Friday, March 28, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 75

< Chapter 74                                                                                                   Chapter 76 >
A pirate plans to slay the turncoat, Heidi’s husband, in a duel!

Chapman paled at the pirate's words.  "B-but I'm useful to you!  Captain Quint said so!"

"You were useful, Chapman," his challenger said, "but we got those other men toeing the line right nicely.  Your tech skills are -- what was the word the captain used, boys?  Oh yeah -- redundant."

Another pirate got into Chapman's face.  "That means we can live without you, Chapman."

Raucous laugher rose from the other pirates.  Heidi turned an imploring look on me.  I sighed and nodded to her.  Relief spread across her face.

Megan looked at me.  "You're going to save Chapman's sorry hide?"

"I'm doing it for Heidi, not Chapman.  But yes, I'm going to save his sorry hide.  Or maybe we are.  See if you can find an angle that will let us save him without a fight."

Megan raised her voice and switched to gal base.  "You can't kill Chapman!"

"Just watch me!" the challenger called back.

"He's married to a member of our crew and that means he belongs to her.  You can only kill him if she gives her permission."

"Nice try, woman, but he's just married to her."  The pirate jerked a thumb at Heidi.  "That don't mean he belongs to her!"

"Tell that to my ex-wife!" one of the other pirates quipped, drawing more laughter from the pirates.

The challenger continued, "Maybe you had a point about the woman, but Chapman is ours."

"It was a good try, Megan," I said, "but they want blood."

"Callan isn't going to like this," she replied in Mordanian.  Switching back to gal base, she said, "Commander Rice is disappointed to learn what cowards you lot are."

"Who's a coward?"

"You, for challenging a man wholly incapable of defending himself.  For that reason, Commander Rice issues challenge to you.  If you defeat our commander, Chapman is yours.  If you lose, well, you won't care about anything ever again, will you?"

One of the other pirates spoke quietly to the challenger.  A grin spread across his face as he listened.

"We got us a new challenge, boys!" he called.  Putting a hand on the other pirate's shoulder, the challenger said, "Simmons and me are going to meet Chapman and Rice together.  A two-on-two challenge to the death!"

A cheer rose from the pirates.

Megan hung her head.  "I'm sorry, David."

"You did a lot better than I could have, Megan," I said.

A gruff voice cut through the commotion.  "What's all this, then?"

Martin and the other pirate captains were back.  Seeing them, a look of hope filled Chapman's face.

"Captain Quint!  These men have challenged me to a duel!" he cried.  "Me!  Your inside man."

"Why does that matter to me?" Quint asked.

That response shook Chapman, but he kept appealing to Quint.  "But what if I've learned something important?"

"Then it'll be the first time," Quint spat.  Turning away, he added, "Have fun killin' him, boys!”

Instead of getting Chapman out of trouble, our hero has joined him in trouble!  Find out what happens next in Chapter 76, coming Monday!