Monday, December 23, 2013

Scout's Duty - Chapter 34

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David has just killed Orrons, the boy in the powered armor!

The powered armor stumbled forward a few steps, following the residual impulses left after Orrons' death.  The headless figure hit the far railing and tottered off balance.  Before the internal stabilizers could restore the balance, two of Callan's guards slammed into it from behind.  The armor tumbled over the side of the airship and fell from sight.

I dropped Boost as I collapsed to my knees and buried my head in my hands.  Tears stung my eyes as the full impact of my actions hit me.  Orrons had been barely older than Milo -- a child with his whole life ahead of him!  My mind replayed the scene, searching for something I could have done to save Orrons.  In a grotesque mockery of reality, it was Milo's head which went spinning away.

Then a pair of arms wrapped around me and rocked me in a tight embrace.  I felt warm breath on my cheek and soft lips kissed away my tears.  Callan.

In ragged gasps, I said, "He was just a boy, Callan!  But I didn't hesitate to kill him!"

"You had no other choice, David!" Callan whispered fiercely.

"How can you be so sure?" I asked.

"I looked into his eyes and recognized what I saw, David," Callan said.  "I'd seen the same thing before.  In the eyes of King Rat when he tried to kill you.  In Raoul's eyes when he thought Sarn had killed you.  And I'm sure I'd have seen it had I looked in Windslow's eyes.  You cannot reason with madness, David!"

I didn't get a chance to reply to her.  A red beam of light blazed overhead, puncturing the Pauline's gas envelope.  Then the beam tracked along the envelope, slicing it open with ease.  The envelope collapsed and we fell from the air!

Will our heroes survive the fall?  Find out in Chapter 35, coming Wednesday!