Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 62

< Chapter 61                                                                                                   Chapter 63 >
Martin tries to talk his way into the pirate base!

"Caudill was killed after his spaceship crashed onto a lost colony world," Martin replied.  "Most of his crew were also killed in the crash."

On the view screen, the pirate's lips compressed.  "Caudill had an experienced crew and an excellent ship -- as you appear to have discovered.  Would you care to explain how such a ship and crew could crash?"

"They crashed the same way I crashed on the planet seventeen years ago."  Martin took a couple of steps toward the view screen.  "The wormhole exits into the middle of a planetary ring.  Great big rocks tend to take care of the rest.  It didn't help that Caudill's aft inertial dampener failed on exit."

The face on the view screen winced.  It was the first sign of emotion from the pirate.  "You have logs to bear this out?"

"Of course.  Tell me a channel and I'll send them to you."

"Channel four three one."  The head tilted to one side.  "You said Caudill was killed after the crash.  What happened?"

Martin shrugged.  "Caudill was under the impression a few laser pistols and a crashed spaceship made him king of the world.  I showed him just how wrong he was."

"You killed Caudill and then decided to show up here and claim his place?"  A mirthless grin split the face.  "Are you an idiot?"

"No, I'm a pirate and, based on Caudill's logs, I've been one longer than he had.  The difference was I was stuck flying airships in an atmosphere while Caudill had this spaceship."  Martin smiled.  "Had is the operative word."

"Very amusing."  The compressed lips were back.  "Why shouldn't we just blast you into a million pieces and be done with you?"

"Because I come bearing gifts!" Martin said.

"And what gifts could a backward, lost colony have that would interest us?" sneered the pirate.

"My gift doesn't come from  the planet.  My gift comes from Caudill's personal files."

The sneer vanished from the face.  "Yes?"

"It took a long time to break the encryption, but we had plenty of time while repairing the ship."  Martin returned to the command chair and lounged in it.  "I know where Caudill hid his treasure!”

Will Martin’s revelation stay the pirate’s hand?  Find out in Chapter 63, coming Friday!