The Bold Marauder, Chapter IV, Part 1

New Patron, new installment!  Hooray!

 The Bold Marauder, Prologue to Chapter 2  

 The Bold Marauder, Chapter 3 

 

The klaxon that sliced through the noise of the bar, Dis, and indeed all of Luna City was enough to stop every conversation in its tracks, instantly.  Spacers call that klaxon the Bell.  It must only ring when an enemy assaults a ship or colony with a sealed atmosphere: to use it for any other purpose can be a killing matter.  For when it does Ring, woven into its tone is the threat and promise of death.

Pandamonium lived up to its name then.  Throughout the bar, tables flipped on their gimbals, heedless of the drinks upon them, and peace-bonds drifted to the floor like rain.  Andy and the other Loonies instinctively took point, blades drawn to guard the Spacers and Earthmen securing the seals on their suits, then ducked down themselves to calmly suit up just as soon as it was safe.  A well-trained Spacer can prepare for no-air battle in thirty seconds, and a Loonie in ten.  They had a good ten seconds to spare before the first enemies came bursting through.

Samson spent those seconds deciding on his tactics, and found himself well-prepared to implement them when the attack came.  When the first patched, taped armor-suits ripped their way through the ceiling, they were met with full magazines from both of Samson’s pistols.  That sudden burst of death killed a few; more importantly, it stopped them long enough for those with heavier weapons to bring them to bear.

But by then Samson was already moving to cover, kicking and rolling in the way men in haste must in Luna’s weaker gravity.  An outstretched hand greeted him; he grabbed it, and used the momentum to lever himself behind a flipped table.  “Empty,” he said to his suited assistor.

It was the woman from the Nike’s crew; she paused, swore, and said “Then reload,” as she took position behind the table and fired her carbine.  Samson raised an eyebrow as unseen as the woman’s probable nod; that weapon looked like something out of Britain’s New Royal Small Arms Factory.  Not as rare as a hen’s tooth, but not normally something available to a minor officer on a new ship, either.

None of this stopped him from swiftly reloading, of course.  “Online,” Samson said as he took a firing position next to hers. “Samson Black.”

“Pleased.  Bertha Cavendish. Ensign on the Nike.”  The pause between the first and second sentence was perceptible, but so was the hesitation between the first and last names.  A sudden prickling of awareness made Samson table the matter for the moment as he turned and put three bullets into a multiply-patched attacker’s faceplate before it could flank his friends.  Beside him Ensign Cavendish’s carbine steadied into a careful rhythm of sound and death.  Although the sound was already starting to attenuate as the outside pressure dropped.

Which would not do; the sooner these foes were disposed of, the sooner the engineers could start patching. “Andy!” Samson broadcast over his suit radio. “I need distractions.”

Andy’s voice came back, a moment later.  “Ready.”

“Start.”  And with that, Samson Black vaulted over the table and charged the knot of enemies still standing.

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