Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 86

< Chapter 85                                                                                                   Chapter 87 >
Pirates watching the duel have grabbed our hero’s feet, immobilizing him and making him an easy target for his opponents!

Before the pirates grabbed our feet, I had thought Chapman was as panicked as it was possible for a man to be.  I was wrong.  Chapman began gyrating and flailing and kicking trying to get free.  The only thing he accomplished was to make the pirates laugh all the harder.  And he nearly slit my throat!

Straining to break myself free, I only looked at Chapman when his left arm smacked the side of my head.  I saw his right hand, knuckles white from his grip on the knife, swinging my way.  Training and instinct took over.  I blocked his swing, grabbed his wrist, and twisted the knife free.  Being disarmed by his 'partner' so surprised Chapman that he went still.

Around us, the pirates went still, too.  Arms still reached through the bars to grab onto us, but all attention was directed back toward the center of the arena.  Looking over my shoulder, I saw our two opponents were twenty feet away and gliding slowly toward us.  Both of them were playing up to the crowd, making flashy slashes and jabs to show how they planned to deal with us.

Through the comparative silence, Quint's voice rang out.  "Looks like yer boy be done fer, Bane!"

"Ten thousand credits says my second-in-command gets away safely and takes Chapman with him!"

Quint barked a laugh.  "Done!"

Well, that settled it.  I couldn't let Martin lose a small fortune betting on me!  Bending over, a knife gripped in each hand, I slashed hard and fast at the arms stretching through the bars to grasp Chapman and me.  Cries of pain and anger broke out from the pirates below me.  Arms were snatched back and the pirates fell back from the bars.

With our feet free, I wrapped an arm around Chapman and launched us away from the bars and just out of reach of the two pirates floating toward us.  By the time the two pirates finished their slow drift to the side of the arena, I had the two of us safely hanging onto one of the spheres in the middle of the arena.

The crowd of pirates was quiet.  They'd gotten the bloodshed they wanted, but the wrong bodies had shed the blood!

"My oh my," Martin said.  "It seems my 'boy' left quite a mess in his wake.  And, I might add, you owe me ten thousand credits, Quint."

"Yer boy were clever, Bane," Quint growled, "but them what's watchin' ain't part of the duel."

"The second they reached through the bars, they became part of the duel.  But if you're more worried about the money than the men, how about another bet?  Double or nothing."

"Name it."

"My lad and Chapman can stay alive in the arena for another five minutes without killing their opponents."

"Yer on, Bane!"

If everything was going according to plan, the docking bay lasers would be disabled in five more minutes.  Bane was setting me up to lead the two pirates on a merry chase without drawing suspicion from the captains.  It was a good idea but we'd only been in the arena for a minute and it was a miracle Chapman was still unscathed.

Of course, Chapman heard everything I'd heard and his reaction was predictable.  He panicked.  Eyes wide with terror, Chapman flung himself toward Quint and the other pirate captains!

Does Chapman hope to barter what he knows about our heroes to save his life?  Find out in Chapter 87, coming Friday!