The merciless sun beat down on the baked surface as a distant figure became visible. Her wide-brimmed hat lowered, overalls tinted red from the dusty terrain. She was from out here. She knew the dangers, and she knew what happened to those who didn’t. She had just finished her check on the cattle – they were running short on water.

She could see the road from here, and she knew she could make it in time. Her boss had told her there wouldn’t be any calls until midday. She retrieved her walkie-talkie and flicked between channels. “BossMonkey123, this is OrangeOveralls456. Stand-by for arrival and have a darn good lunch waiting! Over and out.”

As she reached the ranch, her piercing blue eyes scanned the veranda. “Oi! Boss-Man! Where’re you?”
A yell came from the building. It was her boss. “Crikey Acacia, I was just coming up! There’s been a call from Coober Pedy. Some galah has been bit by a snake,” he griped.

“Right-o,” Acacia sighed, her chocolate plaits swinging by her shoulders as she nodded. “Alright to send the chopper?”

Five minutes later, Acacia’s helicopter rocketed through the sky, and her calloused left hand forced the joystick forward. There was word that the snake was a brown, and that this life would depend on her.
She muttered coordinates into the walkie-talkie while her stomach groaned for lunch. She wanted to do her bit in the community, but she wished she had time for snacks.

“Landing in a field now,” she spoke to her boss through the headset. “Should be back up in ten minutes at most.”

Only five minutes later, the helicopter rotors swirled dust up around her hard, leather boots. “BossMonkey123! Patient seems fine, I’ve given the antivenom, but he still looks a bit woozy. I can confirm the snake wasn’t a brown; it was most likely a grass snake,” she concluded.
“So, I reckon you can rest up or something,” she looked over at the patient, who was wobbling on his feet. “Toughen up mate and be wary next time you go bush bashing or something.”

Acacia was born into an easygoing family. She had ridden dirt bikes at three years old and never knew anything else. Then, when she was seven, her parents moved to the city for a more satisfactory lifestyle – dirty, stacks exhaling smoke, cars sardined in rows, never-ending highways. Acacia hated it all, and promptly packed up to live with her uncle who lived in the best place ever – the outback.

“No calling me Uncle on the job,” her uncle and boss reprimanded her. “It’s important to maintain a good image!”
Acacia rolled her eyes; she wanted to speak her mind, which was sometimes hard to control in significant situations.
“Alright,” mumbled Acacia. “Alright- uncle!”