Monday, October 21, 2013

Scout's Duty - Chapter 7


< Chapter 6                                                                                                 Chapter 8 >

The rescue mission to find the downed spaceship is under way!

"Why must all of our escort ships be so...stately?" Nist groused.  'Stately' was Nist's current euphemism for 'slow.'

"Seven hours," called Martin.  Several guards groaned and one cheered.

"What's that all about?" Megan asked him.

"Nist always chafes at the top speed of Callan's escort airships," Martin said.  "The guards like to bet how long it will take before he voices his frustration aloud."

I tuned out their conversation as Callan came out of the airship's cabin and into the dawn light.  She and Megan had spent hours talking during the trip.  Considering how abrasive Megan could be, I'd been surprised Callan hadn't once adopted her icy, court-proper princess persona.

Seeing the direction I was gazing, Callan said, "Megan is quite passionate."

"Lucky Martin," I murmured.

"Passionate about her beliefs."  Callan rolled her eyes before musing, "Though if their relationship ever becomes romantic then, yes, lucky Martin."

"You like her?  I found her rather irritating."

"You did meet her while she was in a confrontation with an angry mob," Callan said.  "Fear rarely brings out the best in people."

"Fear?  I thought she was angry!"

"She won't admit it, but she wasn't thinking when she started playing Rupor's Lament.  Her pride kept her playing after the tavern fell silent."

"Megan told you that?" I asked.

"No, but any woman could have heard it in Megan's voice and seen it in her face."

Our conversation was interrupted by a shout from a lookout on one of the escort ships.

"Unknown object twenty-three degrees to starboard!"

Once I knew where to look, the line of broken trees was easy to see.  It extended over a mile, ending where a starship angled at least sixty yards above the trees.

Another shout rang out.  "Tartegian warships dead ahead!"

How will the Tartegian navy react to the Mordanian forces?  Find out in Chapter 8, coming Wednesday!