Monday, May 19, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 97

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 96                                                                                                   Chapter 98 >
By some miracle, Callan, Megan, and Harris survived the cycling of the airlock!

At last convinced that this wasn’t a dream from which I would awake, that Callan truly was alive, I stopped smothering her with kisses and simply held her close.

“How?” I asked.  “I saw the airlock door close.  I saw the pirate cycle the airlock.  How did you survive?”

“Ask Private Harris,” Callan said.  “He’s the one who saved us.”

Martin and I both turned to the private, who looked uncomfortable under our gazes.

“Go on, Harris,” the sergeant encouraged.  “Tell them what you were telling me.”

“Well, sir, I realized we were in an airlock as soon as Her Highness and Miss Megan,” and here Harris turned to Megan, “I’m sorry ma’am, I don’t know your family name.”

“It’s Tuttle, but you’re more than welcome to call me Megan.”

“Like I was saying, I figured out it was an airlock when we ran out of room to retreat.  I mean, it would be stupid to make a corridor that didn’t go anywhere!  Then when those bast- uh, pirates jumped back, I figured out their plan, too.  I remembered all that spaceship safety training we got from those ladies who were on the ship, especially how airlock doors won’t open if the other door isn’t fully shut and sealed.”

Harris held up a bent sword.  “I jumped forward and stuck my sword between the door and the wall.  The door looked like it shut and it sounded like it shut, but it didn’t shut.  Of course, we’d have been in real trouble if you and Captain Bane hadn’t shown up, sir!”

“That was quick thinking, lad!” the sergeant said.  Turning to me, he added, “Like I told you, he’s a smart one.”

I grasped Harris’s hand.  “Thank you.  Those words are inadequate, but they’re all I have.”

Martin followed suit.  Then Callan and Megan surrounded Harris.  He blushed a deep scarlet when they both hugged him and kissed him on the cheek.  Finally, Rupor pumped the private’s hand, offering a hearty, “Good show, lad!”

“I hate to interrupt, sir,” the sergeant said.  Pointing at the lone surviving pirate, the one who had tried to cycle the airlock, he added, “But we need to decide what we’re going to do with him and then get out of this corridor before some other pirates trap us in it.”

The pirate was still huddled on the deck, staring at me with wide, wild eyes.

“He’s guilty of the attempted murder of a member of the royal family of Mordan,” I said.

The pirate started shaking his head violently.  “I can’t be guilty unless I have a trial!  It’s the law!  I’ve got to have a trial!”

“What a staunch defender of law and order you are,” I sneered.  “What due process did you follow before attempting to murder my wife?”

“I didn’t know who she was!”

“Well, ignorance won’t be a problem for you much longer.  There is only one penalty for your crime — death by beheading.”

“You can’t do that!  You’re a sworn officer of the Terran Federation!  You have to follow the law!”

“Damn me, but the man is right,” I said.  “Neither Martin nor I can carry out the sentence.”

“My planet is not a member of this federation,” Rupor said.  “Perhaps you would allow me the honor?”

“By all means,” I replied.  “Does anyone have anything to say in this pirate’s defense?”

All of them shook their heads.  The marines dragged the pirate to his feet and away down the hall.  He blubbered and pleaded.  Then Rupor’s sword flashed and the pleading stopped.

“They- they just killed him!” a voice spoke from down the corridor.

 Pirates were crowding into the corridor from the same air duct we’d come through moments earlier.

We were trapped!

How can our heroes escape?  Find out in Chapter 98, coming Wednesday!