In The Name of Lynch

-Chapter 10: The First Reunion-

Sadie Eccleston set down a bale of hay and cut the rope that held it together. One or two of the milk-cows from the herd that she had let out of the barn to get a bit of sunshine looked over at her in interest. Most of them just stood there enjoying the sun's warmth as the shooed away little pests with their tails.

One cow, who had been added to the herd two seasons ago, was due to calve in a week or two. Sadie was paying special attention to her.

"Mattie, girl," the farmwoman smiled as she gently petted the pregnant cow. "Here's a little extra for you. Just don't tell the others or they'll all want some."

The cow just swished her tail in happiness as she ate and enjoyed the nice day in whatever way cows enjoy things.

"Mattie's looking good," Oliver told his aunt as he joined her with an extra pitchfork. "The water troughs are all changed out and the morning cleaning is done on the machines, so I figured I'd help you with the scattering for a bit."

"Thanks, Olly," Sadie smiled. "Won't be long now before the new calf arrives."


Sadie looked over across the field in the direction of the voice that had called out.

"Did you invite friends over?" she asked Oliver.

"No, Aunt Sadie," Oliver shook his head. "Looks like nobody I know. Perhaps they're lost."

"Must be very lost to end up here," Sadie said. "Well, you better go see what they want. I'll get on with the scattering. But don't waste time. It'll be time for the afternoon cleaning soon enough."

Oliver quickly crossed the field. "Need a hand?"

"Are you Oliver?" Ai asked.

Oliver looked her over keenly. She seemed to know his name for some reason. Her accent sounded Japanese however, and her hairstyle and color suggested a Japanese-raised woman of British descent.

"Depends which one you're lookin' for, luv," he grinned. "If you want a pocket-picking orphan, that's not me. If you're looking for Aunt Sadie's hardworking nephew. That's me."

"My name's Ai Murray," Ai said. "I'm the eldest of the children of Bryce Lynch. I don't know if you know anything about him, but he's..."

"Bryce," Oliver grinned widely, "is our dear old dad."

"Well, I wouldn't describe him as old," Ai told her newfound brother. "I'll have to prepare you for things on the way. It's urgent that we all go to Network 23 as soon as..." she paused, seeing the look on his face. "What's wrong?"

"I can't leave here," Oliver told his sister. "My Aunt Sadie's cow Mattie is due to calve soon and she's going to need my help when it does."

"We've got no choice," Ai told him. "Network 23 and Network 66's viewers look like they're gearing up for a major war according to Twenty Three's artificial intelligence unit, Cat9."

"I never put much stock into those artificial brains," Oliver shook his head. "But let's say your machine is right. Is there any way to have the meeting here? If they do go to war like you said, I suppose the Networks would be involved. And I wouldn't want to be sitting in one if they do."

"I'll have to ask," Ai told him. "I guess Jack and I... oh I'm so sorry, Jack," she apologized, realizing she hadn't yet introduced him.

"It's okay, sweet," Jack smiled. Offering a hand to Oliver he introduced himself. "Jack Murray. Professional brother-in-law. I make my living by blending into the background. Usually it's furniture, but I can easily impersonate a rock or fence when necessary."

The three of them laughed and Oliver shook Jack's hand with a jovial smile.

"Well, come with me. I'll talk Aunt Sadie into letting you stay for dinner if you agree to help with the chores. And you can use the farm phone to call whoever you need to about changing the location of this gathering your talking about. If this is going to be a big famly reunion, I'd rather have it here anyhow. No place better, in my opinion, than the supper table of a nice farm for a family gathering."

Sadie watched as Oliver returned with the two new arrivals in tow. Her nephew was gesticulating in what appeared to be a cheerful manner. It put her in mind of the time he told her he had learned to ride a bicycle without training wheels.

"Aunt Sadie," he explained when they had reached her, "this is Ai Murray and her husband Jack. Ai is Bryce's daughter."

"Oh!" Sadie beamed. "Well it's good that Olly's finally getting to meet some of his old family."

"I was a little worried that you might think I was an intruder," Ai admitted.

"Nonsense," Sadie laughed. "No such thing as too much family. Where did you say you were from?"

"I was raised in Japan, so I've still got a bit of a Japanese accent. But I'm living in London with my husband."

"Well, I'm going to go in and start supper. Why don't you come and join me while the men check what needs checking in the barns. Okay with you, Olly?"

"That's fine with me," Oliver agreed. "Maybe you can teach this city-raised gal how to do some proper cooking?"

"One can only hope," Sadie smiled, leading Ai back to the farmhouse.

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