I would say it has been a busy Thanksgiving weekend, and to some extent it was, but I spent nearly all day sessile on the couch in front of various football games I cared nothing about.
So I have no excuse as to the forward progress of my novel. It’s fourth and inches.
Here’s something completely different- episode 8 of my #scifi exercise in progress…
Castaneda unlocked her door and walked into her room.
Jones was there, shoving laundry into the chute. Her side arm was on the table, next to a bloody radio.
The two women locked eyes and froze.
Jones dove for the weapon. Castaneda dove for Jones.
Castaneda launched into the now armed Jones, and the two fell to the bed, both wrestling for the weapon.
Jones twisted and slammed her elbow into Castaneda’s jaw, making the captain loosen her grip.
Castaneda let go of Jones’s hands and grabbed around her waist, wrestling her off the bed and onto the floor, neck first.
Jones aimed her weapon at Castaneda’s head, but her hand was blocked by the capitan’s forearm.
Castaneda punched Jones in the face with three quick jabs, splitting Jones’s lip.
Jones managed to get her feet under the captain and thrust, sending the smaller woman tumbling across the floor.
Castaneda jumped to her feet to see the weapon being held in front of her face.
Jones said, “Your move.”
Castaneda slowly raised her hands. “You killed Broadsky.”
Jones kept the microwave disrupter level. “It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.”
“What? Your terrorism? Your treason?”
“We need the JKP intact. The bombs were supposed to go off in system, not this far out.”
Castaneda repeated, “You killed the captain.”
“He would have died anyway.” Jones stared at Castaneda with hate in her eyes. “He woudn’t have surrendered when the ship was boarded.”
“How did you get the bombs in place?” Castaneda kept her hands up, but loose, relaxed.
“Sleeping pills in your drinks. Easy to steal your access card when you snore up a storm.”
Castaneda managed a demure smile. “I don’t snore.”
Jones smiled back. “Like a chain gun. You could keep the whole ship-”
Castaneda shot her arms forward, left wrist connecting to Jones’s right, hand grabbing her forearm.
The weapon fired. Superheated air ripped across the left side of Castaneda’s face.
The captain punched Jones in the throat and turned her back to her, thrusting her hips against the taller woman. She pulled Jones over her shoulder with an ippon seonagi throw, tossing her across the room and into an end-table.
Castaneda never let go of Jones’s wrist, and she yanked back hard after completing the judo move. The pistol slipped out into her grip. She jumped away and put her back on her door, keeping the weapon trained on Jones the whole while.
She could smell the cooked flesh on her own cheek. “Execution is too good for you, traitor.”
“Do it!” Jones spat blood at Castaneda. “When the Jovians board your ship, you’re dead. So shoot already. We already won!”
The door opened. Two marines were waiting there, pistols drawn. One of them said, “Alarm said a weapon was discharged, sir.”
Castaneda waved the pistol at Jones. “Take this rebel trash to the low-g brig. Give her a taste of what awaits.”
The marines hesitated and looked at each other.
Castaneda said, “Did I stutter? Now, marines!”
The marines came into the room and grabbed the wounded Jones by the arms and hoisted her up. She glared at the captain, but said nothing as she was marched out into the hallway.
Commander Doe was next on the scene. “Good God gravy, what happened here?”
Castaneda sat down on her bed and dropped the pistol. Her shoulder slumped and tears started to well in her eyes.
Doe looked out in the hall and shouted at a random marine. “You! Get over here and help me with the captain!”
Castaneda was brought to the sick-bay and was laid out on a table.
Doe rummaged for a hypo and flesh-sincher, and went to work on Castaneda’s face. “Yeah,” she said, “that’ll leave a mark.”
The painkillers went to work and Castaneda was able to breathe more deeply. “Hurts like hell, doc.”
“Looks like hell, captain.”
Castaneda reached up and touched Doe’s hand. “Heather.”
“Now lets not get all shcmaltzy, cap,” Doe said, “when that shit happens, people croak. It’s in all the movies.” Doe looked at the readouts on a screen. “Yeah, you’re going to need a little nap.”
“Hey, you promoted me so I could help out, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m relieving you of command. Night night.” Doe pressed a hypo into Castaneda’s neck.
The captain closed her eyes and fell asleep.