Monday, March 31, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 76

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Chapman has been dismissed by Captain Quint, leaving no choice but for Chapman to fight the pirates!

Martin did not fall in behind Quint as the other five captains did.  He took in the scene around me, then spoke in Mordanian.  "You're involved in this fight, aren't you David?"

"He did it for Heidi," Megan said.  "After all she went through to get back to her husband, David couldn't just let the pirates kill her man in front of her."

"Bane!"  Quint and his pirate chorus had stopped about fifty feet away.  "Let's go.  We've got a treasure to find."

"I'd love to, Quint," Martin replied, switching back to gal base, "but my pilot has gotten himself involved in this fight."

"Then I'll summon my pilot," Quint said.

"Like I'm going to get into a pinnace outnumbered seven to one," Bane said.  "No, we'll just have to use one of my other pilots."

"Nist?" I asked.

"No, Milo," Martin replied, switching back to Mordanian.  "His size and age won't alarm them and, much as I like Nist, Milo will be more useful if it comes to a fight."  Turning toward the pirate captains, he added, "Try not to get yourself killed, David."

As he walked away, I turned to Megan.  "Find out the details of this challenge.  What weapons we can use, where we fight, who can watch, that sort of thing."

Moments later, we were back on our ship as the pirates made preparations for the duel.  Heidi was being consoled by Laura and some of the other women.  Chapman was sitting alone, ostracized and avoided.  Rupor watched Chapman with unconcealed disgust.

"How could a woman as courageous and intelligent as Heidi marry a cur such as him?" Rupor hissed in a low voice.

"I expect he was a fine man as long as he was living a normal life," I said.

"You're excusing him?" Rupor asked.

"No, I was answering your question, Rupor.  Adversity doesn't always bring out the best in a man, but you only find that out when adversity strikes."  I eyed Chapman.  "I suspect life on a colony would have broken Chapman, but it would have taken longer."

Callan slid in beside me.  "Everyone's here, David."

I switched to gal base so everyone could understand me.  "You all know that Chapman and I are fighting a couple of pirates.  The duel is held in a zero gee room surrounded by viewing platforms.  Most of the other pirates will be there to watch and that's when you and your men," I pointed to Laura's husband, "will disable all of the defense lasers in the docking bay.  We'll draw the fight out as long as we can, but don't waste any time.  Come back to the ship as soon as you're done.  We'll leave once Chapman and I get back.  Questions?"

There were none.

"Keep your composure, do your job, and we'll be safe on a naval base this time tomorrow."  I turned to Chapman.  "Let's get this over with.”

Will our hero survive the fight?  Find out more in Chapter 77, coming Wednesday!