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Voyager Meets The Big Country

Voyager meets The Big Country
AC — 11 Sep 1998, 11:10 AM

Tom wiped his forehead with a sigh, leaning against the porch railing. *Today is going to be another scorcher*, he thought, glancing at the sky. *It doesn't look like any rain for a few more days, either.* Taking a last sip of coffee, he set his cup down and stood, ready for a long day's work.

As he stepped down onto the dry, scraggly grass, he saw a dust cloud coming up the road and smiled. B'Elanna was driving the supply wagon as if demons were chasing her, but he would bet she'd just wanted to go fast for the fun of it. She was constantly working on the horses' stamina, insisting that more speed was always possible.

The horses grudgingly slowed to a halt as the young woman tugged expertly on the reins and leapt gracefully to the ground almost before the wagon stopped moving. "Ayala!," she yelled, "can you put away the horses and tell Dalby that the supplies need to be put away?"

"Yes, Miss," Ayala nodded, moving to lead the horses into the barn.

"Tom," she said urgently, "where's your mother? I need to speak with her at once."

"What's wrong?" he asked, frowning at the worried look on her face.

"Trouble," she replied tersly. "While I was in town I heard Culluh Nistrim talking in the general store, mad as a hornet. Mr. Ogla posted men down at the river and drove off Nistrim's herd. I know your mother gave water rights to both of them, and with this drought, if one rancher keeps another's herd away from water, the cattle will die like flies."

Tom nodded as they headed into the house. "And Nistrim wouldn't think twice before heading his men up to Ogla's Point and kill anyone standing in the way."

Waddya think?