Friday, July 10, 2015

Scout's Law - Chapter 45

< Chapter 44                                                                                                 Chapter 46 >
As greater numbers threaten to overrun David and the crew of the Vanguard, Callan and the Tercel draw closer.


A young ensign brought a speaking trumpet to me as the Tercel closed on both Thor and the trogs. The young, eager face reminded me of Chris and I’m afraid my smile of thanks also bore a tinge of sadness. With a nod, the boy ran back to help with the preparations to capture Thor.

Under the supervision of the marine commander, lines were tied off along both sides of the airship. The plan involved marines swinging down to the ground and subduing Thor while the Tercel drove on toward the wreck of the Vanguard. Any plan devised to speed help to David and his men while also capturing the rogue galactic had my full support!

When apprised of the plan, I’d given my approval and offered one suggestion. “If it’s possible to pull Thor onboard without slowing down, please do so. He could be a handy tool for convincing his men to surrender. ‘Without slowing down’ is the vital phrase, Captain.”

Jorson relayed that to the six men picked for the job. Within seconds, betting pools formed around the marines’ chances of dragging Thor back to the Tercel and which marine might pull it off.

Meanwhile, fierce fighting ranged across the broken hull of the Vanguard. Thor still had his back to us, yelling commands into a device I assumed was a radio. Were some of his men equipped with radios, as well, so Thor could direct the battle? I found myself hoping that was the case since Thor hadn’t shown any indications of military training. His advantages lay in superior numbers and weaponry though something must have happened to the blaster rifles. I’d watched a barrage of inaccurate shots at the beginning of the charge but nothing after that.

Tearing my eyes away from the battle, I moved to the railing as the airship approached the trogs. They’d stopped their jogging retreat at our approach, watching us with what must be wary eyes. Captain Jorson and I went to the airship’s railing and gave a friendly wave to the trogs. The idea was to let them catch sight of Lady Death and to reassure them we offered no threat to them.

“Your Highness, could you hold off calling to the trogs until my marines have swung down upon Thor?” Jorson asked. “The man’s concentration is locked on the battle and I’d hate to draw his attention away from it.”

“That’s an excellent suggestion, Captain,” I said.

As the ship passed by the trogs, their posture relaxed and they lowered their weapons. Curiosity kept them watching us, though, and several pointed when the marines climbed atop the railing. I looked for Thor, but he was hidden by the Tercel’s hull.

One after another, the marines jumped from the railing and swung out of sight. I found myself holding my breath, waiting for the sound of blaster fire or the ring of steel. Before I heard either, a sudden cheer rose from the port railing and an officer yelled, “We’ve landed our catch, lads! Reel it in before it squirms off the hook.”

“We’ve got him, Your Highness!” Jorson crowed.

Grinning, I turned back to the trogs. More of them pointed and though I couldn’t hear their chuffing laughter, I saw many of them watching the scene with amusement. I raised the trumpet to my mouth and waved my other arm over my head.

“Trogs! I am Lady Death, the mate of the man you call the Hand of Death. He fights against the coward you so recently served, the man who refused the Hand of Death’s challenge for leadership, and the man we’ve just captured!” The trogs were falling behind quickly, so I skipped any other formalities and came to the point. “Come with us and join the Hand of Death in his fight. I give you my word you will be well rewarded if you do so!”

I lowered the speaking trumpet and watched for any sign the trogs accepted my offer. Most of the trogs didn’t understand Mordanian and required a translation from the few who did. Nothing happened for a few terribly long seconds, then a small group of trogs turned and ran after the Tercel. Another band followed, then two more, and then the whole mass of trogs was running in our wake!

I turned back to the deck in time to watch the crew hoist a marine over the railing. He had one strong arm wrapped around Thor, managing to keep hold of him and pin his arms at the same time. Two more marines took the galactic in hand while the one who captured him quickly and expertly removed every weapon and device Thor carried. The man presented them to me as the other two bound their sputtering, red-faced prisoner

“Well done, gentlemen!” I cried. “Now let’s go help the crew of the Vanguard!”

Will the Tercel reach the Vanguard in time? Find out in Chapter 46, coming Monday!