Excerpt from Preparing The Ground

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As we filed out, we were met by a guard of armed men. I'm no expert, but their armor didn't look like anything I've seen in the movies. Breastplate, helmet, and smallish shield, but they looked thicker than in the movies. Rustier, too. Most of the armor was worn over leather or leather-like clothing of some description. Every one of them had at least two pieces of edged weaponry on them, but they were mostly swords that looked longer and thinner than most of what you see in the movies, crossed like an X on their backs. Most carried a short sword or dagger on their hips as well, and they moved much more easily than I would have believed under that kind of load. A few had long spears with really heavy heads - I later learned that the actual term was "pole-arms." I hadn't really been exposed much to our military; most Americans aren't, but I started to wonder if it was just that they were used to the load or if there was something else going on. For some reason the whole show made me a little nervous. I was carrying a little Mark 7 disrupter Tia Grace gave me and showed me how to shoot and handle, but it's not imposing like that much metal, and I'd developed the habit of carrying it mostly because Tia Grace expected me to. I could hit something with it, but I was no trained commando.

A line of the armored men came between us and Golden Hind, and I used my datalink to close the hatch so they wouldn't go in. We didn't really have a method of communication, so that seemed a smart thing to do in lieu of slapping their hands away from everything they weren't supposed to touch. All of the armed men were larger than average for this time and place, but even Will was taller than any of them. One of the armored men said something in a harsh, guttural tongue that sounded nothing like any of the languages I knew, but it sounded challenging. John Dulles tried to respond, "I don't know what you're talking about, but I'm sure it's nothing to get upset over." He spread his hands in that calming way that most Americans will use to reduce tension. The native leader gestured imperiously, come here. I felt a certainty it was not directed at me, but Dulles walked straight towards him, like a zombie in a trance.

With unbelievable speed, the leader then drew his short sword and gutted Dulles. Dulles stood there for a moment as in disbelief, then crumpled, bleeding and bloody, onto the muddy ground.

Simultaneously, his men cut us off from Dulles, fencing us in with suddenly drawn weapons. We didn't speak a word of their language but their gestures with their weapons were pretty much universal speak for stand right there and don't do anything to make me kill you.

Copyright 2016 Dan Melson. All Rights Reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on July 17, 2023 7:00 AM.

First Draft Excerpt from Measure of Adulthood was the previous entry in this blog.

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