Sharoma Frontierverse Why Did The Groigan Dance? Chapter 25

Why Did The Groigan Dance?

Chapter 25



Sinclair reached a shaky hand up over his shoulder and waved one finger, admonishing Redfield for the language. "That's no way for an officer to talk, my lord." He could see why the Count had slipped, however; the space where the rendezvous with the rest of the attack force was barren, with only small asteroids to break the cold uniformity of the area.

"This isn't right, Ulysses," Redfield whispered, "First that bastard Taranis's defection, and now this....this emptiness."

"I realize that, my lord," Sinclair agreed, flexing his hands on the control stick. "What the hell could take out a large group of some of the best trained pilots in the galaxy?"

"You don't want to know, Uly." The terrible events on Enayess flooded Redfield's memory. He inhaled deeply and closed his eyes, which made a faint whirring sound, a grim reminder of the pain suffered that day long ago. Breathing out, he looked out into space again. "I hope they had to leave suddenly for some reason."

Sinclair nodded, though it looked a bit weak to the Count. "I suppose that could have happened, sir. Even the Federal agents have the technology to track hyperspace clouds."

Redfield nodded, holding a wet cloth to the bump on his head. "That must have been it. The obviously didn't acquire our traces in the midst of all the other ship's residues. We got lucky."

Sinclair nodded, and twisted to look up at the Count, the imitation leather of his seat making a sound. "But what are we going to do, my lord?" he asked, pointing to the communications section of the control panel. As if it was a cue, the panel began to whine and spat out sparks. "It was ruined in the fight. We only have the most basic communications, fifty kilos and under range."

"Mhmm." A deck below he could hear the crew starting to move, no doubt to come up and demand to know the situation. Pursing his lips, Redfield asked the computer to zoom the viewscreen in on the large spacestation, Boston Base. He stood there for a minute, contemplating silently their next move.

Sinclair watched the Count for as long as he could, licking his lips and flexing his hands rapidly. Finally, he burst out: "Well? What should we do next?"

Redfield turned to face the Squire, his face stony. "Well, I hesitate to deviate from the true path of rectitude..." Seeing the look of confusion on Sinclair's face, he smiled. "It means hell if I know, kid."

"One hundred kilometers till target, sirs," the computer announced merrily.

Redfield stirred, his jaw creaking mightily with a yawn. His head pounded, and he rolled onto his side with a groan. "You had better have the coffee ready, Uly."

He heard a cocking sound.

"Get up very, very slowly, Comrade Redfield," a deep, Russian-accented voice said. "Do not try any heroics, or you will be shot."

Redfield slowly rose, keeping his eyes clamped shut. A thousand thoughts raced through his mind.

"You may open your eyes, Comrade," the voice said. Redfield slowly opened his eyes, and the bright light of the cabin stung for a moment as his implants calibrated to the new brightness settings. After a moment of slight disorientation, his sight returned.

A tall, brown haired man with a serious, pock-marked face stood in front of him, wearing a long trenchcoat with the communist logo on it and a grimace. He was also pointing a gun at Redfield. In the corner of his vision. Redfield could see Sinclair slumped over in his seat, a large amount of blood on his forehead.

"Do not worry about your friend, Comrade Redfield," the man said. "He has been better, but he is alive." Smirking, the man motioned with the gun. "Come and sit next to your comrade Sinclair now, yes? My employer wishes you both alive, the reason I have this child's gun instead of simply a bomb, but I have the freedom to do as needed to get you to comply to my demands."

"He's sitting in his seat, mister. There's no room for the two of us." Redfield held his breath, praying that didn't set the hijacker off.

"I realize that. Sit next to him, and place your hands behind your back."

Redfield complied, plopping himself down on the floor next to the seat and resting his head on Sinclair's leg, getting a bit of blood in his hair. The communist kept the gun trained on him the entire time, and, when the Count was settled, barked out a name.

The hatch to the bridge opened up, and a small, blonde haired man slithered up into the room. He had a slinking way about him, and his weaselish face had a sadistic look. Grinning nastily at the prisoners, he asked, "You rang, sir?" He had a Lavian accent.

"Tie this man up." The communist pointed to a coil of rope on the floor. "Be careful; Comrade Redfield here has shown a mastery of close combat skills before."

Redfield's head reeled as the blonde came towards him. How did they have such good information? Roughly, the blonde picked him up by the arm and began to wrap the rope around Redfield. "No funny stuff now, hotshot," the Lavian sneered, pulling the rope tighter.

"How much are they paying you?" Redfield whispered into the blonde's ear. "The Emperor would double it gladly to have us back."

The blonde froze for a second, thinking. Encouraged, Redfield went on.

"Is how much they're paying you now enough for your life? This guy treats you like a warm pile of dogshit anyways, and when the crew finds out what is going on, they'll come up here to get us, and even with your guns you have to hope to survive in a ten-on-two fight."

The Lavian snapped back to attention. "Fool!" he cried, smacking Redfield across the face with the back of his hand, "Do you really think that we didn't anticipate that? The crew are all laying dead in their bunks now. Not hard to slice a man's throat while he's sleeping."

Redfield felt as if he had been slapped (which he had). "All dead?" he blurted out, his brain not fully working.

"Aye," the Lavian sneered. "One of them, an old man, woke while we were doing it; he almost woke the others as well. We did him slooooow." Smiling, he tied a final knot in the rope and backed off. "I'm surprised you didn't hear his screams. He was a fun one."

"That's enough, Comrade Frost." The blonde whirled around at the communist's hard tone. "Your work is done. Return to the below, I'll call you if you are needed, yes?"

For a moment, Redfield thought the man would refuse; he simply stood there, glaring at the communist with such a look of malice Redfield had never seen before. Then, Frost shook his head. "Yes, of course," he growled, and made his way down the hatch.

The communist stood there and looked thoughtfully at the hatch for a while longer, then came over to bend down next to Redfield. "Those ropes are nice and tight, yes?" he asked, trying to worm a finger between the ropes and the Count's body, and pleased when he couldn't. "Ah, splendid. Comrade Frost may be an insubordinate fool, but he knows what he is doing." Smiling pleasantly, he stood up. "Do not worry, you will not be down there long. We will be with our employer soon." Then he made his way to Redfield's old seat, and made himself comfortable.

"The offer for double payment stands for yourself as well, you know."

The man laughed. "I had no doubt, comrade," he replied. Then the room fell quiet.

A steel-tipped boot caught Redfield swiftly in the side, and he woke with a grunt. Biting back a cry, he looked up with a scowl, which rapidly turned to profound shock as he recognized his assailant.

"Do not be such a cry-baby, Count," a familiar, haughty voice said. "Did you truly believe that all the misfortune the Empire has been going through lately had been coincidence?" Laughing crazily, the former Prince Brunswick waved his hands majestically. "Of course not, dear Count! And if that bastard Duval thinks he can get rid of me so easily, he is in for a nasty surprise."

Continue the story with Chapter 26