Monday, May 26, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 100

Scout's Honorthe first book in the Scout series, is now available as an ebook from Amazon for the low price of $1.99!  Click the title to buy it.

< Chapter 99                                                                                                   Chapter 101 >
Pirates swarm across the surface of the asteroid firing lasers as they come!

"We've got to get under cover before their aim improves!" I shouted.

"David, let's split into two groups," Martin called.  "Once everyone else is under cover, we can figure out what to do."

Doubling the potential targets while making them half the size struck me as a very good idea.  "Sergeant, Rupor, let go of each other!"

Our low gravity conga line broke in two, leaving me with Callan, Harris, Megan, and Rupor.  Fortunately, the asteroid was pockmarked with craters and rubble from countless collisions with smaller asteroids.  We should be able to get under cover in a matter of seconds.

Bright light flashed at my feet and past Harris's head, reminding me that we might not have a few seconds!  The pirates were getting the range and it was only a matter of time -- a very short time -- before they scored a hit.  I had to put rock between us and the pirates now.

I'd been heading for a very low ridge only a few feet away.  Our slow pace meant it would take too long to get us all behind the ridge; but I had an idea.

Wedging my foot under a tiny outcropping, I said, "All of you, hold onto each other as tight as possible.  Those of you at the end of the line brace yourselves!"

Wrapping both hands around Callan's wrist, I pulled her up and over my head.  In the light gravity, the five us combined weighed no more than a child did under normal gravity.  Callan arched up and over me with the other three trailing like a whip cord.  My foot pressed against the underside of the outcropping as the line of men and women pivoted about that one spot.  My wife came down on the uncovered side of the ridge, but the rest came down just over the crest.

Slipping my foot free, I said, "Harris, pull us over with you!"

The young guard's hard yank brought Callan and me barreling into him.  The three of us flew past Rupor and Megan.  I was afraid we might spin off the surface of the asteroid and out into space when, with a hard jerk, we came to a stop and slammed down onto the rocky surface.  Glancing to the other end of our line, I saw Rupor hugging a small spire like a lover.

Next to me, Callan's weak stomach gave way and she retched miserably.  Megan reeled Callan in, wrapped my poor wife in a sisterly hug, and tried to comfort her.  I longed to do the same but our lives were at stake.

"Martin?" I called over the comm.

"That was quite a show you put on over there," he replied.  "Is everyone okay?"

"Scrapes and scratches, but we'll live.  Do you think we have piratical eavesdroppers?"

"There's no doubt about it.  All the harnesses were set to the same channel."  Martin was silent for a couple of seconds.  "Were the seniors still playing the search and rescue prank on plebes when you were at the academy?"

"Traditions die hard at the academy!  Switch now."

Every plebe in the Scout academy spent one night in a two man ship, monitoring channel five sixteen for orders to move in on a pirate ring.  It was the space-based equivalent of a snipe hunt.  I changed my channel, showing the others how to do it at the same time.

"Do you read me, Martin?"

"Loud and clear.  Now that we can have a private conversation, have you had any bright ideas?"

"Yes.  I think you and I ought to go for a swim!”

Has our hero lost his mind?  How can he swim on the airless surface of an asteroid?  Find out in Chapter 101, coming Wednesday!