Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 77

< Chapter 76                                                                                                   Chapter 78 >
Our hero and Chapman head out to face the pirates in the duel.

Chapman and I had just stepped out of the ship when red lights began flashing around the docking bay.  The pirates all took note of the flashing lights and returned to their tasks.  Was it some kind of test or minor warning?  I wanted to stop one of the nearby pirates and ask what was going on, but I wasn't supposed to understand gal base.  I couldn't ask Chapman for the same reason.

Looking back to the airlock, I called, "Could someone please send Megan out here?"

As the marine on duty at the hatch headed into the ship, I turned back to the docking bay.  Chapman was twenty feet away, running for the hatch out of the docking bay and into the main base!  Cursing, I took off after him.  If Chapman got into the base proper, he was as good as gone.

The pirates watched him dash past, laughing.  One or two tried to trip him, but most just settled in to watch the fun.

"Twenty credits says the elsie catches him," one pirate called.

"Done!" called another.  "But the bet is off if someone trips Chapman!"

More bets were called and accepted and, within seconds, all attention in the docking bay was on Chapman and me.

Behind me, I heard Megan call, "David, what are you doing?"

"Chapman's running away!"

Megan used language quite fitting for a pirate base and, based on the catcalls from the pirates, joined the chase.

"Go back to the ship, Megan!" I yelled without turning.  

"I won't," she yelled back.  "You can't run around the base without having a translator!"

There had been good reasons behind the decision to pretend ignorance of gal base, but I was really regretting that decision now!  If I could catch him before he got out of the airlock, though, it wouldn't matter.  And that looked to be the likely result before Megan cried out behind me.

"Get your hands off me!"

That was followed by a cry of pain from a pirate and more laughter from the other pirates.

"That ain't no way for a pretty plaything to act!" a pirate said.

"Let go!" Megan shouted.

I risked a look over my shoulder.  A handful of pirates were clutching at Megan and trying to pull her into a rough embrace.  I was torn between my desire to help Megan and the absolute necessity of catching Chapman.

"Unhand that woman, you miserable pirates!" demanded a strong voice.

The pirates didn't understand the command since it was in Mordanian -- or Tartegian, from the speaker's point of view -- but the meaning was clear.  The pirates backed away as Rupor charged across the bay, two squads of marines backing him up.

Relieved of a difficult decision, I turned back to the chase just in time to see a cargo boom swinging toward my head!  I dropped and rolled under the boom but lost precious time.  As I regained my feet, Chapman ducked through the hatch and into the main base!

Can our hero find Chapman before he finds a pirate to listen to him?  Find out in Chapter 78, coming Friday!