October 01, 2010

Assignment to Earth Chapter Twenty-eight

Aiming by the helmet lights, the Cavaliers made quick work of the Klodfons in the control room. An eerie silence descended upon the darkened room.

Skylar hoped the darkness was because of the destruction of the power supply by the other team. They holstered their laser pistols, activated their glowsticks and began setting the explosive charges which would be detonated later from the shuttle.

A slight scraping noise behind Skylar startled him, triggering an instinctive reaction to feint to the side and duck his head. He turned, reaching for his laser, as a solid weight hit him in the side.

Skylar’s glowstick dropped to the floor, but not before he glimpsed a silver flash near his throat. A knife? Part of a broken control? The impact threw him off-balance and he allowed the other’s weight to carry him to the floor, using the momentum to roll on top of his assailant. It was human, shorter and heavier than himself but the glowstick was too far away to shed sufficient light on the face of the person thrashing beneath him.

A knife, barely visible in the dim gleam of the glowstick, again flashed near Skylar's face and he threw up his left arm to protect himself. The sharp blade cut deeply and Skylar felt the blood flow freely down his arm, but now he knew which of his opponent's hands wielded the knife. He pinned the man's wrist down with his injured left hand, hoping he could stay out of the way of the knife long enough to subdue his attacker.

As Skylar fought, part of his brain was busy trying to figure out who was trying to kill him. Could it be a Cavalier from his team? Skylar hated even the thought of that possibility and continued the fracas in silence, unwilling to bring any other possibly traitorous teammate into the fray.

Loath to release his fragile hold on the writhing wrist of the knife-wielding arm, Skylar groped with his right hand for the laser on his left leg. He found he could not draw it entirely free of his holster and maintain his meager hold. The pistol slipped from his fingertips and the laser clattered to the floor.

Hearing the noise, the man scrabbled toward the sound to retrieve Skylar's pistol for himself, and, with a sudden lunge, managed to break partially free of Skylar's weakening grip.

In desperation, Skylar kicked out and connected with the laser, propelling it across the floor and out of reach.

The motion of kicking the laser out of reach put Skylar off-balance for a small moment, but it was enough time for his assailant to press his advantage and break completely free of Skylar's grasp. He rose to his knees, breathing heavily with the effort of fighting. Skylar rolled over before coming to his own knees, turning to meet the next rush.

Suddenly the lights flickered on, then off, then came on at less than half power, bathing the room in an eerie reddish glow.

With a semblance of vision restored, twin beams of light came from two pistols, meeting as they connected with the man. He fell to the floor, stunned or dead, Skylar could not tell which. Skylar looked about, noting all his team members were still standing, which relieved his mind as he realized his assailant had not been a Cavalier.

"Were your pistols set for stun?" He panted as he sank back onto the floor, light-headed with loss of blood and the effort of fighting. Both Cavaliers affirmed the man was not dead.

Kiernan came to Skylar's side, returning his laser to him. He picked up the knife which had dropped to the ground during the fight and cut Skylar's uniform sleeve to expose the wound on his arm. He made a small sound in his throat as he opened his aidkit and began bandaging the bloody wound.

"Should have brought a full aidkit," Kiernan muttered under his breath.

Skylar grimaced, his lips tightly compressed in an effort to control his pain. "You weren't expecting anything other than laser wounds. Don't worry about it. At least you brought a bandage." His smile was grim as Kiernan worked on.

"The charges are all set, Captain," Pasha's voice called out through the semi-darkness.

"Good," Skylar acknowledged, "then we're about ready to go."

Kiernan finished and put away the aidkit, remarking, "It was a pretty clean cut, but it’s deep; the knife was very sharp."

"You did great. Thanks." Skylar rose to his feet shakily and took a moment to steady himself. He stepped through what looked like an awful lot of blood to the side of the man still lying where he'd fallen.

Carefully Skylar rolled him over and knelt near enough to see his face clearly, the other Cavaliers close beside him.

Skylar drew in his breath sharply at the flabby face revealed in the dim light. "Lokin."

"He'll be unconscious for quite awhile," Grayson said. "You don't recover from two stun bolts in just a few moments. I take it you know him?"

Skylar nodded. "He works for the Klodfon Empire. He’s supposed to be locked in a Fellowship prison for life." He rose to his feet adding, “We have quite a history…he keeps escaping and I seem to be the one who catches him more often than not.”

"We can add attempted murder to his list," Kiernan put in. "We ought to just kill him now and be done with him."

"No," Skylar countered, looking up at his Cavaliers. "Our duty is to bring him in for trial…again. If we kill him, we'd be no better than he is."

Choosing the largest of their group, Skylar continued, "Grayson, think you can get him to the hangar? Then we'll have help to get him into the shuttle."

Grayson nodded. Kiernan stepped forward to help pick Lokin up, situating the limp form across Grayson’s shoulders.

They left the control room and headed back the way they'd come, looking for any sign of Klodfons along the way.