Friday, November 30, 2012

Scout's Honor - Chapter 81

< Chapter 80                                                                                               Chapter 82 >

Our hero is all who stands between the city's citizens and the advancing trogs!

            The screams of terrified people filled my ears.  The trogs advancing, spears lowered, filled my vision.  The threat of Boost Burnout filled my mind.  The sorrow that I would never see Callan again filled my heart.
            Above the screams, I heard my blood roaring, ready for the Boost.
            A trog stumbled and pitched forward!  Another dropped his spear and clutched his arm!  A third toppled backward!
            Crossbow bolts rained on the trogs!  The roaring hadn't been my blood!
            A shadow fell across me as Martin Bane's airship rumbled overhead, so low I could count the rings on his fingers!  His fleet flew around his ship, every one with rows of sailors firing crossbows!
            Bane sketched a salute but kept his attention on the firing line.
            "Drive 'em back, lads!" he called.  "And watch out for that man with the sword.  Her Highness will be quite put out if we damage him!"
            Confused, frightened, wounded, the trogs fell back before the onslaught.  Bane's airships encircled the trogs, driving them into a mass in the center of the park.  One trog finally made a big show of throwing down his spear.  Others followed until none of the trogs were armed.
            "Cease fire!" Bane bellowed.
            The sailors stopped shooting but kept their crossbows trained on the trogs.
            I ran over to the Great One, who was groaning but still laying on his back.
            "Get up!" I said, grabbing his arm and pulling.  "Now, tell your army to sit down and wait for further orders."
            The big trog spoke and the trogs sat.
            "What now?" he asked me.
            "That depends on your translator," I said, looking around.
            I didn't see him anywhere.  The translator had escaped!

Who is the mysterious translator?  Where has he gone?  Find out in Chapter 82, coming Monday!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Scout's Honor - Chapter 80

< Chapter 79                                                                                               Chapter 81 >

Our hero has defeated the trog leader in single combat!

            My proclamation was echoing back when the penned prisoners began cheering.  That was a pleasant change from the translator's  I-hope-you-die-in-agony glower.  The trogs were silent.
            Retrieving my sword, I walked over to the translator.  I grinned into his glower.
            "Do you have any idea," he said, "how long it took me to manipulate the trogs into this campaign?"
            "Don't know.  Don't care."
            "Fifteen years!" he cried.  "And you ruined it all in fifteen minutes!"
            "You give me too much credit," I said.  "I've been in the city since yesterday afternoon.  It's more like fifteen hours."
            The translator's face went purple with rage and he took a swing at my jaw.  I stepped aside, grabbed his wrist, and flipped him onto his back.
            Standing over him, I said, "As the new leader of this army of trogs, I order them to go home and disperse."
            I waved toward the trogs, "Translate that order."
            The translator stood and shouted something in the trog language.  The trogs hefted their spears and all turned toward the human prisoners.  The cheering within the pen died as the trogs closed in.
            I smashed the pomel of my sword into the translator's head then ran toward the prisoners.  I dodged through the trogs, ready to Boost if any of them attacked.  None did.
            Breaking through the trog ranks, I took a defensive stance before the prisoners.
            "No!" I shouted, waving my sword.  "I didn't order this!"
            The trogs didn't understand a word I said.  Maybe they thought was urging them on.  Maybe they thought I was crazy.  But hundreds of relentless trogs advanced on the captive citizens of Faroon!

Can our hero save the captive humans from hundreds of trogs?  Find out in chapter 81, coming Friday!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Scout's Honor - Chapter 79

< Chapter 78                                                                                               Chapter 80 >

The trogs surrounding our hero lower their spears and advance!

            There was only one thing to do.
            Boost!
            Adrenaline flooded my system and it was as if time slowed.  The trog translator bent to grab my sword.  I flashed across the two meters separating us, drawing the sword even as his hand wrapped around the scabbard.  I slashed his chest in passing as I rushed the closest trogs.
            I wove among the trogs, breaking a trog's knee with a kick.  I slashed a trog to my right and punched another in front of me.  Spinning, I hacked the arm of one who had been behind me.  Dropping, I rolled backward, came up and drove my sword into the gut of a third trog.  Yanking the blade free, I whirled to face the attack which must be coming from behind.
            There was no attack.  All around me, the trogs backed away, pointing and muttering.
            The translator, blood flowing down his chest, stared at me, agape.
            "Y-you defended the cellar at the desert outpost," he said.
            Dropping Boost before it dropped me, I nodded.
            "You were in the alley yesterday.  And in the bar."
            "You left out your scouting party before the outpost," I said.
            "How many have you killed?" he asked.
            "Just trogs?" I said.  "Or should I count men who got in my way, too?"
            The translator's eyes widened.
            "As your new leader-" I began.
            "No!" rasped the Great One, staggering to his feet.  "Have not yielded!"
            Anger washed over me, building with each step as I stalked to the trog leader.  Dropping my sword, I hit the swaying leader with an uppercut to the chin.  His eyes rolled back and he dropped.
            I glared at the trogs surrounding me and yelled, " Now he yields!"

Can our hero claim leadership of the trogs?  Find out in Chapter 80, coming Wednesday!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Scout's Honor - Chapter 78

< Chapter 77                                                                                               Chapter 79 >

The trog leader's human translator pushed our hero into the grasp of the Great One!

            The Great One crushed me against his chest, pinning my arms at my side.  Hot, fetid breath assaulted my nose as the trog roared.  I breathed in gasps, the best I could manage in the deadly embrace.  My feet still touched the ground but I had no leverage.  I couldn't lift the trog off his feet or force him to fall backward.
            I pounded my forehead into the trog's face, breaking his nose and blackening his eyes.  His relentless grip never broke.  I tried stomping his feet but he lifted me off the ground.  I kicked his shins, but he only tightened his grip.
            Spots swam before my eyes as I struggled to remember my academy training in xenozoology.  Instead, I recalled something the academy martial arts instructor had told us.
            "Nature works much the same throughout the galaxy," he'd said.  "Any place your body is vulnerable, chances are an alien biped is, as too."
            I drove my knee between the trog's legs.
            The Great One's eyes rolled back, a strangled moan escaped, and his grip eased!  I took my first good breath in what seemed like years, but I was still pinned.
            I drove my knee between the trog's legs again.
            The trog's grip released and he reeled away from me.  He dropped to his knees, hands protecting his groin.  I drew great breaths and kept an eye on moaning trog.
            "Foul blow!" cried the man who had shoved me.  "The human has broken the rules of engagement!"
            That was an odd phrase for a desert madman to use!
            The man screeched something in the trog tongue then said, "You forfeit the challenge!"
            Around me, the trogs raised their spears and advanced.

In the middle of the trog camp and completely surrounded, can our hero do anything other than die?  Find out in Chapter 79, coming Monday!