Flight or FIGHT! (Part 2)
"[email protected]" She breathed softly. A soft rustling of foliage a decent way off to the group’s right caught their attention and had all seven of them turning and raising weapons as a sun bronzed figure in furs stood up, grinning at their plight.
"Awe, poor leedle svans. Too afraid to get feadders vet?" The powerfully built fellow called in a thick accent, while casually holding a large hand axe nonchalantly across one shoulder, with a second such weapon in a sheath at the small of his back.
"Oopsie! It Look like you boat, zhey haff a leedle accident? They don't float so goot no more." The Khardoran Manhunter chortled deeply. More a rumble from his chest than a laugh, as he theatrically spun his axe off his shoulder with one hand and stroked his thick black beard around his smile of white teeth. The sounds of trees smashing grew louder.
Allison snarled as anger sparked inside her. The heat of her ire sweeping through her body as she stepped forward and drew her pistols, snapping them to bear upon the Khardoran. The barge and its contents had cost her a small personal fortune to acquire.
BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!
The Lieutenant’s guns blazed away, each cycling and spitting a second round as the mechanica nature of the devises reloaded the weapons seamlessly. Allison was impressed, the Khardoran managed to both pull his second axe as well as deflect two of her pistol rounds with the blades. She was smugly pleased at the surprised look on the Manhunter’s face as her second rounds had slammed home and taken him down.
The Scouts looked on impressed at the range, accuracy and rate of fire of the Lieutenant’s pistols. Young 'Kat' glanced from her rifle to McCain's pistols; she'd definitely be addressing some caliber issues when she got home. Allison turned back to the Scouts, pistols twirling back into holsters,
"Right! Quinnt, Gowan! Unpack those inflatables! Katerine? Strip out the bracing’s on the backpacks. Gafneagh and Langworth get to fitting the metal work into the rubber dinghies, that should give them a bit more back bone for the paddle across the river!" Her orders had the Scouts 'hopping to it'. Sergeant Ryley stepped up to her and whispered confidentially,
"Y'know them blow ups'll only hold three apiece, Ma'am?" She heard the uncertainty in his voice.
"Yes Mr. Ryley," She whispered back, "I can do math’s. It's one of the harder things they force us command types to learn." She smiled in reply, then held up a hand to forestall anything as Gunter bristled mistaking her humor for sarcasm.
"There are six of you, two boats. That's two groups to get back with the information of what's coming down on Northguard." She stated simply looking directly into the Sergeants eyes and they shared a look of understanding. He dropped his gaze first, then looking away to the far bank of the river and nodded his face grim. Allison looked to the forest and the rising columns of smoke emerging from the rent canopy as trees continued to fall, toppled out of the way as their pursuers drew ever closer.
"Right! You lot! Get those dinghies inflated!" Gunter waved away 'Kats' comment about oars. "There's two boats, two paddles, one per boat. How many more d'you need? We'll just have t' make do with th' rifle stocks. We're scouts, we improvise! Langworth, Gaf? Start spelling Quinnt and Gowan at the pumps. Come on lads! The sooner th' boats're afloat the sooner we're all across." He turned and gave Allison a wink, "The me an' Langworth c'n come back fer th' Lieutenant here!" Gunter’s last comment had all the Scouts surprised, they faltered briefly in their preparations and glanced nervously at one another as the arithmetic of their situation dawned on them. Young Denby slowed her work at refitting the backpack frames into the boats and looked nervously towards Allison. She chewed her lip and Allison caught the look,
"Katerine, did you leave everything on the barge just like I asked you?" The Scout nodded, braid twitching.
"Good! No worries then!" Allison grinned and smiled happily, then her voice shifting pitch,
"Now you lot! Get your digits out and get HOPPING!" she barked, re-motivating the troops. Quickly the water proof, airtight bladders were inflated, the bracing was put in place that had been scavenged from the frames of their backpacks and the replacement 'boats' were being carried into the swirls of the current at the rivers edge. The Scouts continued to look unsure as one after another they splashed aboard, still with the occasional worried glance being thrown in Allison’s direction. As Gunter pushed his rifle butt through the water for the first time he glanced over his shoulder and saw the first of the pursuing enemy break clear of the tree line.