Monday, June 16, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 109

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Inspired by an adventure vid, Martin suggests blowing off the landing gear to free the Aashla’s Hope!

There was another silence as everyone considered Martin's idea.  The crew would be able to access the landing gear without getting out of the ship.  And flying without landing gear was a lot better than not flying with landing gear!  I couldn't find any obvious flaws.

"Laura, you're our engineer.  What do you think?" I asked.

"Well, we're going to be in for one heck of a jolt when the ship drops two meters to the floor after we blow the landing gear," she said, "but the ship can take it.  Give me a minute to check the specs for the landing struts."

"I might be able to keep the ship from dropping to the floor," Nist offered.  "We can bring the repulsers online just before the explosives go off.  If we time it right, the repulser's hum won't alert the pirates and the ship won't hit the floor."

"Good idea, Nist.  Figure out what you'll need to do to pull it off," I said.  "And Martin?  Not a bad suggestion for an old man!"

"I attribute my brilliance to a misspent youth and a weakness for Star Ranger adventures.  So, did I miss anything while I was out?"

"I'll tell him," Megan said.

I watched her turn off both of their comms and lean in close so their atmosphere shields overlapped.  Seconds later, Martin's face screwed up in pain which had nothing to do with the burns covering his body.  Despite those burns, he pulled Megan into a hug with one arm and reached the other out to clasp Callan's hand.  A moment later, he thumbed on his comm.

"I'm sorry, David."  Martin's voice was quiet, the emotion he felt over Milo's death evident.

"I know, Martin.  We all are."

Laura chose that moment to check back in.

"David, I've checked the specs for the landing gear and Martin's idea will work.  We'll need a shaped charge attached to the right spot on each of the six struts."

"I sense a 'but' in that explanation, Laura," I said.

"You're right.  The weak spot in the landing struts is about a foot below the well the gear retracts into after lift off."

"Will you have to leave the ship to place the charges?" I asked.

"No, we can get into the well and place the charges without leaving the ship," Laura replied, "but if any of the pirates notice what we're doing, it won't be hard for them to stop us."

"It sounds like we need to make sure the pirates aren't paying any attention to the ship while you're placing the charges," I said.

"Well, yes, I suppose I could open the ship's airlock, point to the other side of the docking bay, and shout 'Oh my God!  What is that?'  But I don't think that will work, David."

"It might work if she was naked, David," Martin said.

"It's going to take my crews at least a minute to place the charges," Laura said.  "Maybe Callan could hold their attention that long.  I know I couldn't."

"No one is getting naked in front of the pirates, least of all my wife!” I said.  "How long will it take to prepare the charges?"

"They're ready now.  Pirates keep plenty of explosives on hand to blow the airlocks of ships they’re attacking."

"Good enough.  Arm a squad of marines with laser rifles and get them to the ship's airlock," I said.  "I expect I'm going to need some covering fire."

"You're planning something dangerous, David," Callan said.  "What is it?"

"I'm going to go into the docking bay and arrest Quint and Chapman!”

Has David lost his mind or can this plan work?  Find out what happens next in Chapter 110, coming Wednesday!