Friday, February 7, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 54

< Chapter 53                                                                                                   Chapter 55 >
Princess Callan demands the pirates surrender or face slow, agonizing deaths!

Silence stretched for several seconds.  I could only imagine the looks of disbelief plastered over the faces of the pirates at Callan's demands.  Artin's next words confirmed my mental image.

"I don't think you get the picture, lady.  We've got your prince and your doctor.  We hold all the cards!"

"No, Captain Artin.  You hold a single compartment in a spaceship.  I hold everything else.  That includes all the food, all the medical care, and more men-at-arms than you can imagine."  Callan spoke slowly, as if explaining this to a child.  Alas, the sarcasm in her tone was lost in the mechanical translation.

"Don't you care what happens to our hostages?"

"Deeply.  That is why I'm giving you a chance to surrender peacefully.  Is there someone who isn't stupid I can speak with?"

"The captain speaks for the crew, lady.  And you're the one who promoted me by killing Caudill!"

Callan sighed then spoke quietly.  "Sergeant, who is your best marksman?"

"Corporal Dobbs, Your Highness."

"Corporal, please promote someone else."

"Hey!" Artin called.  "What are you muttering-"

There was the snap of a crossbow firing and Artin's voice cut off with a gurgle.  Voices rose in shocked surprise.

"I do hope your new captain is more intelligent than your previous one," Callan called.  "Whom do I congratulate on their promotion?"

More muttering among the pirates was followed by a tentative voice.  "Um, this is Captain Rondle?"

"Are you asking me or telling me, Captain?"

"I...  Uh..."

Martin's voice cut in.  "May I speak to the pirates, Your Highness?"

"Be my guest, Martin."

Switching to galactic basic, Martin said, "Princess Callan represents the most enlightened monarchy on this planet, but her patience for fools was sorely tried by Artin.  Don't be another Artin!"

Rondle responded, "Very well.  We surrender!”

Did the surrender come in time for Tristan to save our hero’s life?  Find out in Chapter 55, coming Monday!