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Up A Creek Without A Paddle

VC: Keeping you all in suspense (not the title)
Janeway216 — 30 Aug 1999, 9:26 PM

Jules, this is a bit more of where this is going ...

Okay, finally I think time shall move. Or rather, I'll just give this a place in time, and hope to God I get the relationships right.

Tom Janeway was almost on top of the world as he rode out to Ice Box Canyon. That B'Elanna Torres had agreed to partner with him in getting their horses ready for the big race. Sure, B'Elanna was take-your-breath-away gorgeous, but she was also the best horse trainer in these parts, and with her help Tom knew he had a good chance of winning the race. Of course, so would B'Elanna. That's what made this so fun, knowing they were going to be competitors.

B'Elanna had agreed to meet Tom in Ice Box Canyon an hour after sun-up. So he was mildly surprised when he arrived there at fifty minutes after sun-up and saw a horse already there. The rider had dismounted and was walking around, studying something. "B'Elanna?" Tom called. "You're early!"

The figure turned briefly toward him, and in the second that Tom saw the face he knew it wasn't B'Elanna. He caught a glint of light off dark glasses, and then the figure ran and mounted its horse. In a brief flurry of dust, it took off.

Tom immediately spurred Frisco into a gallop, taking off after the rider. He wasn't sure he was going to ride Frisco in the big race, because there were other horses that needed the experience more. But he was glad he'd brought Frisco today, as he needed the stallion's speed. He drew ever closer, and finally he recognized the horse. Sacajawea, from Larson's. Speedy, but low stamina. Also, this mysterious person wasn't a quarter the rider that Tom was, and they looked like they were perilously close to falling off the horse.

The chase continued for another ten minutes, until what Tom had predicted came true. The rider fell off the horse, and landed in a dusty heap. Sacajawea ran a few more feet, then skidded to a halt. Even though he was a good twenty-five feet away, Tom could hear a stream of curse words coming from the rider. They were in a voice that, although deep, was feminine.

"Are you okay?" Tom asked, riding up and coming to a stop beside the mysterious rider.

She glared at him. "Do I look okay to you?" she spat. "I just fell off a d@mn horse, for &od's sake."

"Whoa, little lady," Tom said. "Calm down." He dismounted and offered her a hand. Icily, she refused to accept it and instead pushed herself up and stood brushing her clothes off. "I'm Tom Janeway," he introduced himself. "And who would you be?"

"Miss Marguerite St. Claire," she said frostily. "Nice to meet you." She stalked off towards Sacajawea, and actually managed to mount Sacajawea on the second try.

"Wait, Miss St. Claire," Tom said, "I got some questions to ask you."

"I want a lawyer," Marguerite said.

"Naw, you don't need no lawyer," Tom said. "I just want to know what you were doing out at Ice Box Canyon."

"I was looking for something," Marguerite said stiffly. "Now excuse me." She pushed Sacajawea into a trot and headed back towards the canyon.

Tom rode up in front of her and cut her off. "We are going to ride back to the Delta Q together," he said firmly. "And you and I are gonna have a little chat. And then maybe you and Mama are gonna have a little chat, and maybe you and Chakotay are gonna have a little chat. Cause we at the Delta Q don't take too kindly to intruders."

Re: VC: "Up A Creek Without A Paddle" part 2
Janeway216 — 30 Aug 1999, 9:31 PM

I did tell you guys where this goes, didn't I?

"I wasn't aware that Ice Box Canyon belonged to you."

Tom indicated the surrounding country with a sweep of his hand. "Most of this belongs to us."

"Can we go now?" Marguerite asked, her tone making it clear that she had no interest in what Tom was saying.

"Sure," Tom said good-naturedly, and Frisco dropped into a trot beside Sacajawea. "So, Miss St. Claire, where you from?"

Marguerite sighed. "You all call it 'back East.' I call it home."

"Is that so? You know, Mama's from back East."

"And that means absolutely nothing to me."

"Little town called Al Batani," Tom said.

Marguerite's face remained stone. "Never heard of it."

Another lull ensued, until Tom broke it by saying, "So why do you wear those little glasses?"

Marguerite sighed again. "When I was young, I had the fever. It ruined my eyesight, in that my eyes were too weak to handle much light. So I wear these to make it darker, so I can see."

"Oh," Tom said cheerfully. "What kinda fever?"

"The fever," Marguerite said impatiently.

"Oh," Tom said, subdued. Maybe you could say squelched. The two of them were silent until they returned to the ranch house. Then Tom dismounted, told Marguerite "Wait here", and went into the house, calling, "Mama? Got someone here to see you!"

Marguerite stayed astride her horse, but buried her head in her hands. This was not how she had planned for this to end up. She had only gone out to Ice Box Canyon so she could catch her bearings in this new territory, but then that horrid Tom Janeway had caught her. Okay, so maybe running away made her look guilty. But he'd surprised her, and how was she to know that he was going to be out there? And now she was going to have to lie like a dog to Mrs. Janeway, and there was going to be he!! to pay after that.

Tom reappeared at the door to the house. "Mama says come on in to the parlor," he called. Marguerite dismounted and entered the house.

It was dim inside, and cooler than she expected. She paused in the front hall, getting her bearings, and then she heard a whisper behind her, "Turn left." D@mn. It was that Tom Janeway. She whipped her head around and hissed, "For your information, Mr. Janeway, I'm standing here because I can't see anything yet!"

"Take off your glasses," was his impish response.

"Never," returned Marguerite, and by then her eyes had adjusted and she could see the parlor door, open, and indeed off to the left like Tom had said. She stepped closer and saw Mrs. Janeway waiting for her.

"Miss St. Claire?" Mrs. Janeway asked. "Come in and sit down, please."

Marguerite stepped inside the parlor and found a chair. "Hello, Miss St. Claire," Mrs. Janeway said. "Welcome to Voyager City. And the Delta Q, I guess."

Marguerite blushed at that last part. "A pleasure to be here," she said.

"I'd give you a tour," Mrs. Janeway said, "but you seem to have gotten started on that already. May I ask, what were you doing out at Ice Box Canyon?"

"I was admiring the beauty of this rugged territory."

RE: VC: "Up A Creek Without A Paddle" part 3
Janeway216 — 30 Aug 1999, 9:35 PM

"Tom tells me that you said you were looking for something."

D@mn. She'd said too much to Tom, and now she was paying for it. "Yes, I was looking for beauty."

"Then why did you run away from Tom?" Mrs. Janeway asked.

"Because he had scared me," Marguerite said. "I wasn't expecting anyone to come out there."

"Well, didn't you know that Ice Box belongs to the Delta Q?" Mrs. Janeway asked innocently.

"No," Marguerite said equally innocently, and it was hard to tell which of the two of them was lying.

"I would think the cows would be a dead giveaway."

"I'm not from around here. They could just have been free-range, for all I knew."

Mrs. Janeway surveyed Marguerite with narrowed eyes. "Where did you say you were from again?"

"Back East," Marguerite said.

"I'm from back East myself," Mrs. Janeway said. "And I knew absolutely nothing about ranching when Mark married me and brought me out here. I could hardly tell a cow from a horse. And yet you know about free-range cattle."

D@mn. She'd said too much again. "My brother's a farmer."

"Sure he is," Mrs. Janeway said, and the two of them sat glaring at each other for a second. Finally Marguerite looked away and said, "This isn't getting us anywhere."

"Correction," Mrs. Janeway said. "This isn't getting me anywhere. You, however, Miss St. Claire, are leaving, and I hope to &od that we never find you on Delta Q property again."

"Not even if I ask?" Marguerite sassed.

"Especially not if you ask," Mrs. Janeway said. "Good-bye, Miss St. Claire."

"Fair weather," Marguerite said - where had that come from? - and departed.

She made it as far as the front door, and then stopped short. Growl. That despicable Tom Janeway was propped up next to the door. He'd heard every word. Tom looked knowingly at Marguerite. "The glasses didn't make a very good impression on Mama, I don't think," he said. "I told you to take them off."

Marguerite whipped her glasses off, gave him her best glare (which didn't work very well because she had to squint to see him), pushed her glasses back up her nose, and then stalked over to Sacajawea.

"Nice eyes," Tom said. "Green."

Marguerite growled, and then rode off.

Eventually I will get somewhere with this!