CHAPTER NINE PART SEVEN
PAGES 4 WORDS 664
FROM PART SIX
Tasca looked at the moon. Might be a good time to do so, Castille. We’ve got a long hike ahead of us and who knows what we’ll run into. “Do it, Sergeant. When you’re finished, place the empty stim in your sleeve pocket. No sense in leaving a trail marker.
“Yes sir,” Maseru said with obvious relief. Holding the stim in his free hand, he pushed the end of it into his thigh then watched Tasca do the same with his. “You’ve made the right choice, Colonel. We’ll need to be jacked when we encounter the Scavs”
“Hopefully, Sergeant. Remember, no sudden movement or noise. The last damn thing we need is to have either creature lock us, instead of each other.”
With slow, calculated steps they made their way to the top of outcropping. Lying side-by-side they focused their teledars on the waraiiths circling above the zanchet now aware of its deadly company. With a deep roar the zanchet reared back on its hindquarters its remaining legs spread so its long sharp claws faced the closing waraiiths.
“The zanchet knows it’s being targeted, Colonel.”
“Yeah, it does. Do you….Goddammit! We don’t need this.”
“Scan toward your extreme right, altitude one-hundred and fifty meters and tell me what you see?”
Focusing his teledars, Maseru shook his head in disbelief. “Hell. Just what we need, more waraiiths. I make, five, six, no, seven, Colonel.”
“I don’t like this, Sergeant, not one damn bit. With this many waraiiths it’s a good possibility not all of them will attack the zanchet. Some could circle above it. The longer we stay here the greater risk we have at being discovered. We’re going to withdraw. Set the scanners at maximum, three-hundred sixty degree bubble sweep then make for the back of the outcropping. We’ll use it as a shield until we’re two hundred meters out. If we haven’t been detected we’ll head back to our original course toward the gorge.”
“Yes, sir,” Maseru took a final look at the waraiiths. “Cunning bastards, coming at the zanchet from all angles.”
“They are that, Sergeant, but those aren’t the ones that worry me. They’re locked on the zanchet. It’s the ones to the extreme right. They don’t appear interested in the attack.”
“Maseru focused his teledars on the second group. Yeah, they don’t. Why not, Colonel?”
“Tactics, Sergeant, pure and simple tactics. They’ll wait until the first group has spent its energy then attack and drive them off their kill. No matter which cluster it is, it’s the ones not feeding on the zanchet that could be a problem for us. They’ll be hungry. And if they can’t feed on the zanchet they’ll search for new prey, us.”
Within the mission’s parameters, there would be situations where there would be no choice but to fight. With the zanchet they had an option. Engaging the waraiiths, here, at night would be a tactical mistake and a waste of ammunition. Tasca held no illusions blood would spill once they entered the gorge that the Scavs would wait for the right moment to attack.
An unbroken silence hung in the air as both men watched the waraiiths, neither man allowing himself the feeling of self doubt while they waited patiently for the right moment to leave. Tasca lowered his teledars and turned to face Maseru. “Now, Sergeant, slow and steady.”
Both men withdrew from their position until they reached the back of the outcropping. “All right, Sergeant, double time, five meter interval. Go.”
With their stims kicking in, and keeping the outcropping between them and the zanchet, they quickly covered the two-hundred meters.
Sucking in air through their teeth, they dropped to one knee and immediately trained their teledars on the zanchet. They needed to make the Latal gorge without incident. Their mission would call for every ounce of strength and guile to fight the Scavs, to remain one step ahead of the pursuit that would use every resource possible to track and kill them.
© 2017, Raymond Tobaygo. All rights reserved.
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