Monday, May 12, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 94

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 93                                                                                                   Chapter 95 >
Despite being outnumbered twenty to one, our hero charges to battle the pirates!

All the pirates were watching me and didn't see Quint's face go slack and his eyes go wide when I charged.  He backed away from his men, opening his mouth twice before finding his voice.

"Ha!"  The sound was closer to a cough than a laugh.  "I goaded him right good.  Twenty thousand credits to the man who deals the death blow!"

The gleam of greed replaced fear in many of the pirates’ eyes.  They stopped retreating and readied their blades.  Over their heads, I saw Quint and Chapman turn and run back down the corridor.  I wanted to Boost, jump over the men, and chase Quint, but there were too many men to leap and the ceiling was too low.    I'd have to settle for Boosting and taking my frustration out on the pirates standing before me.

"Boarding party discipline, sir!" called the sergeant from close behind me.

That made me pull up short of the pirates' line.  A second later, Rupor, the sergeant, and a private stood beside me.

"Hold to the drill, gentlemen," Rupor said, "and we'll set this rabble on their heels!"

The sudden change in tactics had the pirates edging back again.  With Rupor calling the cadence, we stepped forward in unison and engaged the pirates.

The popular image of pirates is of a vicious band of cutthroats swarming throughout a ship, cutting down all who dare to stand in their way.  For once, the popular image matched reality.  But 'vicious' is nothing more than an attitude and 'swarm' is a tactic long abandoned by military-minded men.  Pirates only fight the military when they're cornered or can overwhelm their opponents through sheer numbers.

The pirates outnumbered us five or six to one, but the confines of the corridor kept the number of men actually engaging us to four.  As we slashed and stabbed with coordination and an economy of motion, the pirates fell into their preferred fighting styles.  They hacked and slashed with big, strong strokes and were as likely to get in each other's way as force one of us to block the blow.

With seconds of the first clash of steel, blood dripped from our swords and four new pirates stood before us.  Rupor blocked a pirate's attack and immobilized the blade.

"Bind!" he snapped.

The private's blade stabbed into Rupor's pirate as the sergeant and I shifted into defensive mode, covering the two men dealing with the pirate.

"Clear!" Rupor called as the pirate fell away from him.

Five more pirates fell before they realized they had no chance fighting against four blades working as one.  Our opponents turned and ran, abandoning the three men still engaged with us.

"Your fellows have left you," Rupor said.  "Be smart chaps and drop your swords.  If you do, I give you my word we won't kill you."

Three swords clattered to the deck.

"That's the first smart move I've seen all day," I said.  "When you see your fellow pirates, tell them we want to get back to our ship, nothing more.  If they don't get in our way, we won't kill them.  Now, scram."

Pirate footfalls faded quickly and we headed back to the air duct.  Martin and his marines finished routing their pirates as the sergeant called to his man.

"Harris?  It's safe to come up now!"

Harris didn't answer.  Heart leaping to my throat, I rushed to the opening.  A dead pirate lay in the duct.  There was no sign of Harris, Megan, or Callan!

What happened to Harris and the women?  Find out in Chapter 95, coming Wednesday!