Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chapter 42: The Farm

As we turned off the tarred road, onto the deeply rutted dirt two-track road that led through the bush to the entrance gate to the farm, Daise asked "Are you sure we're going to be OK out here?" I glanced across at her and saw that she was really nervous. I figured that she was really coming down hard from the huge adrenaline surges she had experienced over the last few days. Never mind the huge culture-shock of leaving everything she had known and becoming a "Stranger in a Strange Land". I smiled to myself, and thought that she was doing a pretty good job of "grokking" what was going on. "I think so. We'll have a layered defence here. The first part of that is that it's unlikely that any of those arseholes will know about this place, but I also intend to gather a bunch of old friends together, and that should go a long way towards keeping us safe." "I find that strange. You said right at the beginning that you were lonely, but you have so many friends?" I was please that Daise was distracted into a different topic. As she frowned, her body showed that when she wasn't concentrating on her worries, she lost some of her tension. "I have been struggling a bit with depression I think. Nothing serious, but maybe just that 'mid-life' thing that so many men seem to go through, looking back and wondering if you've really made a difference, and wondering what sort of legacy will be left behind when you're gone." "Ok, that makes a kind of sense I suppose," Daise replied, but I could hear that she didn't really understand, and it underscored for me the fact that she was actually really young. I had been easy for me to admire her beauty and youth and forget that age was a major factor in determining understanding of other people. As I thought about it though, I worked out that Alina, while about the same age as Daise, was a lot more mature is some ways because of the experiences that she had been through. "I haven't had much female companionship though," I pointed out. Daise giggled, which drew my eyes to the delightful things is did to her chest. She blushed when she saw where my eyes had strayed and looked over her shoulder into the back of the Land Rover. "You seem to have fixed that problem at least." Daise's arch tone and raised eyebrows made it my turn to go slightly pink, and I welcomed the distraction of having to stop for the main gate of the farm. We had spent some time and effort to create a feeling of ruggedness and rustic charm in all aspects of the place, and the gate was the first indication that visitors got of this. The gate itself was made of raw timber from indigineous trees, and had a gate-house attached to it that was covered in thatch. The person on gate-duty was dressed in a smart looking khaki uniform that had the name of the farm on embroidered sleeves pulled onto his epaulettes. He carried only a knobkerrie, as we didn't want to create the impression of an armed camp. He had obviously heard the sound of the vehicle as he was waiting for us with a clip-board and the sign-in form, but as he realised who it was, he stepped back with a smile and a wave to me and opened the gate. I waved back at him as I drove through and turned my head to speak over my shoulder. "Bird, we need to think about some more substantial security now." "Yes, my thought exactly," Bird replied. "I think an OP on the rise over there to give overwatch capability and maybe a sand-bag wall on the inside of the hut to provide cover from fire?" "I'll leave it to you," I told him. I knew that it was as good as done. "What about perimeter security?" "We'll set up some patrols, but I think the wild-life will provide a pretty good deterrent for the outer perimeter. I'd like to concentrate on the inner perimeter for actual defences." "Sounds good," I replied, satisfied for the moment. "Daise, Alina, watch this," I warned. We followed the road as it wound through the bush and finally topped out on a small rise. I stopped the Land Rover, knowing what an impression the first sight of the place normally had on visitors.

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