Monday, April 7, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 79

< Chapter 78                                                                                                   Chapter 80 >
Chapman is heading for the base’s communication center.  But who does he want to call?

What was Chapman planning to do in the base's communications facility?  He didn't need a radio to reveal who we were and what we were planning.  But it dawned on me that Chapman wasn't simply planning to alert the pirates and get out of the duel.  He hoped to gain some prestige at the same time.  That would be far less likely to happen if he spilled everything to any old pirate.  No, he'd have to get the attention of people with rank -- such as a pinnace full of pirate captains!

Twenty feet ahead of me, Chapman ducked into the communications room.  When I entered, he was standing before the pirate officer on watch.

"No, Chapman, I ain't callin' the captains fer ya," the officer said.

"Why not?" Chapman whined.

The officer gave Chapman a nasty grin.  "I got a hundred credits bet on you dyin' in the first minute in that duel!  You ain't gonna talk yer way out of fightin' them two fine lads o' the Brotherhood."

"But I won't even mention the duel!  Please, just thirty seconds!"

"Even if'n I wanted to let ya speak to the captains, ya know we gotta go silent right after one of the wormholes opens up."

The pirates must have detected the wormhole opening for the messenger drone we launched before docking.  That explained the alarm which didn't seem to alarm anyone.  I could see the sense in the pirates' approach, too.  They shut down communications until they knew what triggered the wormhole.  I expected the communication blackout was extended if they detected ships traversing the system.  Those ships might be easy pickings, but the one place where the pirates would not want ships disappearing was the system where their base was hidden.

Chapman's shoulders sagged.  "Yeah, okay, I'll tell-"

I grabbed Chapman's shoulder and spun him around to face me.  Alarm registered on his face as I drove my fist into his gut as hard as I could.  He doubled over, the wind knocked out of him.  I stepped into my next blow, putting all of my weight and the strength into driving an uppercut to Chapman's chin.  He lifted a foot off the floor and flew back four or five feet to sprawl, unconscious, at the feet of one of the other pirates.

The officer of the watch stared at me, his mouth hanging open.  I grinned and made a show of dusting my hands off.  The pirate officer laughed at my little act.  Still grinning, he drew his laser pistol and leveled it at me!

Will the pirate officer shoot our hero?  Find out in Chapter 80, coming Wednesday!