March 30th, 2020

_Warrior at Large_ Wedding part 2

***

Sssss . . . thunk!

The arrow hit the target, dead center of where he'd aimed—two rings from the actual center of the bullseye pinned to the stack of haybales.

"Not bad. Your form's good, you just need practice." Ice thumped him on the shoulder. "Keep going."

Dog looked over at his friend. "So how come you guys have hay bales if you don't have domesticated animals?"

"We've got gamera, at least the tribes who live near the Great Plains. All the mombe got lost when the Grass Culture collapsed, but we've brought in some domestic cattle now to replace them."

Dog eyed a fence built of tree trunks that looked like it could thwart an elephant stampede. "And how big are the wild mombes?"

"Eh, the mombedze look like cattle crossed with North American bison, on steroids. Although they probably just evolved that way. They're double the height and four times the weight of the biggest cow you've ever seen. With a really bad attitude toward predators, including men." Ice waved at the fence. "The part we got up before the spring migration worked well enough that we're trying to get the rest up before fall. It's probably overkill, since a rhino hasn't been spotted in the last decade. Locally."

"Locally."

"Well, nobody lives anywhere else on the world, so who knows what might wander in from elsewhere?"

Dog looked at the fence and nodded. "So you're fencing off a strip a hundred kilometers wide and five hundred long?"

"Yep. All the big farms are here. Then we'll build smaller ones, to cover the more scattered farms, and protect any new farm or ranch clusters anyone might want to start out here." Ice waved at the prairie. "And in between migrations, we cut hay out here. There's actually a large market for it on the Home World and several colonies."

"Huh." Dog turned and sent another arrow down range. Oops I ought to have taken more time! "Wow! Bullseye!"

Benz, one of Ice's workers laughed. "Pure luck. I don't think you even aimed."

"Heh!" Dog made himself sound indignant, and Ice laughed.

Benz shrugged. "Ice? We've used up the stock pile here. Can we move and work the other side?"

Ice glowered at the man. "You don't have to ask. Just tell me. And how big's the pile over there? Shall I send the trucks to you or start a new delivery point north of here?"

"Uh, start a new one north of here, then switch to north of the current westside spot on a few weeks." Benz squirmed. "Please?"

"Will do, Boss." Ice laughed at the man's wince.

Dog turned back to the target and bracketed the bullseye with a couple of arrows. "So you're really trying to ease yourself out of the 'Overkill Fence Company' and hand it over to your buddies?"

"Yep. I figure, this year we'll get the big strip done. Next year the smaller farming areas . . . then it'll just be a trickle of new farms. But all the heavy equipment, all the trained workers? They can find other things to build, other uses for the skills I'm teaching." He pointed at the target as he pulled out his comm. "That hay's not dead yet. Kill it while I attend to business."