Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Scout's Duty - Chapter 23

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Caudill hopes to ignite a war between Tarteg and Mordan!

"It's been years since the last war," I said.  "I don't think the enmity runs very deeply these days."

Caudill laughed when the computer completed translating my words.  "How very optimistic of you!  You'll soon learn that old enmities can lay dormant for ages before springing back with full vigor."

I shrugged, hoping he was as wrong about Tarteg and Mordan.  "We'll see.  Who are you going to send with the message?"

Caudill turned an appraising eye on me.  "Who would you send?"

"Megan.  She has no skills useful to you or the prince and princess.  You're not weakened and they're not strengthened."

"An interesting analysis."  Caudill rubbed his chin.  "But Megan has use as a hostage to ensure Bane's good behavior and, if I read you and the old doctor right, your good behavior as well."

It had been worth a shot.  I sighed, "What's the exact message you want me to deliver?"

Caudill's eyebrows rose.  "What makes you think I'm sending you?"

"Tristan is tending to your injured men, so you won't send him.  Bane is your source of information and you won't risk losing him as long as you still hold Megan.  That just leaves me.  Give me the message then Orrons and I can leave."

"As long as I have your friends, I see no reason to waste Orrons' time.  I'm sure a fine young officer as yourself can deliver a message without supervision."

Five minutes later, I was picking my way through the debris outside the spaceship and trying to figure out why Caudill didn't send Orrons with me.  I could only think of one reason  -- Caudill was conserving power.  His armor recharging unit must have been destroyed in the crash.

Caudill's position wasn't nearly as strong as he wanted us to believe!

Has our hero discovered Caudill’s weakness?  If so, can he exploit it without massive casualties?  Find out more in Chapter 24, coming Friday!