Monday, June 23, 2014

Scout's Duty - Chapter 112

< Chapter 111                                                                                                   Chapter 113 >
David attacks the pirates!

Charging with me, my three companions joined in my battle cry.  "For Milo!"

One hundred and sixty marines raised their voices as one.  "For Mordan!  For Tarteg!  For Milo!"

The marines charged the encircling pirates.  Unnerved by the marines' precision, both in maneuvers and in voice, the pirates fell back before the onslaught.  I'd have to congratulate the marine commander's choice of battle cry later.

"Heidi?"  My voice boomed out across the docking bay.  "Route me back to the ship's channel and cancel the broadcast."

"Done, sir."

The four of us engaged half a dozen pirates, steel clashing against steel.  We pushed the pirates back a couple of steps before they found a rhythm of their own.  Precious seconds ticked away as we traded blows.  They were seconds Laura's teams would use to place the charges on the landing struts.  They were seconds Quint or Chapman might use to disappear into the base.  They were seconds I could not afford to waste on these men.

"I'm going to Boost in ten seconds.  Get out of my way."  The pirate in front of me looked at me in disbelief.  "Yes, I'm talking to you and your friends.  Surrender or I'll cut you down where you stand!"

"Believe him lads."  Martin's voice still sounded rough, but the pain from his burns was driven away by the excitement of combat.  "David takes duty very seriously and you're standing between him and Quint."

Comprehension dawned on the pirates' faces.  They dropped their swords and moved aside.


Adrenaline poured into my system.  Time slowed.  Fatigue faded.  Vision sharpened.  Muscles surged.  I flew across the docking bay, an arrow aimed at Quint and Chapman!  My focus was so tight on Quint that I was halfway across the bay before I realized I was not alone.  I looked to my left.  Martin was with me, stride for stride, lips stretched wide in a savage grin.  Footsteps pounded behind me.  I risked a look over my shoulder.  Rupor and Harris sprinted for all they were worth, almost keeping up with us.

A squad of Quint's pirate guards blocked our path, swords raised to defend their captain.  I lowered my shoulder.  Martin did the same.

I switched from gal base to Mordanian.  "I'm going to go low past the first row and come up in the middle of them."

"Make sure to swing to your right.  I'll be on your left."

As one, Martin and I dropped and rolled between startled defenders.  We rose to face pirates unprepared for immediate combat.  I swung my blade in a wide arch.  It cut three pirates and drove all of them back a step.  Behind me, Rupor and Harris engaged the pirates Martin and I had bypassed.

Confusion reigned among the pirates from our surprise arrival in their midst.  Martin and I took advantage and attacked.  I thrust my sword into the side of a pirate.  He screamed as I ripped it free and slashed the man next to him.  I blocked a swing from a third pirate and kicked him in the groin.  I grabbed his collar as he doubled over in pain and threw him into the back of a pirate battling with Rupor or Harris.

I looked for Quint.  He, Chapman, and his remaining guards were headed for the airlock!

"Quint's getting away!"  I hacked off a pirate's sword arm.

"Not if I can help it!"  Martin pulled his sword from the shoulder of another pirate.

One pirate stood between us and Quint's retreat.

I pointed my sword at him.  "I want Quint, not you."

The pirate's eyes widened in panic and indecision.  Martin's sword flashed and the pirate crumpled to the deck.

"He took too long to make up his mind."

Clear of the pirates, Martin and I raced on.  Quint and his men reached the airlock.  The captain looked back at us and punched buttons with frantic haste.  I had to reach him before he could flee into the base!

A thunder clap drowned out the sounds of battle.  Fighting paused and the docking bay reverberated with the sound of the explosions.  The airlock door reflected the scene behind me.

Aashla's Hope floated free and moved ponderously toward the docking bay exit!

The ship is free but will Quint get away?  Find out in Chapter 113, coming Wednesday!