Friday, May 23, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 99

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 98                                                                                                   Chapter 100 >
Our heroes prepare to escape from the pirates by heading into the void of space!

Callan glowed in the nimbus of the air-preserving forcefield her vacuum harness projected around her body.  I would have loved nothing more than to admire her heavenly form, but we had to get away from the horde of pirates bearing down on our position.  Martin had just finished showing the others how to activate their comm units, so I stepped through the gravity field and into the almost-nonexistent gravity on the surface of the asteroid.

"Keep your movements controlled and gentle after coming through the gravity field," I warned.  "One wrong step could send you spinning off into the asteroid field!  In fact, it would be best if we all clasped hands.  It will slow our progress but we will all be anchored to each other."

Taking my hand, Callan grinned with excitement and stepped through the gravity field.  Her grin faded and she turned a slight green.

"Oh, I feel like I'm going to hurl!" she moaned.  "What's wrong with me?"

"It's just a touch of space sickness," I explained.  "Most people suffer from it the first time they experience low or no gravity."

And, indeed, the rest of the Aashlans suffered from it, though none quite so badly as my wife.

"You usually look lovely in green, my dear," I said, trying for a light tone, "but that shade just doesn't suit you."

"Ha, ha.  Maybe I'll throw up on you and see if green suits you."

"Perhaps a change of subject is in order."

"Good idea, husband."  Callan still looked sick, but at least there was a bit of humor reflected in her eyes.

"Martin, how many harnesses are left in the locker outside the airlock?" I asked.  "We need to prepare for pursuit."

"Not from that airlock, we don't," Martin replied.

"Our good Captain Bane had each of us grab extra harnesses," Rupor said.  "We piled them next to the airlock exit and they were blown into space when the air rushed out."

"Clever, Martin!"

"I think 'obvious' is more appropriate -- at least to anyone familiar with vacuum and pirates," Martin said.

"Fine, we'll go with obviously clever," I said.  "The upshot is the pirates will have to find another airlock before they can come out after us.  With luck, we'll reach another airlock or the docking bay before they find us."

"Sir?" Harris asked.  "How do you know where to go without a sun to guide your direction?"

"My implant has a fairly accurate idea where we are in relation to the docking bay.  I'm just following the map it's constructed of the asteroid -- both inside and out."

"So our lives are in the hands -- figuratively speaking -- of that tiny machine you tell us is in your head?" Rupor asked.

"Welcome to my world," Callan said.

I recognized Rupor's and Callan's words for what they were -- banter meant to keep everyone's minds off their roiling stomachs.  I was preparing to answer in kind when a bright light flashed across my vision.  Looking to my left, I spied a squad of pirates about a hundred yard away.  They moved with easy familiarity on the surface of the asteroid.  Far worse, they all carried laser pistols!

With most of his party inexperienced in low gravity and armed only with swords, how can our hero hope to escape the pursuing pirates?  Find out in Chapter 100, coming Monday!