Written for Write on Edge. A story, about an attempt to force the sale of land, begins after the image.
Genre: Science Fiction
Translation: Robber Beware
Randall Medrano rode the fence of his ranch on Plaxus IV like ranchers on Earth had done for centuries. Though, the curious biosphere of Plaxus that produced bluish trees also added many years to human longevity, it couldn’t keep him alive forever. He loved the beauty of his home of 118 years. Unfortunately, not everything about the planet was beautiful.
A skimmer approached him from the other side of the 20-foot divider fence, the northern side of his land that kept the cattle separate from that side of his land. As Randall faced his last years, perhaps his last months, younger and wealthier ranchers looked upon his land with greedy eyes. Far from government authority, some buyers were more aggressive than others about making a purchase. Watching the familiar skimmer, Randall brought his ATV to a halt and awaited the inevitable confrontation.
The skimmer stopped on the other side of the fence and two henchman, armed with high-powered guns, stepped out and stood behind the wealthy and portly Jedidiah Jones. The two ranchers greeted each other in classic style.
A hawk flew by overhead.
“I really wish you’d reconsider my offer, Randall.”
“Told you I’m givin’ it to my granddaughter.
“Well. The law of Plaxus says the land gotta be owned by folks whut live here.”
“She’ll be here with the supply ship in two months. She’ll be a citizen then.”
Jedidiah placed his hands on his belt beside his gun. “Trouble is, if’n you die before then, your land goes to the highest bidder. That’d be me.”
“You threatenin’ me, Jed?”
Jedidiah spat on the ground. “You could just sell to me, but…yeah. I s’pose I am.”
Randall spat too, but further. “I believe that’s called robbery, Jed.”
“Call it what you will.”
“‘We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided,’” Randall quoted. “We should help each other, not fight like this.”
“Horse-shit! It’s just business.”
“You couldn’t work this land. You don’t know nuthin’ about it.”
Jedidiah pointed at the cattle grazing nearby Randall. “It’s just a cattle ranch, Randall.”
“It’s not a cattle ranch, dumbshit.” Randall pointed at the cattle. “Them’s the feed.”
Jedidiah looked perplexed. “Whut? What the hell do you feed cattle to?”
“I heard you,” grated Jedidiah. “I never figured you for an algae farmer.”
“Not algae. Dinosaurs.” He pointed behind Jedidiah. “Like them right there.”
Jedidiah and his men spun around to see five of the 20-foot long carnivorous dinosaurs stalking towards them. The 1,400 pound predators looked hungry.
“Rich folks pay top-dollar for ‘em,” said Randall. “But they eat a lotta cattle.” He aimed an EMP gun. It only made a *click* sound before it rendered the electronics of their guns and vehicle inoperable. “Come to think of it, they’ll eat just about anything that moves.”
“Help me, dammit!”
Randall shook his head. “Help? ‘Horse-shit,’ Jed. It’s just business.”
Every week, Write on Edge offere a new writing prompt with a quote and an image as cues or inspiration. My splash photo in the media prompt, and I used the quote, “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided,” directly. This week’s prompt may be found here: http://writeonedge.com/2014/03/writing-prompt-2014-week-13/