Tuesday’s Tale, 3/28/2017.

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And I had health issues again. Oh well, I can’t do much about it now, except post now before it’s too late! five minutes on the clock and away we go:

The end of the fight was both bad and anti-climactic; the last pirate rover ran as soon as they spotted him. They left behind two of their own, dead to traps. They did manage to dent the door, but it had held.

My new allies wanted to follow me into my ship, which was all kinds of terrible idea since the atmosphere was different and I had no idea if they could survive. I was forced to step quickly and engage the emergency cycle, slamming the door in their faces after the universal stop sign failed to be as universal as advertised.

I’d know soon if they took offense like humans did because I had no doubt they were waiting for me.

I set my suit to recharge itself, set the scanners on active sweeps, and checked the door seals. Now that the pirates knew where I was, I had to take steps. There was no doubt that an orbital bombardment would be on the way.

I was an idiot. A quick evacuation would fry my new friends.

With that in mind, I scanned for them and found them right outside the door. They wouldn’t be happy in my atmosphere, but they wouldn’t die in it. At least, not immediately, and that was good enough for me. I cycled the airlock.

And there you have it, see you next week! Assuming I’m not out of it again.

Tuesday’s tale, 3/14/2017.

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Still considering that consolation prize. Does anyone out there in reader-land have ideas? For now, five minutes on the clock and chicken parmesan in the oven!

With his new allies and the pirate’s best trump card removed from play, he found cleaning up a snap. There would be time to salvage everything still usable later, but for now, he had to make sure his ship as secure.

The little insect escort followed him, even going so far as to hitch a ride on his vehicle. He let them. Proper communication could come later – as long as they weren’t throwing pointy sticks at him or something, all was well.

His ship was still landed where he parked it, which was a good sign. There were two pirate rovers near it, which was not. There was no chance for stealth this time; if he saw them, they had to see him. The only wild card was how many of his traps had worked.

And that’s it for this week, a full five minutes even spent on this bit. See you next week, or sooner if I figure out what I’m going to do to make up for my shoddy health.

Tuesday’s Tale, 3/7/2017.

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So when I said next week, I should have said ‘next week, unless I’m dead’. It takes me awhile to crawl out of the grave known as my sickbed. For the record, I’m sorry, and we will see what I can do to make amends. But for now, this week and this five minutes are up.

The drone crested the rise, only one of two of its turbofan engines working, the other trailing black smoke. The homemade shrapnel bomb payload the drone had looked to be in perfect working order.

If that thing went off anywhere within ten feet of him he was dead, and there was no cover for him from that angle of attack. He took a shot at the drone but missed when its engine sputtered and almost died.

What neither side had factored on was that he had allies.

The little rocks or coconuts or whatever they were being rained on the drone didn’t really seem like much, but when one hit the turbofan exhaust and got itself shredded the final engine gave up all pretense of life and the drone spiraled out of control, overshooting him and blowing itself up further down the rise.

He looked up and had little trouble spotting the insects, his visor zooming in on them helpfully.

There was no time to worry about it; he repositioned and kept shooting.

And that’s it for this week! I’ll try to get back to consistency in posting, as well as think of an apology for all the weeks I’ve missed. See you next week with luck!

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!