Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 95

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 94                                                                                                   Chapter 96 >
Our heroes have routed the pirates but the man they left in the air duct to guard the princess and Megan is not answering their calls!

Afraid of what I'd see, I leapt into the air duct.  Martin was right behind me.  A quick look  around told the story well enough.

A new opening yawned in the side of the duct, up toward the arena.  If I looked through the opening, I was certain I'd find a metal plate and a maintenance tunnel.  I assumed Chapman had told Quint about the tunnel and Quint had sent men through it to either cut us off or attack us from behind.  It would have worked, too, except the pirates found easier, more tempting prey waiting for them in the air duct.

"Looks like Harris killed one of the pirates and then took off with Megan and Callan," Martin said.

"And the pirates chased after them instead of attacking us,” I added.

Bent double, I set off down the duct as fast as the cramped conditions would allow.  Martin was right behind me.

"Keep up with them, lads," the sergeant ordered.  "Our captains won't be thinking clearly 'til their women are safe!"

Part of my brain -- a very small, very remote part -- knew the sergeant was right.  The animal part of my brain and the husband part of my brain was already picturing me hacking every last pirate into very small pieces for what I feared they'd done to my wife.

"Harris is a smart lad, sir," the sergeant called, perhaps trying to convince Martin and me to show more caution.  "He'll run if he can and fight if he has to.  He'll keep the ladies safe."

It was a good try and might have worked if we hadn't come across the blood stain.  It wasn't much, a smear of blood on the side of the duct.  It might not even have been Harris's blood.  Even if it wasn't, it was evidence of more fighting.

Rounding a bend, we saw the duct end in the side wall of a hallway.  As we drew closer, I saw the grating leaning crookedly against the far wall of the corridor, red blood shining from a spot in the middle of the grate.  Harris must have barreled into it without slowing down, clearing an exit for Callan and Megan.  It also told us Harris was wounded.

Exiting the duct, Martin and I rose to our full height and looked both ways down the corridor.

"There!" I shouted and set off running to the right.

A knot of pirates hacked and slashed with swords at Harris, who stood resolutely between the pirates and the two women.  With every stroke he exchanged with a pirate, Harris and the women retreated a step.  The marine bled from half a dozen minor cuts and a wound to his left shoulder.

We were fifty yards away, shouting and charging toward the pirates.  The sounds of their own battle must have drowned out our voices, because none of them turned our way.  Then Callan and Megan ran out of room to retreat and Harris was forced to stand and fight.  The pirates pressed the attack for a couple of seconds then suddenly pulled back.  One of the pirates hit a control on the wall and a heavy door slid between the pirates and the trio.

The pirates had pushed them into an airlock!

Harris must have realized it, too.  Through the window in the airlock door, I saw him spring forward.  He was too late.  Steel hit steel as the door finished closing.  Without taking his eyes from the airlock window, a pirate slapped the control to open the airlock to the void of space!

Is this the end for Princess Callan and Megan?  Find out in Chapter 96, coming Friday!