Friday, May 30, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 102

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 101                                                                                                   Chapter 103 >
Caught in the open, our hero is about to burned by laser fire!

Three pirates had their lasers tracking toward me while the fourth pirate fumbled to replace his discharged energy pack.  There was no cover available and the pirates could burn me before I covered the twenty feet separating us.  That left only one option.

Instead of reaching forward for my next swimming stroke, I planted my right hand at my side then pushed hard to the left.  Laser blasts flashed where I had been a split second before, but I was five feet to the left now.  As the pirates swung their aim in my direction, I pushed off a lump of rock with my left hand and passed right under the pirates' aim before they realized what had happened!

After missing me twice, I didn't think the pirates would overreact to my movement again.  But I thought they would expect more of the same from me.  Rather than zigging back to my left, I pulled my knees in tight and then kicked out and down.  Pushing off that hard and at any kind of upward angle should send me flying off the asteroid and into empty space -- and it would have if I hadn't barreled into three of the pirates!

Two of the pirates went tumbling backward with arms windmilling and legs kicking.  Both lost hold of their lasers, which went spinning off who knows where.  The third staggered back and tripped over the fourth pirate, who had crouched down to reload his pistol.  The tripping pirate smacked his head against the rock the pirates had been using for cover and dropped his laser.

That left me standing over the fourth pirate.  Made clumsy by his haste to replace his laser's energy pack, the man dropped both of them.  I grabbed the straps of his vacuum harness and heaved him straight up.  The pirate's mouth opened in a scream I could not hear as he flew off into the void.

The pirate who had hit his head was groggy and unresisting as I stripped off his spare energy packs and sent him up to join his fellow.  I picked up both lasers, reloading the empty one.

"Martin?" I called on the comm.  "I've got a couple of lasers.  Two of the pirates are out of the fight and two more have been disarmed.  Where are you?"

"Having less success than you, it appears," Martin replied.  "Assuming you're responsible for the two pirates heading into space, I'm maybe forty feet west of you, pinned down by laser fire."

Now that I knew what to look for, I spotted laser flashes to the west.

"I'll be there in a few seconds.  In the mean time, do as Megan instructed and don't get yourself killed."

"Thank you for that advice, David.  It would never have occurred to me!"

I was already swimming in the direction of the laser flashes when I replied.  "Don't thank me.  I was just relaying Megan's orders.  If you like that advice, just wait till you're married!"

"I heard that!" Megan said over the comm.

"So did I," Callan added dryly.

"Um, the stress of combat makes men say things they don't really mean?" I offered as I came up behind the two pirates firing at Martin.

"Yeah, what he said!" Martin said.

My shot burned a hole right through the pirate on the left.  The pirate on the right reacted as if he had been in normal gravity, spinning and jumping so fast he lost his footing and rose off the ground.  Martin swam up, grappled the laser from the pirate, then sent him to join the other two in orbit.

"Are either of you dead?" Megan asked.

"No, sweetheart," Martin replied.  "Thank you for the invaluable advice on dying, which I shall always endeavor to follow to the letter."

"You'd better, dearest," Megan growled.

Martin looked at me.  "I've decided I don't really like pirates any more.  Let's finish this!"

Without another word, Martin and I slithered off toward the remaining pirates!

Still heavily outnumbered, can our heroes defeat the pirates and escape back to their ship?