The Coffee Nebula Board is for the discussion of Star Trek: Voyager and other sci-fi/cult shows. This is its Archive of episode discussions, top ten lists, fan fiction, and other miscellaneous musings.


General Horse Puddles

VC: General Horse Puddles
Ginny — 11 Oct 1998, 11:33 AM

Clare and Locarno stood to one side of the dance floor, drinking sangaree and watching the dancers whirl by. Occasionally, Clare would send surreptitious glances towards Colonel McQueen. If Locarno noticed, he made no more comment.

Captain Juliet's band started a new song, something with obvious Latin origins, and Locarno set down his glass and asked, "Clare, I've been remiss in my duties as your escort. Would you like to dance?"

Clare, who had been watching Kes Janeway and her young gunfighter dancing to the salsa tune in a manner that had more than one Voyager City matron rushing to complain to the mayor, raised her eyebrows. "Just what, exactly, did you have in mind, Nick?" She gestured toward the dancing couple, who had managed to move all over the dance floor with out ever breaking body contact from sternum to thigh. "I'm not sure I could look a Voyager City jury in the face after a dance like that."

Locarno nodded sagely. "Not to mention the fact that, when it was over, you'd have to marry me."

Clare shot him a look of mock horror. "Then, by all means, let's wait for a waltz."

As luck would have it, the next dance was indeed a waltz, the beautiful Tennessee Waltz. Clare laughed in delight and held out her hands to her handsome companion. "I'll take that as a sign. Shall we, Mr. Locarno?"

"Lady, we shall," he responded, promptly spinning her out onto the dance floor. They made a handsome, graceful couple, and, after one well-executed turn past the bandstand, Clare said, "I've just realized that we've had dinner and small talk, and I still know almost nothing about you, Nick, except your current assignment here in Voyager City. Tell me about yourself. Where do you come from? What is you family like?

Locarno looked into her beautiful brown eyes for several seconds without saying anything, then he glanced off over her shoulder. "There's not much to tell, Clare. My mother died when I was very young, and I was raised by her relatives in the Midwest."

"What about your father?" Clare asked.

Locarno's face tightened, his eyes still averted. "My father wasn't around when my mother died, and I've haven't seen him since." He slowly turned wide, guileless gray eyes to meet hers, and every hair on the back of Clare's neck stood up. "I'm not really sure who he is, to be perfectly honest. My mother's people either didn't know or wouldn't say."

All of Clare's lawyer instincts kicked into overdrive. He's lying to me, she thought. But why?

"Were there any other children, any brothers or sisters?" Clare inquired, suddenly uncomfortable with the man's arms wrapped around her.

Locarno again stared off into space and then looked back at Clare, a sincere earnestness in his quicksilver eyes. "No, Clare. I was an only child."

Clare murmurred sympathetically, but asked no more questions, and the couple finished the waltz in silence. As the band began another tune, the church bell suddenly rang out and Chakotay Torres and a woman Clare didn't recognize appeared on the dance floor. Panic edging his voice, the foreman announced that a fire was threatening the herd at Ice Box Canyon. Then Tom Janeway and B'Elanna Torres raced in with news of a fire at the Delta Q Ranch.

The crowd erupted in noise and motion. Locarno pulled Clare into a quiet alcove. "Do you want to go to the ranch?" he asked the lawyer.

Clare shook her head. "No, I'd just be in the way, dodging firefighters and horses and puddles. Go, if you need to. Larson will drive me home." Locarno raised her hand, gave it a quick kiss, and joined the rest of the men who were streaming out into the night air.