Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 11 - "Honor Among Thieves"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

Max vs Striker II

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy,Sci-fi - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2009-12-10 - Updated: 2009-12-10 - 1959 words - Complete

The explosion shook the entire ship from stem to stern as the rear munitions stash blew, taking most of the Brazen’s hindquarter with it.

The shockwave tossing the panic-stricken pirate and her plasma rifle into the sea like a rag-doll, just more debris. The main propulsion screw propelled across the water, skidding like some surreal skipping stone. The deck canted sharply forward, then backward, as the ship started taking on water.

No one was spared from being rolled across the deck as randomly as dice, people and objects falling where they may.

Max’s luck hadn’t failed him yet, for Striker was knocked over backward, her blade yanked away from his neck before she could finish him. Wasting no time, he scrambled back to his feet and played his last trump card. Now that he had a window of opportunity, he whipped out his other laser sword, the fallen adventurer Chad Owen’s teal energy blade shimmering to life to continue the fight.

With no one left in his way, Bandit sprang to his feet and bounded for the boarding ramp.

Shades stumbled to his feet, both having had their feet bounced out from under them, ears still ringing, clutching both stun-sticks and covering Justin as he crawled across the deck, retrieving one, then the other, of his of his double-barrel power pistols. Then he covered Shades as he grabbed Max’s power rifle. By now, most of the pirates were getting back up, so the two of them booked it for the Maximum. The boarding ramp was only halfway on after the explosion, and Justin finished the job with a grand sweep of his laser blade, holding off any wannabe boarders with both guns while Shades went to start the engines.

On his way, he barely sidestepped a couple pirates as they made a hasty exit from the cabin. Who must have made a run for the ship once the fight broke out, most likely hunting for working weapons. But all they found was another who sought refuge on the ship. They both backed away from Bandit, who proportionately advanced, his enormous fangs bared against these interlopers.

Even Shades was taken aback in spite of himself by this almost comical repeat, saying, “Don’t look at me, gals. He’s a cat. You expect him to just sit, roll over, and fetch on command?”

That was enough for them. Without any further prompting, they scrambled overboard, choosing to take their chances with the sea rather than face the feline nightmare that guarded this ship.

“Try to keep any unwanted passengers off this ship!” Shades said as he made for the helm.

“With pleasure!” Justin replied.

Meanwhile, before Kato could even open her mouth to warn him, Chase was struck upside the head by a flying hunk of debris from the Brazen, laying him out across the deck of the Triad III in a dazed heap. Seeing that many of the sinking pirate ship’s crew were eying her ship as a possible escape route, she took a page from Justin’s playbook, taking out the boarding ramp with a slashing flick of her laser whip. Silently hoping George could jury-rig the engine somehow, knowing that some of those pirates would try to jump if she moved from her position to check on Chase without first putting some distance between themselves and their enemies— between themselves and Max’s crew, too, while they were at it.

She turned her attention back to the sinking ship, hating to admit it, but as she watched Max resume his duel with Striker, she just couldn’t figure out any way to get her Tri-Medals back from this situation, so all she could do, much to her vexation, was hope that Max could somehow pull off what she herself could not.

From the helm of the Maximum, Shades gave them, then Max, the V, hoping it would stick.

“You bastard!” Striker thundered as she rose to her feet, hand still clamped on her laser blade, eyes blazing with unchecked rage. It was well known that the most grave offense on the high seas was the sinking of someone else’s ship, and she was one of those who subscribed to the death penalty for it. She brought on her attack with renewed energy, telling him, “I’m gonna make sure you go down with this ship, boy!”

“We’ll see about that,” Max replied, glancing over his shoulder for a second. Most of the crew had abandoned ship, and both his friends and the Triad appeared to be holding their own for the moment. Now all that was left was the Tri-Medals. “You have taken something that doesn’t belong to you.”

“Try being more specific,” Striker snarled. “And for your information, what I take is mine!”

“If you return our Tri-Medals,” Max continued, “I’ll help you with the lifeboats. There’s still time—”

But Striker wasn’t having any of it, jumping back in and carrying on the fight as if unaware of the watery grave that awaited them if they didn’t escape soon.

And so Max was forced to meet her head-on, knowing that time was running out, and fast. It quickly became apparent that she was trying to push him back over the shattered edge of the deck; In Brazen Defiance was finished, never to rise again, and she clearly meant to give him the same treatment. Perhaps it was the knowledge that seconds were counting down to his demise, but Max dug deep, hammering back at her with redoubled fury.

In spite of her rage, Striker was now beginning to understand that she had over-reached. Now that her initial onslaught had washed over him, she was starting to run out of steam. It began to dawn on her just how long this duel had dragged on; she was accustomed to ending her fights sooner than this, and wasn’t used to prolonged combat.

This Max, on the other hand, seemed to possess almost bottomless stamina, and was still going strong, was now forcing her on the defensive, her advantage slipping.

All the while, aboard the Maximum, Shades watched their battle from the cabin in dumbstruck amazement, beholding swashbuckling swordsmanship the like of which he had only ever seen in the movies.

“Shades!” Justin called out, not wanting to be anywhere near a ship this size as it went down, “Why the hell aren’t we moving?”

“What about Max?” Shades demanded as he snapped back to the here and now.

“He can take care of himself!” Justin answered. “We’ll be stranded out here with these assholes if we go down with their ship! What good is that?”

Their debate was interrupted, though, by a distress flare rising from the Brazen’s upper deck.

“What the hell was that!?” Justin demanded.

“I don’t know,” Shades replied, not liking the look of it. Then, as the implication of it sunk in, he concluded that time might no longer be on their side. “Okay. Fine. Let’s get into position. If they’re trying to signal somebody out here, it means we might not have as much time as we thought.”

With that, he rotated the Maximum, nudging up against the still disabled Triad III’s hull and pushing it away from the half-submerged ruin of the Brazen. Away from its pull, as well as anyone else who may have boarding on their minds.

Aboard the fast-sinking ship, both Max and Striker also saw the signal flare.

“Captain!” Mousy called out as she ran up to them, though still keeping a safe distance, flare gun still in hand, “I’ve signaled our other ship, Eye of the Storm! ETA twenty minutes, if they haven’t already noticed our loss of radio contact!”

Striker ignored her, glaring at Max.

“Please! You have to escape while you still can, Captain!”

“She’s right,” Max told her. “If we don’t get out of here now, we’ll both die!”

“Not ’til I finish you!” Striker lunged again.

Max, now seeing that Mousy had demonstrated the limits of trying to reason with her right now, realized that he needed to end this quickly. As if the growing slant of the deck wasn’t enough of a warning of the gravity of this situation, of his ever-shrinking time limit, he was also unsure how long he could keep up this sustained offensive. Yet at least he was starting to get the hang of Striker’s fighting style, getting used to her patterns, brutal but rather predictable.

It came to him in a flash of lightning, a flickering glimpse of that stormy night years ago, and he turned about, taking a more evasive stance and allowing her to press him back against the leaning main mast.

Desperate to end this fight, Striker lashed out at him again, and Max sidestepped her, snagging a rope dangling from the mast and swinging away from her. Striker’s downward slash missed him entirely, and without even an attempt to block it, the laser blade burying itself almost hilt-deep in the deck, throwing her so far off-balance she nearly fell on her face. Struggling to pull the axe-hilt free, she finally sprang to her feet, looking around frantically for her vanished adversary.

Only to realize belatedly that Max swung all the way around the mast and now loomed behind her. And moving too fast for her to avoid as he kicked into her back with both legs, sending her sliding over ten feet up the canted deck to land sprawled on her side.

Mousy watched with tangible apprehension as Max walked over to Striker, taking back the Tri-Medals, then strode over near where he had fumbled his original sword, a treasure he was not about to let go down with this ship.

He turned to Mousy, telling her, “Get her out of here. I’m leaving.”

Mousy nodded. She then picked up Striker’s blade, tucking the exotic weapon in her belt. Hoisted her Captain over her shoulder as best she could and dragged her the other way, feet dangling. A couple crew members still had the presence of mind to launch one of the lifeboats, and she would see to it that they were not left behind.

Firing up both energy blades, Max ran for the edge of the deck, making a spectacular flying leap into the ocean. Taking a double-swing with both swords, sending any nearby pirates splashing frantically away from him.

And Shades would have given him a perfect ten on the landing.

While Max swam over to board the Maximum, Kato finally got a moment to check on Chase now that she no longer had drive back potential hijackers. The first thing to go right all day, as far as she was concerned. Ordinarily Chase would make up more than half of their firepower— with his weapons restored, there would be no stopping him— but now he lay crumpled on the deck, his head bleeding slightly. Still, she noted, at least his breathing was steady, so she settled for resting his head on the lower half of his coat, grabbing the jacket George left behind and pressing it against his head to stop the bleeding.

At least she wouldn’t have to listen to him complain.

Turning her attention back to the situation at hand, she ruefully wished George would hurry up and finish fixing the engine so they could get the hell out of here, hopefully before Max and his crew could get back on their case.

Her thoughts strangely distant against her own bitterness, as she couldn’t believe the Tri-Medals were lost, gone down with the ship…
Sign up to rate and review this story