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A Visitor Rides To The Ranch

A visitor rides to the ranch
Ruth — 11 Sep 1998, 12:58 PM

Just then Kes called from the front porch, "Ma! Someone's coming." Miss Kathryn stepped outside and saw a cloud of dust as a man on horseback rode under the broad arch emblazoned with the symbol of the Delta Q and headed towards the ranch house.

It was Marshall Tuvok. "Why, I wonder what the Marshall wants?" Kathryn mused aloud. "Maybe he's coming to call on you Ma," Kes said in a teasing voice. "You know he's always been sweet on you."

Kathryn let out an exasperated, "Oh don't be silly, child," but she had to admit that Tuvok had made his admiration for her clear in the years following Mark's tragic death. Still, she had never responded to any of his veiled hints, and old friend that he was, he respected her feelings. Tuvok himself had lost his own wife seven years ago and had also never remarried, and had no steady sweet heart. There were rumors, though, that on at least one occasion in those seven years he had "gone upstairs" at Quark's Saloon with one of the sporting gals, Miss Jenny.

Just as the Marshall reached the front porch, B'Elanna and Tom ran up, and Kathryn suspected that their heavy breathing had nothing to do with their being alone in the barn together. For once. "Ma!" "Miss Kathryn!" Hearing the commotion, Chakotay quietly exited the house and stood behind Miss Kathryn.

Kathryn held up her hand, and said, "Alright everyone, calm down. Marshall, what can we do for you today?"

Tuvok nodded at the group. "Kathryn. Chakotay. I've heard some unsettling rumors of hostile activity down at the river. I understand that Kaze Ogla is attempting to restrict access to the Big Coffee river, and that Culluh Nistrim is, logically, quite upset."

B'Elanna nodded vigorously, "I heard the same thing in town this morning, Miss Kathryn!"

Kathryn thought for a minute. "Chakotay, Tom, B'Elanna, get your guns and saddle your horses! Kes, you help Leonie-Marie settle in, then get to town and warn the Doc that there may be trouble. Marshall Tuvok, will you go with us?"

He nodded in the affirmative.

Minutes later, the five riders set off for the Big Coffee. Well four did. Chakotay got about ten feet, when he accidentally ran his horse into some barbed wire, and he had to go back and get another mount.

But he soon caught up.