Saturday, 17 December 2011

An Eye on the Prize. Part Five.

(Flick back a bit for the other parts, my sick computer has decided it doesn't want to help with linkage. Sorry about that.)

Fleeing the Dreadnought 'Dogmatist': Week Six. Day Three.

It had taken four hours to get the conversion kettles on the 'Pointless Venture,' checked, repaired and reacting again. Four precious hours in which the vital fluid did not flow and their pursuer had drawn ever nearer in the viewport of the overscope. The mood aboard the frigate was bleak, as was that of its Captain, sitting on a wooden chair by the central support spine of the gundeck. The entire crew waiting at attention for his judgement.

'Jineer Felyid Raindon, signed on to the books as Jineer Beeler, prename unknown.' Morgan wore formal blue and white slimarmour with a black trihorne helmet. Its two forward facing shieldhorns inactive. His face a solemn mask. 'I find you guilty of wilfully damaging a warship of the Thirdest Navy with the intent of stopping or delaying her forthright and true purposes in the cause of the Thirdest way. For that crime the books give only one punishment, as Authorised by the Overseer Arks. At the mid of tomorrow you shall suffer death by jettison without recourse to a vacsuit.'

'Beeler', no longer seemed the panicked creature Herion had met at Beldin Citadel and showed no fear in the face of his own death. His visage was creased and scarred with contempt.

'Filth,' he spat on the gundeck and was rewarded by a hard kick from one of the Hullsmen Marines holding him. Beeler laughed. 'Don't fear I death, nots like you filthers should,' he fixed Morgan with a glare. 'Death moves I up the spiral-tree. I'll come back as officer gene and take this ship and everyone aboard.' He turned to Herion. 'Ceptin' you, worst of 'em all. You I'll give to the Confederacy's answermen and you'lls sings a pretty song of long hurt.'
If this threat worried Herion he showed no sign. Instead he drawled, loudly enough to be heard by the gathered crew.

'If this pitiful fanatic is to die I would like to talk with him first. Would it be possible for him to spend his last hours in my medical rooms?'
Morgan blanched slightly at the implication before replying quietly.

'I suppose it must be so.'

To Herion, it was worth the discomfort he saw on his friends face and felt from the crew to see the fear cloud Beeler's features.

A whiskerless Fourth, his moustache still only fuzz on his lip ran up to Morgan.

'Pologies for interrupting, Captain' he tugged at a forelock and a blush spread across his face as all eyes turned to him. 'Watchman Zelzy said you'd want to know. He's spotted another ship, Frigate he thinks, top forward quarter starboard. Intercept course. Not a silhouette we know from the books, Sir.'

Morgan's face fell. 'A Dreadnought and a Frigate?'

Herion turned away from the young officer and downcast Captain back to Beeler. A smug, self-satisfied grin sat upon the traitor's face.

'We's too far away for it to be one o' yous traitors here to help,' cackled Beeler.

Herion pulled the man up by his shackled arms and was not gentle about it.

'I do not know why that should make you so happy, Beeler. Whoever that ship is, it won't be here in time to save you.'

Beeler seemed to crumple in Herion's remorseless grip. Then he quietly wept.

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