Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 01 - "The Islands"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

Max busts a move

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2008-09-08 - Updated: 2008-09-08 - 1742 words - Complete

“Prepare to continue the operation,” Slash ordered. “Get out some rope for the boy. This young fool has given us exactly what we need!”

“No… Max…” Ron moaned.

“Oh. He’s awake,” Slash remarked. “This guy really can take a beating, now, can’t he?”

The other agreed heartily.

“You know, little man,” she told Ron, “if you had enough strength left to hold a shovel, I was going to make you dig your own grave. But since you can’t even stand up anymore, I guess I may as well finish you…”

So, while one of the others prepared a rope to bind Max, two Cyexians continued to pin Ron as Slash beat up on him, making him a human punching bag for her frustration.

Seeing he was out of time, Max used the one move he could think of. He threw his head back as hard as he could, hearing his captor’s nose crack. She lost her grip on him with a slurred curse, and Max hit the ground running, not wanting to see what they would do to him if they caught him again.

“After him!” Slash shouted, kicking Ron aside. “Don’t let that damn brat get away!”

Max ran even harder now, having forgotten the pain in his chest. Several energy beams streaked past him through the pouring rain, and he hoped frantically they were stun shots. Though swift of foot, he now understood how little good it would do him, and he feared they would hit him at any second.

But in his haste to make cover, he slipped in the mud, landing flat on his face.

“Dammit! Hold your fire!” cried Slash. “Do you want the whole island to know we’re here?”

As Max scrambled to his feet, he found himself staring at one of the tombstones, its foreign runes cast in sharp relief in a flicker of lightning. He could hear footfalls behind him, and he was now certain he had lost his one chance at escape. Even as he gained his feet, he could sense the first onrushing Cyexian almost upon him.

“You’re not so tough now, are you, little man—”

But even as Max braced to wrench free of the hand on his shoulder, the hand let go, accompanied by a cry of surprise and pain as Robert plowed right through her.

Robert hauled out one power rifle and smacked the next attacker, bringing the butt around and bashing the one after that. He then whipped out Angus’ rifle in his other hand and charged Slash’s party.

With a roar of frustration, Slash dropped all pretense of stealth, firing her disrupter pistol at him. Though smaller than a power rifle, the heavy pistol was even more powerful.

The other Cyexians followed her lead and opened fire, but in the darkness and driving rain, Robert was zigzagging too quickly, confounding their aim, both rifles blazing. He cut down three of them before one of their beams finally hit his right rifle, which he simply threw aside and kept going.

Meanwhile, Ron had been saving his strength, hoping against hope for a chance like this, and now he stumbled away from his foes in an attempt to get out of Robert’s way. He was quite sure he was useless for now anyway.

As Robert leapt into the midst of his foes, rifle-butting one of them, Slash put away her disrupter and drew her laser sword.

Max watched in rapt awe as his father shouldered his power rifle and dodged an attack at the same time. Under other circumstances, Max would have been overwhelmed with excitement to behold a sight right out of one of his parents’ tales, but what he felt now was unabashed hope and adoration. As the neon green of Robert’s energy blade flashed into existence, Max watched the four remaining Cyexians scatter from his father’s arcing slashes.

All save Slash, who stepped in and blocked his attack with her own pale blue blade, the only one to hold her ground against Layosha’s most infamous warrior.

Four of the others drew back, rallying around their leader and forming a loose circle around Robert.

“I should have known…” Robert hissed, his contempt thinly veiled.

“And here I thought you’d gone soft in these peaceful times, Robert.” Slash had waited years to settle the score with the only adversary who had ever defeated her. And made the mistake of leaving her alive. “Well neither have I! I’ve waited a long time for this. It’s payback time!”

Without warning she backed off, just as two of her crew attacked Robert, attempting to jump him from behind. He dodged both of them, slashing one in the back. The other jumped in from the side, and he caught her with a swift kick.

“Fine. I’ll kill you myself!” Slash jumped back in. She had been hoping her fighters would soften him up, but after seeing that Robert hadn’t slowed down at all, she knew she would have to take him on herself.

Max and Ron stood off to the side, all but forgotten. Even the five Cyexians who were still standing took pause. Friend and foe alike watched the two warriors square off, bathed in the shimmering, blue-green light of their energy blades.

“Just look at him go…” Ron breathed as their duel began in earnest. Even though he was now witnessing the very reason he sought out his old friend to train his son, “Should’ve known he still had it in him…”

He wiped the blood from the corner of his mouth, swaying on his feet but still able to stand.

“We’ve gotta help…” said Max, reaching for one of the disrupter pistols now strewn on the ground.

“Stay out of it, Max,” Ron told him, “That’s Robert’s fight!”


“You’ll only get in the way. But be on your guard. I don’t trust those other Cyex—”

Before Ron could finish, a laser blast cut down one of the aforementioned Cyexians.

All eyes turned to the source of this interference. Or at least tried to. But the attack seemed to have come from nowhere; the shooter was clearly concealing himself in the trees. Another beam lanced out of the darkness, pegging another of Slash’s crew in the arm from a different direction than the first.

After another tense moment, a stark figure with a power pistol strode into the cemetery. He had chosen to hang back at first, but kept moving to confound them, for in his cunning, he knew stray shots could hit their mark as easily as well-aimed ones in these conditions.

“Angus, my brother!” Robert called, more surprised to see him than anyone else.

“Shit! Damn you, Robert…” Slash hissed, now beside herself with rage. Her long-awaited revenge interrupted by this new adversary. To say nothing of her whole plan, compromised by a child. “Damn you all to hell!”

She drew her disrupter pistol and fired an arcing round of energy bolts at them. As Robert hit the deck, deflecting one shot with his laser blade, Ron shoved Max to the ground. Slash and her remaining crew, on the other hand, fled for the cover of the trees.

“Quickly!” Robert ordered. “To the ship! We must find out what they were up to!”

“But the storm!” cried Angus.

“We at least need to catch one of them alive, find out what they’re doing here,” said Robert. This was not the supply cache the Cyexians were traditionally supposed to be trying to rob, he wanted to know what was going on here. Slash could be dangerously unpredictable, yet he knew she was not one to set foot in enemy territory on a whim, let alone such a bizarre and seemingly pointless expedition as this. “If they get out of sight, or if storm gets any worse, we’ll turn back. Ron, can you still make it?”

“I think so,” Ron told him. He had pulled himself together somewhat, and now he wanted to take the fight back to Slash. “I think I can make do with the ship’s medkit.”

“Good.” This was going to be rough; of anyone he knew, Robert couldn’t have asked for a better man at the helm. “Let’s get going.”

Max turned to follow them.

“No, son.”

Robert’s words stopped Max in his tracks.

“This is no task for a boy,” Angus said flatly.

“But Dad…”

“No.” Robert’s word was final. “I nearly lost you tonight, and I’ll not risk losing you again. It’s too dangerous, Max.”

“He’s right, Max,” Ron added. “Your father cares about you very much, and only wants you to be safe. You’ve done your part already. Go to the comm tower on the hill, and let Ian know what’s happening.”

“I’m very proud of you, Max,” his father told him. “Don’t worry about me, son, we’ll be back before you know it.”

“Enough of this small talk!” Angus turned in pursuit of the fleeing Cyexians. “If you want to catch them, then move it!”

“Go back, Max,” Robert warned as they headed out after Slash. “I don’t want anything to happen to you, my son…”

He then turned and joined the others.

Max stood there watching, weighing his father’s words. Now that the ordeal was over, a certain amount of fear had crept back into him as he realized how easily he could have been killed. At the same time, he had a very bad feeling about his father. After all, there were only three of them, and one of them was injured.

Just as they passed out of sight, Max made his decision.

Perhaps things may have gone differently if Max had stayed behind, for there would be much speculation among the Islanders for years to come about the events of that fateful night. Now no one would ever know. Lance and Cleo and Ian would sit in the comm station, under the roots of the antenna “tree” waiting for some word of what happened, as The Edge sailed off into the same mystery that had shrouded her when Angus first set foot on her decks, for the derelict ghost ship to seek new waters to haunt.

Perhaps more aptly named than Angus could ever have imagined.
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