Saturday, June 7, 2008

Space Pirates, episode 4

Just inside the passenger deck airlock stood a tall woman in a crisp, dark blue uniform and sleeked-back, straight blond hair that stopped short of touching her collar. She inclined her head as he approached. “Captain.”
“Zoltana.”

“You didn’t have to dress up on my account.”

Kristoff plucked at his freshly ironed white shirt. “What? This old thing?” He’d smile, but it made his face hurt. “What brings the Orpheus to these skies?”

“Routine random searches.”

“Random?”

“Well, in your case,” she smiled slightly, her hands still clasped behind her back, “more routine.”

“Welcome aboard, Captain Zoltana.” Kristoff stood aside. “My crew will cooperate.”

She turned her head, and the men standing behind her fanned out to search the cargo deck. Zoltana didn’t move from her place. Nor did she watch her men. She watched Kristoff, who watched her from the corner of his eye.

He didn’t play chess—good thing, too, ‘cause he’d probably lose every game—but so far he’d never been outmaneuvered by Zoltana or any other duly sworn constable.

There was a first time for everything.

Wyatt, the little high-strung steward who preferred an abacus to a group of people of any sort, but who still seemed to charm passengers in spite of himself, led one trio of men to inspect the freight lockers while Corrigan, wrench in hand, led another to the engine room. Ezra, cultural liaison and sometime housekeeper, escorted yet another trio up to the passenger deck.

Kristoff stood with his hands resting lightly on his hips and pretended to be interested in the catwalk opposite the airlock.

“You know, captain,” Zoltana’s voice was heavy with sarcasm, “if you lie real still, this’ll all be over in a few minutes.”

“Doesn’t mean I have to like it.”

“Never knew a man to turn it down.”

“Ah, I bet you say that to all the boys.”

c. 2008, Keanan Brand

8 comments:

The Texican said...

Oh no! I'm actually getting into this serial. I don't do Sci-Fi. I always wondered why, if we are in space travel of the future, the crew would have an abacus, or play chess? It is like some of the Sci-Fi flicks I've seen where the weapons are just things we used today covered in some polymer with an ergonomic design. What about that Sci-Fi people? Do we need the connection to things we know to make the story readable and somehow believeable?

KEANAN BRAND said...

(Mwah-ha-ha-ha! Yes, my evil minions, if you want to turn someone into an addict, just give them a little taste.)

(ahem) Back to reality.

Your first question, about chess and an abacus: This is answered a little later in the story. This particular crew is not flying the latest tech, and they are a bit old fashioned and/or laid back in the way they conduct business.

Your last question: Yeah, I think we need to have some connection to the story. Even monsters or "aliens" often are portrayed as having human qualities, be they physical or internal i.e. religion, emotional connections, philosophies, families, etcetera.

Eaglewing said...

More good stuff. Quite enjoying it.

You don't see enough abacus' being used anymore...

Texas Travelers said...

Characters are where it's at. Gadgets come and go. Interesting people are "interesting people" regardless of what age they live in.

Some of the best stories from the Golden Age of Sci-Fi are just as good today as they were then.

I Like The Story. I'll be back to peruse more of your blog later.

Thanks for the visit,
Troy

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

I'm with Pappy; I am getting into this serial too. I also like your cleverly and/or interestingly named characters. And your dialogue...so natural, so lively....one really gets a sense of the character's personality through their words. Love the quips~!

KEANAN BRAND said...

Thank you all. (deep bow) Episode 5 shall be posted in a day or two.

willow said...

Fun that you remember the pink book of poetry, too! I don't think there were many copies published because it's hard to find them. I also liked the one about the scissor man, remember that one?

KEANAN BRAND said...

Nope, can't recall that one.

Must be something about the mud poem that makes me remember it so well -- perhaps the fact that mud was a favorite toy? (laugh)