Black Guard, The

Black Guard, The by C. R. Daems Read Free Book Online

Book: Black Guard, The by C. R. Daems Read Free Book Online
Authors: C. R. Daems
in?"
    "We are guarding you and your
family, not the building. You have an army to do that, and they are supported
by the Jax army."
    "What good are you then?"
    "We could leave if you feel we
aren’t needed," I said, trying to hide a grin. I could have tried to
explain the Guard provided protection the military didn’t, but he was frightened
and not in a mood to listen to reason. A simple yes or no question would save
me the frustration. Besides, this approach was less stressful and more amusing.
    "You’re very arrogant!" His
voice rose and his tone became master to servant. I wondered whether his wife
took after him or he after his wife—similar reactions to things they didn’t
want to hear. I felt sorry for Chang and the other servants. They had no choice
but to apologize for speaking the truth and probably stopped trying at some
point.
    "Probably not as arrogant as the
rebels will be when they come. Governor, we are dedicated to protecting you and
your family or to die trying. If you don’t feel you need that protection, we’ll
leave." And this looks like one of those die trying situations. Ho
Lew stared at me for a long time, his face shifting through a series of
emotions: rage, anger, disbelief, resignation, and finally settled on stubborn.
    "Do whatever you do," he said,
and returned to shuffling through the papers on his desk. I left feeling that
the situation was under control. My team was deployed as best I could, given
our numbers, the Ho Lew family understood the reasons for my current deployment—like
it or not—and I went to bed satisfied.
    * * *
    I woke with a buzzing in my ear-implant
signaling a message on my Mfi. When I lifted my arm, Captain Drezner’s face was
displayed on the screen.
    "Judging by the hour, I assume you
have exciting news for me." The gray light of dawn had barely begun.
    "You could call it that if you
have one terrific sense of humor. Yesterday, we landed a klick behind the
rebels with the intention of trapping them between the Yuan’s military
defending Ebao and us. We inflicted heavy casualties initially with the help of
our five combat shuttles; however, the rebels have a few military grade
weapons. They destroyed one shuttle and put another out of commission. As they advanced
toward the Yuan military ranks our shuttles became less functional, and we are
now using them mainly for reconnaissance. During the night, they overran the
Yuan military and now occupy Ebao. That means we are going to have to fight
them street-by-street, which will somewhat improve their odds. It also means they
will need fewer troops to slow us down and will likely break off a group to
attack the governor’s estate. Is that exciting enough?"
    "Definitely sounds interesting. Do
you have an estimate of their current forces?"
    "The Jax committee was told the
rebels numbered less than six hundred poorly armed rabble. That is why only one
hundred army and twenty Guard where assigned. We estimate their original force
was between a thousand and eleven hundred. Worse, they are organized and well-armed.
We killed at least two hundred and wounded another fifty. The Yuan military
might have killed seventy-five and wounded fifty, so their effective force is
around seven hundred. In the city, they could slow us down with three hundred
and break off four hundred to attack the governor’s estate. I would."
    "That’s definitely exciting, since
the governor only has two hundred defending his estate. I doubt they are any
better trained than the rebels, and I’m told less motivated. How are you doing?"
    "I’ve lost thirty-one and have
another ten wounded. Colonel Wolfson is dispatching fifty commandos within the
hour. I think the better strategy for now, is to bypass Ebao and put my troops
between the governor’s estate and the city, but in all honesty, it will have to
be after they split their forces. If we attempt to push them out of the city,
they would most likely try and delay us while they send additional

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