Friday, November 22, 2013

Scout's Duty - Chapter 21

< Chapter 20                                                                                                   Chapter 22 >
The pirates found the emergency drone launched from David’s scout ship and are trying to crack the encryption!

Morrison, our guide to the makeshift sickbay, approached.  "There aren't any wounded crew over here.  What are you doing?"

I dutifully waited for the computer to finish translating Morrison's words before answering.  "I just saw these blinking lights and got curious.  I've never seen anything like it before.  What is it?"

"It's too advanced for a yokel like you," Morrison replied.  "Now get back to helping the old man."

I shrugged and went to help Tristan.

"What was that all about?" he asked.

“Of course, I have no idea," I said.  "I was just astounded by the flashing lights.  Morrison says it's beyond my understanding.  No doubt he's right."

Tristan raised his eyebrows.  "Is that so?  Well, if they're so smart why do they need a yokel doctor to tend to their wounded?"

That was a good question.  Any ship this size should have a docbot and a plentiful supply of medical nanites.  Maybe the inertial dampener they lost had covered their medical supply.  The transition out of the wormhole would have pulverized those supplies without the dampener.  That thought got me wondering what other equipment and supplies might have been lost, as well.  Maybe Caudill wasn't in as strong a position as we had feared.

Later, when Tristan and I were tending to the last few wounded crewmen, Caudill came to inspect our work.  Caudill worked his way through the room, speaking to every crewman who was conscious.  When Tristan reported the five men who probably wouldn't survive, Caudill bowed his head in true sorrow.  I hated to admit it, but Caudill knew how to inspire loyalty in his crew.

"My men will need food and better accommodations," Caudill said to me.  "Please arrange for me to negotiate for our needs with Prince Rupor and Princess Callan.”

How did Caudill learn about Rupor and Callan and how will he deal with them?  Find out in Chapter 22, coming Monday!