It’s the party’s last day at the ranch prior to heading out to the Nob Plain and getting ready there for the harvest and so it’s time to tie up their loose ends.
Arvor suggests sending the air/rafts back to their base in Evander on autopilot. They also need to get rid of the captive as well as he can’t be kept at the ranch indefinitely. They decide that the easiest way of getting rid of him is to knock him out for a while and put him in one of the air/rafts so that he will gain consciousness only once he is back in the town.
Before William puts him under, Grim has a word with him:
“We know what you’re up to out here. We’ve stopped your operations for the time being but have no wish to engage in a long term conflict. Cut a new deal with the ranchers and we’re outta your hair.”
“Whatever you say, man,” the captive replies nervously. “No one was supposed to get hurt here. That wasn’t the plan.”
While Grim holds him down, William injects him with a general anesthetic and a couple of minutes later, he’s sleeping like a baby. Clint then drives Arvor, Taeva and Jie back to where the air/rafts are still in the swamp. They place the captive tied up in the back seat of one of them and then Clint keys in the destination into the autopilots. The four of them watch the air/rafts taking off and heading north to Evander before returning to the ranch.
The rest of the day is spent in training getting ready for the harvest. Those who don’t use lasers are offered the use of one of the ranch’s Big Game Bolt-Action Rifles with HE shells. Hyrm recommends that everyone who is going to use them spends a while practicing with them to get used to the weapon’s massive recoil and so much of the party spends the day blasting at targets in the grounds of the ranch.
Hyrm also gives lessons in how to prepare the carcasses once the beasts are down, explaining how to fillet the enormous creatures using laser cutters and enormous and very sharp knives. He warns everyone that it’s going to get pretty bloody out there and so it is not a job for the squeamish.
In the evening, as promised, one of the Kennedy boys, Dan, comes over in an air/raft to make up the numbers so that there will be ten going on the harvest.
Taeva and Hyrm are both a little nervous at leaving Shania alone on the ranch while the party is out at the harvest in case Jimmy-Joe – who by now has probably pieced together exactly what has happened – comes looking for revenge.
“The harvest needs all ten of us there on the job,” Hyrm says with a sigh. “We won’t get our full quota if some of us stay back.”
He pauses for a moment, considering the situation.
“Maybe we ask the TDF to come here while we’re away?” he suggests. “We don’t need to tell them the full story as to why we think Shania might be in danger. We could just tell them about the predator attacks from the swamp.”
The others agree that it’s a good compromise and so Hyrm gives them a call. They tell him that they will send a squad over in the morning to keep guard over Shania.
Hyrm recommends everyone to get a good night’s sleep as everyone has some long days ahead of them starting in the morning.