Friday, December 6, 2013

Scout's Duty - Chapter 27

< Chapter 26                                                                                                   Chapter 28 >
Callan has convinced Caudill to order the power armored crewman to remove his helmet.

Orrons lifted his hands toward the neck of the powered armor and the metal fingers danced and tapped around the seam.  Slide locks were opened and button locks depressed.  After a few seconds, the helmet popped up a fraction of an inch.  Orrons grasped the helmet and lifted it off of his head.

I don't know what I expected to see -- the scarred and hardened face of a pirate, I suppose.  I did not expect to find a boy, no more than sixteen or seventeen, smiling down at me.  I wasn't the only one surprised at the sight.

"He's no more than a child!" Rupor's voice exclaimed over the radio.

Orrons looked annoyed after hearing the translation.

"Boy he may be," Caudill said, "but he's got the skill and the will to do what he's ordered to do.  Be it crushing your foes or crushing that musician's head, Orrons is man enough to handle the job!"

Orrons' smile returned and he nodded to his captain.

"That's enough talk," Caudill said.  "Time to-"

The radio crackled to life.  "Captain?  You wanted to be alerted if a certain task was completed.  It's done."

"Ah, that's good news," Caudill said.  "Did you find anything interesting?"

I wondered what the pirates could be talking about.

"Very much so," came the reply.  "You should return to the ship and hear my report in private."

"There's no need for that," Caudill said, impatience in his tone.  "Just turn off the translator and it'll be private enough."

"That's just it, Captain," the voice responded.  "It won't."

With a sinking feeling, I suddenly realized that the task was breaking the encryption on the emergency drone launched by my ship before I crash landed!

The voice continued, "That man with you isn't a native.  He's Terran Scout First Class David Rice!”

David’s one advantage — his anonymity — is gone!  No longer able to count on the element of surprise, how can our hero hope to defeat Caudill?  Find out in Chapter 28, coming Monday!