Monday, June 2, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 103

< Chapter 102                                                                                                   Chapter 104 >
David and Martin swim off to attack the rest of the pirates swarming on the surface of the asteroid!

"Far be it from me to interfere with such bold battlefield heroics," Rupor said, "but this might not be the best time to engage in a full assault on the rest of the pirates."

Martin and I exchanged a glance and slowed our advance on the pirate's position.  It was hardly the sort of comment either of us expected from Rupor, so it caught our attention.

"We're listening," I said.

"You've rather suddenly and spectacularly shot or scattered half a dozen of the pirates.  We may not have heard the cries of those six men, but the other pirates will be sharing the same comm channel.  They'll have heard everything."

"And?"

"You attacked their superior numbers, overcame their superior weaponry, and took six of their number out of the fight.  Now is the time for us to make a tactical retreat, while the pirates are still back on their heels and reluctant to engage us."

The sergeant added, "His Highness has a point, sirs."

"In case there is any doubt, I fully support Rupor's suggestion, also," Callan said.

"Do I need to add my vote to the tally?" Megan asked.

"I believe we're outvoted, David," Martin said.  "The rest of you keep moving toward the docking bay.  We'll catch you up."

Without another word, we changed directions and swam back toward our family and friends.  A couple of minutes later, we were with them.  They were beyond the large rock I'd pointed out to Rupor before Martin and I went on the offensive, but not by much.

"Yes, David, you were right" Rupor said.  "Swimming on an asteroid is far more difficult than I imagined."

“I didn’t say anything about your progress!"

"No, but you were thinking it."

He was right.  Were my thoughts really that plainly written on my face?

"Yes, love, anyone who knows you well can see your thoughts clearly written on your face," Callan said.

"To your credit, your words and actions always match your thoughts," Megan added.

"Enough with the fawning over Honest David," Martin growled.  "I've been thinking how best to get us moving faster.  David's game of crack the whip, when he flung four of you behind the ridge, gave me an idea.  We'll split into two groups again, line up head-to-foot, and David and I will each tow a group behind us.  The rest of you just have to use your free hand and foot to keep yourself a few inches off the ground."

"Just like a train!" I exclaimed.  I got blank stares from everyone but Martin.  "But I guess most of you have never heard of trains..."

It was the work of but a moment to create the two line ups.  For simplicity, we went with the two groups we'd split into earlier.  That left me towing Callan, Megan, Rupor, and Harris.  Rupor suggested Martin and the marines be our rearguard, just in case the pirates went on the offensive sooner rather than later.  With that decided, I towed my four passengers in the direction of the docking bay.  It took a few minutes for everyone to get into a rhythm, but once they did we made good time across the asteroid.

"How long will it take to reach the docking bay?" Callan asked.

"At the rate we're going, we should reach the entrance in another five minutes," I replied.  "In fact, the ship should be within range of our comms about now.  Heidi is monitoring channel ten seventeen.  Switch to that channel after your next push off from the ground."

Since I didn't have to hold onto anyone's foot, I went ahead and changed channels with one hand while keeping us moving with the other.  The signal had some static, but I had no trouble hearing Heidi's voice.

"Aashla's Hope to the captain.  Do you copy?"

"Loud and clear, Heidi."

"Oh, thank God!  We've been worried sick, David.  Where are you and who's with you?"

"I've got their Highnesses, Martin, Megan, and a squad of marines.  We're swimming across the surface of the asteroid toward you.  We should be there in-"

"Get under cover, now!" Heidi cried.  “Quint just sent an armed pinnace out to find and destroy you!”

Will Captain Quint blast our heroes into little pieces?  Find out in Chapter 104, coming Wednesday!