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Space pirates. Lesbian space pirates. That’s really all you need to know. Well, that and not a lot of overt sex. Sexiness yes, but story first and no lurid details.
Yo ho ho and all that.
* * *
Tales from the Stream: Passenger
The ship shuddered with a half-second long staccato rhythm. Amaliya sat bolt upright and threw the covers off.
“What the actual fuck?” she said.
“Um… Not sure.” Jade rubbed the sleep from her eyes.
The ship shuddered a second time.
Jade sprang from bed and sprinted toward the conn. Amaliya was close on her heel.
Inside the small room at the fore of the ship, the pilot’s control surface was outlined in flashing red. The ship shuddered again. A four digit number on the display counted down rapidly.
“Oh,” said Jade. “Oh.”
There was another shudder, shorter in duration than the first three and the monitor stopped flashing.
“Oh?” Amaliya peered at Jade. “Oh? Like the ship is breaking apart and we’re going to die, oh? Or something else.”
“Asteroids. Should have expected that out here in the belt.”
“Oh.” Amaliya sighed. “Oh! Oh shit, that’s bad.”
Jade tapped the monitor. “This is collision avoidance.”
“We ran into a fucking asteroid. It’s not a very good collision avoidance, is it?”
“No. No, we didn’t run into anything.” Jade tapped the four digit number. The number became more prominent on the screen. Next to it was printed ’rounds remaining’. “What we felt was the rail gun. Check it out.”
Amaliya stepped over to Jade’s side.
“We just dumped about five-hundred sabot rounds into some space debris. Maybe a small asteroid. Old satellite. Whatever it was, it’s dust now.”
“Damn.” Amaliya paused to look at the monitor. “Still, a warning would have been nice. Maybe a calm, motherly voice. ‘The collision avoidance system has been activated. You may experience feelings of abject terror as the ship shakes itself apart. Do not be alarmed.'”
“It’s not a pleasant way to wake up.”
“Probably less so for the asteroid. Or whatever it was.”
Amaliya nodded. “Shit. What if it was another ship?”
Jade opened her mouth, but didn’t get a chance to speak.
“Oh, that would just be so typical of the space-faring establishment,” Amaliya continued. “Let’s design an automatic weapon that indiscriminately obliterates anything in its path. And wait! Here’s where it gets good. Let’s mount it on a big ole flying space penis… Ejaculating death on anyone or anything foolish enough to stand in its way. Does that about sum it up for collision avoidance? Fuck everyone else. Blast ’em out of the sky. As long as my flying status symbol of over-compensating masculinity doesn’t get dented.”
Jade grinned. “Wow. And, no. It’s got rudimentary AI for shape identification. Besides, it’s programmed not to fire on anything with a transponder code.”
Jade and Amaliya looked directly at each other as soon as the words left Jade’s mouth.
“Transponder,” Amaliya said. “Like the one in the recycler.”
“Shape identification,” said Jade. “We’ll be fine.”
“Mm-hmm. We’re safe because we look like a flying penis.”
“Something like that.”
The red bordered console image, along with the railgun status, switched to yellow.
A trio of staccato beeps followed.
“Like that one, there?” Amaliya pointed to the new image on the console—a long cylindrical object occupying the center of the screen.
Three long beeps filled the conn.
“Floating penis thing?” Amaliya offered.
Three short beeps followed.
“That’s an SOS,” said Jade.
“I know what an SOS is. What are we going to do about it?”
“Turn off the console. We never heard it.”
“As your XO, it’s my duty to inform you that’s a pretty shitty thing to do. What if it was us sending an SOS?”
“Then instead of sailing off to adventure, we’d sail through the court system and land our asses in prison,” Jade said. “Don’t be stupid.”
“Somebody could be in trouble.”
“Like latte lady was in trouble when she ran out of coffee. Do you really want to risk getting caught for someone like her?”
“Point taken. But, what if…?”
Amaliya picked up the radio headset. “Can we at least find out what their situation is?”
Jade let out a long sigh. “This was just starting to get fun.”
Amaliya held up the headset, her brow knit.
“Fine.” Jade twisted the radio knob to on.
“…reactor is scrammed. Backup batteries are failing. Repeat, this is Kobayashi Maru requesting assistance from any and all vessels in the area. We’ve been struck by a micrometeorite. Our hull is stable, but our reactor has scrammed. Backup batteries are failing.”
“What do I do?” Amaliya asked.
Jade held her hand out for the headset. “Kobayashi Maru, this is Grand Allusion, we have you on scope and are standing by to offer assistance.”
“Oh, thank God,” came the voice.
“Please power down your collision avoidance bilecik escort system. Our transponder is malfunctioning. And you’ll need to stop your gravity spin so we can dock.”
“We’re already down to basic life support only. Rail gun’s offline. No power to decelerate the spin.”
Jade gripped the radio mic. “Emergency chem thrusters. There should be a—”
“Sorry, no. They were supposed to be refurbed last time in port, but there was a back-order.”
Jade covered the mic in the palm of her hand. “Fuck. Bet you a hundred, the cheap bastards skimped on the maintenance.”
“We can’t just leave them.”
“A tumbling, spinning ship? We can’t dock. We’ll have to spacewalk and then sling a cable. It’ll be like climbing up a rope under 2 Gs. In space.”
“Their reactor’s out.”
“This is a cluster-fuck.”
Amaliya locked eyes with Jade.
“Roger that. We’re on our way.” Jade set the headset on the console. She turned her gaze to Amaliya. “This is going to be tricky. You might want to put some pants on.”
* * *
The interior of the Kobayashi Maru airlock was lit by dim red emergency LEDs. There was a hissing and a click from the interior hatch. Standing on the other side were three worried faces.
“Oh, thank God,” said the man.
The woman standing next to him let out a sigh of relief. The younger woman shouldering two duffle bags said nothing.
Amaliya lifted her visor. “Hi,” she said.
“Did you bring a generator?” said the older woman.
“We just climbed a hundred meter space rope to get here,” said Jade. “So, no.”
“How are we going to stop the spin to initiate the transfer?”
“Transfer?” Jade huffed.
“To get us and our belongings to your ship?”
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” said Jade. I want to take a look at your reactor first.”
“I’ve already—” the man started.
“Just humor me.”
Amaliya peered at the younger woman. “Hi,” she whispered.
The young woman refused to raise her gaze.
“I’ve run a full diagnostic suite,” said the man. “It needs to be fixed in port. If you can just get us to the—”
“All I want to do is look,” said Jade.
Amaliya cocked her head, examining the young woman’s face.
“Okay, fine,” said the man. “This way.”
Amaliya chewed her lip. Even in the dim light, the bruising on the young woman’s neck was visible. Amaliya held out her hand. The young woman didn’t move.
“Pleased to meet you,” Amaliya said, taking the young woman’s hand. She shook once and rolled her wrist to reveal another fading bruise.
“Cap’n,” Amaliya hollered. “Hold on, I’m coming with you.”
Jade turned and waited for Amaliya to catch up. Neither of the women she left behind said anything.
“Full diagnostic, see?” said the man.
“Got it.” Jade said. “But I know a few tricks.”
“Why don’t you go ahead and get your things packed anyway,” said Amaliya. “Just in case.”
“Sure, sure.” The man shuffled off.
“We’re not taking them with us. You know that right?” Jade poked at the reactor controls.
“No.” Amaliya paused. “Did you notice the woman?”
“Which one. I wasn’t really into girls until I met you.”
“Ha, funny, but no. The younger one.”
“Kinda quiet. Shy I suppose.”
“Did you notice the bruises?”
Jade stopped prodding the reactor console and stood up. She looked around the compartment.
“Jade, did you notice—”
“I did not, but now that I know.” Jade paced the perimeter of the small compartment, opening two of the in-wall cabinets.
“Jade. Jade, are you listening to me? I think she’s being—”
“Abused?” Jade said, “I know.”
“Don’t you think we ought to… would you stop pacing for a minute. Don’t you think we ought to—”
“I’m not pacing.” Jade opened a third in-wall cabinet. “I’m looking for a wrench. And when I find it, me and that man out there are going to have a little heart to heart chat.”
Amaliya rested her hand on Jade’s forearm. “You don’t stop abuse by becoming the abuser.”
“Maybe not, but I bet I’ll feel better.”
“Sure. Then what?”
“What do you mean then what?”
“We’re not taking them with us. You already said that.”
With no more cabinets to open, Jade stopped searching and turned to Amaliya. “Well, there’s no wrench, so fisticuffs it is.”
“Very piratey behavior, but think for a minute. What’s going to happen to her when we leave?”
“Fuck,” said Jade, balling her fists.
“Everything alright in there?” hollered the man.
“We’re fine,” Amaliya answered.
“Even the sound of his voice…” Jade said, pacing again.
“Hold on. Hold on.” Amaliya put a hand on Jade’s shoulder to stop her. “You can’t just beat the hell out him.”
“I’m a pirate captain. Watch me.”
“We should talk to her. Alone. Get the straight story.”
“Okay. Okay, fine. How we gonna do that?”
“Hey, uh, actually, we’re going to need an extra set of hands in here,” Amaliya hollered. “Slightly escort bilecik risky, though. Can you send your girl?”
A minute later a gaunt face appeared at the hatchway.
“I’m sorry, said Amaliya, taking the young woman’s hand in hers, “We don’t have much time. I’m going to be blunt.”
The young woman said nothing.
“Where’d you get these bruises?”
“Look,” said Jade, “We know—”
Amaliya’s upthrust finger cut her short.
“We’re not going to hurt you,” Amaliya said.
“I’m clumsy sometimes,” the young woman muttered.
“Listen, we both know that’s not true.” Amaliya unfastened her pressure suit and slid it off her left shoulder. She turned her back to the young woman.
“You see those scars?” Amaliya said. “I’ve been where you are now. He sat on my back to hold me down while—”
“It’s not him. It’s her.”
“Fuck, I need a wrench,” Jade spat.
“Everything okay in there?” the man hollered.
“It’s under control,” Amaliya answered.
The young woman stared at the floor. “You’re not the owners of that ship out there, are you.”
“No,” said Amaliya.
The young woman chewed her lip. Amaliya glanced at Jade. Jade shrugged.
“We’re space pirates,” said Amaliya. “At least we’re trying to be.”
The young woman sighed.
Amaliya look at Jade again. Jade held up her hand and made a rolling motion.
Amaliya placed her finger under the young woman’s chin and attempted to look into her eyes. “This is Cap’n Jade. Sorry, Dread Cap’n Jade. She’s the captain, obviously. I’m the XO, first mate.”
The young woman made no indication she had heard.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” said Jade. “You wanna join our crew or what?”
Amaliya smiled. The young woman looked up.
“Do you think it can be repaired?” said the man, peering through the hatchway this time.
“Nope,” said Jade. “It’s pretty much fucked. And so are you.”
The man stepped back with a start.
“So here’s what we’re going to do,” Jade continued. “We’re taking your girl here. And everything in your galley.”
“And we’ll need your transponder,” Amaliya added.
“Now you look here,” said the man, advancing through the hatch.
The young woman looked at Jade and pointed to the wall below and to the left of the reactor console. Jade opened it. Inside was a wrench.
“I beg you to reconsider, good sir.” Jade held the wrench like a batter stepping up to the plate.
The man backed up and scurried down the corridor.
“I’m Emily,” said the young woman.
* * *
This is how it’s going down.
“You can’t leave us stranded out here.” The radio was already crackling with the man’s voice as soon as Jade opened the Grand Allusion’s airlock and stepped inside with Amaliya and Emily.
“What’d you need a transponder for anyway?” asked Emily as she raised her visor.
“The XO put ours through the shredder,” said Jade.
“On captain’s orders!” Amaliya said. “Find the transponder. Pry it out. Smash it. Remember that?”
“You can just 3D print a new one,” said Emily. “You know that, right? As long as you don’t try to change the codes…”
Emily looked at Amaliya and then Jade. She was met with blank faces.
“Oh, boy. How long did you say you’ve been pirates?”
“This is our second day,” announced Amaliya. “Can you 3D print a key card for the galley?”
“I guess that answers my next question about why you pillaged the food.”
“Grand Allusion, this is Kobayashi Maru. I demand you respond,” crackled and echoed down the corridor.
“They’ve got emergency rations” Jade said. “Unless they skimped out on that during their last overhaul. Wouldn’t surprise me.”
“They’ll freeze when the batteries run out.”
Amaliya and Emily both looked at her sideways.
“Fine.” Still wearing her pressure suit, Jade marched to the conn, magnetic boots clicking out her disdain.
Amaliya and Emily traded glances and followed along. A new voice came on the radio as they made their way. It was the woman’s voice.
“Listen here you criminals. We’re reporting you. Do you hear that? You can’t leave us out here. It violates every maritime regulation in the—”
Jade snatched up the radio headset. “Do not lecture me on regulations. I’ll have you know I’ve already filed my own report with the authorities concerning the treatment of your domestic assistant.”
“This is an outrage.”
“No. What would be an outrage would be for me to leave you to freeze. So this is how it’s going down. In exchange for the supplies you so generously handed over, I am attaching one portable generator to a tow cable and tossing it at your ship. Snag the cable and at least you’ll have heat until someone else can come by and pick you up.”
“This is… You can’t do that! This is piracy!”
“Damn, straight it is, lady. And I’m Dread Captain Jade. Be sure to share that name with your friends. Particularly those who like to get rough with the hired help.”
“You can’t do bilecik escort bayan this! You’ll be—”
Jade switched the radio knob to off and left the headset floating in the space above the console.
Amaliya and Emily were both grinning.
“What?” said Jade.
“You were brilliant, Cap’n,” said Amaliya.
“You don’t know how many times…” Emily put her hands together in a short round of applause. “Bravo Captain. Bravo. I will follow you anywhere.”
“To the stars and beyond.”
* * *
A Pirate’s Life for Me
“I suppose I’ll have to swab the deck and all, being the newest member of the crew.”
“I’d settle for a new transponder,” said Jade.
“Oh, this is good.” Amaliya scooped up another forkful of macaroni and cheese. “I never thought I’d say that about microwave meals.”
“The XO thought we were doomed to granola bars after finding out our galley’s been locked down. Still though, pretty ravenous for only one day on emergency rations.”
Amaliya stuck out her tongue.
Jade laughed. “She also has a velvet tongue. Not that I’m volunteering her for anything, but if you ever need to see the stars when there’s no viewport around, Amaliya’s your girl.”
“All I ask is that you scream my name as I take you over.” Amaliya’s lips were ringed with cheese sauce as she grinned.
“You two are a trip.” Emily stood up. “I should get to work on your transponder.”
“Relax,” said Jade. “We’re not squawking the Grand Allusion codes anymore and AI targeting recognition should separate us from the space debris when it comes to anti-collision systems.”
Emily sat down again. “Thanks. It’s been step and fetch since I signed on-board that last gig.”
“Seriously, though,” Amaliya said, as she finished chewing. She set her fork down. “If you ever want to talk. I know we just met and all, but I’ve been where you’ve been. I wasn’t making that up.”
“Maybe after I decompress,” said Emily. “I appreciate the offer. And I’m sorry you’re able to relate so easily.”
Jade reached across the table and squeezed Amaliya’s hand. She gazed into her eyes for a while and finally turned away.
“So, pirates?” Emily said, breaking the silence.
“Yep,” piped Amaliya. “Space pirates.”
“What made you decide that was a good idea?”
“It just sort of happened one day,” Jade said. “I mean, I’d thought about it for a long time. I was with flight services back on Kepler. There I was, a shuttle mechanic and I’d never been off planet since the day I arrived. Just seemed wrong somehow. The discovery of the tachyon stream has given humanity the gift of spaceflight, but what do we do? Cling to planets just like we always have.”
“It’s the establishment’s way of asserting control.” Amaliya said. “If everyone had their own ship, then everyone would be their own tiny nation, with their own rules. Going wherever they please. And how would the oligarchs squeeze you into submission then?”
“Amaliya’s a bit of a socialist,” said Jade.
“I resent that label. I am a human being. A member of the human race and I deserve to be treated with the same respect as anyone else. There’s no socialism or any other kind of -ism about it.”
“Whatever,” said Jade. “So we met in the market one day. I was there for parts. Amaliya was there for…”
“Star anise. For my employer. And a book for me. The erotic variety.”
“Star anise, right. We just sort of hit it off.”
“Jade told me about her shuttle project. She was overhauling an older model.”
“Building it from parts mostly. It was in pretty bad shape.”
“You didn’t tell me that when you offered me a ride.”
“You didn’t ask.”
“So,” Emily piped up. “How’d you go from old shuttle to this sweet ride?”
“We stole it,” said Amaliya.
“You really are pirates then? Not just in your heads?”
“Really pirates,” said Jade. “So if you want us to drop you off at the next port, we can do that. I’d like to have a new transponder code by then, though.”
“What do you want to call the ship?”
“The Black Prince,” Jade said. Amaliya nodded.
“Nice. Where’s your 3D printer? I’ll knock one together for you.”
“I thought you can’t change the codes?”
Emily smiled. “I think I said you shouldn’t try to change the codes. I left off the part about unless you know what you’re doing.”
“You know how?” Amaliya asked.
Emily nodded. “I shipped out as a computer tech. I didn’t take the domestic position until my contract ran out about the same time the market dried up.”
“Emily?” Jade stood up. “How’d you like a tour of the ship, starting with the 3D printer?”
“Aye, Cap’n. Sounds a grand idea.”
* * *
“I wonder what they’re doing now,” Emily muttered as the trio walked down the corridor.
“Who’s that?” said Jade.
“My previous employers.”
“Hopefully, they caught that cable with the generator attached.”
“Be a shame if they missed it.” Emily stopped at a portal along the way and gazed into the blackness of space. “Tell me that story about the first mate’s tongue again, Cap’n Jade.”
“Oh, she’s like velvet. Warm and soft and—”
“You want a kiss?” Amalaiya asked. “As a preview.”
Emily nodded enthusiastically. Amaliya leaned in.
Jade watched a shudder run the length of Emily’s slender frame.
Ben Esra telefonda seni bosaltmami ister misin?
Telefon Numaram: 00237 8000 92 32