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   Chapter 10 No.10

Demonspawn By Christina Engela Characters: 5525

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

Far from assuming a defeatist attitude, I would suggest that while duty was our cause until now, desperation has to be our cause from here on out. Surrender and capture is preferable to – to what awaits us otherwise. There's nothing to be gained by dying like that just for a principle. It's survival of the fittest out here – and, ladies, gentlemen, that's us! I suggest each of you does their best to conserve energy and to use as little oxygen as possible. Most important of all – don't give up hope!"

A mutter arose from the crowd. The crew was tired, emotional, many of them injured, shocked – some of them downright angry. Surrender to Corsairs? Seriously? Lofflin's attempt to boost their morale seemed to have had the opposite effect – pretty words were not going to be much comfort in this case.

"Sir!" A crewman called. "We know why we're here – but why are you here? Where's the Captain?"

"Yeah!" Another added, "Why didn't he come and give us the good news?"

"Where the hell's Blaine!" Another added angrily.

"We all know why!" Sneered another. "He's hiding in his quarters!"

"Yeah – emptying bottles!"

Lofflin had had enough. He turned his back and left the fracas behind. Every step he took that led him away from the shuttle deck was a little easier than the last.

* * *

Space is a cold and uncaring place. Anything can happen out here, and often does. There are no witnesses – at least, none that really matter. Out here in the nothingness, space is the only witness – and space is silent.

It was exactly this thought that occupied Ensign Dellon Bennett's thoughts. Unlike most of the crew, he'd stuck to his pos

many of those around these days, he felt – souls, not chickens. It wasn't very good soup, but it sure beat the alternative – not having soup. He'd spent an hour or so reading at the table – the one normally occupied by himself, Billingham, Collins, Dorschech and a handful of other senior ship's officers – including Blaine. Blaine couldn't abide anyone reading at the dinner table – he said it was 'rude' and 'bad manners', but he was old-school that way, originally from Earth. Lofflin was from Mars City, and his family hadn't stood on such formality.

Lofflin's simple act of rebellion against the absent Captain's authority brought a wry little smile to his lips. It wasn't a particularly good book he was reading, but it was a fun read so far – and anyway, he wanted to know how it all turned out… Before the air ran out, anyway – and then he'd never know. Could ghosts read? He wondered. He was halfway down page 43 of the second book of the Stormworld Trilogy, (slurp) Hal Symonedes was locked in a (slurp) perilous mind war with the sinister Lord of the Gaf on (slurp) Death Mountain and –

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