The next episode for Jamison’s Battlefields. Here are the previous episodes in order. Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Jamison’s Rescue, Dinner with an Alien, Dibolocos Attack, Departure Orders, Homecoming, Into the Darkness, The Family Business, Jewel’s Place, Shanghaied, and First Mark. Like any story you will get the most out of it by reading it in order.
On that next attack their number was cut down by two thirds, and they would have all been killed except for a larger group of pirates were transported aboard trapping the defenders in a crossfire. So there were other boarding parties. Jamison again used the stun setting, but as he counted the dead men around him, he made up his mind to stop this practice.
A couple days later he went on his first raid with the kill setting. It was a small barely defended vessel. He almost got by without firing a shot, but a stowaway in a cargo hold jumped out at him and fired a projectile between his arm and his chest. Without thinking he dropped the man. If the shot had been a little to the left or right Jamison would be among the dead or worse yet dying without medical assistance.
He spent a long time staring at the man’s lifeless frame. For Jamison it was a defining moment. Who knows how long he would have stayed but the signal to gather up for transport home was given. He didn’t sleep after that raid. But he spent the time awake recounting the reasons he had no other choice but to embrace the life of murder. He could enumerate them, but would he believe them?
His descent into the lifestyle and habits of a pirate had begun. He would go through a couple of dozen more raids in the next two months. Each time he became a little harder. Soon he began to embrace cruelty. He was beginning to wonder why he didn’t help himself to the women on the marks as other pirates had done. It just went with the territory.
With each raid the humanity of the victims became less and less real to him. He understood their terror, but he had his own to worry about. He understood their pain, but he had his own to worry about. He understood their desire to survive, but he had his own to worry about. The pirate’s life was becoming all he knew. Or all he allowed himself to know.
Even in this condition there was some distinct hints he was really not reconciled with his buccaneer’s ways. One night he startled awake in the middle of sleep cycle, he jumped to his feet and fired three random shots around the room before realizing what he was doing. After that incident Tyler had suggested he sleep without his weapon in his hand. Jamison had indicated he would gladly kill anyone who tried to take it from him.
The men had seen his skills with a weapon and nobody was going to challenge him. In fact, his skills were beyond exceptional, and seemed to improve with each raid. On the first few raids he killed two or three people. But after a month or so the number increased to six or eight. Then in another leap of ability he might come away from a raid with over a dozen kills.
He had even been seen to fire backwards over his own shoulder and kill an opponent he had never faced, pinpointing the victim by sound. Stories about the pirate, who was such a remarkable marksman had begun to circulate among the shipping companies.
His skills were scary good. He scared the victims on the mark ships, he scared his fellow pirates, but most of all, he scared himself. But the defense mechanism he had chosen, never showing weakness forced him to internalize every bit of his anguish. So he slept poorly and sometimes, not at all. At times he barely ate anything, then he would binge, eating his portion and the portions of whoever else he chose. His insides were constantly fighting back with pains and spasms. The only time he was not aware of the pain was when the adrenaline of battle drowned it out.
So he began to long for battle. He fully expected that one day soon his lifeless body would be piled on the floor of some abandoned and newly derelict vessel. But he didn’t care, one way or another he would find relief in battle.