Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 110

< Chapter 109                                                                                                   Chapter 111 >
David plans to take on hundreds of pirates by himself!

"That's not dangerous, David," Martin said, "that's suicidal!"

"Listen to Martin and don't do this!" Callan pleaded.  "It's bad enough that Milo is gone.  Don't make it worse by sacrificing yourself, too!"

"My soon-to-be ex-husband isn't worth it," Heidi added, her voice quiet but forceful.  "Cowards like him and snakes like Quint aren't worth your life."

"I'm not planning on dying, people," I said.  "But I'm also not planning on letting those responsible for so much death -- Milo's and countless others across the galaxy -- escape justice.  I owe this to all the dead whose souls cry out for a reckoning.  I am David Rice, Scout First Class of the Terran Exploration Corps.  It is my duty to follow this through."

"Aw hell, you had to go and drag duty into it, didn't you?" Martin muttered.  "Could someone loan me a sword?"

"What?" Megan cried.  "My God, Martin, you're half covered in burns!  You can't be thinking of joining in this madness!"

"He can and he is," Callan said.  "There's no talking to David once he starts going on about a Scout's duty.  I can only assume the Scout Academy inflicted the same madness on Martin."

"You are quite correct, Your Highness," Martin said.  "I managed to forget that madness for a long time -- until your husband reminded me of who I had been and who I could be again.  Where David leads, I will follow."

"As will I," Rupor said.

"You're all mad!" Heidi cried.

"Mad we may be," Rupor replied, "but it is the glorious madness of honor, oath, and duty.  It is the madness of men.  It is this madness which draws the love of the best and brightest women the galaxy has to offer.  And it is this madness which will bring down that most loathsome pirate, Captain Quint."

"If only..." Heidi whispered.  I doubt she meant it to be heard, but it fell into the silence which followed Rupor's speech.

In the most gentle voice I'd ever heard Rupor use, he said, "You do yourself a disservice, Heidi.  You are not responsible for your husband's actions."

"But I'm the one who fell in love with a coward instead of one of you mad, magnificent warriors!  How can that not be my fault?  How can I ever show my face around any of you ever again?"

“Perhaps you just needed to meet the right madman,” Rupor said.  In a lighter tone, he added, "Have you ever considered how beautiful you would look in Tartegian black and gold?"

There was a collective gasp over the comm then Laura's husband asked, "Am I imagining things or did Rupor just propose to Heidi?"

"Rupor of Tarteg," Heidi said, her voice more full of life than it had been since we reached the pirate base, "you had better survive this mad scheme of David's and make your intentions clear in person.  Do you understand me?"

"Of course, my dear," Rupor said.  His voice was even, but he wore the biggest grin I'd ever seen on his face.  "It should be easy enough.  After all, there are three of us!"

"Begging the prince's pardon," the marine commander said, "but there will be one hundred and sixty-three of us.  The men are already gathering at the airlocks, ready to sally forth on Captain Rice's command."

"One hundred and sixty-four," Harris said.

"I appreciate your fervor, Harris," I said, "but you will stay here and guard the women."

"That's what I'll be doing, sir," Harris replied.  "I believe I can best protect Her Highness and Megan by keeping you and Captain Bane alive.  I realize I risk court martial for disobeying an order, but I'm coming with you."

"I like this one, David," Callan said.  "He reminds me of you."

I sighed.  "Martin, have you got a sword?"

"Yes.  The wounded guard's sword was still buckled about his waist."

"Very well, gentlemen, it's time to let madness reign!”

David, Martin, and Rupor are about to unleash their madness upon the pirates!  Find out what happens next in Chapter 111, coming Friday!