Chapter VIII - A Question of Honour


Unknown Enemy
High time to post this, n'est ce pas?
I guess this is what Matrix would describe as a "slow" chapter... but there is still quite a bit of action
. Hope you enjoy.


VIII. A Question of Honour.
“Krak’ni’hra… why is Rhe’dhi still flying? You should’ve had him bring the Broadsword in by now!” Weaver demanded irritably as they approached the corvette; the Broadsword was only just circling towards the airlock. Surely, the Kamekh could go for a few hours without escort – they were fairly safe in the belt, at any rate – and Rhe’dhi probably needed rest as much as Lawrence needed it himself.
“And it’s good to see you too. Actually, Weaver, your wingmate refused to land until you made it back. He’s coming in to dock right now.” Talon replied, slightly edgily. It had only been fifteen minutes or so since Paladin had left, but it had been a high-strung fifteen minutes. The last thing he needed was Lawrence complaining about something beyond his control.
“Sorry.” Weaver said somewhat ruefully. “I guess I’m just a bit irritable…” hell, what am I talking about? I’m Goddamned pissed off! And indeed he was. He’d spent most of the way back thinking up interesting – but mostly just painful – things to do to the traitor. It was quite a tough problem, since one could only inflict so much pain before the victim dies; and it was that length of pain that Weaver really wanted to maximise. But at least the creative thinking had kept sleep at bay on their way back. “You’d better clear me in right now.”
“You’re both cleared to land. Weaver, come on in first. Considering the damage to your ship, the Colonel can wait.”
“Well, really!” Paladin feigned indignation, even as Lawrence’s Ferret used up the last of the afterburner fuel to get to the Krak’ni’hra. James watched with satisfaction as Terry neatly manoeuvred right under the hatch and its grapples. “He’s done, Talon.” Paladin finally said. “Now can I come in?” He added in a plaintive voice. Once the adrenaline rush wore off, he realised just how exhausting combat is. Isn’t that why he had to retire, after all?
“Of course, sir.” Talon replied, grinning.
At long last, the last of the fighters flew in to dock. They had made it. Captain Burkheimer turned to give Hharak a big grin. The Kilrathi promptly replied with an even bigger – and much fiercer – grin.
* * *
With newly found strength, Weaver pulled himself through the end of the tunnel and onto the floor of the Krak’ni’hra. He lay there for a minute or two, as exhaustion and anger fought for control of his body.
Anger won. He pulled himself up, and strode out of the room, passing by a startled Rhe’dhi.
“Weaver?” The Kilrathi pilot called after him.
That man nearly killed us all, Terry thought again and again as he ran down a dim corridor. But it could’ve been a fluke… yeah, right. He must be a traitor – a Mandarin. Those bastards want to surrender us to the Kilrathi. And for what? The Kilrathi supposedly promised them power – after the war. Lawrence couldn’t help but smile. After the war… either the Kilrathi would be defeated, or they would win – but they sure as hell wouldn’t give the Mandarins anything… not even survival. In a way, the poor fools had dug their own graves. Especially this particular fool. And now was the time to pay the price.
He charged up a staircase, pushing his worn out body at an ever-increasing speed. I’ll rest later, Weaver thought. This is far more important.
* * *
They should be here by now. What’s going on? Pete Browning wondered as he lay on the narrow bunk in his cell, irritated. Could it be that the two fighters managed to destroy the Kilrathi force? Impossible. And once they’re done – may the two fools rest in pieces – the strike force is bound to send out patrols in search of the source of the fighters… now I just have to persuade Paladin to surrender… or he will die. Either way, he’ll pay for what he did.
All of a sudden, the door whooshed open, and the young pilot – Weaver – charged in. Browning sat up in surprise.
“You should be dead!” He exclaimed, before he realised that that was most definitely the wrong thing to say. Weaver cleared the distance between them in two steps; he pulled Browning up by the shirt.
“No, YOU should be dead!” Lawrence told him through gritted teeth. In a swift, sudden movement, Weaver’s fist connected with Pete’s nose.
Pete fell back heavily and crashed into the wall behind him, gasping in pain. “You son of a…” he finally said, holding a hand over the bleeding nose. “You broke my nose!”
That too, turned out to be the wrong thing to say. In the fraction of a second, Browning was sprawled out on the floor, as a surprisingly powerful kick from Weaver knocked him off his feet.
“Goddamned traitor!” Lawrence started preparing for another kick, when somebody laid a hand on his shoulder. It was Paladin, who had just entered the cell.
“Lad, I know how you feel, but… there are certain rules regarding treatment of prisoners.”
“Listen to your Colonel, boy.” The traitor said as he sat up, a twisted smile on his bleeding face. “The brass always knows best.”
Weaver gave him another look full of hatred, but resisted the urge to kick, punch, and maim. Finally, he sat down on the bunk with a sigh. “We saved your life. And this is how you pay us back?”
Under the watchful eyes of the two officers, Pete Browning slowly – gasping with pain – got up to his feet. “I didn’t feel like being kind to you people. He,” Pete pointed at Paladin. “Is responsible for my wife’s death.”
Weaver smiled bitterly. “I’m surprised anyone would marry a Mandarin.”
But Paladin frowned. “How am I responsible?” He asked, in a tone much different to Weaver’s.
“She was on Ayer’s Rock.”
“Is that so?” Colonel Taggart replied. For a second, he had been worried that he might be responsible for the death of an innocent. But if she was with the Mandarins at Ayer’s…“then I guess that’s what she gets for living with terrorists – or was she a terrorist too? It’s a pity that you weren’t there with her.” He finished coldly.
“Well, I guess I got lucky.” Browning smiled sardonically. “And now, I’ll get my revenge… I don’t know how he survived,” Pete nodded towards Weaver. “But when the Kilrathi find you here, you’ll have to surrender. And I might even get a promotion for capturing you.” He smiled triumphantly.
“Don’t be so sure of that, traitor.” Weaver got up. The Mandarin’s words irritated him, and he had to suppress the urge to kick the man down again. “We’ll never surrender.” He added in a steely tone.
“All the same to me.” Pete Browning’s grin got wider – though he certainly didn’t feel like smiling all of a sudden. He had no intention of dying… but I must not let them know that, he thought. “At least we all go down together. I still get my revenge.”
“I don’t intend on dying, or on letting the Krak’ni’hra go down.” Lawrence retorted. “And when we get back to Confed space,” he continued, emphasizing the ‘when’. “You will be executed.” Just keep that thought firmly in your head, Weaver told himself. He will die.
“Executed?” Pete snorted. “No. I’ll end up in a POW camp. You see, I hold the rank of Second Fang in the Kilrathi Armed Forces.” Weaver stared at him in shock. “I’m no traitor – I’m an enemy soldier.” Browning continued relentlessly, failing to notice the way Terry’s hand twitched. “So you see, I’ll spend the rest of the war in a cosy little camp, while you die out there somewhere. And when the Kilrathi win… I’ll be free.”
For a long moment, Lawrence kept staring at him, eyes filled with hatred beyond imagination. Then, a tight smile appeared on his lips; the smile however, was most definitely not reflected in his eyes.
“I see.” Weaver said slowly. Seemingly perfectly calm, he looked about the room, his eyes shifting from Paladin to the traitor before him. The only indication of his real feelings was the way his hand twitched by his side.
“Lad…” Paladin started, noticing that twitch. “Listen…”
Suddenly, Weaver pushed James away, towards the other side of the room. In one smooth action, he pulled out his gun and pointed it straight at Pete’s head. “Then…” he gasped, as if trying to regain control over himself; his hands were shaking, and his finger was twitching on the trigger. “Then… then I guess I’m going to have to kill you first!”
Pete Browning stared in horror at the nozzle of the gun several inches in front of his face. Think, dammit, he told himself. Somebody stop him! He cast a pleading look towards Colonel Taggart.
“Lawrence!” Taggart exclaimed. “Don’t!”
“He deserves to die, Colonel!” Weaver yelled back. But he didn’t pull the trigger… yet.
“You’re damned right he does! But not like this! Where’s your honour?”
That’s it, Pete suddenly realised. He laughed, trying very hard to ignore the way Weaver’s eyes narrowed to mere slits, the way the finger inexorably pushed the trigger back, bit by bit. “I just wish Javelin was here to see this.” Browning finally said.
“Jav… Javelin?” Lawrence stared at him, taken aback. The gun he held started shaking violently in his hand, as he remembered yet again what Javelin had done.
“Yes… Javelin.” Pete Browning replied. He would have breathed a sigh of relief, but the danger wasn’t quite gone yet. “He’s told us all about you, Lieutenant T E Lawrence! He hates you utterly, you know. He’d love to see you dead. But I think he’d also be quite happy to see you here right now, as you kill a defenceless man in cold blood. Why, he might just want to make friends with you then… go ahead. Pull the trigger!” He stepped forward, so the gun almost touched his forehead. “I dare you to.”
Weaver glared at him fiercely for another long moment. Besides them, Paladin was carefully watching the way Lawrence’s hand was shaking, ready to jump forward and push the gun out of the way, should Weaver attempt to pull the trigger.
But it wasn’t necessary. Suddenly, Terry turned, threw the gun at the door and quickly left the room.
Paladin sighed with relief as he picked up the gun. He threw another death look at the Mandarin; then he also left, sealing the door behind him.
Shaking with fear, but greatly relieved, Pete Browning sat on his bunk. He felt the nose under his fingers. It was most definitely broken – it was also swollen, and it hurt like hell. But at least I’m not dead, Pete thought, forcing a smile onto his face. Execution. What a load of laughs.
* * *
“The Kilrathi prefer their meat raw.” Said a voice behind him. “But ye’ll find some cooked food in the fridge.”
Weaver turned around. In the door of the small room that served as the mess hall stood Colonel Taggart. He shrugged, and turned back to his search for food; but he heeded the advice, and soon found a rather appetising meal that had been sitting inside the mess hall’s large fridge. His choice being between this meal and a slab of an unidentified type of raw meat – sprinkled with some sort of leaves – he decided that human food would do for now. Not bothering to heat up his dinner – actually, it was also breakfast and lunch – he sat down at the table.
“Mind if I join ye?” Paladin asked.
Lawrence looked up at him, and shrugged.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” James continued. He sat down opposite Weaver, and watched him pick up a piece of – cooked – meat from the plate. Must be bloody hungry, Paladin thought with a smile, as the young pilot wolfed down first that piece, and then another, and another. The food was disappearing all too rapidly. “Good, ain’t it? I rather think so myself, since I cooked it.” Paladin grinned. “Well, more like, mixed it all together and heated it up, actually. But you feel free to jump in anytime and tell me what a good cook I am.” He added, with a twinkle in his eyes.
Lawrence continued to ignore him, quickly swallowing down the last of the meal. It only took him five minutes or so to eat it all. Still feeling more than a bit hungry, he walked back to the kitchenette along the side of the room. Soon enough, he found several slices of bread. Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be anything to put between the slices.
Finally, Weaver picked up the slab of meat with a shrug. If it’s good enough for the Kilrathi… with a knife that had been lying on the table, he cut a few slices, and placed them on top of the bread. Since there was no vegetables, he didn’t try to get rid of the leaves that had been on top of the meat. Having finished the creation of these rather provisory sandwiches, he sat back down at the table.
“Uh… you’ll want to remove the arakh leaves…” Paladin started. But it was too late, for the young man had already bit in. James couldn’t help but to chuckle as Weaver stared at the sandwich in his hand with a mixture of revulsion and horror.
“What… what are those?” Lawrence finally gasped.
“A Kilrathi culinary secret.” Paladin continued chuckling. “They use them to make tea, mostly. But they also spice up their food with ‘em. Don’t worry; they’re actually perfectly healthy for us; healthier than coffee and teas from Earth, in fact. But for some strange reason, nobody seems to want to try these more than once. I can’t begin to imagine why…” he finished with a wide grin.
With the expression of a man about to be shot, Weaver took another bite of his sandwich. Slowly, he chewed the mouthful. “You know…” he finally said. “It actually gets better with the second bite.”
“Would you care to go on an all-Kilrathi food diet?”
Lawrence stared at him in horror. “God, no!”
“Ralgha nar Hhallas – the first Kilrathi defector – had tried to persuade me to those little leaves. He said that once one gets used to the taste, they’re very good.”
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” Weaver grunted. But he took the third bite; apparently, the taste of arakh leaves did improve.
“He’s gravely mistaken, you know.”
“Ralgha nar Hhallas?” Lawrence asked in surprise. “I don’t know him… but he might be right. I’m actually starting to like these.”
Colonel Taggart burst out laughing. But he stopped fairly quickly. “No, I mean Pete Browning.” He said, a serious expression reappearing on his face. “He won’t go to a POW camp… as a spy and a saboteur, he’ll be executed. He could be the bloody Emperor of Kilrah, and it wouldn’t save him from the execution.”
It may – or may not – have been totally inappropriate, but now Lawrence laughed. “Best news I heard all day, Colonel.” Suddenly, he frowned. “But how did he know Javelin?”
“The obvious answer is that Javelin has become a Mandarin.” Paladin told him. “Tell me, is this Javelin anything to worry about?”
“Him? Nah. He can be fairly clever, but he’s a coward; he’s not all that good a pilot, either. That was why I was wingleader… I hope we’ll meet again someday – in combat.”
“If he’s the coward you say he is, then I doubt it.” James replied. “So… tell me… how did it feel to punch that treasonous bastard?”
Weaver, who had just taken a rather large bite of his final sandwich almost choked. Finally, he swallowed the food in his mouth. “It felt very, very good.” He smiled a savage, almost Kilrathi smile. “I’d recommend it as therapy for anyone who had been the victim of treason or sabotage.”
“Well…” Colonel Taggart got up. “I’ll be sure to pass that along to Confed HQ when I have the chance.” He too, had a nasty-looking smile on his face. “I do agree with you, you know… he deserves what he’s getting. But it would have been murder – I couldn’t let you do that.”
“I know sir. I should have known better anyway. It’s all about honour, isn’t it? Had I shot him, I really would have been acting like one of them.”
“Don’t worry about it, lad. You didn’t pull the trigger, and that’s what matters. Believe me, you’re nothing like Javelin, Browning, or any of those damned traitors. You’re a good and honourable man.” He smiled. “Rhe’dhi wouldn’t fly with you otherwise, you know.” With that, Paladin started towards the door. Then he turned to look at Weaver again. “Laddie, I’m afraid we might be running for our lives soon enough. Try to get some sleep before then, aye?”
“Will do, sir.” Lawrence grinned. They wouldn’t have to ask him twice about that. Briefly, he wondered what was actually still keeping him awake… the last vestiges of the adrenaline rush he experienced in Pete’s cell? Or was it perhaps these arakh leaves? No matter, he finally decided. I’m sure I won’t have any troubles drifting off. With a smile, he gulped down the last bite of the sandwich. Nap time.
* * *
Talon looked up as Paladin entered the bridge.
“I’ve told Weaver to go to sleep. I suggest you do the same, lad.” James told him.
“I don’t really feel like it.” Captain Burkheimer sighed. “The Mandarins strike again, eh?”
“I’m afraid so. I guess not all of their leaders had been on Ayer’s Rock when Maverick and Maniac dropped by.” Taggart replied, sitting down at one of the consoles.
“And how is Lawrence taking this?”
Paladin snorted. “Rather, how is the traitor taking this? I imagine he’s in a bit of pain.”
Jeffrey lifted an eyebrow. “What happened?”
“It doesn’t matter, really. Weaver hit him two or three times, is all.”
“Huh. Wish I’d thought of that.” Talon said. Paladin noticed that almost inexorably, the young man was holding his right hand with the left – as was always the case when he recalled the explosion that maimed him. “Dammit, the Mandarins are like a nightmare, aren’t they? They just keep coming back, again and again.”
“And every time they do, we’ll be there to stop them. Now then. You’ve been sitting here long enough – go get some rest… I have a feeling that this may be your only chance to do that for… a while.”
Talon’s face darkened with worry. “You think they’ll find us here, sir?”
“I know it. It’s just a matter of time.”
“Hhe iss khorrekt.” Hharak threw in. As always, he had been listening quietly; Paladin thought with amusement that the huge Kilrathi had become almost invisible to them. “The kommandrr ofh the Kilrathi sstrikh forss lhosth eighth fhightherss, andh infhlikhtedh nho lhossess. Thiss whass so bekhoss hhe mhadhe h’a mhistakh. Ifh hhe dhossn’th fhindh uss, hhe whil lhose hhis phosth… ifh nhoth hhis lhifh. Hadh hhe lhanched both the Sartha andh the Drakhri ath onss…” Hharak left the sentence hanging.
“Sir…” Captain Burkheimer looked at him. “Don’t even think of that possibility; we should be glad that he made that mistake.”
“Dho nhath missund’rstandh mhe, Jef.” Hharak gave him a reassuring smile. “I h’am gladh. Bhat I h’am a warriorr. I mhasth anhalhyss the mhisthakess of mhy foess, tho lhern abhouth themh. Andh tho makhe ssurre I whon’th makhe the ssamh mhisthakss.”
“Sorry.” Jeffrey grinned back. “I’m still a bit edgy, that’s all.”
“That’s all the more reason for you to get some sleep, Talon.” Paladin told him.
“A point, sir.” Talon gave him a tired-looking salute, and left the room. But seconds later, his head reappeared in the doorway. “Colonel… you haven’t had any sleep either.”
“Get going!” James replied with a somewhat forced laugh. “Old dinosaurs like me don’t need sleep.”
Talon looked like he was about to argue, but decided against it. Paladin knows what he’s doing, he thought; and with that, he went off towards the barracks.
* * *
The bridge was silent now, except for Paladin’s snoring. As he listened to that rather unusual sound, Hharak smiled. So much for Jim’s promise to stay awake. But it’s better this way; we’ll be fighting for our very lives soon enough, he thought. The Humans need more sleep than we do anyway.
Hharak himself, of course, was well rested. He’d excused himself earlier on to get a few hours’ break. Which is quite fortunate – now I don’t have to wake any of the Humans up. They must rest.
The comm system let out a little chime. “I have completed some cursory repairs of Weaver’s Fherreth,” Rhe’dhi told him in Kilrathi; no need to break one’s tongue when there are no Humans listening. “But replacing the gun will take longer.”
“Never mind that right now.” Hharak replied. “You also need some rest, cub.” He was quite pleased with his young subordinate. To repair his wingmate’s craft was an honourable way of repaying Weaver for saving his life. Yes, young Rhe’dhi would be a good and honourable commander one day. He’ll need to be, if we are to survive the Empire’s onslaught. K’arakh may soon be in dire trouble, now that Deneb has fallen. But we have honour on our side; the Empire is corrupt.
“Yes, Khantar,” said Rhe’dhi. “I will return to the airlock immediately. But I wish I could repair the ship more completely.”
A most honourable cubling indeed, Hharak smiled. “I am certain that Weevher will appreciate what you’ve done so far. He knows that you need rest too.”
“Yes.” Rhe’dhi replied submissively. Through one of the exterior cameras, Hharak saw him moving towards the elevator. Then he disappeared from the view as he moved behind the Broadsword.
The comm system returned to its former, silent state. Once again, the only noise on the bridge was the Human snoring. And again, Hharak started wondering how strange these humans were. Jim and Whee… Weevhher were honourable. As was Jef. They were willing to risk their lives for people they’d never even met; people who might well be dead already. And then there were those like that other Human… how corrupt Prince Thrakhath and the Emperor must be, if they’re willing to cooperate with so dishonourable a group. But undoubtedly, this will return to haunt them; for dishonour breeds treason. One day, the rest of our race will awaken, and return to the path of true honour, he mused. And then the Empire will fall apart, like the decomposing corpse that it is.
* * *
“There they are, Javelin!” He heard somebody say. The voice was familiar, somehow. “There’s only two… we can engage.”
With shock, Weaver realised that it was his own voice; and suddenly, the whole scene materialised before him. The well-maintained cockpit of a Ferret, the familiar stars and nebulas of the Vega Sector. And there was another Ferret on his wing. There was an asteroid belt ahead… and there was a pair of Kilrathi ships fleeing towards it.
“Roger that. Engaging.” Another voice said; something about this man’s voice set Weaver’s teeth on edge, but he couldn’t figure out what it was.
The Ferret beside him suddenly accelerated as his wingman went after the two Dralthi.
“Oh, no you don’t!” Weaver heard his own voice again; and a laugh. “One of those ships is mine!”
“No! Don’t!” Weaver muttered. “Get out of there!” But Lawrence didn’t – couldn’t – hear him. The Ferret he was sitting in charged forward as the afterburners went into full thrust.
The two Kilrathi fighters had noticed them now, changing their course to intercept. Lawrence grinned in anticipation; but Weaver was paralysed with horror. Suddenly, the other Ferret veered off to the side, towards the asteroid belt.
“Good luck, Weaver!” The other voice told him with a cold laugh. “You’ll need it! You’re on your own now!”
“Dammit, I told you to run!” Weaver told Lawrence angrily. But he still didn’t seem to hear. “Javelin? What the hell are you doing?” Javelin! That was the wingman’s name.
Javelin didn’t reply, continuing his ignoble retreat. Meanwhile, the two Dralthi were already in gun range… and suddenly there was four… no, eight. Only, they weren’t Dralthi anymore. Like some strange breed of butterflies, the Kilrathi ships shed their cocoons; he could see now that five of them were in fact Sartha, and the other three were Drakhri, these looked a lot like the Dralthi that they had hatched from; but far more dangerous.
With horror, Weaver stared at the strange red patterns on the Kilrathi ships’ wings. Like butterflies, but far more deadly. Almost mesmerised, he watched as the ships before him grew larger – but were they just getting closer, or were they actually growing? He could see now the exact pattern on their wings. On the large flat surfaces, there was the image of a human head, with a red aura around it. Wasn’t there somebody found like this on a Drayman somewhere? No, it was his own head. And the leading edges of the enemy ships’ wings were dripping with blood. His blood?
The Kilrathi were firing at him, he realised. I must give Rhe’dhi time to reach the belt! Lawrence sharply pulled the control stick to the left. But nothing happened; the controls weren’t responding. Before him, an asteroid suddenly appeared; in fact, there were rocks all around him. There was only one thing left to do as the huge asteroid inevitably got nearer. He pulled the yellow-and-black handle… but nothing happened. In an instant, his cockpit’s shape changed… as he looked out the windows, he realised that he was in an Epee.
“Come on, you damned piece of junk!” He yelled, pulling the ejection handle again and again. Suddenly, a face appeared on the screen.
“You should be dead!” The Mandarin told him firmly.
Anger flooded through Weaver’s mind. “No, YOU should be dead!” He yelled back. Gathering all his strength, he clenched his fist and punched the screen. His fist went right through and kept going until at last he felt it come into contact with Browning’s nose.
And suddenly, his ship smashed into the asteroid, breaking into several pieces. Through some strange fluke, the cabin didn’t explode – instead, it was sent hurtling into the asteroids like a pinball.
“Stop!” He yelled every time the cockpit shook upon contact.
“Incoming fighters!” A strange voice announced. Suddenly, everything went dark.
“Stop…” Weaver opened his eyes and sat up. The room seemed dimmer than ever, but it was unmistakably the Krak’ni’hra’s barracks. He looked about the room, trying to shake off the last vestiges of sleep from his eyelids. On the other side of the room, Captain Burkheimer was sitting up, rubbing his fists into his eyes.
Under his feet, he felt another dull tremor; as if the Kamekh was coughing up something.
“A wing of Gothri emerging from the asteroids! Battle stations!” Paladin’s voice came from the speakers.
“Weaver!” He felt Rhe’dhi’s heavy paw shaking his shoulder. “Whe mhasth lhanch!”
Finally, the realisation of what was happening penetrated Lawrence’s mind. He pulled himself up to his feet and ran towards the door. “Come on, Rhe’dhi!”


Proceed with comments
BTW, the next chapter may or may not appear within a week. I haven't finished it, and unfortunately there's a pile of assignments looming over my head... I probably need to do those first...
But of course, that is no excuse not to post comments.
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Hot off the oven.

Too bad I don't know English good enough to make nitpicks like Matrix.

Heh, that scene with Browning left me on the edge. I would've shot him. In fact I would've used up the entire ammo clip on him. I'd fill him with so much lead that "they'd be able to use him as a pencil".

You made a perfectly "hateable" character!

"This matter winds itself ever in new riddles.", Faramir - The Lord of The Rings
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Thank you
. He was very much supposed to be hateable.
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Oh, how well I can understand that nightmare! Being transfered to an Epee!

But to ensure that this horror scenario is complete you should have left Javelin at Weaver's wing this time so that he could be gunned down by his own wingman (standard procedure)!

I wouldn't say this chapter is "slow", though. There cannot be dogfights going on all the time. IMO, this little quarrel in the cell does the job quite well.

No one will hear your cry of death in the void of space

[This message has been edited by Nighthawk (edited March 15, 2000).]
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Not really, because nightmares are always based on 1. things that have happened to you, and 2. things you're really afraid of.
Weaver wasn't really scared of getting shot by his own wingman, but rather being abandoned. But as you can see, recent events intruded into the nightmare, producing a rather interesting result... particularly the Epee part... scary
Of course there can't be dogfights all the time
. But I've driven myself into a corner, so to speak. When you've got a total of six characters, and are sitting out in the middle of nowhere, there isn't much else to do to pass the time (except perhaps to beat the hell out of the sixth character)... I'm planning to fix that in Book 2...
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*yawn* Is it 5am...again?

<LI>&gt;the corvette; the Broadsword&lt; - Maybe a fullstop?
<LI>&gt;Surely, the Kamekh could go for a few hours without escort&lt; - Sounds like they were away for a few hours.
<LI>&gt;It was quite a tough problem,&lt; - Consider changing or removing tough.
<LI>&gt;the victim dies; and it was that&lt; - First dashes, now semi-colons. Even a comma would work better.
<LI>&gt;used up the last of the afterburner fuel&lt; - How convenient.

<LI>&gt;wouldn’t give the Mandarins anything… not even survival.&lt; - How about just their lives?
<LI>&gt;And once they’re done – may the two fools rest in pieces – the strike force is bound to send out patrols in search of the source of the fighters… now I just have to persuade Paladin to surrender… or he will die.&lt; - My word! Two en-dashes and two sets of ellipsis in a single sentence - what were you thinking?
<LI>&gt;the door whooshed open,&lt; - Whooshed? And you complain about yummers?

<LI>&gt;and the young pilot – Weaver – charged in.&lt; - You could safely skip "the young pilot" to avoid the double dash.
<LI>&gt;Weaver’s fist connected with Pete’s nose.&lt; - And disconnected it. *POP!*

<LI>&gt;He,” Pete pointed at Paladin. “Is responsible&lt; - I'm pretty sure that fullstop should be a comma.
<LI>&gt;hatred beyond imagination.&lt; - Now why is that so believable to me?
<LI>&gt;a tight smile appeared on his lips;&lt; - Sounds like Weaver is doing the smiling.
<LI>&gt;he pulled out his gun&lt; - I've always wondered what pilots carry guns for.
<LI>&gt;“He’s told us all about you,&lt; - I forsee a showdown...
<LI>&gt;“But ye’ll find some cooked food in the fridge.”&lt; - So not only is he loosing sleep, he hasn't eaten since he came aboard? Join Confed they said...
<LI>&gt;It only took him five minutes or so to eat it all.&lt; - And meanwhile, Paladin did what?
<LI>&gt;with a knife&lt; - How oldfashioned.

<LI>&gt;Since there was no vegetables,&lt; - There were no veges.
<LI>&gt;“I’ll believe it when I see it,”&lt; - Or taste it.

<LI>&gt;for anyone who had been the victim&lt; - Had or has?
<LI>&gt;“Rhe’dhi wouldn’t fly with you otherwise,&lt; - Kitty instinct. :3
<LI>&gt;won’t have any troubles drifting off.&lt; - I did always find the plural of trouble odd.
<LI>&gt;“Old dinosaurs like me don’t need sleep.”&lt; - Tis funny, but apparently you do require less sleep as you age.
<LI>&gt;Paladin’s snoring.&lt; - Don't you hate it when we think along similar lines?

<LI>&gt;no need to break one’s tongue when there are no Humans listening.&lt; - Or Poles.

Weaver should've shot the leg. They could always say that he was trying to escape. Either that or they could arrange a convenient little accident. Interesting that he's got a Kilrathi rank thought. A neat nightmare too, despite the odd duality.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>Not really, because nightmares are always based on 1. things that have happened to you, and 2. things you're really afraid of.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Hmm. In that case I've never had a nightmare...unless I should be worried about turning into a fish.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>But I've driven myself into a corner, so to speak.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>And which corner of space would that be?

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>When you've got a total of six characters, and are sitting out in the middle of nowhere, there isn't much else to do to pass the time<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>I'm sure you'll think of something. So how about a game of zero-G snooker?

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>I'm planning to fix that in Book 2...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Don't you think you should finish the first one first?
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>I guess this is what Matrix would describe as a "slow" chapter...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Actually I thought the pace was still up there, thought the subject was a pleasant change.

klaus: To make nitpicks, you don't need to know English well...just be picky.

"Humans are a virus with shoes." - SirFox
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>*yawn* Is it 5am...again?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Could be... it seems to be 5am every day these days

1. I can't quite figure out why, but the semicolon works better.
2. True, and that certainly wasn't what I meant. Rephrased to &gt;could go without escort for a while&lt;.
3. Roger that. It's now difficult.
4. A comma would be horrible. But a dash works quite nicely
6. Whoa... why didn't I think of that? Oh, wait. Probably because I wasn't fully awake
7. Thinking? Oh, uh... I guess the traitor has a messed up train of thoughts
8. Whooshed is far superior to yummers
9. Oh, all right.
11. Actually, I kinda like that comma.
12. I don't know, but it is a rather nice phrase, non?
13. That's because he is
14. It probably started in WWI, where scount planes were sometimes only armed with a handgun
. Other than that, I guess it's tradition, and a way of showing officerial rank.
15. My, my. You can see far. It's a long way off, towards the end of book two.
16. He did both, but only before they rendezvoused with the Concordia. Afterwards, there wasn't much time for anything. Of course, this isn't a normal mission - going into enemy territory can be quite exhausting.
17. Nothing. Nothing whatsoever.
18. How about "He took out his laser pistol and blasted the meat into slices"
... we've had knives for several thousand years, and I just don't see it changing anytime soon
19. A point. I guess even Word is right sometimes
20. I know, but "taste it" would've sounded silly.
21. True. Has.
23. Ok.
24. That's odd.


27. Wha... no 27? Only 26 nitpicks... does that mean I'm getting better

I don't think it would have been right to shoot the guy in anything. An accident could've been arranged, but such things tend to come to light. At any rate, the guy has a broken nose, and no pain-killers... what more could you ask for
I was trying my best to make the nightmare at least slightly confusing. As I recall, there's an easy way to tell who's who. Weaver is the real Weaver, while Lawrence is the Weaver in the dream.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>Hmm. In that case I've never had a nightmare...unless I should be worried about turning into a fish.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Well... uh... what games were you playing at the time? I remember when I was playing History Line, I kept having to fight Medium Artillery in my dreams... but it was fully experienced, and always just out of range of my own Light Artillery. Fortunately, the dream always ended with me taking it out. The interesting thing was that each of those dreams took place on the level I was about to face (I did one level per day, ending with a quick look at the next level), except that it was heavily modified to my disadvantage

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>Don't you think you should finish the first one first?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Of course
. I seem to be thinking a lot about Book 2 these days. I'm definitely not about to start writing it though. But it's nice, because whenever I think about it, I usually sit down to Book 1 again
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I like your dialogue, it is very well written. Weaver's nightmare was also neat. Can't wait to read more.

If I'm locked on, there's no such thing as evasive action!
I thought I already posted this, but it looks like I didn't so here it is.
Yes well I meant 5am and I'm awake of course.

3. Better, though I'd have removed it. *shrug*
4. My point exactly. The comma is bad, the semi-colon even worse.
8. No way. Yummers is a far more refined term than whooshed.

11. *sigh* Read it again. I suggested you replace the fullstop with a comma, not the comma with a fullstop.
13. What? Oh.
14. Wouldn't it be uncomfortable under a G-suit though?
15. Planning ahead I see. You might want to finish the first one first though.
17. *ZONK!*

18. Well It may have come pre-sliced.
20. Not nearly as silly as Whoosh.

27. Or I'm getting slack. Actually, yes you are. And thank goodness for that cause I have less to correct.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>what more could you ask for ?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>A few spare ribs?
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>what games were you playing at the time?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>None. Haven't fired one up in weeks.
"I'm getting better!" - "No you're not. You'll be stone dead in a moment." - Monty Python
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11. Ah... I wonder what time it was when I was reading that?
You may be right... ok. Done.
14. Ssshhadup.
I never thought about that... maybe there's another holester on the outside of the g-suit? After all, if they eject they might need to defend themselves, so they'd think of something.
16. I'm in the final stages of the torture known as Chapter IX... but I've got the next three chapters all planned out. Basically, once I get through IX, the rest of the book should be easy sailing (for me, of course. Weaver & co. will find it a lot harder
I don't believe this - I can see the finish line... I'd better stay inside for the next few days, just in case somebody decides to strike me down with lightning, now that I'm so close.

17. ZONK?
27. Maybe next chapter I'll throw in some extra mistakes, just for you.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>A few spare ribs?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Wow, I guess I accomplished my mission.
You don't seem to like Mr. Browning all that much.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>None. Haven't fired one up in weeks.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Well, that pretty much explains everything, non?
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About where to keep the handgun when suited up:
The pilots most definitely have a pocket on the outside to store the gun. This is mentioned in TPoF (Blair searching his pockets for a suitable gift for Melek finding his hand laser).

No one will hear your cry of death in the void of space
I liked this part, not as much shooting but it's still good.

The nightmare part was pretty realistic. It's like the way you think in a dream.

I liked that Weaver didn't kill the Mandarin, that would be taking it a bit far. Shooting someone in a fight is okay, but doing it the way he was going to just isn't cool.
Thanks, Cricket. Haven't seen you around here for a while

Just in case y'all were wondering, Chapter IX will arrive soon, probably within the next 24 hours or so.
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