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The Bold And The Border Patrol

CONTINUED: RE:VC: The Bold and the Border Patrol
Ginny — 10 Oct 1998, 11:04 AM

Clare closed her fan and smiled gamely at the pretty young woman. "I'm fine, Miss Janeway. It's just a little warm in here. Nick has gone to fetch me something cold to drink."

Kes frowned and looked at the lawyer carefully. "If you're sure. I thought I sensed..."

"I really am fine," Clare interjected firmly, waving her hand in a dismissive gesture. "But I was wondering--who is that handsome man over there?" And she gestured casually toward the far wall.

Kes turned to look. "That's Voyager City's District Attorney, Wyatt Billiard Balle."

Clare shook her head. "No, the other handsome man over there."

Kes looked again. "Oh! That's Judge William Riker."

Clare rolled her eyes in exasperation. "No, no, no! I mean that stunning creature with the pale, stern visage of an angel standing by the window."

Kes looked puzzled for a moment, then smiled in recognition. "Oh, I see who you mean now. That would be Colonel T.C. McQueen."

Clare leaned forward, her face eager. "Colonel McQueen, is it? What can you tell me about him, Miss Janeway?"

Kes paused briefly and joined Clare in watching the man in question, an elegantly compact figure in a dark cavalry uniform, standing alone and apart, his hat tucked under his arm, watchful as a sentry. His eyes, gray as glacier ice, swept the crowd, momentarily locking with Clare's, who breathed in sharply at the contact, and then moving on.

"He's stationed at Fort Saratoga with the 58th Starfleet Advanced Cavalry," Kes informed her. "They patrol the borders between the ranches and the lands reserved for the local Indian tribes, keeping the peace and arbitrating various land disputes. He was here for the race today, although it always amazes me when he comes to town."

Clare dragged her eyes away from the solitary figure in black and glanced up at Kes. "Why is that?"

"Well, Fort Saratoga is an awful long way from here, Miss Darrow," Kes responded. "The trip is difficult, time-consuming, and dangerous, particularly if you take the shortest route, which crosses the Spatial Rift north of town and goes through treacherous Temporal Anomaly Pass." Kes smiled softly. "But the Colonel is nothing, if not determined. He and my mother get on very well--as long as they're on the same side of an issue. I could introduce you, if you like."

Clare shook her head and looked back at the man again. "We have a saying where I come from, Miss Janeway. 'Dance with the one what brung you.'" She sighed quietly. "He's very...attractive, though, isn't he?"

Kes shrugged amiably. "I suppose so, if you like that particular combination of fair skin and silver hair and pale, expressive eyes. On the other hand..." Her eyes wandered back to the spot where she'd left her young gunslinger, and she gave a short, surprised laugh. Clare followed her gaze and saw that the young man had taken off his hat and was attempting to balance a riding crop on the end of his nose.

"If you'll excuse me, Miss Darrow, I believe someone is trying to get my attention." And Kes was off in a swirl of silk skirts, under which Clare could see black leather boots with remarkably high narrow heels. Clare turned back to watch the Colonel.

"Do you know him?" asked a voice at her elbow. Nick Locarno was standing there, holding two glasses filled with a dark red beverage.

"No," Clare said. "No, I don't." And she took a glass from his hand and smiled sweetly at him.

To be continued in General Horse Puddles