USS Pioneer NCC - 74757


Docked at Starbase Sirius
Speed: Docked
Shields: Nominal
Hull: Nominal
Systems: All Systems Nominal

Party Time
Episode 10 - New Home, Same Pioneers
Stardate 962307.28
MD009 2100 hrs

Previous Next

Of Mice and Men

Posted on Fri Sep 7th, 2018 @ 4:44pm by Lieutenant Richard Ballston M.D. PsyD
Edited on on Mon Sep 10th, 2018 @ 4:54pm

Mission: Episode 4 - The Sum of Our Parts
Location: Appalachian Mountains Earth
Timeline: MD003 0615 hrs
1431 words - 3 OF Standard Post Measure

May 30 2394 0615 hrs (relative time)

Richard crouched down quickly hearing voices on his land, a patch of maintenance terrain about in Kentucky where the Appalachian Mountain range descended made its long journey from Canada into Alabama. He had grown up in this rugged environment with only a two-room shack to call home. With no electricity or running water. His adoptive father had found him wandering in the wood not far from his still and thought about shooting him to keep the authorities from finding his secret stash of moonshine but thought better of it choosing to raise the boy as his own son. Or at least that is the story he told Richy and anyone else that asked about it.

The man, Alfred P. McNally, that Richard knew as Papa, had grown up on the same mountainside, in the same house as his parents and his grandparents. It had the same leaky hand pump attached to the rough-hewn wood beside an old porcelain sink that had long ago begun losing its sheen. Alfred knew the true story of where Richard came from but had gone to his grave with the secret. Richard was an infant he had heard first and then found lying under an old, gnarly black cherry tree that he had come to gather the deep red fruit from that fall day. Ricard was swaddled in a deep blue cloth closed off by a beautiful round brooch with a sapphire like stone with characters he couldn't identify scrolled around the filigree setting.

Alfred was superstitious and believed that the child was some sort of gift from the spirit world. It all made sense in his mind, a perfect baby boy with this unusual brooch stuck under that old tree just for him. He had never had a child, not even a wife to have one with, and he sure needed kin to carry on his name. So Richard became his boy and now at the age of twenty-one, he was the heir of the McNally domain.

Richard listened as a thin line of smoke could be seen through the trees. He moved a little closer to the clearing and squinted his pale eyes through the morning fog. The crackle of the fire could be heard along with the grunts and groans of the three men who had decided to camp out the night there.

He was dressed in a worn flannel coat that had long ago lost its buttons adn been replaced by those carved out by Richard himself. The pack on his back was full of paw paws and a string with two pheasants hung over his left shoulder and his break action over and under .22/20 gauge rifle, he inherited from his father open over his left arm. The worn jeans he wore were a little short and too big around the waist but held up with a sturdy bull leather belt.

"Recon Richard be mad as an old nest of hornets if he finds out we done camped out on his property," one of the men sand between his rustling about.

The voice was familiar to Ballston. He knew it as Dodry O'Malley, the local store owner he brought honey and pelts to when he wanted to raise a few dollars. Dodry was right but Richard wasn't about to give away anything yet.

"Not after he finds out what we're wanting him for," another voice chimed in, "he's a good man ol' Richy that is." "he'll forgive us all when we tell him."

Those words were also from a familiar man, Preacher Avery Maddox who had tried but unsuccessfully to convince Richard to come out of that mountain and see if he could get into a proper college for some wright learning. Richard knew that wasn't going to work. As soon as they realized he could neither read or write, no matter how smart he was they'd never let him darken their door.

Another voice chimed in sounding more strained than the others, "He can sure teach and he's the best doctor we got in these parts, no matter how much proper book learnin' the got."

This voice belonged to none other than Freddi Durban, a shabby, stubbily bearded man in his sixties who called on Richard often for his herbal and folk remedies.

"Do ya think he'd ever guess you're Mary Sue has taken a liken to him and wants him to teach her medicine?" Freddi quipped to the pastor letting out a faint whistle through his missing teeth, "that teacher, Miss Jamison that came here to teach the youngens thought a lot of him too after she figured out he was a wiz even if he could read a lick of her books."

"We'll know soon enough," the pastor replied taking a sip from an old tin cup they had brought with them.

Freddi had made coffee over the fire though nothing else had been started for the morning meal if there was going to be.

Richard moved forward into the clearing enough that the men could see him and calmly spoke, "sooner I recon would be better." He glanced around the group with his bearded face though neatly trimmed and nodded, "you know I don't take kindly to trespassers gentlemen, what brings you here?"

The pastor move with a start but the older store owner merely glanced over and waved his cup towards the man, "we got an offer for ya there Richard if you hear us out." He said rather calmly, "the reverend here wants you to come down and teach his Mary Beth some of those healin' things you do.

"Mary Sue wants to learn the herbs?" Richard seemed skeptical as he glanced over at Avery for clarification, "I never knew she had any desire for learning it." He walked in closer to the fire and crouched down a little, "if she wants to learn I will teach her Preacher but I ain't going to no university."

There seemed to be something odd about the whole situation and Richard could sense it. There was someone there he hadn't seen yet and he was sure the whole tings wasn't much more than a trap.

"Yep she does Mister McNally," a new voice blurted from the side dressed in finer close than the rest. The man wasn't exactly a city slicker but it was obvious he wasn't from the parts.

Richard slowly stood back up and looked at him, "and you are sir?" The words were calm though he stared at him allowing his telepathic abilities to scour his brain unknown to the stranger.

"I'm Phillip P. Mattingly, a real doctor and about to make your life a living hell."

"Oh really Doctor Mattingly," Richard replied cocking his gun back together, "you sir are on my property and I don't take kindly to threats."

"I'm about to make an end of your freak show boy," the man said though he wasn't that much older than him, "you whichcraft isn't worth two wooden nickels."

"Good fire start," Richard replied calmly. He walked over towards the man, "
so is that Medical doctor or PH.D you're bragging about?"

"Medical," Mattingly replied, "I'm marrying Marry Sue and there isn't a thing you can do about it."

"Who said anything about me marrying her?" Richard tilted his head and studied the stranger, "if you came for a dog and pony show Doctor selling bottles of snake oil at the going rate your quite mistaken."

Phillip gave him a wry smile, "so you can talk like a proper person."

"I can do a lot of things Doctor," Richard said, "except read and write." "That's not because they haven't tried."

"Now just cool your britches Phillip," the preacher said walking over towards the two, "before you end up picking yourself off the floor and wondering what day of the week it is." "Richard didn't come here to fight you and you wouldn't win anyway."

"I bet if we had an essay writing contest I would," Phillip replied, "seems that would be hands down."

"yes but if it were an oral report I think you might have a challenge there." The store owner replied, "he's ain't the village idiot."

"I suppose not." The physician replied with a nod, "but he isn't smart enough to learn how to read and write."
To Be Continued...

Lieutenant Commander Richard Ballston M.D. PsyD
Chief Medical Officer/Second Officer, USS Pioneer


Previous Next