Friday, April 25, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 87

< Chapter 86                                                                                                   Chapter 88 >
Welcome to the 300th post to the Cliffhanger 250!  Thanks to all of my readers — I hope you’ve enjoyed the last 100 weeks as much as I have!  And now, on to Chapter 87:

Chapman has panicked — again — and is trying get to the captains’ seats!

I lunged at Chapman, trying to catch his feet and keep him with me.  I hit the bottom of his feet but had nothing to grab onto.  Chapman began tumbling, but was still heading straight for the captains' box.  I drifted just out of reach of the sphere, leaving me stranded in midair and an easy target for the pirates!

Our two opponents grinned at our predicament and the watching pirates roared in laughter.  The two pirates exchanged a glance and they both launched themselves at me.  I'd have done the same in their situation.  Chapman was unarmed and panicking.  They could kill him at their leisure if they didn't have to worry about me.  And now I was just hanging around, inviting them to attack me.

Spinning back toward the sphere, I began swimming in its direction.  Given time, I would be able to stop my slow drift away from the sphere and begin drifting toward it.  But that was time I wouldn't have!  The pirates were arrowing in on me, one arm in front to block any attacks and one arm ready to slash or stab with the knife.  My strokes grew more frantic as I tried to get back to the safety of a solid surface.

At least, that's what I hoped it looked like!  I had very little going for me.  The illusion of panic might yield a split second of advantage when the pirates reached me.  I also prepared for the one thing I hadn't expected would be of any use to me -- Boost.  Working and fighting in zero gravity is all about finesse and control while Boost is all about strength and speed.  In almost every zero gee situation, Boost would hinder more than help.  With a bit of luck, I could create that rare situation where it helped.

When the pirates were almost upon me, I stopped thrashing and pulled my knees up.  Just before they were close enough, I kicked at them.  They laughed aloud at what they took to be mistimed kicks.  Reaching out with their free hand, each pirate grabbed one of my legs.  I flung my legs wide as if trying to throw them off.  In response, each pirate wrapped his arm around the leg he held.  That was what I'd been waiting for.


Adrenaline flooded my bloodstream and time slowed.  I had just enough time to see the pirates' grins begin to fade as I brought my legs back together with all of my Boosted strength.

Crack!  The pirates' heads slammed together.  Stunned, the two men lost their grips on my legs and one of them lost his grip on his knife.  I pulled my knees up and kicked them again.  This time they tumbled away toward the far wall and I was propelled back to my sphere.

Dropping Boost, I looked for Chapman.  He was still tumbling and had begun shouting something as he neared the captains' box.  The crowd noise was too loud for anyone to hear what he was saying, but I could read his lips.

He was shouting, "Captain Quint!  They're not pirates!  It's a trap!”

Can our hero stop Chapman before the pirate captains hear his warning?  Find out in Chapter 88, coming Monday!