Monday, April 21, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 85

< Chapter 84                                                                                                   Chapter 86 >
Chapman has panicked and made himself an easy target for the pirates!

The grinning pirate, obviously experienced in zero G, was flying as straight as a well-aimed crossbow bolt toward Chapman.  Their paths would cross in seconds and I had no illusions as to the end result.  I could already picture spheres of Chapman's blood floating around the arena.  Would Chapman's body become some sort of macabre version of the ball sports crowds bat around for fun?

Shaking off that gruesome image, I glanced at the other pirate.  My hope that he had launched himself at me or Chapman was dashed.  The man hung onto his sphere, watching me like a hawk.  Once I committed myself, he'd be free to choose the best counter to my move.  I was tempted to leave Chapman to his fate, but I also believed Rupor was right.  Heidi could end up ruining her life wondering what she could have done to save her husband.  Painful as it might be for her, she needed to see him for the low-life he had become and make a break from him of her own accord.

Without another thought, I launched myself toward the grinning pirate.  I pushed off hard from the sphere and would overtake the pirate before he reached the panic-stricken Chapman.  The other pirate shouted a warning to his friend.  A quick glance backward showed that pirate following me.  He was moving more slowly than me, though, having put less muscle into his launch.  Was that because he felt a twinge of cowardice or a tinge of caution?  All that mattered was I'd have a few seconds to deal with the grinning pirate before he reached us.

The shout had warned the grinning pirate and he spun himself to face me and opened himself into a knife-fighter's stance.  In full gravity, it would have been a good move.  In this arena, not so much.  The grinning pirate held his knife low, for a thrust to my gut, and his other arm high, to block my knife.  Holding my arrow-straight posture, I raised my knife above my head as if preparing for an overhand slash.  The pirate's grin widened as he waited for my unprotected chest to get within knife range.

At the last second, I tucked and spun one hundred and eighty degrees and kicked out at the pirate with my feet.  The pirate's knife slashed the bottom of my boot just before my kick connected with his chest.  The pirate's knife spun away and the pirate tumbled backward toward the seats.  I, on the other hand, was now flying straight back toward the second pirate!

Caught unprepared, the trailing pirate did the same thing his fellow had done.  Had no one ever bothered to teach zero gravity martial arts to these pirates?  Everything I'd done so far had been covered in the first week of basic training at the academy!  I went for a backward spin this time, planting my feet in the pirate's groin and shoving hard away from him.  The pirate howled in pain as I shot away toward Chapman.

Catching him, I spun us about and prepared to use the bars in front of the crowd to propel us back toward the center of the arena.  Hands shot out and grabbed our feet!

"We got 'em, boys!" a voice called from the crowd.  "Now git over here and kill ‘em!"

How can our hero overcome the outside interference from the crowd?  Find out in Chapter 86, coming Wednesday!