven't been able to find her. Do you know if she's here?"

The woman turned in her seat, a surprised, but friendly expression on her face. "You know, I was just commenting on that to a friend of mine. She told me that she had seen Mrs. Janeway headed down Main Street with some outlandish-looking gypsy woman."

"Did your friend know where they were going?" the man asked.

"She didn't say, but then, I didn't ask her. She's right down there," said the woman, pointing towards the young woman at whom she had just been waving, "if you want to ask her yourself."

"Thank you," the man said, starting to rise. "What's your friend's name?"

"Ann Suzanne. She's one of the Lang girls. We call her Ann-zan, for short. You'll like her. She's got spunk."

The man nodded his thanks and made his way quickly down the grandstand steps.