Friday, January 17, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 45

< Chapter 44                                                                                                   Chapter 46 >
Separated from the boarding party, our hero hopes to take the bridge of the spaceship by himself!

The sound of clashing weapons echoed from behind me as the boarding party found more pirates to engage.  The Tartegians were distracting the pirates aft, but would it affect the pirates forward?

I reached the main corridor, which ran most of the length of the ship.  Aft were crew quarters, ship's stores, and the cargo bays.  Forward was officer's territory and the bridge.  At least, that's the layout you would find on a military or merchant spaceship.  Pirate ships did things much differently.

Courses on space piracy were required for all students at the scout academy.  Scouts traveled far from the space lanes and had many more encounters with pirates than the other military branches.  A scout's survival might depend on knowing pirate tactics or recognizing the signs of a pirate lair.  I knew more about pirates than most people.

Shipboard discipline among pirates was vastly different than among law-abiding crews.  There was usually one punishment for breaking the pirate compact -- spacing.  That meant a smart pirate captain would find ways to keep his crew entertained during the long, boring hunt for prey.  Pirate ships had been known to have well stocked bars, full emersion gaming consoles, and top of the line video rigs.  Some even had live entertainment, usually provided by people captured in raids.

All of this came back to me as I started up the main corridor toward the bridge.  I moved in short dashes, slipping from one side passage to another, staying out of sight as much as possible.  I had just ducked into an aft slanting passage when I heard the bridge hatch slide open followed by the sound of footsteps pounding toward me.

I pressed up against a recessed hatch but it provided little concealment.  The approaching pirates were bound to see me!

Can our hero avoid behind discovered by the pirates?  Find out in Chapter 46, coming Monday!