Pirate Stars by Andrew van Aardvark
English | 2020 | Sci – Fi | ePUB | 2.7 MB
Pirates aren’t nice. You don’t want to be captured by pirates. Jeannie knew that. Everybody knew that. It was her decision. Go or no go. She thought she’d planned well enough. She hadn’t.
Five pirate bands had been eliminated. The Chang clan’s spies were clear on that much. And there were only five pirate bands known to have existed for certain in the sector. So there were several questions Jeannie needed answered. Was there another pirate band, or bands, that hadn’t been well known? There were fantastical rumors about a sixth band. Had any ships escaped from the already known bands? Surprisingly Jeannie’s intelligence analysts insisted that there was a high likelihood they’d all been captured or destroyed. The real bottom line question was whether their planned expedition to the Beyond on the Chang’s Venture was likely to encounter any pirates that remained. Seemed obvious to Jeannie that given a minimum of caution the answer to that question was “no”; it wasn’t likely what pirates remained, if any, were any real threat. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough.
At the same time and not far away by the standards of interstellar distance the Pirate Chief waited.
Waited not very patiently on his flagship, the History’s Revenge, currently powered down to deep stealth mode among the debris forming a ring around a mid-sized gas giant. The planet itself orbiting a dim primary in an insignificant system that saw only the most infrequent traffic.
‘Drone report,’ snapped the Pirate Chief.
‘Sir, quarter hour reports indicate our drones are still active and functioning and that they have yet to spot anything of interest,’ his sensor officer reported with a mixture of irritation and stark fear that managed to amuse the Pirate Chief some.
Both the irritation and the fear were justified.
Nothing had changed since the last automated drone report. The drone technology was extraordinarily reliable. Whatever his faults the Pirate Chief did not tolerate the sloppiness common to many pirate bands; the drones were well maintained and had been deployed with professional competence. Moreover there were multiple drones. The drones had not failed, they’d reported nothing yet because there’d been nothing yet to report.
They all knew it.
They all knew better than to say so.
The Pirate Chief’s reputation for violent impatience was well earned. People died, died in the blink of an eye if they were lucky, when the Pirate Chief grew bored and impatient.
The Pirate Chief’s friend, Dr. Erwin Frankfurter, not his original name of course, dared to giggle.
None of the crew knew it, but the Doctor hadn’t always been a madman indifferent to his own safety. Before their capture the Doctor had been a well respected scientist. One of leading lights in the proscribed scientific field of cognitive psychology. It was the practical application of the Doctor’s knowledge that had melded him and the Pirate Chief into individuals able to thrive in their new environment.
The not so good Doctor was doubtless infinitely amused by the irony that at one time the person the Pirate Chief had been would have patiently enjoyed the wait while privately elaborating his plans. The Pirate Chief’s murderous impatience was of the Doctor’s own making.
The Pirate Chief knew the Doctor relished the prospect that he’d soon get to ply his dark science again. That he’d get to make further adjustments to the Pirate Chief’s mind that would better suit him to their changing environment.