The Pirates of Ersatz-Thirty

The Pirates of Ersatz-Thirty

Hoddan kicked his horse and got up to the front of the column of riders in the night.

“Thal!” he snapped. “They’ll be idiots if they keep on running away, now they’re too far off to worry about men on foot. They’ll stop and wait for us–most of them anyhow. We’re riding into an ambush!”

“Good pickings, eh?” said Thal.

“Idiot!” yelped Hoddan. “These men know you. You know what I can do with stun-pistols! Tell them we’re riding into ambush. They’re to follow close behind us two! Tell them they’re not to shoot at anybody more than five yards off and not coming at them, and if any man stops to plunder I’ll kill him personally!”

Thal gaped at him.”Not stop to plunder?”

“Ghek won’t!” snapped Hoddan. “He’ll take Fani on to his castle, leaving most of his men behind to massacre us!”

Thal reined aside and Hoddan pounded on at the head of the tiny troop. This was the second time in his life he’d been on a horse. It was two too many. This adventure was not exhilarating. It came into his mind, depressingly, that supposedly stirring action like this was really no more satisfying than piracy. Fani had tricked him into a fix in which he had to fight Ghek or be disgraced–and to be disgraced on Darth was equivalent to suicide.

His horse came to a gentle rise in the ground. It grew steeper. The horse slacked in its galloping. The incline grew steeper still. The horse slowed to a walk, which it pursued with a rhythmically tossing head. It was only less uncomfortable than a gallop. The dim outline of trees appeared overhead.

“Perfect place for an ambush,” Hoddan reflected dourly.

He got out a stun-pistol. He set the stud for continuous fire–something he hadn’t dared trust to the others.

His horse breasted the rise. There was a yell ahead and dim figures plunged toward him.

He painstakingly made ready to swing his stun-pistol from his extreme right, across the space before him, and all the way to the extreme left. The pistol should be capable of continuous fire for four seconds. But it was operating on stored charge. He didn’t dare count on more than three.

He pulled the trigger. The stun-pistol hummed, though its noise was inaudible through the yells of the charging partisans of the Lord Ghek.[Illustration]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Shopping Cart