Author: Glenn J Hill

“Poachers. Ugh, I hate poachers.”, I muttered under my breath. Since way before I came along, my family’s ranch has been beset by poachers. The property is way outside normal populated areas, and it takes a long time to get here. Nobody accidentally comes here. They come for one reason. Our livestock. My ancestors picked this planet, and started this ranch, and we’ve been fighting to protect it ever since. “No Trespassing” marker beacons out past the heliopause kept all but the most determined away. Luckily, of those that did venture this way, most were just curious. There are some that get a thrill doing a cruise by, trying to get a view of our livestock. Most of the time we can just scare them off with a few well placed “shots across the bow”, so to speak. Technology certainly helps. Automated sensors let us know when they’re still a way off. The weapon systems will calculate vectors and track, but it’s up to us to actually push the fire button. It wouldn’t be good to shoot down some ambassador’s son who was showing off for his friends. But this bunch I am looking at right now, they’re here for profit. A Dalian ship brimming with weapons and livestock cargo bays isn’t your typical joy ride vehicle. Grab some of the herd, and off they go to parts unknown. It’s time to put a stop to this before things get out of hand.

My grand-daddy always said that diplomacy was saying “nice doggy” while finding a big enough stick. I opened a channel, “Dalian cargo ship, you’re trespassing in private space. Cease your progress, and reverse your path, or you will be fired upon.”

No answer. I didn’t expect one. Telemetry had shown a flight path right to our ranch, not a casual flyby. They knew what they were after.

We know what they’re after too. That’s why we keep the security system up to date with the latest in weapons technology. The serious intrusions are few and far between, but we can’t afford a single slip up anymore, the herd’s getting skittish, and harder to control.

I repeated the warning, and again, got no response. Time for some fireworks. A few taps on my control console sent 3000 micro lance beams across the surface of their ship. Not enough to destroy them, but it would certainly wreak havoc with their sensors, and might overwhelm a few of their systems. A couple taps on my keyboard for good measure, and I opened the channel again, “Dalian cargo ship, that was your last warning. If you do not immediately vacate this space, you leave us no choice but to destroy your ship.”

They were scanning for targets, and powering up their weapons systems. My weapons were all in place and ready for action. My finger hovered over the activate button as I opened the channel one last time.

“Dalian cargo ship, you have been warned. If you do not immediately turn about, you will be destroyed.”

Their sensors found me, they brought their weapons to bear on my location. I dropped my finger. They ceased to exist. Well, not instantly. I assume they existed for a very short time, but they never realized what happened to them. Superior technology, that’s what happened. Whole ship quantum teleportation, right into the heart of the local star, 9 light minutes away.

We have about 8 billion head of self-sustaining livestock on this ranch, they’re almost ready for market. It’ s my job to see they make it there.