the raiders' defense
“Status report?” the thieves’ leader demanded over his hand radio. Scowling out at the sea, where the wreckage of his own ship sat half-submerged in the shallow waters near the docks. No longer disguised as a shipwreck, having been reduced to the real thing. “How much longer will we be sitting ducks out here, lieutenant?”
“Sir, it’s a good thing the Seeker has diving equipment, or we wouldn’t have been able to retrieve the parts we needed,” the lieutenant’s voice responded between fits of static. “The wreck is really unstable, so it’s a good thing we got it all before dark. Even so, it’ll take several hours to repair the Seeker’s engines. We won’t be leaving Aru before dawn, Commander. Over.”
“Very well. Keep me informed. Over.” After shoving the radio, one of precious few pieces of equipment retrieved from their ship before it sank, he pounded the half-rotten wall of the shanty they were using as an impromptu command center with his palm, muttering, “Dammit! That bastard is going to die if I ever catch him again!”
This mystery man who claimed to be the infamous outlaw Erix. In his travels, he had heard the name. A figure of some notoriety in the underworld of various realms. Given that he not only matched the descriptions from the wanted posters, he was also entirely too competent and resourceful to be an impostor, had proven it with both his expert sabotage of their raid, as well as locating and sinking their real ship. Proven that he posed an even greater threat than the Island Patrol, and now he knew he couldn’t afford to make any more mistakes. Crew morale had sunk along with their ship, and he was quite certain he would have a mutiny on his hands if he didn’t get them out of this mess by sunrise.
Revenge against Erix would have to wait, though he intended to pass by Kimbar Island, hoping they still had a rocket to spare if the bastard poked his head out, but, much as it galled him, the real objective was to actually hang on to the treasure. Hoping that the loss of over half of his men roughly doubling the survivors’ shares would appease them for now. It was vexing enough having to flee with their tail between their legs in a crippled ship, but to find their own sinking when they arrived, their quick getaway consigned to this abandoned harbor, was maddening. Having already learned the location of their base of operations, and now the Island Patrol knew of this place, as well.
With enemies on all sides, it was getting entirely too hot in this kitchen for his taste.
It was getting darker by the minute out there, and it was making him nervous. They had fortified their position as much as they could, but with only half as many men, and not even enough weapons to go around among them, it felt like a skeleton crew. If push came to shove, it would be a logistically challenging evacuation, and a fastbreak retreat, hoping that the enemy didn’t have any more of those EMP bombs left.
“Get your asses in gear,” he muttered, readjusting his red beret. Looking out at the sun as it sank below the horizon. “I want to get the hell out of these godforsaken islands before dawn.”