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Devil's Dance

VC: "Devil's Dance"
Jason — 21 Sep 1998, 6:52 PM

The continuation of the Templeton Saga...

Clop, clop, clop!

The horses of Miss Kate, Chakotay and Tom pulled in to the Voyager City Town Square. As Kathryn dismounted her trusty steed, Marshal Tuvok pulled up beside her-- as if trying to intercept her.

"Miss Kathryn, a word?" Marshal Tuvok requested.

"Now's not a good time, Marshal." Miss Kate replied, firmly, without looking at him.

Nonetheless, she could sense that Marshall Tuvok's demeanor was sterner than was his typical nature, but so was her's. And in her current mood, the two men behind her realized that if it came to a clash of wills between the Marshall and Miss Kathryn-- Marshall Tuvok had no chance.

Tuvok was undoubtedly aware of this himself. He had never met a woman as strong willed as Miss Kathryn. Of course, 'strong willed' was a quality that was found in abundance in the women of Voyager City-- to be sure. But no other woman in the town made it seem as-- utterly beautiful-- in Tuvok's mind. The other women in Voyager City-- sure, they were tough. But circumstances around them regarding life and love made them stronger. This was not the case with Miss Kathryn- he could sense that her strength was a part of her innate nature, and that appealed to Tuvok on many levels. In every thing she did, her natural strength and grace under pressure was evident. Tuvok had never seen a woman like her. Even his beloved late wife, for all of her own internal strength never carried it quite as well as Miss Kate did.

Tuvok was certain that he did not want to see any harm come to Kathryn-- in a futile attempt to draw her complete attention to him, he grabbed her arm, stopping her from heading on her way. "If you are planning to make the rendezvous with Templeton, I would highly advise against it." Tuvok sternly, yet desperately cautioned.

Janeway stopped, touched by his concern. "I appreciate the sentiment, Marshal. But I'm a big girl and I know how to defend myself."

Tuvok would not yet acquiese, however. "I have every faith in your skills of defence. However, if there is to be a fight, I am the one to be held accountable to the ramifications. Frankly, Undertaker Suder has already expressed the sentiment that the recent body count in Voyager City is becoming more than he can handle. I would hate to see him further overburdened by any outleashing of your temper while in there."

Miss Kate smiled. Did Marshall Tuvok make a joke?

In the moment of silence that ensued while Miss Kathryn considered Tuvok's words, Chakotay stepped forward to offer hos own, calm minded advice to Kathryn: "Perhaps all of this business with Templeton would be easier if you just stopped in at Clare Darrow's office to contest the Burleigh will."

Miss Kathryn shook her head. "No. It's too late for me to contest the will. The law won't help me get what Lord Burleigh intended me to have. Lady Templeton is on my turf now, so the way I see it, I reckon that it's my turn to lay down the law." She paused. "This has to be resolved woman to woman and it has to be resolved now. "

Kate looked and saw that all of her male counterparts had yielded themselves to her determination. Seeing no further challenges to her authority, Kate set out on finding Templeton.

"Where do you think she is?" Chakotay inquired.

"She sure seems like a vintage woman." Tom said. "And vintage women can be found at Sandrine's."

With that assetion, Miss Kathryn broke her arm free of Tuvok and stormed in to the Saloon.

Devil's Dance continued
Jason — 21 Sep 1998, 6:56 PM

Kate barged her way through the doors and saw Mrs. Templeton, sitting primly at a table, sipping tea and munching on crisply cut cucumber sandwiches.

"You wanted to see me?" Kate said, sitting down at the table.

"Why Miss Davenport. It's nice to see you again." Templeton said nonchalantly, sipping at her tea as if Miss Kate's arrival did not invoke any reaction, positive or negative-- within her at all. "Should I order something for you?"

Miss Kate was in no eating mood. "I've come to ask you only one question," Miss Kathryn said. "Why have you come to Voyager City?"

Templeton, for all her composure seemed taken aback, if only momentarily by Janeway's straightforwardness. She should have known, but for some reason did not expect that Janeway would take the 'bull by the horns', as it were and attempt to take control of the meeting so quickly. Templeton had hoped to be in complete control of this luncheon, and internally scolded herself for thinking that she could have intimidated Janeway so easily by the mere impact of her presence. Miss Janeway was obviously a lot stronger than the young woman she'd worked with at the Burleigh Estate.

Instantly attempting to take back control without losing her trademark cool, she cut to the chase.

"I understand your ranch is in dire straights. You are close to losing it. As you may be aware, I came in to quite a lot of money from the Burleigh Estate when our the Lord.... well, I think that we are both aware that his fate is still unresolved." Templeton took a sip of her tea. "The point is that I may be in a position to help you."

"You expect me to believe that you travelled all this way... to *help me*?"

"Why should it be so hard to believe?" Templeton returned in a somewhat good natured tone.

"Whatever you may have in mind," Janeway returned, "Allow me to pre-empt you be saying that I appreciate the offer, but I have everything under control."

Templeton finished a sip of her tea. "Do you? All that wealth that the Lord intended you to have... snatched away from you only by a few... insignificant days. It's a tragedy, really. You know, if only you had inherited that money, you probably would not have be having this problem now."

Kate was beginning to catch Templeton's drift, but was puzzled by her sudden utilitarianess.

"What are you trying to suggest?"

"Simply that perhaps that I could lend you the money." the Lady said.

Miss Kathryn smiled at her wording. "Lend?"

It was Templeton's turn to smile-- she did it so rarely, and only when she was pleased with herself-- rarely others. Not even the Burleigh children could amuse Templeton on any level, Kate had observed. Templeton was almost completely without passion, without any joy for life. She'd always wondered why this was. There was no one as bitter as Templeton. But bitter at what? Kate couldn't accept that this was a part of her nature. Her train of thought was quickly brought back to the here-and-now as Templeton elaborated:

"Devil's Dance" continued again
Jason — 21 Sep 1998, 6:59 PM

"Of course. You've always been a bit of a bad risk, financially, I'm afraid. Isn't it true that you often spent some of your own salary on the children under your ward? Of course, I'm sure they appreciated what you did for them, but with what they were going to recieve out of the family fortune-- I doubt it would have really amounted to much in their mind. So all you were left with was less earnings to show for your trouble. But on the other hand, of course, you did manage to ingratiate yourself with the Lord-- how, I'm not certain, of course. In all the years I worked for him, I'd always thought that he had better taste, really."

Kate burned inside with anger. If she could pull out her gun and shoot Templeton right now without any ramifications, she would have loved nothing better. Of course, she realized that the bullets would probably have deflected off her hard and cold as ice body. Damn her! Worst of all was that Templeton was still talking...

"...Yes, I'm afraid that if you want this money, you'll have to do something for me."

Kate shook her head. She was certain that her cheeks were probably flushed-- showing the rage she was feeling. What *was that* Tuvok was saying about unleashing her temper? It all seemed like a far too distant memory... a dream, of a happier time whose imprint was eroded by time. But of course, it had only been minutes ago.

Kate couldn't hold it anymore: "That's why you've come to Voyager City. You wouldn't have come here only to help me. There's something-- something here that you want." She shot out. More collectedly, thanks to the more calm-mindedness of her defiant nature she firmly told Templeton: "Well I'm afraid I'm going to have to reject your offer."

"You know, I'm really not asking for much." Templeton replied, still emotionless. But inside she knew that she had really gotten to Janeway. Now it was time to deliver the striking blow. Templeton looked Miss Kathryn straight in the eyes to deliver her ultimatum.

"I've come offering to help, however I am also in a good position to, perhaps purchase the ranch myself. All those acres? Those horses? I could certainly make a good life for myself there."

"I assure you that you will not have the chance." Miss Kate replied.

"You'd better hope not." Templeton said, noticing that she had long exhausted the contents within her tea cup.

"I think we're done here," Janeway said, leaving the table and storming out of the room.

She arrived back where Tom and Chakotay had been waiting by the horses.

"How'd it go?" Chakotay asked delicately, sensing Miss Kate's anxiety.

Kate was shaken by her meeting, but still resolved to keep her self cool and determined. After a pause, she looked to Chakotay. Her expression was still strong, but Chakotay saw a hopelessness in her eyes. "We'll have to continue with our plans for the cattle drive. As soon as we return to the ranch, we'll start to make preparations to leave immediately."

Chakotay nodded, and Tom looked on, feeling sympathy for not only his mother-- but the true impact that his own home-- his childhood was really, truly at dire risk. He'd never let it sink in before-- but felt it intensely now.

"Devil's Dance" continued once again
Jason — 21 Sep 1998, 7:08 PM

(With apologies to the writers of "Prime Factors")

Before any of them could let any of it sink in for too long, they reeled back, attention drawn by a loud, piercing noise behind them. What had happened? Behind them, they observed that Templeton had come out of the Saloon. Beside her, there was a noticable hole in the wall beside her, still sending off smoke. It didn't take them long to realize that someone had shot as Mrs. Templeton. Whoever had done it had barely missed, but the act itself stunned Janeway and her men. Mrs. Templeton still didn't lose her composure-- she looked out at the street. From within her dress, Templeton pulled out a long thin object. It reflected the intense sunlight that beamed against it, and it did not take long for Janeway to realize that Templeton was now brandishing a knife. Templeton raised it above her head, then flung it outward at great speed. It darted undisturbed in the air until it his it's intended target-- Marshall Tuvok-- in the shoulder. Aghast, Kate and Chakotay ran across the Market Square to tend to Tuvok. Still in his hands was the warm gun he'd used to shoot at Templeton with. Janeway's jaw was open-- she couldn't believe Tuvok had done this.

"Why?" she asked.

"You... could not act.... So I acted for you." Tuvok said.

"Marshall... you're my counsel. You're the one I go to when I need MY moral compass checked!" Janeway said.

"Mrs. Templeton had violated four clauses of the Voyager City Traffic Code, Miss Kate. I was perfectly within my rights as Marshal to shoot." Tuvok explained.

It was not long until Doc Holliday, summoned by the noise of the gun shot which had rang out throughout town had reached his office. Oddly enough, it also summoned Undertaker Suder and Clare Darrow who promptly distributed her business card to all present on the scene. ("Stretcher Chaser!" thought Tom.)

Doc Holliday looked over Tuvok. "It's nothing critical. I expect him to make a full recovery."

"I can help with the insurance forms!" chimed Clare Darrow, who helped the Doc carry Tuvok off in the stretcher.

Templeton was again looming over Kate. "I could get to like it here, Miss Davenport." Templeton said. "There is something about the level of lawlessness here that appeals to me."

Chakotay wanted to shield Miss Kate so engaged Templeton in conversation himself. "That's some mighty fine knife skills."

Templeton seemed bemused.

"In fact, I haven't seen anything approaching that kind of skill with a knife this side of Borg Indian territory."

Then if hit Miss Kate with all the power and insight of an epiphany. It all fit in to place.

"So, that's it.... the Borg Indian Tribe. You're one of them!

Templeton shook her head. "What? That's ridicoulous."

"Is it? That knife skill? You've always been good with knives as long as I've known you. That pale, cold skin of yours? It can't be a coincidence." Janeway said.

"I have no idea what you're talking about!" Templeton defended herself.

But now Kate felt empowered, not intimidated. "I spent the last twenty years wondering what happened to the Burleighs, but know I know. You didn't kill them. You sent them. Sent them to the Borg for assimilation in to their tribe!"

Now Mrs Templeton was the one who was spurned. "You're mad! Your delusions have finally caught up with you, Davenport! I assure you, that this is not over between us!"

Templeton turned curtly and stormed off back to the Saloon.

But even her latest threat could not deter Miss Kate She finally had some of the answers to the questions she left behind in the AQ....