Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 41

< Chapter 40                                                                                                   Chapter 42 >
Led by Prince Rupor, our hero and Rupor’s airmen cross the open field toward the pirate spaceship!

My plan hinged on the airmen's ability to convince the pirates the airmen were celebrating, not invading.

"Laugh and joke, men," I said quietly.  "Keep your hands away from your weapons and act as if your prince has won a great victory over that princess-stealing ne'er-do-well, David Rice."

As I'd hoped, that brought a laugh from the men and even Rupor chuckled.

"That's the spirit, lads!" I said.  "Rupor, try swinging that sack in a jaunty manner, as if it held a treasured trophy.  These pirates probably think you're all a bunch of savage barbarians, anyway.  Have some fun and live down to their expectations!"

That did the trick.  The airmen began to strut and caper, laughing all the while.  One man bowed low to Rupor and requested the honor of carrying the sack.  Rupor presented the sack to him as if awarding him a medal for valor.  Each man stepped forward for his turn; some hoisting the sack like a trophy, others swinging it in time to a few dance steps, and one peeked inside and cackled.  Through it all, we drew closer to the spaceship.

Grinning, one of the airmen spun past me and asked, "Won't these pirates just cut us down with weapons like the one their captain used?"

"No.  Every bulkhead in a spaceship is crammed with vital machinery or conduits for the machinery.  No spaceman uses a laser inside the ship if it can be avoided!"

"What weapons will the pirates use?" he asked.

"Most likely swords."  I changed the subject.  "When we get to the hatch, keep making noise.  It'll help cover the difference between my voice and Caudill's."

Seconds later, we entered the airlock.  The ruse had gotten us this far.  Would it get us inside the spaceship?

Will our hero, Rupor, and the airmen get past the closed airlock hatch?  Find out in Chapter 42, coming Friday!