A Pirates' word

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A Pirates' word

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

ONE

The freighter skirted the edge of the Ranian system, looking to avoid the mighty Kelluran belt of asteroids on her way in to Rania three, the only planet in what some called the ‘Goldilocks’ zone in the system, where anyone could colonise although there was talk of the Osirans taking Rania two as they were quite fond of high temperatures and restricted water. But, for now, the ship was carrying foodstuffs and machinery for developing the land. And, of course, a few other things…

Captain Speight made his way through the ship, talking apace with his first mate as they talked about how they needed to speed up the engines for the return journey as they were already behind schedule.
“Well,” the thin Feline protested, “they still need repairing and we’re hauling extra weight, Captain.” She stopped for a second. “You still haven’t told me exactly what we’re carrying,” she accused as one of the maintenance crew crew walked underneath the walkway they were standing on.
“I’m not in possession of that answer,” the Captain replied, rubbing his Raitchian chin reflectively, “and I was assured it wasn’t something I wanted to ask. If you know what I mean, Wayla.”
The Feline threw her arms up. “So it’s things we’re not supposed to know about? Great! Like that never goes wrong. Like the U.S.C. don’t board freighters on occasion? Not to mention the Militias?”
“They’re not going to see it. We’ll be stopping by Rania four and passing the item along.” He looked annoyed. “You think I’m happy about it, Pantha? Things are tough out here. The freight we’re carrying officially will barely cover our costs for the trip. This gives us extra profits…”
“...whilst dealing with people we can’t trust.”
Speight laughed bitterly. “Oh, we can trust them all right. To do nasty things if we say ‘no’. Of course, they could just blackball us or tell the Council or the Militias on us if they’d like. Once they’ve threatened you with violence once, they can threaten you with the law time after time.” He stopped as one of his children shot by. “Get back to the room, Dastari! Your vid teacher won’t wait forever and, if you get a fail grade again, I’m dumping you in the nearest cheap school I can find!” He shrugged as the child slumped his shoulders and slouched back the way he’d come from.
“I still can’t say I like it, Captain,” Wayla protested a few seconds before something hit the hull. “That wasn’t an asteroid,” she warned, but Speight was already on his way to the bridge.

He got there as Pulta, the Collian Canine who ran the bridge when he wasn’t there, fired a bolt from their pulse cannon at the attacking ship. A ship Speight knew they had no chance of really damaging. “What are you doing,” he called out as she turned to look at him.
“Fighting back,” she declared. “I’m fed up of these…”
“You’re going to get us all killed,” Speight told her. “Hold fire!”
She looked at him with horror. “You know what they’re going to do, don’t you?”
He growled at her, a curious expression from a Raitchian. “I know what they’ll muffins and cookies well do if we fight and it won’t just be a warning shot! Head us towards those asteroids before they…”
<”Stand down and prepare to be boarded,”> the voice said from the comm system speakers, which Pulta had left on as she was the only person up there, with fifteen others in the holds, preparing to offload the cargo and keeping it in one piece.
“We have to fight,” Pulta protested. “We can’t just let them have the cargo.”
“Put out a distress call and do NOTHING else,” Speight warned. He took the comm and slowed the ship to the closest he could to stationery, the reverse thrusters firing to slow the forward momentum and then station keeping thrusters to stop them going backwards. Then he lowered the shields.
<”We are sending a shuttle,”> the voice said. <”Do not resist us.”>
Speight sighed unhappily and put himself on the Ships’ internal speakers. “We are being borded by Pirates,” he said morosely. “Do not resist them.”
“We can’t do…” Pulta wheeled as a trio teleported into the bridge. She made to move but one of the intruders flashed out an arm and an energy whip flashed out, wrapping itself around her neck. She gulped as her eyes bulged at the pain. She tried to put her hands up to get it off but the energy charge drove her hands away as the energy burned her fur and threatened to do permanent damage. The Celican holding the safe end released the pressure and she dropped, coughing, to the floor. He glanced at her.
“We… we aren’t resisting,” Speight said as the Canine the Celican had brought across took the helm so their shuttle could dock.
“Someone fired on my ship,” the Celican with the scar said. “Someone’s resisting.”
Speight swallowed slightly, thinking how hard it must be for Pulta to do that simple thing right now. “That… that was me,” he protested. “She, uh, convinced me to stop.”
“No,” the Celican said simply, taking in the situation as he stepped closer to Speight. “Other way around, I think. Doesn’t matter though. A Captain’s responsible for everything that happens on his ship.” He punched Speight straight in the face with enough violence to lift the Raitchian off his feet. Then he kicked him in the groin whilst he was down before swooping to pick the gasping Pulva off the ground. “A less forgiving entrepreneur might well have shot him for YOUR actions, b*tch. Out here your only hope is to not annoy us. Play hero and you’re playing with the lives of all your shipmates.” He pulled her towards him, licked her mouth with his tongue and threw her into the middle of the room. “I’m sure they’ll thank you for it.” He gestured to the other Celican and the fallen Captain. “Get him up,” he declared as he heard the booming thump of a docking shuttle. He picked the stunned Canine up again and thrust her towards the passageway. “I’ll take this one,” he warned, pulling his blaster to cover her as his second picked the Captain up and put him on his feet.
Speight staggered but stayed upright. He had a feeling they wouldn’t appreciate him doubling over again. He sniffed on impulse and filled his nostrils with the blood that had been flowing from them. He coughed painfully. He’d need to have his Medic deal with it soon. “I don’t…” he coughed. “I don’t know what…”
“Lie to me and I’ll take more of your cargo,” the lead Celican snarled as a child ran past and hugged Speight’s leg.
“Daddy,” he cried as the Celican pulled him back, gripping his collar as he called out.
“As it is,” the Celican remarked, “I don’t really care if you lot live or die. I’m not expressly interested in your terraforming equipment and grains. You left Caldera with a cargo bay full of supplies on a run that barely covers it. You have two cargo bays, Captain. I’m taking what’s in the other one!” He inclined the gun towards the childs head. “Unless you want to argue the point,” he finished coldly.
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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Nice beginning of this story so far! I really like this chapter! Now I just need to get you do do a private RP with me over notes.

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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

TWO

“What’s in there,” he asked as they stood outside the locked cargo bay.
He still had his gun to the boys’ head as his father looked on, wide eyed. “I… I don’t know,” Speight said desperately, hoping his tone carried the truth of things across to the pirate and his subordinate.
“He’s lying,” the younger Celican growled. “A Captain should always know what he’s carrying.”
“No,” Speight exclaimed, “they’re forcing me to carry stuff and won’t tell me what it is! I’m telling the truth! Don’t kill my boy!”
The older Celican, complete with scar, looked at the younger. “Can’t fake that easily,” he muttered, glancing down at the small pool gathering around Speight’s left foot. He listened for a moment as someone said something to him on an implanted audio receiver. “Fifteen minutes,” he replied. “Right.” He pointed a finger at the younger Celican. “They put out a distress call. Militia will be here in fifteen. Launch the shuttle. We’re going to jettison this bay and grab it when it’s not on the ship.”
“Aye.” The Celican took three steps, then turned around. “They’ll set the Militia on us as soon as they arrive.”
The elder shook his head. “He’ll persuade them he had a breakdown. Our name won’t even come up. Now get the guys on that shuttle and go. I’ll help him engage the bay release from here.”

“I...I can’t give you the…”
The Pirate smacked him across the face with his gun and gripped the child’s collar as he tried to run. “No heroics and no lying!” He cried out as Dastari bit his hand and slapped the child. “And none of that!” He grabbed the child again.
“He… he’s scared,” Speight shrieked.
“Good. Now,” he told the Captain as he indicated the release panel, “jettison that bay.”

The bay launched into the dark, where the other ship was ready for it. Two cabled spears fired into the wall of the bay and started dragging it towards a huge, open bay. Three individuals in battered, barely operating, zero gravity survival suits helped it in the last part of the way, using the lack of gravity to shift the massive compartment.

“I need to tell you how I’m going to ensure you don’t set the Militia onto us,” the older Celican said as the trio returned to the bridge where the Female Canine was waiting for them. “You’re going to tell them you broke down.”
“But…”
“Shut up. You’ll tell them that. You can tell the ‘others’ the real reason you didn’t fight. They’ll probably understand that.” He smiled, giving an evil look to his face thanks to the scar. “Especially as we’ve taken a hostage.”
Speight took a second to work out what they’d just said, then looked in panic to Dastani and up to the pirate. “No…” he begged. “Please…”
“You behave and you’ll get him back,” the Celican asserted. “We know several of your delivery routes.” He chuckled. “You might run into us at any time…” He nodded to the Canine. “Get us out of here.” The female pressed a button as the Celican put his arms around the front of Dastari. The trio sparkled as Dastari began crying and Speight ran forward for his boy and stepped through the last of the matter stream.

The trio arrived in another room as Dastari wept, sniffing noisily. The Feline standing behind the console hissed at him. “Stop that!”
“Enough, Pollit,” the Celican warned. “This hostage is a guest. Hastur, put him in room three and lock the door.” He thrust the child at the Canine, who sniffed and looked up at her.
“Don’t look at me for much comfort, kid,” she warned, “because I don’t have much spare.” She took him roughly by the arm and, ignoring his protests and attempts to strike her arm, led him out.
“Bridge,” Savra said into a wall comm unit. “Get us out of here. Course 114. Now.” He closed the link and proceeded to the largest cargo bay where three of his crewmen were watching Kurmak the sciences Officer as he set about opening the bay with a co-opted padd. You close to opening it, Kurmak,” Savra challenged.
“It’s triple locked, Captain,” the Feline replied. “But I can get it open faster than the cutting beams.” He gave a forced smile. “Less damage to what’s inside too.”
“What’s inside is valueless until we get it out, Kurmak,” Savra growled. “We cut in twenty minutes. If you’re not in by then, I take the costs from your share.” He stayed in the bay, watching as his wrist monitor told him what was going on on the bridge. It fed the helm co-ordinates down to him and he had an audio link if he needed to listen in. He wasn’t paranoid but he’d seen several Captains killed by their subordinates and he wanted the upper hand. Not only that but he wanted to keep it. “You three,” he called, startling the Lappinean, Canine and Mican who’d started talking amongst themselves, “get the cutting gear. In case he fails.”

Elsewhere, a door opened on a small room that largely consisted of a bed, a chair, a vid set that had no communications set up installed and a small, metal, table. Hastur stepped through, pulling the child. “Yours,” she declared, pushing him onto the bed. “Head’s there,” she added, pointing to the battered door. There’s no communications set up for you. There’s some vid channels but I wouldn’t watch Channel 287 if I were you.” She forcibly took his shirt and trousers off, leaving him in just his underwear. She held the items up. “I’ll need these to get you spares,” she told him as he shivered. “Look, kid,” she said, visibly softening, “I won’t have them long. We’re not nice people but we’re not monsters.” She looked him intently in the eye. “Most of us anyway. Some are. So you don’t leave this cabin unless one of us is with you, got it?” He didn’t look like he’d understood so she gripped his face on either side of his muzzle. “I said stay here, got it? GOT IT?” He sniffed and nodded. “Good boy. I won’t be long.” She stepped back out to head to the clothing pile, hearing him whine that he wanted his daddy. “That makes one of us, kid,” she growled quietly as the door shut and she locked it.

The door opened and Savra stepped into the interior to see what their prize was, beyond the actual bay itself. That could be sold, of course, but secret cargo’s tended to be far more valuable. Sometimes trouble but far more valuable.
“Told you I could do it,” Kurmak preened, stepping through after him and looking about the bay. “What the..?”
Savra stepped over to one of the thousand or so shining black plates that filled the bay and sneered as he picked up one of the heavy metal sheets by an edge. “All that for someone’s patio furniture?”
Kurmak frowned, then his face changed into amazement. “No,” he breathed. “Captain, I think I know what these are.” He ran a hand across the top of the nearest plate, enjoying its smoothness. “This is what the Raitchian navy uses,” he told his Captain.
Savra tensed. He knew the Raitchian naval forces. He knew their speciality. And he knew it was propriety technology. “Someone’s making a stealth ship,” he said.
Commander Hawle. U.S.C. Loper. By the talented DDeer.
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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

An awesome job as usual Welshy! This chapter is impeccable!

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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Part of it came about from a Doctor Who DVD where an extra feature revealed that some of the characters had received written criticism for how they treated a more innocent character. The BBC's response was, apparently, that this group weren't trying to set a good example, they were bad guys! So I got to thinking 'what if the good guy of the story WAS/IS a bad guy?'
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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Well wherever you got it from it is really nice! I can't wait to see how this story will go!

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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

In which we meet the most hunted person on the ship...

THREE

“Now what do we do with these,” Kurmak asked, almost rhetorically.
“First you sort something out with Vatrick,” Savra told him, “See if we can clad a shuttle in some of this stuff. Then we speak with people. See who’s buying.”
“We sell,” Kurmak asked, slightly excited by the idea of credits.
“Provided we like who’s buying,” Savra retorted. “The people who wanted this must have been planning to use it. It may behove us to keep it so they can’t.”
The Feline slammed the side of his fist down on the plates, making them bang loudly. “Why does that matter, Captain? Profit is profit!”
Savra swung to face him, the scar dancing with anger as his eyes narrowed. “It’s all in the pride of the hunt, Kurmak! There’s a growing number of people in the patch who act with no honour and just seek to kill without remit! If you think we can trust those people you’ll be next on their plate as soon as they’ve gotten what they need from you! Anyone who fires at us is an enemy and we’ve had a new group fire at us recently, haven’t we?”
Kurmak nodded sullenly. He recalled the freighter that had nearly blown up with them nearby. He knew the Captain had started enquiring into that and was getting nowhere. Their contact on Rega had clearly lied to them during the last vidcall the Captain had put in. The bridge crew had stayed out of the Captain’s way for an hour after that, rather than risk his wrath. “Set to it.” he stepped back out of the captured bay and gestured to the trio. “You three. Guard duty. No-one goes in there unless I or Kurmak are with them. And that includes you.” He touched the energy whip on his thigh as Kurmak came out.
“What are you going to do now, Captain?”
“Lunch,” Savra replied.

He headed into the store, a place of noises as things chirped, growled, snorted and shrieked in the large cages around him. Ships’ stores. He hunted for what he fancied and opened the cage to release it, taking pleasure in the way it scuttled and ran from him, making him enjoy the hunt as he chased it down around the room. It could never escape, of course, as the doors and vents were sealed and too small for it to get to but the hunt was the entrée to the meal for a Celican so there was a powerful relief as the creature turned and attacked, having decided escape was impossible. Savra laughed as he escaped the flashing claws and brought his own hand down around the back of the creatures neck and pulled the screeching creature up as he put his arm tightly around its’ throat and squeezed as its struggles continued. Then he took it by the muzzle with his free hand and jerked it violently.

Several moments passed before the body thunked into the recycling and Savra exited the eating room, his muzzle wet with water to clean the blood off but his shirt stained as usual. He didn’t much care. It added to the look. He knew the next ‘attack’ was still a few hours away, a medical supply ship that was taking supplies his Doctor had stated they were running low on. He didn’t care much about where the supplies were going. Their insurances would cover that. He needed to protect and feed his crew. Speaking of whom…

Savra stepped into what passed for a medical bay and sniffed as Doctor Virrik, a Brockian female, accosted him, holding up a bloodied scalpel. “I need those supplies, Captain,” she told him simply. “I’m down to doing surgery with these tools of the barbarians!” She threw the small, bladed, implement into the sterile bin from twenty feet away, showing off her knife throwing skills in her haste. “Chakka had ingested something that was growing in his intestine and I had to get it out.”
“Did he survive?”
“Just about. Add type 14 to the blood needs I gave you or he’ll die later.”
Savra nodded. “I promise nothing. If that stupid sod wants to eat Osiran food without getting it checked first, that’s his lookout!”
“He’s a cook.”
“Then he should know what food’s can kill him, shouldn’t he? No promises, Doctor. And don’t waste supplies on him if it’s inevitable.”
“That’s why I carry a pistol.”

Savra opened the door to the cabin and stepped back as a pillow flew out at him. He gripped Dastari as he tried to run past and thrust him back into the room. He stepped in and the door shut behind him. “Think, child,” he roared, “if you escaped here, where were you going to run? You’re trapped on this ship!” He tossed the tray he’d been holding, onto the bed, knocking over the closed carton of juice and splitting the sandwich in half. “Food,” he told him. “Eat.”
Dastari snuffled. “I wanna go home,” he protested.
“You will,” Savra declared, his voice rumbling louder than Dastari’s stomach. “No sign of anyone chasing us so we’ll study your fathers’ freight logs and find a way to drop you somewhere near, OK?”
He reached out and patted the boy on his shoulder as he snuffled “O.K” unhappily and pulled at the sleeve of one of the jumpsuits Hastur had got him. Dastari had made a decision that he was keeping his favourite clothes for when he escaped.
“Those seem a good fit,” Savra remarked darkly, recalling the Chilla who’d warn them before her death. “If you damage them, you mend them, got it?”
Again Dastari nodded sullenly. Savra stood up and turned the vid on. Two Celicans on the screen. He turned it off. “She shouldn’t have told you not to watch that channel, should she?” Dastari gave him a wry grin. “Hmph. I’ll have it blocked.” He stepped back outside and threw the cushion in as Dastari reassembled the sandwich.

He reached the bridge. “Can we see her yet,” he asked his ‘first’, Gallen.
The slightly younger Celican glanced at him. “Aye, Cap’n,” he replied, turning the screens on so Savra could see the slim, white, medical transport on the screen. “Excellent,” Savra growled. “Let’s go on a blood hunt.”
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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

They better fix that unless they want to get successfully hunted at some point. Once again, good work!

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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Savra has honour. But he IS a bad guy.

FOUR

Captain Savra sat on the edge of his command seat, his tail swiping a jagged left-right-reverse path behind him, making him thankful he had the sort of seat that had a back rest but not a pillar connecting it to the seat. It was, however, connected via the arm rests that he wasn’t using. This was the moment that made him salivate. The prey was on the screen at range and it didn’t know he was here. “Time to intercept,” he asked, wiping his chin.
“Twenty minutes, Captain,” the young Celican on the helm answered, the gap in his teeth making him add extra sibilance on several letters. Janus was one that Savra had picked up on a raid a number of months ago, a felon wanted for stealing shuttles and evading arrest until the officials on Kelvanna had picked him up. Savra had intercepted the ship running him to Caldera and taken him on. He was a good pilot but too cocksure and Cavalier for his own good. Savra was still in the process of breaking him in. Or breaking his bones.
“Good, Janus.” He glanced sideways. “Marran, is the jamming system back up and running? After that last debacle…”
“The Mican spun around in his chair to face the Captain. “The fault’s been corrected, Captain.,” she said.
“Bet your life?”
She swallowed. “I’ll double check.”
“Good idea. You were lucky that cargo bay was small enough to be pulled in.” Savra stood up. “Take us to battle speed, Janus. Ready weapons and shielding. Gallen, ready a boarding party. We have a shopping list so make it from those who don’t like to line their own pockets.”
The First complied, making sure six particular soldiers were ready for the off.

“Block their long range comms,” Savra growled as the ships loomed closer together. Even without the transponder sending out a recognition signal, he knew they were on the edge of the medical freighter’s sensor range. Within a few seconds, the only people they’d be able to talk to would be nearby ships. Namely, them and only them. “Janus, ready pursuit courses and Marran, put me on.” He stopped for a moment until Marran told him he was on. “This is Captain Savra of the attack ship Kerbal. Heave to and prepare to be boarded. Do as I command and no harm will come to you. Resist and we will cripple your ship.”
<”We are a medical ship carrying urgent supplies to...”> the Captain of the targetted ship replied.
“I know and I don’t care,” Savra cut across them. “But what I need is not the medication needed on Keramak. You’ll be left with that medication IF you surrender NOW. If you refuse, we will burn your engines to cinders and take the lot for sale! Your choice!” He strode around the chairs. “Gallen, you have the bridge and I’m leading the boarding party. Do I need to issue the standard threat?”
The other Celican looked him in the eye. “No, sir.” Without meaning to, he touched the skin on his neck before taking up command.

The Captain checked his weaponry before he got to the teleport bay. The energy whip was ready and coiled, the gun fully charged and the knives stored in his belt as he put his stripped leather half gloves on under his burnished red long coat. “Locked on to their bridge, Pollit,” he asked as he saw the others going with him. An Equinna, a Canine, two Felines and a Raitchian. All long timers. None he’d cared to learn the first names of. They were nobody important but eager to prove themselves. He directed them to ready their weapons and they teleported across…

...to land on a bridge considerably cleaner than theirs had been. Savra noted the guards and one of them flinched for his gun so Savra shot him dead without hesitation. “I said no-one do anything stupid and you’d live,” he snapped towards the Captain. “And I meant it! Tell them to put their weapons down NOW!”
The Lappinean agreed and told them to lower their guns. “You didn’t need to do that,” he asserted.
“Yes, I did,” Savra replied. “Take us to your stores.” He slapped the list Virrik had given him into the Captain’s chest. “These are the priority items we’re taking. None of them are needed on Keramak.”
The Lappinean looked at the list, then up at Savra. “Everything we’re carrying is needed somewhere.”
“And these are needed on my ship NOW. And we need a supply of Celican type 14 blood as well.”
The Captain looked worried. “But… We’re not carrying Celican blood,” he said in fear. “Not even the substitutes.”
Savra glowered at him. “Then I’m going to need to medical reports of your entire crew,” he warned. “My Medical Officer can take it direct from source if needed.”
But… but…”
“Enough. Yallow, get into the database and find that blood. Edger, watch his back. The rest of you come with me.” He thrust the Lappinean forward. “Move.”
“The… The Council will hunt you for this,” the Captain warned.
“I’ll worry about them later. As for now, you worry about me.”

Savra followed the reluctant captain to a room stocked high with salves, ointments, treatments and medical equipment in teleportable crates. “How nice,” he sneered, “you packed it all ready for us.” he gestured to the others and told them what items should be left behind. He had useful contacts on the blighted planet. Contacts that knew how to offload his booty and had jobs that needed doing. It didn’t amuse him to consider the trouble he’d have replacing them. He needed them alive and the Celican flu was still a killer out here. For centuries only the blood of Polar Celicans had held the cure but now there was a synthetic medicine that did the same thing as their blood. It was still big business out here in the colonies, where transport was an issue. In the inner colonies, where the manufacturing plants were, it was cheap. Out here, it was life that was cheap and the cure expensive.
“I found one,” Yallow said, having run from the bridge. “A Crewman Valla. Direct match. Virrik can use him to…”
Savra glared at him to shut the Canine up but a glance at the Lappinean let him know he’d been heard. “Where is Valla,” he asked as his crew berated Yallow.
The Lappinean’s chin trembled slightly. “Uh… Crew quarters. Uhm, C-19…”
Savra nodded to the wall comm. “Tell him not to resist and he’ll be returned alive. You have my word.”
“What does that count,” the Captain muttered before complying.

Minutes passed and the others carried on stealing to order as Savra faced the Captain. “There is,” he sighed, “something else I now need to do before I go.”
“I… I’d guessed,” the Lappinean said quietly. “Do you think you can contain her?”
“I think I’m actually the better option. Who knows what would happen if another government got her? I can’t allow you to tell anyone. Sorry.” He unholstered his gun. “Where do you want it?”
The Lappinean smiled wanly. He’d never expected to be asked that. He plucked up his courage. “Open casket,” he said. Savra shot him through the heart and laid him down before he fell. The others looked at him but continued their work.

On return to the Kerbal, after the ‘willing donor’ was returned, Savra stepped off the teleport pad, turned and backhanded Yallow across the room. The Canine yelped as he landed against the wall and tried to draw his weapon. Savra stamped on his hand before he could get to it and pulled him upright before slamming him against the wall. “I do NOT appreciate indiscriminate killing, Yallow! He died because you mentioned HER by name! I need to make it so you never make that mistake again!” He brought his face in close to the Canines’ ear for that last line. Then raked his teeth through the skin of his cheek. “Next time it’s your throat,” he warned.
Commander Hawle. U.S.C. Loper. By the talented DDeer.
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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Harry Johnathan »

This is a bit darker than the rest of your stories...
...I liked it. I am also extremely concerned with the kid onboard. And the pirate licked that girls' mouth? Ew.
Pray for those who have fallen away, to be brought back to God. To their loss they are crucifying the Son all over again and mocking him.
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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

This is amazing! I hope you have more planned for us relatively soon!

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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

I had a different 'cliff' for this to 'hang' off at the end but I chose to postpone that for an episode or two for pacing issues.

FIVE

Savra strode through the bridge to his office, not even stopping to tell Janus to put them on course for P’tak station but just making the order on the move. “First,” he added, “with me.” He stepped into the shabby chic office he used when he needed a private word. There were no conveniences here, no replication machines and a bare bones computer on a fake oak table that was formed from the floor. The carpet had long since faded away to a hodgepodge patchwork that needed replacing and the one chair sat on the opposite side to them, next to a code locked weapons rack. There were automated manacles on the wall and bloodstains on the wall below them. Savra sat in the chair and fumed as the door closed. “That was a disaster!”
Gallen looked confused. “We… we got the supplies, Cap’n,” he protested. “Even got the blood and the donor was out the whole time so he never saw…”
“I had to execute the captain,” Savra stated. “Yallow was stupid enough to say Virrik’s name aloud!” He thumped the desk. “It’s your responsibility to make sure they follow EVERY command!” He glowered. “You know what it’s going to do when this gets out?”
“S...sir?”
“That Privateers executed a defenceless officer after he’d surrendered and did everything we asked? Chances are everyone’s going to think we’re going to do that!”
Gallen looked chagrined, an effect belied by the steel teeth he bared as he spoke. “Of course, you had no choice then. It’s our death warrants if officials find out we have her.”
“Hmm. We’re going to be hated in the community when it gets out, despite the fact we wiped their computer bank so the ship isn’t identified. The U.S.C. will be more alert. The Mouse might even get more ships in to combat us. That’s for murdering a Captain. If they find she’s here, it’ll be a fleet they send!”
“Sir,” Gallen said, leaning on the dusty desk, “get rid of her.”
“As soon as I get a comparable medical officer, I’ll act. And we’re not letting any government get hold of her.” He stood up. “He knew, you know? The Captain of that ship.” Savra’s tone softened slightly, became a little wistful as he turned his back on Gallen. “A Lappinean. As soon as her name was mentioned, he knew.” The Captain turned around to face his junior again. “He didn’t fight, he didn’t run.”
“Unusual for one of his,” Gallen remarked.
“He knew there was nowhere to go. He accepted it with the kind of dignity I hope I’ll accept mine with. No tears. No regrets. No fear. Just a request not to shoot him in the head.”
“Almost admirable,” Gallen said. “What do you want done with Yallow?”
“That’s up to you, Gallen. The word that her name is NEVER to be mentioned aloud has just been re-enforced by the only warning I want the crew to have. It’s up to you to make sure they know that, from now on, if anyone dies because someone said her name, the speaker dies with them! As for Yallow? He’s just lost fifty percent of his take. See to it.”
Gallen turned without saluting and left the office.

Savra followed him out a moment later. “Marran, contact Jeboah. Tell him we’re coming in with full stores as agreed.” He took up his seat.

Dastari looked innocent as Hastur stepped into his cell and the Doban Canine knew immediately that he’d been trying to escape. “Never trust a Raitchian playing innocent,” she said, not quite saying it as sternly as she’d intended. She took hold of his collar and pulled it away from his neck before taking a needle gun to his neck and pressing the trigger.
“Ow,” he cried as a small capsule found its way into and under his flesh. He rubbed the injection point and tried not to let his lip quiver. “Wussat for,” he said unhappily.
“Tracer,” she explained. “Now we can let you have a bit more freedom because,” she continued with the hint of a malicious grin, “we can now find you anywhere.” She put the gun away. “What’s your name, boy?”
He sniffed at her as she crouched close to him. “Barnabus the b...brave,” he lied.
She looked askance at him. “Then how come your ship records say you’re Dastari?” She smiled genuinely this time and gently pushed her hand against his cheek. “Never mind,” she added, “if you prefer Barnabus, then Barnabus it is, yeah?” She stood up and stuck out a hand. “Time for a tour of the ship,” she decreed. “Most places you should never go without me or the Captain but you might need to know where they are.” He looked uncertainly at her hand. “Look, kid,” she stressed, “you’re getting a tour now. Would you prefer me to drag you or just walk with you? And the name’s Hastur, by the way.” He put his feet to the floor and slipped a hand into the warm brownfurred hand and she tightened her grip around it. “C’mon,” she said, leading him out.

He flinched away from most of the people they passed in the passages, unsure of some and certain of others in that they wanted to harm him. One seemed friendly but he could feel the pressure of Hastur’s hand warning against the Mican so he just replied that he was Barnabus and Hastur made a mental note to tell Savra that Urus knew the boy was on board. “Who was that,” Dastari asked.
“No-one you should ever be alone with, Das… Barnabus.” Hastur continued on their way. “These two are OK, if a bit bawdy,” she said, indicating a Cervidan and Mephidian moving stores. “Liter,” she said, indicating the Cervidan. “Fluid,” she continued, talking of the Mephidian this time. “A mated pair and often together. You get too lost - when the Captain says you can walk the ship – find one of them. You two, this is Barnabus. He’s a prisoner.”
The Mephidian crouched next to him and inspected him, her eyes glittering as she took in his scent. Her white tinted muzzle twitched. “You remembering not to take him to the medics, I hope,” she said, her voice tight and strained through life and cracked teeth. “He seems a sweet kid. Wouldn’t want him to go through that.”
“He will never be allowed anywhere near the medical bay,” Hastur assured them.

There was a Mican on screen right now, looking at Savra as the Celican spoke, telling of the stores and treasures he had to offer and the expected payment. He left off the details about the boy as he had no interest in Jeboah knowing anything about him. The boy was his word to the freighter Captain and not to be traded, even for the highest funds.
<”The IOC have been sniffing around the ‘sellers’ this afternoon, Savra,>” the long eared Mican said. <”What have you gone and done?”>
“An unfortunate necessity, I assure you,” Savra said, using his best, placating, tone of voice. “The Captain had a hidden weapon…”
<”I might forgive you killing a Captain,”> Jeboah blustered, <”but you DO have questions to answer.”>
Last edited by Welsh Halfwit on Fri Nov 19, 2021 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Harry Johnathan »

Oh, they uh... killed his dad, didn't they? :shock:

This is not going to go well for anybody.
Pray for those who have fallen away, to be brought back to God. To their loss they are crucifying the Son all over again and mocking him.
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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Harry Johnathan wrote:
Fri Nov 19, 2021 3:23 pm
Oh, they uh... killed his dad, didn't they? :shock:

This is not going to go well for anybody.
No, no. The Captain is the guy he just shot dead, not Dastari/Barnabus's.
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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Harry Johnathan »

Oh, he shot the medship captain, not Speight. Wipes forehead in relief.
Last edited by Harry Johnathan on Sat Nov 20, 2021 2:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

That escalated quickly but I had a feeling it would happen. Onward to the next chapter.

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Re: A Pirates' word

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SIX

The asteroid moon known as Cova Xi wasn’t as advertised. In a dark section of the patch, without stars or planets, the rock hid its’ own secrets as the Kerbal approached the surface. Savra didn’t know who’d found it but he certainly knew who’d used it over the last few years. He had Marran send the identification codes and they watched as what seemed like a jagged mountain of rock cracked and parted, allowing the ship in, under the surface. Janus put the ship through to the underside of the surface and slowed the ship to a comparative halt as the ceiling closed up. Lights from the surface interior provided enough illumination for him to ‘park’ the ship and Savra made for the shuttle launch bay. He knew the others would send the cargo down through the transport system and Kurmak would bring down the stealth plates as soon as he requested. Those alone would make the last weeks work financially viable, he supposed. He stepped past the fighter craft to the unarmed shuttle. It was one of the rules of this place, he knew as he put his hand weapons in a storage compartment. No lethal weapons on the surface. Only the guards had those so it was either behave or fight the guards if you wanted to kill someone here.

He arrived in the usual cacophony of noises and laughter that accompanied Jeboah’s nightclub, even at three in the afternoon. He stepped down and tossed the operator his usual silver credit piece as payment for safe arrival and strode out into the melee. He noted that some of the chatter silenced itself as he appeared and made a note to find out what that was about later. Now, though, he had work to do. One of the other rules of this place was ‘no deals in public’, a rule that had come in since an undercover operative for the IOC had gained evidence for a sting. A third rule was ‘no killing undercover operatives’ in the asteroid. It attracts undue attention. So business was only to be discussed in the back rooms or on the ships. Savra stopped by the bar and ordered a malt that he carried to the back room where he was to wait for the proprietor.

The rooms back here were quiet, fitted with soundproofing and swept for surveillance devices regularly. They were painted white to a brilliant degree, designed to dazzle and disorient the unwary. Jeboah liked it that way. Savra was almost finished with his drink when the Mican entered, wearing dark glasses, and hopped up to the other side of the table. “Had a good week,” he asked casually.
“Profitable, depending on you,” he replied testily. “What do you mean ‘I have questions to answer’?”
“Hmm, well,” Jeboah said, stretching his arms theatrically. “The Brigand Council want to know where you got that asteroid from, for one thing. Your reports were remarkably light on that and it SEEMS there are reports of a vessel rather like yours aiding the U.S.C. in battle, hmm?”
“I’d imagine there would be,” Savra grumbled. “Remarkably light? I told the Council all that happened.” He leaned forward over the table. “A temporary alliance against a mystery intruder. I can ‘supply’ the Council with me visual logs if you like.” He used the ‘quote marks’ for a simple reason. Very few knew who the Brigand Council were but they knew ‘contacts’ who, quite likely, were the Council. Savra knew Jeboah. “How have the minerals sold?”
“Oh, very nicely,” the Mican replied. “They want more if it can be gotten.”
“I doubt it,” Savra said, crossing his legs as he finished off his drink. “The U.S.C. were fighting over those things. They’re interested and they’ll have set up a mining installation with heavy security. As it was, at the time, I figured it was better the enemy you know than one we didn’t that could kill them.”
Jeboah smirked and sat back. “A rather… fast decision,” he remarked. “One they might have made but it does make it look a little like you’re… Hmm… In their pocket?”
Savra stood up. “You insult me,” he glowered. He stepped over towards the Mican, knowing the Mican was preparing to shoot if needs be. “I’m in no-one’s pocket, Jeboah! Not theirs and not yours! I bring salvage your way and you sell it! That’s the extent of our co-operation!”
“Well,” Jeboah shrugged, “I haven’t charged you for the drink.” He sat forward. “So, what was the mystery cargo the freighter was hauling?”
“Something I’ll tell you about AFTER the money for the agreed raids reaches my account,” Savra said, sitting back down. “Not that I don’t trust you but I know you well enough not to.”
The Mican tutted. “Such distrust. Very well,” he said, “have your cargo teleporter send it down.” He tapped a code into his wrist computer and Savra’s pocket hummed. He pulled out the slave control and read the Celican script that told him payment had arrived. “Now,” the Mican insisted, “the other thing?”
Savra put the device away. “Oh,” he said, “it’s very interesting. And concerning. I have to ask something.”
“And I,” Jeboah replied, “have no interest in answering before you tell me what the cargo is!”
Savra took a few seconds to think about his reply but eventually conceded that he’d have to answer before getting an answer to any questions he had. “Stealth plating,” he said simply. Jeboah’s eyes opened wide and his ears twisted down to ninety degrees. “Stealth plating,” he repeated.
“Enough to cover a small frigate.” Savra asserted. “Raicarra tech stuff. So, here’s my question. Has anyone already been in touch?”
Jeboah looked almost alarmed at the thought, telling Savra that whoever wanted these things were keeping very, very quiet about it for now. Of course, feelers would be being put out sooner, rather than later. News would leak as easily as water from a split seam, striking all close enough to the effect. Jeboah would hear about it. “They’re worth a fortune if verified,” he breathed.
“Then come and verify,” Savra ‘offered’. “I’m taking enough to line one of my shuttles but the rest is all available.”
Jeboah looked cheekily at him. “How generous of you,” he drawled, “as I’m the one set you after that ship in the first place.”
“You had no idea what it was carrying. It might have been hauling Lima beans for all you knew. I have things to do. I’ll tell Gallen to expect you.” He rose to exit the room.
“I don’t recall giving you permission to leave.”
“I don’t recall asking.” He left the room and headed for the local brothel.

“Uh, Gallen,” Marran reported, twisting round in her comm station chair to face the current acting Captain.
“What?”
“I think we have a problem...”
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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I am enjoying where this story is taking us! Hope you keep up the writing!

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Re: A Pirates' word

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SEVEN

Dastari – or, as he was being introduced as, Barnabus – looked around what was being referred to as ‘the mess’ and could fully understand why as he looked for reasons not to eat the Latacian stew in front of him. It was easy to be distracted here, with thirteen different conversations all talking over each other loudly. A wall of noise filling his ears and making him grin slightly as he worked on focussing on one conversation after another, working out who hated who and who wanted to rut with whom and… Miss Hastur was prodding him so he turned to her. “Miss Hastur?”
“It’s just Hastur, kid. No Miss or Ms or Mrs.” She indicated his plate, where the stew steamed away. “Eat.”
He tried a grin but failed, having it die on his lips. “It’s, uh, not good.”
“I know,” the Dober replied tightly. “Eat anyway. You never quite know when the next meal is. The cook’s often doing other duties.”
“I can wait.”
Her face dropped into a snarl. “No, Barnabus, you can’t. Eat.”
Reluctantly, he complied, forcing the over peppered meat down with water. Miss Panthawas a better cook. He’d remember to tell her that when he got home. He coughed. “I, uh… didn’t know girls, uh, could be pirates?”
“Not in the picture books, eh,” Hastur replied, before taking some of her own stew. “Might be better if we cooked the chef,” she opined. “Nah. Then someone worse would do it. Look, kid, privateers – that’s what we call ourselves, not pirates – can be anyone. We’re just people out for the cash.”
The boy worked his way around the unfamiliar word. “Private’s ears? What’s the difference between a Pirate and a Private’s ear?”
Hastur coughed and blamed it on a pepper, rather than the sudden mental image of herself dressed up as an ear. “Privateer,” she corrected. “One word. We’re in it for the money rather than the blood. Mostly.” She nudged him slightly. “Bread,” she stated, meaning some of the thick cut loaf next to him. “Pass it.”
He hesitated. “Dad says I need to remember manners,” he said proudly. “Pleases and thank yous…”
“Are words you will never here on this ship,” Hastur finished. “Seriously, Barnabus, don’t say that to anyone else. Telling people they’re rude can irritate people. On your ship they’d tell you off. On this ship some will hurt you.” She shrugged. “Of course, then the Captain will hurt THEM but you’re still hurt, aren’t you?”
He nodded unhappily and passed the bread. “Ta,” she said, sharing a grin with him as they realised she’d said ‘thank you’.
“Who’s this,” a leery, straw coloured, Canid demanded, leaning over Dastari so the boy could smell the rank nature of his coffee and liquor stained breath. Dastari naturally flinched away from him and, with nowhere other than into Hastur’s side to go, into her side he went. “Vatrick,” she said, her depth of feelings for the Coydog evident in her tone, “this is Barnabus. He’s our guest for the moment.”
Vatrick broke into a smile. “Oh, from the freighter?” he chuckled and stroked the side of Dastari’s muzzle. “Yes, we’re putting your parents gift to good use, believe me.”
Dastari couldn’t help himself. The goading voice, the slimy touch, the mocking smile… He bit the hand. “You stole that from my father!”
“Ah! You..!” Vatrick pulled his hand free and made to backhand him sharply. Dastari closed his eyes against the hit.

Which didn’t come. He opened an eye warily. Hastur was standing over him, holding the bleeding hand tightly by the wrist. “Hit Barnabus and the Captain will end you, Vatrick,” she warned, the tightness of her grip making him flex his hand to try and keep the blood flowing. “No hitting guests. You know that.” When he nodded morosely, she released the wrist.
“One day you’ll be mine, Hastur,” he goaded, blowing a kiss at her before backing off.
“And that’s the day I kill you, Varrick.” She looked down to Dastari. “That was stupid, Barnabus,” she snapped, before poking him in the forehead with a finger. “You need to be smart! C’mon,” she decided, pulling him upright and spilling his food, “let’s get you out of here before you get into more trouble!”
Knowing she was much stronger than him, Dastari didn’t fight; he just grabbed a chunk of bread for later and followed her.

Savra paid the feline who’d been in attendance on him and pulled his shirt back on. She’d not asked of the wounding and old scars over his body and he’d offered nothing in the way of explanation. It wasn’t what she was being paid for and, frankly, she probably knew already. There was only a few types of clientele in the establishment and that was his guarantee, along with his reputation. He’d heard one pass stories onto a rival Captain the once. Stories that had cost him profit and her her arm. Now they said nothing about his business, almost as little as he said himself. “Good work,” he told her, stepping out of the room into the back passages of the bar. He’d made up his mind to check in with contacts for future attacks but he had to check that the salvage had been off-loaded as planned. So that meant he had to get back to his ship and he pushed a couple of urchins away as they pestered him for credits. “within the automobile off,” he advised them. “Back to your parents.”
“Ain’t got one,” one claimed.
“Then back to your master, then,” Savra spat, fixing the girl with a glare.
“S...Captain Savra,” she said, suddenly aware of who she was trying to rob. The Raitchian back pedalled, pulling her Canine friend with her.
“Always works,” he told himself, turning again and heading for the ship.

He strode onto the bridge of the ship. “Report, Gallen,” he commanded.
The other Celican turned to him. “Kurmak sent down the load after payment, Cap’n. Jeboah’s been takin’ all the plates that’s not nailed down. He sent a list’ve ships we might wanna check…”
“I’ll be calling one or two others to get lists. It’s not good to keep working with one fence.” He looked Gallen in the eye. “There’s something you’re not telling me.”
“It’s… probably nothing but…” Gallen took a breath. “You wanted an update on the Lisse?”
“The what?”
“The freighter our ‘guest’ is from.”
Savra waved a hand. “Yes, yes. Where is she? I want him gone.”
“We can’t find her, Captain. She never delivered to Rania III. All her other deliveries have also been undelivered.”
Savra gritted his teeth. “Take the tracker. Find what fleapit brothel Janus is in and drag him out of there NOW. We’re leaving immediately. Before we get blamed.”
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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Really great job as usual Welshy! Continuing to look forward to the next chapters!

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Re: A Pirates' word

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EIGHT

Janus groaned as he heard the knocking on the door. He knew it was just about to be opened. Only a few people would have been let past the ‘host’ at 2AM and those were seniors or people offering extreme violence and, frankly, the latter didn’t knock. It was a shame. After having his way with the nubile Raitchian, he’d just been thinking about his life stealing hover vehicles and shuttles before he’d been caught by the law - and then recaught by Savra. The wind of the colonies through his headfur, the sirens of the plod patrols behind him, fading into the distance. The freedom of cash in his open hand after offloading the prize. It was all pulling at him, despite knowing he couldn’t have it. Life with the Captain wasn’t bad, he supposed, despite the occasional loss of teeth and near persistent threat that, if he screwed up badly, he’d face the whip. He wondered if that was weird, a Celican enjoying being the prey? Like it mattered. He threw the covers aside, ignored the moanings of his partner of the hour and strode over to the door. He opened it and stared at Gallen. “I take it I’m needed back on the ship?”
“With your clothes on,” Gallen retorted, still holding the device he’d used to track the more youthful Celican.
“I paid for two hours,” Janus protested, indicating the Raitchian, who was now sat up in the bed and waving discretely at Gallen.
“Mindy got her money’s worth, then.” He glanced down. “Charged less, did she?”
Janus shrugged. “Wants a kit.”
Gallen grabbed him by the shoulder fur and pulled him closer. “You’re an imbecile,” he growled. “First chance you get, you’re going to the Doctor.” He thrust him back into the room. “Get dressed. Mindy,” he added, pointing at the Raitchian, “I’m going to have to tell her this time.”
Mindy pouted.

With Janus in tow, Gallen led the way through the low class establishment, pausing only to inform Madame Vastra, the Osiran who ran the place, about Mindy’s actions and the threat to health involved. The lizard woman remained tight lipped but, from the flicker of her eyes, Gallen could tell Mindy wasn’t long for this employment. He couldn’t care. It wasn’t his job to to care about those who weren’t his crew. “She have other skills,” he asked.
“Good at accounts,” Vastra replied. “Doesn’t pay as well but I’ll try her there.”
“Going easy on her,” Janus asked, earning himself a clout.
“You don’t know where she’d been before you,” Gallen hissed into his ear, “and what she might have brought with her!”
“Look out,” Janus commented, giving Gallen a slight heads up on the Canine swinging a chair at his head. He ducked and the chair collided with a pillar, breaking into component parts. Gallen grabbed the wrist of the assailant as he made to jab a broken piece of the ‘weapon’ into his chest. He pulled the Canine forward and drove an elbow into his stomach as he heard Vastra calling there was to be no violence in her establishment. As the opponent doubled up, Gallen twisted the arm to make it drop the weapon, turned and kneed him straight in the groin before releasing the arm. He grasped the attacker’s ears and pulled him upright before jerking him down onto a rising knee. His teeth splintered as blood sprayed from his shattered muzzle – and from Gallen’s cut knee – before Gallen threw him back across the nearest table. Gallen looked around to see Janus swapping strikes with a compatriot of the attacker. He figured them for members of the Levana clan. They’d had problems with him before, following events half a lifetime back. Younger ones still tried to avenge the slight some other member of his first family had dealt them. He stepped forward to distract the still standing opponent and the Brockians gaze flicked to him long enough to allow Janus in close enough to slash his claws across the stomach flesh, cutting deep. A good blow in Galen’s reckoning and he was surprised that the fella was still standing. He lashed out, just missing Janus as he hopped backwards and Gallen slipped in behind him and put his arm around the Brokians neck, tightening the grip as he thrashed and clawed at Gallen’s arm. Gallen put his other hand over the black and white muzzle and held it there until the fighting stopped and he slid him to the ground.
“You kill him,” Vastra asked, putting ointment onto the scratches on his arm.
“Thought about it but that’d solve nothing,” Gallen retorted. “It’d only serve to get me banned from here.”
“Too right,” she said coldly.

“Who were they,” Janus asked as they resumed their walk towards the teleport bay.
“An old story that I’m not going to tell you,” Gallen replied. “You did adequately back there.”
“Thanks,” Janus replied, not actually sure that it had been a compliment. “I’m still getting used to fights…”
“You sure you’re a Celican,” Gallen asked, pushing the youth into the teleport room.

“It’s common sense,” Janus protested as they waited for their transfer, “not to fight someone who’s better at fighting.”
“True,” Gallen admitted, “and at least you DID fight.”
Janus shrugged. “You back your team, don’t you?”

They teleported over together, Gallen paying the fee and telling Janus he’d collect the coin from him later. Janus knew he wasn’t joking. “What’s the hurry anyhow,” he asked.
“Remember the freighter we got the kid from?”
“The one the Cap’n wants him returned to? Yeah,” Janus commented as they stepped into the passage and avoided a running Celican.
“She’s vanished from space. Cap’n suspects something happened to her.”
Janus looked aghast. “We’re playing detective?”
“No.” Gallen stopped and pushed Janus’ back against a bulkhead. He pointed a finger. “Captain’s playing detective,” he warned. “We’re playing ‘those who follow the Captain’. He gave his word to them and means to carry it through. And people might think WE did it. So we look into it. Got it?”
Janus understood. “Not like I want both Councils hunting me, is it?”
Gallen snorted a laugh. “Thought you liked playing the prey?”
“Only when I know I can escape,” Janus remarked, stepping onto the bridge and heading for his seat.
Savra looked at Gallen’s wounds. “What happened to you? Was it him”
“Pfft! Me an’ ‘im versus Levanan wasters.”
“Enough said. Janus, we have clearance. Get us out of here.”
“Aye, Cap’n.” He slid the ship towards the exit and readied the co-ordinates written on the piece of paper on his console.
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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Really awesome work as I can not say it often enough! Keep up on your spectacular writing!

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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Virrick does not work for the NHS...

NINE

Janus fumed impotently as he strode quickly through the passageways of the ship. Stupid Gallen and his orders. Stupid ship. Stupid HIM. Everything was stupid right at this moment. How had he been so stupid to think that Rat was worthy of carrying his seed that he’d gone for the cheap option? Why had Gallen ordered him to attend to ‘the other business’ after they were underway in a way that made it clear to the Captain exactly what mistake he’d made? Hadn’t he just fought alongside the First? Hadn’t he proved himself worthy of the rite of comradeship? Pah, he decided as he pressed the door chime to gain access to the sickbay, he’d show them one day.

The door swished open and Virrik stood there, hands on hips. “Well,” she demanded as he stepped in and the door snapped shut behind him. She had her hands clenched behind her back and Janus couldn’t help but wonder the trouble he was in, a feeling not mollified by the knife throwing board beside his head. “What’s the problem,” she demanded. So haltingly, he told her. She gaped at him. “Are you so stupid that..?” She shook her head and waved a hand. “Rhetorical question,” she told him. “That means I don’t expect an answer, in case you were wondering.” She pointed to a chair. “Sit your brains on that.” She went past the sensory equipment she had stocked and went straight for the syringes.
“Aren’t… Aren’t there some scans you can run first,” Janus asked.
“Yes,” Virrik told him straight, “but that would mean wasting the sensory equipment to either confirm you’re clear or that I need to give you an extremely painful injection. It actually saves stores and lives to go straight to the painful injections. And,” she added hostiliy, “maybe it’ll be a reminder not to be stupid again.” She filled a syringe with a general medicine for all the troubles he might have picked up. “I’d heard you were cocky,” she sneered, “but I didn’t think they meant it literally!” She stepped back towards him as he looked towards the door. “It’s locked,” she assured him. “Get your arm on the table or I’ll do it for you. Then I’ll sort out your scratches.”
Reluctantly, and with visions of a knife slicing his whiskers if he tried to run, Janus received his treatment and realised that she’d been telling the truth as it caused him to grimace and grit his teeth to avoid crying out. He’d definitely remember this the next time.

“This is mine,” Hastur said, stopping by a door that, the Dastari’s eyes, looked pretty much like every other door. He paid close attention to the decals on the door, in Celican script. He didn’t know Celican writing, of course, but he could read shapes and lines perfectly well and he had a perfectly good memory so he’d know the route here, he supposed as she opened the door and allowed him in… to a mess. Padds and clothes littered the floor and a duvet covered the gap between a bed settee and the floor quite equally. He stepped in as she pushed him gently. It was a mess but it was bigger than any room he’d had at home. He stepped on a chair to the side of the room and lifted himself up to look at the stars going by. In the reflection, Hastur joined him. “Yeah, it’s a fair view, isn’t it?”
“Looking for dads’ ship,” he told her.
She gave him half a smile. “Yeah,” she said, “you’ll see it soon enough. Seen it from the outside much?”
“Not often,” he admitted, the words catching in his throat. “Dad says I have to be trained in the EVA suits first and they’ve not got one my size.”
Hastur thought idly of the equipment taken from the boys freighter and the small suit she’d found hidden on the bridge when they’d raided. It seemed his father was wise. He’d got the boy a suit but knew he was too young to know how to use it. If an emergency had happened, he’d just have needed to get him into the suit. The radio would be linked anyway and he could have talked Dastari through how to energise the boots. A definite improvement on her uncle, she supposed. “There’s one in the engineering section might fit you, Barnabus,” she said, tugging at his overalls. “Belonged to the one this belonged to.”
Dastari looked down at the rust coloured stains on the chest of his clothing. He wasn’t a fool. He knew what the stains were and they weren’t rust. “Uh, what… what happened to them?”
Hastur let out a breath, pushed the duvet fully off the bed to the floor and sat down. She patted the cushions next to her and, getting the hint, he hopped down and bounced up to sit beside his protector. “A rival attacked,” she said, meaning to go on.
“A rival Pir… uh, privateer,” Dastari interjected.
“Yes,” Hastur said sharply, hoping to tell the rest without interruption. “A nasty group when we were making a delivery. We killed them but they got a couple of us as well.” She looked at his shocked face. “Yeah,” she grinned, pulling him in with a hint of affection, “privateers have enemies in the society too. Old grudges and new betrayals keep popping up, Barnabus.”
Dastari had wondered who she’d been talking about the first time she’d called him that. He’d tried to get people to call him it for months, influenced by a character in his favourite vidshow, where a Raitchian tried to improve the lives of those around him whilst still making money for himself, of course. He was a bushswackler or something, according to dad. Now, though, he was getting quite used to hearing it as his name. Even if it was just a nickname given him to get him to like her. He reckoned Iithad worked a bit. He’d been here over a day now, according to his internal clock and he’d decided he liked Hastur. He didn’t fear the Captain or a couple of the others Miss Hastur had introduced him to. But he liked her. He patted her hand. “Dad has competitors too. Suppose the ind… indis… job you have means the rivals match?”
“Good words,” she replied, “and I think you mean ‘industry’, yeah?”
He nodded.

“Time on target,” Savra demanded. He could easily pull the information up himself but it helped to re-enforce the command structure to have someone else do it. In this case, Kurmak.
“One hour at current velocity, Captain.”
“Why aren’t we going faster,” Gallen asked quietly.
“We’re predators, not prey,” the Captain replied tightly. “It’s the same as if on a colony. Speeding attracts Cops. If they’re looking around where we met the ship, we need to know. Then we can follow their neutron trail to their next stop. We hunt, Gallen. We hunt.”
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Re: A Pirates' word

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TEN

“Where next,” Hastur wondered aloud as she walked the passageways with Dastari.
“Weapons storage,” Dastari asked brightly.
“Not a chance, Barnabus. But good try.” She knew the Raitchian wasn’t allowed anywhere near secure areas. That would be a security risk and get him – and her – in trouble. Especially if he got a weapon. The boy was charming and bright but Hastur knew that at least part of that was Rakanna Syndrome, where a captive tried to get onside with their captors to trick them and escape later. Still, maybe if she kept being friendly, he’d stop trying to escape? Perhaps. But it was easy to like him anyway. “What about the bay with the cargo..?”
<“Bridge to Hastur,”> a wall panel said, sounding like the Captain.
She hit the panel quickly. “Captain?”
<”Report to the bridge. Now.”>
“On way.” She looked down. “That’ll have to be later, kid. Gotta shut you back in now, ‘Kay?”
“Oh,” Dastari sounded disappointed. “Can’t I go to the bridge?”
“No.” She led him back through the ship to his allocated cell, opened the door with the code and let him step inside. “See ya,” she said as the door swished shut and locked.
Dastari punched his palm. If she’d had to come in, he might have seen the door code as she let herself out. He tried the code she hadn’t seen him see on the other side. As he figured, it failed. So imprisoned, he jumped up on his bed and turned on that vidchannel he wasn’t supposed to watch. The Captain obviously hadn’t gotten around to blocking it yet.

Hastur made it to the bridge and took up the weapons station before asking what was going on.
“Heading into a patrol zone,” Janus told her quietly. She noted the wince halfway through but chose not to mention it as he continued. “We’re not going around this time.”
“Where are we..?” The Doberan activated her console and made sure the main plasma cannons were up to scratch which, for once, they were. The new parts bought last week were actually holding. She hated having to use counterfeit parts but at least they got the better fakes. She glanced over at Janus’ console. “Why are we headed back to the Ranian system,” she asked, suddenly a little apprehensive.
“Ship’s vanished,” Janus whispered. “We were the last to see it. Means that, if it gets out, we might be accused of doin’ it.”
“Doing what?”
Janus looked at her as though she was an idiot and she supposed she was. It was obvious what they’d be accused of. It was serious. Too much unnecessary destruction brought attention and meant the Privateer Council would strike against them, making it harder to get a hold of the precious lists of who was shipping what and where and, most importantly, when and how much weaponry they’d face. Without those lists it was ‘hit and hope’ and you might well get a target someone else had already hit. Well, she told herself mentally, that was one of the reasons anyhow. It was also a worry now, of course. She knew which ship it had to be and…
“Picking up a Julovan patrol ship on extreme long range, Cap’n,” Kurmak advised from his sensor station. “Bearing 136 by 12 by 75.”
“Adjust heading to compensate, Janus. Keep us out of his visual range. Increase to velocity three. Kurmak..?”
“Putting out the transponder codes of a Calderan cruise liner, Captain,” the Feline replied, tapping a few keys.
“Gallen, get a squad ready.”
The first shifted in his seat. “You thinking of boarding her, Cap’n?”
“No, eventualities. She makes out who we are and we can’t let her away with the information.”
Janus wondered why they couldn’t just blow the thing apart. But he merely inputted the course corrections as ordered. He knew that any voicing of his thoughts would end up with him being hit again. Captain probably knew what he was doing.

The minutes ticked down as the two dot on the scanners came closer, following its’ standard transit route. Savra watched intently, barely moving his eyes as the time passed. He knew that, at any minute, the craft might deviate or develop an emergency or any of a number of other things that would serve as a distraction to events. According to Kurmak, the ship was called the Lysallia. He didn’t know that one. Didn’t know the Captain and if he had any hold over him or if he was one of the attentive ones that would hunt them down. He didn’t want to find out, either. So they moved on as a nice little liner. Of course, with the heightened state of affairs in the patch right now, they could easily insist on boarding or inspecting anyhow. This new foe the federals seemed to have was making everyone jumpy and faster on the trigger. No-one here was talking, Savra realised. No-one needed to and the tension was holding at a high level. The moment ticked on.

“muffins and cookies,” Marran said from the comms console. She looked up as Gallen and Savra glared at her. “The Lysalla’s hailing us.”
“We in visual communications range,” Savra demanded. The Mican made the checks and nodded.
“They’ll never believe a cruise liner’s got broken visual comms,” Savra told Gallen. “You deal with ‘em.”
Gallen looked confused. “Cap’n?”
Savra stared at him, hard. He gestured towards his facial scarring. “Do I look like a feckin’ Cruise ship Captain? Use your head! Kurmak, what’s the ship’s name?”
The feline checked his notes. “Uh, the Garraway, out of Caldera. Going from Praxippia to Vallonia for the…”
“Zip it. I’ll wing it,” Gallen remarked. “It’s a festival of some kind.” he stood up. “Tight on my face, Marran. Don’t want ‘im seeing the rest’ve you.” He made a show of pointing a finger so the Mican knew to put the call through but still had his hands behind his back by the time the Raitchian appeared on screen. “I’m Gallen, Captain of the Star Liner ‘Garraway’. How can I assist you, Officer?”
<”By answering questions,”> the other replied. <”What’s your route and purpose of travel?”>
“We’re, uh, headed to Vallonia. We’re due in three days. It’s a long haul cruise for the rich people.”
<”Not many tourists out here.”>
“Yes, well. These are rich people looking to get richer, if you know what I mean?”
The grin on the Raitchian’s face implied that he had the idea. Rich people making money by investing in the expanding borders. <”Why did you change your course?”>
“We did? Ah,” he added as Janus frantically indicated something on his scanners. “We did a slight adjustment to bring us closer to the Pulsar stars in the Yura system. A last minute request.”
<”Understood,”> the Raitchian said. <”Be aware there’s a ship gone missing in this area. There may be pirate activity.”> He cut the line before Gallen could respond.
“Nice cover, Janus,” Savra allowed. “Pity he didn’t believe a word of it.”
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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

This is really quality storytelling right here! Keep it up!

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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

With thanks to Ddeer, here's Hastur.
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Re: A Pirates' word

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

ELEVEN

Gallen sat back down, his confidence having taken a slight bashing by the Captains’ insistence that his acting had failed. “How do you mean, sir,” he asked.
The elder Red Celican gave him a glance. “You were good,” he offered, “but that Rat didn’t follow protocol for ending the call. Janus, increase speed a quarter and keep us on a path for that pulsar you were lying about.” He glanced at Gallen again. “Ever known a Militia type not sign off before ending a call? No over and out? No ‘be safe’?” he shook his head. “No, something’s tipped him to distrust.”
“More than just being a Raitchian,” Kurmak asked.
Savra looked over at the feline, a sneer rendering itself ugly on his face in communion with his scars. “Just keep your eyes on him, Kurmak.”
“He’s increasing his own speed to match ours, Captain,” Kurmak replied.
“Hastur…”
“Running weapons checks now, cap’n,” the Dober replied
“He making any calls, Marran?”

“Can’t tell what at this distance, Captain,” the upper class sounding Mican offered. The seventh child of a large family, she’d gotten bored with the rigid discipline directing her life. Micans historically, tended to have large families. Firstborn ran the farms or estates, the second went for the Military – which is why Mica and her colonies had the biggest military forces outside of the combined forces – whilst the third ran businesses and engineering and the fourth went into the clergies. Others tended to choose their own paths and, by the time you got to the seventh, they really didn’t much care. So she’d gone into communications studies and used those skills to tap into the communications of several business Micans to gain insider knowledge and make some substantial credit. Then she’d made a slight error and had to run with the majority of her assets frozen. She’d got to the patch and low level contacts had directed her to the Captain. Now she was slowly building her fortune again. With and without the Captain. “But I think she did make a transmission. I don’t know who to.”
“At what distance can we jam him?”
“When within seven million kilometres.”
Savra hummed to himself. That distance was within about twenty seconds of visual range at the speeds the two were travelling. “Seconds matter, Kurmak. Tell us immediately if he changes speed.”
“Aye.”

Savra checked over the names’ Gallen had provided for any boarding team and approved them. An Equinna, a Lappinean and a Celican. He tapped the Lappineans’ notes. “Keep an eye on him. The Wolven grandfather sometimes comes through in his attitude.” He thought back to when he’d seen him rip out a Raitchians’ throat with his teeth as a good example of that. Berserkers like Wolven were good in a fight. Surprise berserkers were a bonus. Sometimes.
“Yeah.”
“He’s speeding up,” Kurmak observed, cutting into the conversation.
“Right, Gallen, get them ready for beam. Marran, jam them. Janus, intercept course at max speed. Hastur. Shoot as soon as they’re in range.” He pressed the ‘warning’ siren so it was heard throughout the ship. “Go,” he commanded.

Dastari was worried. The way Hastur had had to throw him back in here was playing at his nerves, along with the thought that the Celican ‘show’ he’d been watching had been the same one as he’d watched earlier. It was a repeat and he knew how it ended so he’d switched it off and wondered if they had a database of shows on the ship. Someone was outside. He could hear them. Well, he thought, not so much them but the beeping as they tried to open the door. Was someone about to rescue him? He’d been giddy with hope about that idea at first but, as time passed, he thought of what Hastur had told him about the dangerous people on the ship. They harmed children, didn’t they? Couldn’t they? He looked around for something he might use to protect himself. There was nothing, was there? Nothing he could… Well, he thought, there was something but he’d need a lot of time to… He started working at the thin, metal, leg of the table, putting his teeth to work as best he could. He kept working despite hearing the alert siren. Especially as he didn’t know what it meant. He spat out the metallic taste and kept at it.

“She’s trying to turn,” Janus advised as the predatory vessel closed in on the local law enforcer. “Keeping track.”
“Her shields are up,” Kurmak added.
“Raise ours,” Savra ordered. “We jamming them?”
“Probably why he’s trying to get out of range,” Marran ventured.
“Keep the speculation to yourself and keep them from talking to anyone.”

Savra watched the ship on long range visual. A type fourteen clipper patrol ship, commonly known as a Believer class. Twin pulse phase cannons and energy resistant plating on the hull underneath the shields. She wasn’t in the Kerbal’s class, of course, but she could be inconvenient. Best to deal with it before it could call in something that could be real trouble. He noted the change in her aspect as the pursued ship began to turn around. “She’d coming in to fight, lads.” Savra clapped his hands together noisily. “Into battle!”

At the extent of weapons range, Hastur had less than a one in ten chance of hitting anything but she’d been told to fire first so she was happy to indulge her Captain and two beams of green energy sliced space and missed by a hundred miles as Janus slowed to combat speed, matching the other ship. “Weapons and engines best targets,” she muttered to herself.
“The ship is the best target,” Janus whispered wryly.
“Shut it, titch,” she growled lightly, taking aim as the Police opened fire. The ship shook and people hung on to their consoles to avoid being thrown over the floor. She hit the firing stud again, with the enemy clear in the camera’s sights. This time she had a direct hit and she watched the shields’ glow brightly. She fired again as the enemy’s pulse cannons rapid fired, stitching across the Kerbal’s shields. She couldn’t help what the others did, she only had her own skills to offer. “Keep it up,” she told herself.

Gallen assembled his team in the nine year old battle armour they’d stolen a few years back and readied himself for the word from three doors over.

“Her front shields are down, Hastur,” Kurmak called.
“On it,” Hastur replied, locking weapons on the starboard cannon before the foe could turn around. She hit the firing stud and a section of the police hull vanished in a fair explosion that faded near instantaneously in the void but she guessed the fires inside were going to burn for some time.
“Gallen,” Savra spoke into the comm, “Now!”
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