15 June 2017

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The horrendous flowerbed appeared in the silence of space. Fireweed stoccato explosions ripped across the hull of the ship in a dotted line of napalm shrubbery, blooming gushing portholes into the vacuum. It was a bouquet to the dead. Anti-matter seeds slapped the cold hull and kissed with the power of stars colliding. Fifteen hundred pirates spewed out into unforgiving cold in that first attack.

The rush of reason leaving him. He spun, intense with feral instinct, forgetting the gun on his bedside table and leapt from his bunk.

And violently met the ceiling.

The gravity core had been derailed. Now everyone he could see was dancing frenetic ballets in midair, trying to nightmare swim to a wall or a railing for purchase and direction. The teal of the alarm lights strobed through the corridor. Lightning washes blasting most biological eyes.

Blinding and useless, he thought. He closed his eyes and let his internals fire up. Schematics hopped up in flourescent pink across the back of his eyelids. He pulsed out across the spectrum. When the echo came back, he could see clearly where he needed to be.

The bridge.

The Pirate King Bigscreen was probably barking orders and trying to steer their freighter away from the onslaught. Caught post-celebration with their pants down. One half of the crew drunk and the other half sleeping it off. The problem with pirates is that they never waited to celebrate a victory because life was short. The fact that life for a pirate was short exactly because they never waited to celebrate a victory was lost on them.

Safe harbours make for better parties, or so his people had always said. He clamped his teeth together, clenched his eyes shut, and started clambering for the access tunnels while the ship writhed around him.

“Redfist! Where are you going?” someone yelled at his back. He turned, opening his eyes to get a glimpse at who was shouting at him. His interior vision was great for seeing through walls but recognizing a crew member by hot green skeleton and soupy orange heat signature was difficult unless he knew how many teeth each pirate had. The only thing he could tell from the x-rays was that the speaker had a larger-than-usual spear of cartilage sticking out from the middle of his face.

It was The Rat. His long nose stuck forward, a probing beak. His wet eyes quivered in the smoke above his weak mouth and absent chin. Aside from the bulge of his skull, it was like his head came out of his neck and decided to come to a point. It was said his nose could detect all manner of things but as far as Redfist had seen, it couldn’t detect perfume in a brothel.

“Headed to the bridge, Rat. Want to see how the King is handling this. You want to come?” he asked.

Another explosion pushed the whole world sideways. The wall leapt forward, kissing them both like the heel of a giant. After pinballing to a stop, Rat nodded, his nose conducting an invisible symphony.

Together they headed up the corridor past thinning air, lowering temperatures, fire, and thrashing figures. Soon enough, this part of the ship would be silent with air loss.

Avoid the morgue, his people also always said. Full of good advice, his people were.





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