Tuesday’s Tale, 2/21/2017.

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Once again, health problems cause me to skip a week. Maybe I should nominate a catch all day, in case I miss Tuesday? But then I’d probably miss that day too….

Anyway, I’m back and ready for action – except I’m not. I just spent most of my waking day writing on a serial chapter. 8 pages, a pretty good total for me; my average is 4 to 5.

But… the show must go on, and I’ve already missed a week. So, without further ado, five minutes on my clock, and away I go.

Another prepared position and another shot rewarded him with another victim. This one shot with what appeared to be a grazing hit under the leg but was really a strike on another suit joint.

Sometimes he felt bad about the lingering deaths he was causing – but only sometimes. That was an emotion best saved for after he survived the fight anyway; consciences were for the victors.

He worked back below the ridge line as the answering shots came; there was a third position that was a hole in an outcropping of rock, which would work like a natural murder hole, provided he didn’t eat a face full of stone splinters.

The muted roar of a drone engine working under heavy load caught him by surprise; he’d have sworn the pirates were out of those.

And that’s it! See you next week!

Tuesday’s tale, 2/7/2017.

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Alright, you all know what time it is by now. Five minutes on the clock, no plot and no safety net. Let’s see how far we get.

The pirates started firing back at the prepared positions, the slaved AI terminals taking a beating. But they were never more than a distraction at best. the real threat was his old rifle. A relic from the days when all of humanity was on one planet, the thing used gas from explosive powder to fire a small lead bullet at a target.

Once upon a time there were even armor to protect against such things but in modern times such armor was usually spotty at best; not everyone had it. And the gun, venerable as it was, was an efficient killing machine hard to match with modern technology.

He took his time, lining up the first shot. Not the faceplate, not center mass, those would be the best protected. Just under the ring joint under the neck? The perfect spot; even the best suit had a tendency to wear there.

One down, and he had to give them credit; the pirates nearest him shifted aim immediately to pin him down. Of course, he was already moving, so it was pointless, but he appreciated the effort.

Best I can do today; total time elapsed was four minutes and 52 seconds. See you next week!

Tuesday’s tale, 1/31/2017.

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Another Tuesday, which means another five minutes. The clock is now set, and, action!

They came at him as a squad; a ragged squad, but a squad nonetheless. two by two or three by three formation, moving from cover to cover in reasonably good order. Their weapons were pointed forward and everything.

He met them with laser fire.

It wasn’t like all those old classic movies, of course. There were no colored beams of light with pew noises, easily tracked. Instead, his laser was a consistent beam that could not be seen or heard whose sole stopping power was the ability to puncture a suit… if you could keep the beam on someone long enough.

You couldn’t actually dodge such a thing if the person behind it was good enough, not for long, but you could take cover. The tell-tale interior heat climb as your suit started cooking was a giveaway, though, which is why this type of weapon was hardly used. Some had a tendency to forget they even existed.

They had their uses, though. When tied to a combat AI, even the crudest, the weapon could be placed on a tripod and used to stop attackers. After all, it didn’t need to puncture suits to work, just make itself out to be a threat. Even for the few minutes the power pack lasted.

Human nature would do the rest.

Both squads hunkered down behind rocks or brush, looking for the person lighting their suits up.

And that’s it for this week. Enjoy that cliff, and see you next week!

Tuesday’s tale, 1/24/2017.

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Another Tuesday, another five minutes, and away we go!

They did split up. In a way, it was almost flattering. Two full rovers sent after him, and only one rover peeled off to find his ship.

He couldn’t worry about it, there were almost a dozen coming his way, piled onto their transportation in a top-heavy way that would make the rovers flip if forced to corner. Fortunately for them, even at the vehicles max rated speed, there was no way such a thing would prove necessary. He wished for some of the old rockets he used to pack in the war, before he drove all such thoughts from his mind.

He made sure his pursuers saw him and drove off towards his ship. He would stop a few miles from it, and hopefully, the rover tasked with finding it would drive the other direction, assuming he would lead all pursuit away from it. The other pirates would either be dead, fled, or victorious, and in either of those circumstances finding his ship wouldn’t matter.

He’d have minutes; the rovers the pirates were using were actually faster than his own. It made a certain amount of sense; the pirates would modify them for speed. It would be a very straightforward fight, but at least he had the advantage of choosing the terrain.

He aimed the rover toward some large rocky outcroppings and tied the wheel. He had preparations he could make nonetheless.

And there we go. This time, I’m over. Five minutes, seven seconds. I know, I know, but you can’t win them all, I guess. See you next week!

Tuesday’s tale, 1/17/2017.

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Alright, another Tuesday, another five minutes, you all know how this goes by now. Away we go!

There were three rovers on their way to him.

Oh, they weren’t headed directly to his ship, but they had clearly triangulated his activities closely enough that they had an idea. If he wanted to save his ship at all, he had to take a huge risk and leave it.

Before he did, however, he took a few emergency supplies and stashed them far enough away from ground zero that if the pirates took off and shot up his ship he’d have a fallback option.

Then it was time to go and meet his new neighbors. With luck, he’d be able to make them permanent residents, a six foot home for each of them, complete with gravestones.

Without the chance to seed the ground to advantage ahead of time, though, that was going to be a little tricky. Their rovers would give their presence away, allowing him to track them easily, but then so would his. He couldn’t take the chance of the group splitting up and sneaking by, though, so going on foot was out. The drones he had would be able to track the move, but they were no substitute for the lack of manpower he had.

He had faced worse odds, however, in the war; this was nothing.

Perhaps he should let them split themselves up after all; a risk within a risk. Betting the countermeasures on his ship can prevent it from being stolen long enough for him to mop up any smaller group sent after him. He’d have to be very fast, any pirates operating all the way out here would be competent at the very least.

If they gave him the option, he would take it.

And that’s it for this week! I was feeling it; elapsed time is 4 minutes and 11 seconds. See you next week!

Tuesday’s Tale, 1/10/17.

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Alright. I’m here and ready to go. Five minutes on the clock and right to it:

The evidence of intelligent life on the planet changed literally everything. there were plans and contingencies in place for such a thing, as well as laws. As soon as the latest message he fired off reached civilized space, a contingent of space marines on a long-term mission ship would be dispatched to keep an eye on things. Such a ship was more than enough to handle even a small band of pirates on its own, and any development will be careful, instead of strip mining or planet cracking.

He sent the message. The pirates would likely be able to trace it now, but it didn’t matter. The marines would be too late in any case. He would have to take care of this little problem himself.

With his drone actively hunting other drones and patched into his ship’s sensors, it was unlikely the pirate’s drones would get close enough to him for them to line up a shot, but he prepped the engines just in case. It would be easier to spot his ship if they took off, but he would be able to take off at a moment’s notice as well and they had landed far enough away that they couldn’t detect it – the curvature of the planet blocked it.

He set about arming his remaining drone; a stripped down mining laser would do nicely.

And that’s it for this week! See you next time, and enjoy your week!