The Helavite War

The Helavite War by Theresa Snyder Read Free Book Online

Book: The Helavite War by Theresa Snyder Read Free Book Online
Authors: Theresa Snyder
most of the time. Occasionally
he had to fight through waist deep drifts.
    He and Arr were taking turns breaking trail.
Kay-o had given up. The dar-dolf started out at a run, dropped to a
trot, now he was bringing up the rear at a lumbering walk. His hair
was so heavily caked with ice that he could hardly keep up. Jake
was glad he remembered the dar-dolf's boots or the poor beast's
feet would have been frozen by now.
    Why were they out in this? How could you
fight an enemy you couldn't see? When he got hold of the guy who
said this would be a 'piece of cake,' he intended to strangle
him.
    Jake came to a halt. Arr advanced slowly up
behind him.
    "You want me to lead for awhile?" He
volunteered.
    "No! I want a blistering cup of coffee and a
hot bath," Jake snarled into his re-breather mask. Even above the
howl of the wind Arr could hear Jake's teeth chattering.
    Jake petulantly put a gloved hand on the
boy's shoulder. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't take it out on you. I'm
just so damn cold." He turned resolutely to lead on.
    They had broken up into teams to do the
mop-up work after the initial battle. Jake was pleased with Arr's
performance. Even in the clumsy thermal suit he executed himself
admirably. The kid was going to be good - maybe as good as Jake
himself someday.
    The enemy was not an organized group. When
the mercenaries knocked the starch out of them they broke up and
ran. Tim was right about that. All the team had to do was show them
their stuff. But, now it was like guerilla warfare. Jake hated to
take the fresh kid into something like this on his first mission.
On top of that they had to deal with this miserable weather. There
was no telling where the enemy was hiding just waiting to ambush
you. In this storm it was hard to see even ten feet in front of
you.
    Jake came to another abrupt halt. He was
having a hard time with his mask fogging up. It was just too damn
cold.
    Arr plowed his way up behind him. He clapped
Jake on the shoulder to get his attention over the howling gale.
"Let's stop for a moment. There's a notch in the outcrop over
there." He pointed to a small crevasse to their right.
    Jake couldn't see the outcrop Arr spoke of,
but he had learned in the short time on the Henu planet that the
boy's eyesight was considerably better than his at night. He took
the kid's word for what he saw and assumed his eyes were better in
adverse weather conditions as well.
    "Good idea," Jake replied. "We can't see
anything until it clears a bit anyway."
    Arr led the way deftly clearing a trail the
width of his own body, which was not quite wide enough for Jake or
Kay-o.
    Jake found to his relief that the crevice
was large enough to protect the three of them from the biting wind.
He pulled Kay-o up close and told Arr to huddle up for warmth. The
snow fall and wind were already covering their tracks. They'd be
safe here even if the inhabitants of the planet moved around in
this weather, which he doubted. Yeah, he thought, they'd be fine as
long as they didn't freeze.
    Jake tapped Arr's mask to get his attention.
"How you doing kid?"
    "Okay and you?" Arr looked with concern up
through Jake's fogged face shield.
    "Cold, I think my suit has a leak." His
teeth were chattering so violently that Arr could hardly understand
him.
    Arr unexpectedly started to unzip his
suit.
    "What are you doing?" Jake screamed above
the roar of the wind, as he leaned over frantically trying to stop
him. "It must be 60 below out here!"
    Arr huddled closer to Jake. "Come closer to
me," he ordered.
    When Jake moved in Arr removed his gloves
much to the mercenary's chagrin. He put them up to Jake's face
under his mask. Jake's surprise showed as a broad smile broke
across his pink cheeks. They were warm, toasty in fact. The thermal
suit couldn't be working that good.
    "Take your gloves off and put your hands in
my suit." Arr began to unzip the suit again. When Jake hesitated
Arr frowned at him. "Come on, I don't bite, I only growl and you're
cold. Your

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