Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 53

< Chapter 52                                                                                                   Chapter 54 >
There are no medical nanites and Tristan — our hero’s friend and doctor — is a pirate hostage!

Callan frowned as she listened to the computerized translation of Laura's words.  "Private, give this woman your shirt."

Laura's eyebrows climbed as the private removed his shirt.

Callan smiled at the look on Laura's face.  "You know these pirates better than anyone else.  I want you to advise me during my negotiations and I don't want my marines distracted by a pretty, half-naked woman in their midst."

Slipping the shirt on, Laura replied, "Like they're going to pay any attention to me with you standing next to me."

I said, "Sure they would.  Callan's not half-naked."

Callan and Laura glared at me.

"I'll just wait here and listen over the radio, shall I?" I said.

"Good idea," Callan said, starting toward the airlock.  "And don't die."

Callan, Laura, and an escort of marines vanished from sight.  For several minutes I had nothing to do but concentrate on not dying.  I hoped Callan appreciated how seriously I was taking her order!

Then Callan's voice burst from the radio.  "I wish to speak with the pirate commander."

After translation lag, a pirate called, "Captain Caudill is our commander!"

"Then someone just got promoted.  Caudill is dead."

Silence, then, "My name is Artin.  I guess I'm in command."

"Captain Artin, you are holding my doctor and the crown prince from a neighboring kingdom."

"That's right, lady!  And we demand-"

"I'm here to accept your peaceful surrender, not listen to demands."

That caught Artin off guard.  "Then maybe we'll start cutting up the prince!"

"Eventually, you will end up as my prisoners.  Any atrocity visited on your hostages will, in turn, be visited on you!"

"That's against Terran Federation law!" Artin protested.

"We aren't members of this Terran Federation," Callan said.  "The choice is yours.  Surrender or die slowly and in agony!" 

Will the pirates surrender rather than face the threat of barbaric violence?  Find out in Chapter 54, coming Friday!