Yeah, so here's some stuff I wrote a while ago but haven't shared with too many people. As a heads up it has nothing to do with vampires, zombies, or anything like that. Instead it's about space pirates, which are just as cool if not cooler. Oh and it's pretty long so if you've got the time to read this then I'd advise taking about ten seconds to copy and paste it into Microsoft Word. Trust me, it'll be so much easier to read.
18:32, March 22nd, 2442 (Local time of nearest planet, Earth calendar)
Standard Energy Mining Sector 3, Perseus Arm
The Salty Dog’s captain was relaxing in his personal quarters reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when First Mate Johnson rushed in and announced “Cap’n, it seems you were right about that large prize you mentioned. We’ve detected a rather large ship that fits the description dead ahead.”
“Aye, I told ye that the wenches at the port of New Dubh Linn always knew where a good catch was” Replied the captain.
“Meh, I prefer a girl that stays good ‘n’ quiet” Commented the first mate.
The captain of this particular ship was a man by the name of Jack Sengir, a human whom was fifty three years of age, had short dark hair with a thick mustache, his right eye was cybernetic and glowed red while the left eye was a spectrometer covered by an eyepatch. He was an imposing figure of roughly seven feet in height, about half substantially above the human average, complimented by a muscular build with a cybernetic right arm and several assorted scars across his entire body. In contrast Johnson was a shorter man of about six feet high, had an average build, with blond hair and a clean shaven face.
Captain Sengir rose from his chair, put on his naval command hat, and followed Johnson to the bridge. The bridge was a room about the size of the cockpit on the typical airliner, and had seven seats, the one in the front and center being the captain’s seat while Johnson took the seat to the right of the captain’s chair. Sengir took his seat and studied the information on the displays and ordered; “Helmsman, bring us up alongside her portside and then match speed. Mr. Li prepare the EMP torpedo in tubes one, load the AP plasma torpedos in tubes two and three, put an atomic torpedo in tube four, I want the guns on standby and ready to activate on my mark. Miss Thatch, I want the boarding party prepped and ready to go in less than five, you know what to do. Mr. Logan, maintain radar and passive scanning, and prepare to use focused EM jamming on their short range sensors and long range comms when I specifically tell you to. Mr. Johnson, maintain low level shielding until I give my mark.”
Without question the crew members assembled gave a collection of nodding heads and got straight to work. Thatch, never being one to be left out of a fight, immediately left to join her boarding party. The helmsman, not being a person at all but a computer merely processed its orders within a nanosecond and smoothly adjusted the ship’s course slightly to port and slightly upwards for about ten seconds before running a course parallel to the ship being followed. Within two minutes the ships were directly next to each other. Captain Sengir’s ship was considered relatively small being a sloop of only 100 meters, but it was absolutely dwarfed by the immense nine kilometer tanker that it had pulled up beside.
After roughly thirty seconds of sitting next to the massive tanker a *beep-beep* came from the speakers and Johnson looked at his screen and said to the captain; “Arr, Cap’n it seems the little dinghy is hailing us.” “Mr. Logan, initiate the jamming on all other frequencies besides the boarding party” Ordered Captain Sengir. “Aye aye cap’n” responded Logan, the ships sensory officer. *Beep-beep*. Sengir adjusted himself in his seat to make himself more comfortable and told Johnson “Patch her through”.
A man with grey hair, wrinkles on his face, and a cigar in his mouth appeared on the primary HUD being displayed on the bridge window . He blew a puff of smoke at the screen and said with a slight British accent “This is Captain Blackwood of the Standard Energy Mediterranean speaking, identify yourselves immediately.”
“I’m Captain Nelson of the UTS Black Swan. We believe that you’re hauling illegal contraband and we’re going to have to do a thorough inspection of your ship” Said Sengir, lying through his teeth while throwing in a dignified accent.
“You think that trick is going to work on me? I’ve been sailing for Standard Energy for 110 years and I know damn well that United Terran Systems territory has never had real control over the Perseus Arm, nor does the air force do inspections out of the blue like this. You’re nothing more than a bunch of petty thieves, now why don’t you go back to some hellhole like Venus and pickpocket a prostitute” Pointed out Captain Blackwood.
Meanwhile Thatch and a gang of about fifty men and women in armored spacesuits sat outside the Mediterranean as several of them use plasma torches to drill into the tanker’s hull. With her distinctive crimson spacesuit was easy to recognize out of the pack of bandits floating in the vacuum of space. “The hull is almost breached ma’am” said one of the boarders.
“Alright, you got me. My name be Captain Sengir, and this isn’t the UTS Black Swan. Instead this is pirate vessel Salty Dog. Now I recommend you surrender that nice ship of yours if you want to live, otherwise we’ll spare no quarter” Replied Sengir with a smirk running across his scarred face.
“You’re the Salty Dog? I expected a ship with such a reputation, not to mention such a large bounty to be a bit larger” Questioned Blackwood, a bit surprised.
Sengir merely continued to smirk and added “Don’t even think about running, you can’t outrun the Salty Dog in a tanker, and you most certainly can’t outrun these armor-piercing torpedoes with plasma charges we’ve got here. You make one wrong move and these torpedoes we’ve got loaded will easily reach your cargo’s flashpoint and either burn the whole ship like a piece of kindling or if you’re lucky it’ll detonate the cargo hold and blast your ass all the way back to the Orion Arm. So what’s it gonna be matey, surrender the ship and live or have your ship destroyed and your souls sent to Neil Armstrong’s locker?”
“You fail to realize one thing you petty thief.” Commented Blackwood, who looked much more confident.
“And what might that be ya seaweed smokin’ monkey dancer?” Inquired Sengir with a tone of menace in his voice.
“You just picked a fight with a ship that just so happens to be nine kilometers long and guarded internally by Standard Energy’s very own marine forces. Come and get us.” Declared Blackwood.
“Who dares wins.” Commented Sengir before cutting off communications with the tanker and then telling Thatch “Well lassy, it seems that we’ve received a hostile invitation. I think it’d be rude not to accept. Is your team ready?”
Floating right next to the Mediterranean, Thatch’s team was diligently at work cutting through the hull when finally the panel they were cutting seemed to have been sliced well enough. Despite being a woman of only 23 years old Karen Thatch was well experienced at the art of boarding ships without the consent of their owners, and thus new it was time to bust down the door and start the party. “I’m about to open up a can of clusterfuck on these dipshit’s” Said Karen over the radio back to the bridge. Sengir simply replied “Arr, I take that as an aye then.”
After popping open her 40mm grenade launcher she loaded a Skuld directional force field projector. With it having been confirmed that it was indeed a force field shot she sighted the panel and fired. As soon as the trigger was pulled a wall of energy about ten feet in diameter erupted from the barrel and hurtled towards the hull of the ship. In less than a second it arrived at its target, forcing the panel of hull inwards forcefully enough to surpass the force exerted outwards on it by the pressure difference between a ship pressurized for human habitation with 1 Earth atmosphere of pressure versus the absolute vacuum of outer space. Needless to say, force field shots could potentially shatter bones if used at close range. One of the most popular one’s was the Terran Armament Corporation’s FFP-206 “Skuld” 40mm Force Field Projector, commonly used for anti-riot and indoors close quarters combat. Their employment by pirates for use while boarding ships made the ammunition downright infamous
With the hull panel successfully dislodged from the rest of the tanker, it was quickly yanked back outwards by the force of the vacuum pulling air and assorted items from inside the ship. It wasn’t long before a couple of crewmembers dressed in Standard Energy spacer outfit came wizzing outwards. Their gasps for air greatly amused Thatch as she and her boarding party merely stood out of the way, letting all the air in the corridor they’d just punched into flow out into space like water down the drain.
Meanwhile on the bridge of the Mediterranean, the captain and his command crew were busy in the large and stark white bridge trying to figure out exactly what to make of what was going on. “What the hell exactly are we up against?” asked Captain Blackwood. One of the officers on deck replied “We cannot tell sir, they seem to be jamming our active short range sensors.” “What about passive sensors?” questioned Blackwood. The sensor officer responded “Their starboard side is completely obscured by our shadow sir.” “Sir there’s a pressure leak portside in Sector C, floor 12. The computer has already isolated the leak with the containment doors but we still don’t know the cause” reported one of the other officers. “Damn them, they must have opened fire. Reduce engine speed to 50%, and adjust course 70 degrees portside. Somehow I doubt they’ll survive a collision with us.”
Back on the bridge of the Salty Dog, Captain Sengir noted the Mediterranean’s attempt to turn into them and ordered the navigation AI “Helmsman, match the Mediterranean’s course and run parallel with it at a distance of 110 meters. I dare say a sloop of this class shouldn’t have any difficulties outmaneuvering an oversized truck like that.”
Down by the recently blown open hole in the side of the tanker, Karen and her party noticed that the ship seemed to be getting closer. “Shit shit shit shit shit! Everyone inside now before they decide to shove us into a star” ordered Karen. She didn’t need to say it twice. A second later everyone was firing their thrusters on their spacesuits and made a beeline for the opening in the tanker. The corridor was empty and airless, and yet eerie since the lights were still on without an atmosphere. Just a couple meters ahead was a large solid looking door. The pirate boarding crew approached it and set down right in front of it, clamping down their feet with magnetic soles. With the press of a large green button the door opened up to reveal another segment of corridor without atmosphere. Once all the team was inside that segment Karen hit a few buttons on a control panel by the far door causing the one behind the team to shut. Soon air began to stream in from the ceiling vents, filling the room with a human friendly atmosphere. 10%... 30%...50%...75%...90%...100%. As soon as the room was to full pressure the door in front of the team opened up to reveal a contingent of none other than Standard Energy’s Security Corps. All dressed in their non-combat uniforms and armed with little more than pistols they obviously hadn’t had much time to prepare to repel boarders, but at least they had tenacity.
Everyone froze up for a second as the Security Corps found themselves staring down the barrel of Karen’s 40mm gun. *CLICK*, as she pulled the trigger an orange light projected itself from the barrel as a canister erupted almost silently, pushing the orange light forward. The light immediately expanded to fill the corridor and pushed onwards as the canister pushed forward. If they Security Corps had a chance to say something they’d have probably said something along the lines of “That bitch just used a Skuld round inside a ship!” or “I thought this was outlawed by the Galactic Warfare Treaty of 2400!” or more likely “AH MY BONES! THE PAIN AND ANGUISH IS BEYOND THAT OF BEING EATEN ALIVE BY A HUBBLE SPACE TROLL!”
With nothing left but a squad of pulverized mercenaries laying dead and broken upon the floor Karen’s squad proceeded forward, stepping over, and occasionally on the fallen. “Listen up, that was my last Skuld so you fuckers better be ready to kick ass the good old fashioned way” shouted Karen. “Yes ma’am” shouted her boarding party
On the bridge of the Salty Dog the sensory computer display showed a spike in transmissions crossing over different waves. “Captain, they’re trying to punch through our jamming field. It’s only a matter of time before they find the open frequency that we’ve been using to keep in contact with the boarding party” Said Sensory Officer Logan.
Captain Sengir replied with a slew of orders “Arr, helmsman, bring us to hover fifty meters dorsal on the tanker’s bow. Mr. Li be prepared to fire the EM torpedo. Miss Thatch, you might want to ditch the landlubbing space suits, we’re about to EMP the ship.”
“Aye aye!” Responded Karen over the radio. “Ok you maggots, this is the first and only time you’ll ever hear me say this, but start stripping. I want your spacesuits off five minutes ago, prepare for an EM pulse. This may get a bit messy!”
“Sir the pirate vessel is moving towards our bow, and the boarding party seems to be heading here to the bridge” Announced one of the officers on the bridge of the Mediterranean. All around officers were moving around trying to get a handle on the situation while Captain Blackwood remained calm.
“I’ve got a surprise for them. Begin heating the cargo to a liquid form. As soon as they reach a stationary position relative to ours set off the bow blow off valves” Ordered Blackwood.
“But sir, this cargo doesn’t come cheap. The executives wouldn’t approve of you dumping your cargo!” Exclaimed the officer in response to Blackwood’s plan.
“Don’t worry, the bounty on the Salty Dog, not to mention the goodwill with the Air Force will be worth many times the value of a bit of navitasleum” Replied Blackwood.
The Salty Dog soon had maneuvered itself right above the front of the tanker and was hovering just above it, matching speed so that it neither ship appeared to be moving despite the fact that both were maintaining a speed of roughly 100,000 meters per second. Being only about 1% the length of the Mediterranean the Salty Dog appeared to be a mere speck against the massive tanker ship it looked like a fly hovering above an elephant. The Salty Dog did a 180 degree turn so that the ships faced towards the Mediterranean’s bridge as if Sengir had challenged Blackwood to a staring contest.
Avast! Mr. Li, target the lily-livered comms tower!” Ordered Sengir.
“Captain, the cargo is heating up! Pressure is increasing, she cannot take the strain very much longer sir, we’re carrying much more than we normally should be!” Shouted one of the engineering officers on the Mediterranean.
“That’s exactly according to plan. She can hold it in just a bit longer, we need more pressure” said Blackwood.
“Torpedo number one is targeted and ready to fire on your command sir” Said Li.
“FIRE!” Shouted Sengir.
Without any warning to the crew of the Salty Dog the forward dorsal valves on the Mediterranean flew open and a black oily substance erupted from within. Soon like a Texas oilman striking black gold, navitasleum flew upwards straight into the belly of the Salty Dog, sending it racing upwards. A split second after the Salty Dog was hit the EM torpedo flew from the lower starboard side tube and raced off into space, narrowly missing its intended target because of the sudden blast of navitasleum. In about 500,000 years the people of Primus V would be in for a “shocking” surprise.
“Arr, what in the name of Buzz Aldrin was that?” Questioned Sengir as his ship was sent upwards. “Helmsman, get us stabilized!”
“What the hell was that?” Asked Blackwood as the EM torpedo wizzed past his ship and narrowly missed the control tower.
Out of their spacesuits, Karen and her motley crew were dressed in an assorted array of clothing that would make any fashion designer spontaneously vomit from every orifice on their body. Karen herself was wearing a red and black striped tanktop and navy blue cargo pants. Over her long dark hair she wore a blood red bandana, across her left upper arm was a Jolly Roger tattoo, black leather fingerless gloves partially covered her meticulous hands, combat boots sheathed her feet with a concealed knife, a single pistol holstered on her left hip, and a saber upon her right. In hand were her 40mm revolver style grenade launcher and a grin across her face as it was killing time.
“Move move move!” Shouted Karen to her boarding party, pointing forwards in the direction of the Mediterranean’s bridge. Immediately a group of what most people would mistake for a posse of homeless people charged forth, a hodgepodge of weapons in hand with her leading in front. Ahead of them was a large door designated “Bridge”, the target of the party. It drew closer and closer with every step until they were roughly twenty feet away when the door opened and out stormed a squad of security grunts.
These grunts were much different than those that the boarding party had encountered previously; these grunts were actually prepared for a fight and thus were all suited up and well armed. They were clothed in black jumpsuits with jackboots and body armor over the vital areas while they wore helmets with visors that masked their faces. For armament they had CR-17M7’s, the most recent model with a variable output gauss rifle, 1,000 slug magazine, and every accessory you could imagine except a cup holder. Only McDonald’s Special Forces used more outlandishly complex weaponry.
“Freeze!” Shouted the lead grunt, his name tag identifying him as Lt. Bonnet. It was a tense moment, pirates pointing guns at security grunts, security grunts pointing guns at pirates. Like some kind of American Cival War era battle formation, everyone was on the line ready for the onslaught, all just waiting for the order. Karen evaluated the situation, the security grunts had weapons that could pump out more slugs at a higher rate of fire and at higher velocities than her own friendlies could, her last Skuld round was in a different chamber with no time to switch, and her party was slightly outnumbered. So a straight up fight was out, there wasn’t anything even resembling cover for at least ten feet back, which meant that running away wasn’t going to get them far before they were cut down.
“Now drop your weapons!” Ordered Lt. Bonnet. He knew just as well as Karen that he had the upper hand. It was hard to imagine a scenario that didn’t involve him winning. It was a straight corridor with no cover, he had numerical advantage, and a firepower advantage. Therefore a straight fight would be messy but ultimately it would result in more than enough dead pirates to get him a promotion to Lieutenant Commander, along with the pay raise that comes with the rank.
“What should we do ma’am?” Asked a pirate dressed in a tattered business suit next to Thatch.
“Do I look like I’m fucking around assholes?” Demanded Lt. Bonnet.
“Yeah, you do look like the kind of guy that’d be into sodomy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that if that’s what you’re into…” Replied Karen before being interrupted.
Despite the fact that the visor on his helmet obscured his face it was becoming quite clear that Lt. Bonnet was getting enraged with the intruders. Without a good response in mind he did what security grunts do best, make lots of threats and demands; “That’s it, I’m gonna give you to the count of three to put down your weapons before I give you a new set of assholes with my rifle.”
“Great, so you’re into necrophilia too. At least I’m not a guy, but on the other hand I’ve had a lot of rent-a-cops and guns for hire like yourself tell me I’d be better looking as a corpse” Retorted Karen.
“DROP THE WEAPONS NOW!” Screamed Lt. Bonnet. To prove his point he hit a button on his rifle that made a metallic clicking noise. While it sounded intimidating, coilguns don’t actually have any moving parts, the noise was just an intimidation feature built into the weapon. While most real soldiers tended to just pass it off as another “tacti-cool” feature, many aspiring soldiers of fortune used it to compensate for other things such as a lack of skill.
“Alright, if you insist. Drop ‘em boys” Conceded Karen. On her order the boarding party set down their assortment of weapons which ranged from shotguns to light machine guns, and one guy even had a proton pack. She herself slowly set down her prized grenade launcher, something that she’d normally do only in death.
“Good, now put your hands up” Ordered Lt. Bonnet. In compliance the group of pirates began to raise their hands slowly, but then Lt. Bonnet caught something with his eye. In Karen’s left hand was a small object about the size of a fist. Lt. Bonnet, realizing it probably wasn’t anything good immediately made his thoughts on the matter clear “Drop the object in your hand right now!”
With a nod and a smile she did just as Lt. Bonnet said. She quickly spread her fingers and thumb to release the object to the ground. But around her thumb was a small ring with a straight piece of metal extending inwards towards her palm where the object had been. As the object fell away it became clear what it was; an Acme Corporation high explosive fragmentation grenade with a five second fuse. With the grace of a dancer, she took a step back with her right leg, wound up for the kick, and sent her boot on a collision course with the falling grenade for a dropkick that would make David Beckham look like a rookie. The grenade flew forward towards the security forces, more specifically directly at Lt. Bonnet’s forehead. With a dull thud the grenade connected with the victim’s forehead, and then fell down to the floor where it bounced twice before coming to rest. Six seconds after pulling the pin there was no explosion. Seven seconds, eight seconds, nine seconds, and then ten seconds later there was still no explosion.
“It’s…. a… dud…heh…heh” Karen commented and laughed nervously. “Heh… shit.”
“When will you get it? You can’t win this” Taunted Lt. Bonnet as he picked up the grenade with his right hand. Filled with confidence the security forces lowered their rifles as if to rub in the fact that they had just won the skirmish. Lt. Bonnet’s helmet had apparently done a good job of protecting him from the impact of the dropkick, it was that or his abnormally thick skull. He tossed the grenade in the air, and caught it and taunted more “Your last shot was a dud, now what do you plan on doing?” He tossed the grenade in the air once more and caught it, this time the pirate crew began slowing inching away. Although they were combat experienced, they were still sailors and thus a superstitious lot, and superstition said a couple things about grenades, none of them very encouraging about their safety features. Lt. Bonnet tossed the grenade in the air a third time, as soon as it was airborne the pirate crew hit the deck running away from him and the security grunts. As they raised their rifles to cut down the fleeing pirates the grenade landed in Lt. Bonnet’s hand for the third time, and as they say; third time’s the charm.
When the fuse finally burned to the explosive core in the center the explosion easily destroyed everything in its path, which just so happened to include Lt. Bonnet’s hand, face, and other vital areas, namely his entire body. Also included in the immediate blast radius were all but four security grunts that were fortunate enough to be shielded by their less fortunate comrades. In an instant what was once a confident squad with the upper hand had just been vaporized by a single defective grenade. What was once a group of men who thought they were tougher than Billy the Kid was now a collection of flesh and bone sitting in a pool of blood.
As the remaining four guards trembled in fear the pirates picked up their weapons and spared no quarter. Within seconds a deadly barrage of bullets, slugs, flechettes, and all sorts of other objects moving at lethal velocities had shredded the guards to tiny bits, much like their comrades killed in the grenade blast. Karen merely commented “Whoever said violence doesn’t solve anything obviously never tried using a fucking hand grenade.”
Karen opened up the door to the bridge and stepped inside, her crew right behind her just in the hallway. The bridge of the Mediterranean was stark white, had a multitude of consoles, and was impeccably clean. It was as if the bridge had been taken over by an Ipod and then sterilized more than a hospital. In the rear section closest to the door were several officers of varying purpose dressed in their uniforms as if they were real naval officers. Each of them carried nothing more than a mere ceremonial pistol at their sides, most of the officers didn’t even keep them loaded, much less knew how to use them. Up at the fore section of the bridge near the window was none other than Captain Blackwood, well aged but much more impressive in person. He was the only person on the bridge prepared for the intrusion, the other officers having never seen combat of any kind simply kept themselves in denial about the presence of a boarding party. Blackwood however wasn’t new to this sort of thing, he stood ready with his feet firmly planted on the ground, and a shotgun planted in his hands.
“I’m impressed that you’ve made it this far, but I’m afraid I can’t simply allow you to just take my ship without a fight” declared Blackwood as he took aim at Karen and squeezed the trigger.
The end of the barrel erupted with a mighty roar as fire and lead flew from the chamber, but by the time the splatter of lead arrived at its intended destination Karen was already gone from the spot. Not that she was some kind of ninja who dodged bullets and stuff, that sort of thing is just ridiculous. But common sense dictates not to stick to the same spot for too long when there’s angry old people shooting at you. By the time the lead had reached the target, the target had just taken cover behind a command console, causing lead to dent itself upon the back wall.
Acting quickly Karen raised her grenade launcher above the console and pulled the trigger, hoping that whatever was loaded was something good. A split second later the glare of a bright flash was visible on the wall behind the console and a thundering bang split the air. She muttered to herself “How much did I drink to pack a flashbang rather than a frag grenade…”
Wasting no time she quickly vaulted over the control console with grenade launcher in her left hand and stormed forward to the front of the bridge. Advancing quickly she didn’t see Blackwood until he popped out from behind a console that she ran past, sword in his hand. He raised himself to his feet, took a step forward towards Karen and slashed his sword upwards. Blood splattered as the sword connected with Karen’s left arm, causing her to drop her grenade launcher to the floor involuntarily. Blackwood brought his saber to point vertically before bringing it down so that it lie perpendicular with himself, pointed straight at Karen.
Not being one to be unarmed in a fight against an armed opponent, Karen quickly withdrew her cutlass from her side as she sidestepped to her left to dodge a stab from Blackwood. She brought it downwards to pin Blackwood’s sword on the ground, while the swords were still pointed to the floor she took her left hand and swung a side hook punch across Blackwood’s face. In response Blackwood brought his right need up and forward with surprising speed into Karen’s abdomen, bringing her keeling over. Blackwood attempted to follow up by bringing his right hand up and then bringing it down upon Karen’s neck, but she was too quick. As he brought down his fist she quickly rolled out of the way, allowing Blackwood’s fist to come crashing down upon his own kneecap as she swung her sword along the back of his legs, slashing across his calves. Blood splashed against the previously impeccably clean white floors of the bridge. As Blackwood reeled from the pain Karen delivered a knockout uppercut punch to end the fight.
“Captain, we’ve got an incoming bogey” Said Mr. Logan as he observed his instruments.
“Well what the hell is it?” Asked Captain Sengir.
“Not sure, just that it’s big, its directly underneath the Mediterranean, and it apparently has… tentacles” Answered Mr. Logan.
“Thatch! Get the hell off that ship!” Shouted Captain Sengir over the radio.
“What the fuck is going on? Did Standard Energy send out a little rescue dinghy? If it is we can take ‘em” Replied Karen.
“No, think larger.”
“Shit, the Air Force?”
“Worse, more tentacles.”
“Oh shit… it’s not…”
“I fucking hate squids.”
“I’m inclined to believe that it be time we made ourselves an exit lassy.”
“Roger that, I’ll meet you topside atop the command tower. And I’m bringing us a bit of insurance.”
“Helmsman, dock with the Mediterranean at the tower’s airlock. Mr. Li, I want all the cannons ready, including the point defense guns” Ordered Captain Sengir on the Salty Dog’s bridge.
“Aye aye sir” Replied Mr. Li as he went to work on his command console.
Meanwhile the ship immediately began to reduce speed so that the Mediterranean’s bridge drew ever closer until the Salty Dog was directly above the command tower. With the precision that only an AI that outclassed any Macintosh could provide, the Salty Dog set down it’s ventral docking back atop the Mediterranean’s tower docking bay.
“Come on maggots, let’s move! FASTER! Come on, we’re about to become fish food if we don’t!” Shouted Karen at her boarding party in an effort to motivate them. As she and another boarder dragged Blackwood along the halls she could hear mysterious creaking noises begin.
“Sir, one of those tentacles is creeping up the command tower, and it looks like a couple of the others are starting to snake their way around the rest of the tanker” Said First Mate Johnson.
“The ventral cannon is currently locked in a position where it can’t hit anything, the portside and starboardside guns can’t hit them either, our only chance of striking any of the targets would be the point defense guns or the missile arrays” Commented Mr. Li.
“No sense angering the thing quite yet, at least not until we’ve got everyone on board” Said Sengir.
After taking a couple flights of stairs up the tower the Salty Dog’s boarding party had only one more obstacle left. They simply had to make it across fifty feet of open hallway containing the life rafts to get to the airlock around the corner at the end. While they ran for it the creaking noises became louder, an odd popping noise like that heard on a submarine that had gone to deep became pronounced, and time was running ever shorter. While most of the crew had managed to sprint down the hallway in a time that could put an Olympic runner to shame, Karen and another boarder under her command were stuck dragging along Blackwood.
“Open the airlock dipshits! Get inside! Go go go!” Karen shouted ahead to those ahead.
Finally when she reached the airlock she tossed Blackwood inside with the other boarder and then turned around for a quick check to make sure everyone had made it out. As she turned around the corner however there was a sudden change of events, a sudden change in gravity to be precise. Without warning, the tentacle creature had decided to tip the Mediterranean downwards and swung another tentacle at the Salty Dog, forcibly dislodging it from the Mediterranean’s control tower. In an instant the fifty foot length of the hallway that Karen had just traversed now became a fifty foot vertical drop, and the artificial gravity generators still hadn’t adjusted. Down she went until finally hitting the bottom.
From the bridge of the Salty Dog the view of the situation had suddenly become quite clear. The bow of the Mediterranean had been enveloped in the tooth ringed mouth of what appeared to be a cross between a giant squid and octopus. A couple of the larger tentacles were wrapped around the hull of the Mediterranean and a comparatively small one was caressing the hull of the Salty Dog. The beast had several large tentacles and then hundreds of smaller ones, some larger than many ships, others as small as a boa constrictor in width. Scientific name; Cephalopoda Maximus. Common name; Kraken.
“Johnson, get down to the airlock and check on the boarding party’s status. Mr. Li, how’s about we get the hell out of this” Ordered Sengir.
“Right away sir, preparing for a dual broadside” Responded Mr. Li.
“Aye aye captain” Answered Johnson as he left his seat and exited the bridge.
Mr. Li said a few words into a microphone in front of him, flicked a few switches and looked over his console. He said to Sengir “The cannons are ready to fire on your command with buckshot at full power.”
Sengir reached for a flight stick on his left side on his command console and grabbed a throttle lever on his right side and said, “Helmsman, prepare the engine to go into overdrive for a short burst and then take a break, I’m going to do this little maneuver manually.”
The radio squawked a message from Johnson, “Captain, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that they managed to bring us back Captain Blackwood as a hostage, the bad news is that we lost Thatch.”
“WHAT?! That’s not possible!” Exclaimed Sengir.
“Unless she survived a fifty foot drop and then an open vacuum she’s dead sir. I’m sorry, but she’s dead” Explained Johnson by radio.
“Arrrgh. Have Blackwood sent to the brig, and then hold tight, we’re in for some chop. I intend on sending her off with a bang like she would’ve wanted” Said Sengir.
“Captain, that kraken is larger than Mount Everest, and we’re about the size of a football field. I would not advise trying to take it on.” Said Mr. Logan.
“I agree captain, our guns can get us out of our current position, but we don’t have nearly enough ordinance on board to actually fight it. I doubt that even the atomic torpedo or plasma torpedoes will have substantial effect” Advised Mr. Li.
“Nay, we’ve got a trump card up our sleeves lads. Maybe if it were bigger than say Olympus Mons I’d be a bit scared, but we can take this. Everyone hold tight, Mr. Li, fire on my mark… three… two… one… FIRE!” Shouted Sengir as he simultaneously slammed on the throttle to put full power to the engines. Mr. Li flipped a series of twelve switches, each of them firing one of the broadside cannons with a rattling boom that shook the ship with each shot as the engines roared to life. Blue-green blood and goop splattered across the hull of the ship as the spreadshot of the cannonfire sliced open the tentacles of the mighty kraken that had enveloped the Salty Dog within its grasp. The engines sounded like a 1950’s muscle car as they gave everything they had, and then some. The thrusters fired off the kind of energy that made a Saturn V rocket look like a child’s toy and the ship quickly slipped from the grasp of the kraken’s tentacle.
Several tentacles flailed in pain as the Salty Dog took off like a speeding bullet through space and through a gauntlet of tentacles which proceeded to get burnt by thrust after Sengir deftly dodged each one of them. With all the precision and grace of a figure skater or a surgeon, Sengir whizzed his ship past like a Spitfire weaving its way through a Luftwaffe bomber formation. After a death defying series of barrel rolls, loop de loops, and diving the Salty Dog had finally cleared itself from the grasp of the smaller tentacles and was now well above the Mediterranean and the kraken that was holding it as prisoner. Sengir quickly spun around the ship so that it was pointed directly at the beast and Sengir looked it directly in its hundreds of eyes that adorned the closest thing it had to a face. Several large arrays of eyes adorned it, the largest three above the gigantic mouth with other smaller clusters across the tentacles, allowing the kraken to see all. It was in a sense an omniscient beast, nothing escaped it’s view, and that was fine with Sengir.
“Fire torpedo number two, right into the infernal beast’s gullet!” Ordered Sengir, the rage in his voice barely contained. Without even a verbal response, Mr. Li flipped a switch and the torpedo in the second tube fired away. It was an armor piercing plasma torpedo, basically like space napalm in a sniper bullet. The kraken saw it coming and raised a tentacle to block the incoming torpedo, but it wasn’t labeled armor piercing for nothing. The torpedo simply passed through the fleshy tentacle and continued on its path, reaching the mouth of the kraken only a second later before exploding in a spectacular burst of flame and light. Purple flames licked every corner of the creature’s mouth and scalded whatever it had for a tongue. The kraken writhed in pain like a wounded animal would, tentacles flailing like a small child stung by a wasp. Yet it didn’t appear to do any serious damage, while a painful experience it was no more lethal to it than hot coffee is to a human.
“Fucking plasma torpedos! Fire torpedo four!” Ordered Sengir, this time the fission torpedo was launched. Utilizing a primitive uranium-235 warhead similar to the Little Boy nuclear bomb used on Hiroshima, it was a fairly primitive bomb but it was effective nonetheless. It shot towards the kraken, but this time its attempt to block the torpedo completely missed as the previous strike had thrown off its tentacle-eye-coordination. The atomic torpedo exploded in a brilliant flash of white light, this time right between the three main arrays of eyes, producing a blast of heat and radiation that was more than what most optometrists would recommend as a healthy dose. This time the creature flailed even more viciously, one of the largest tentacles cleaved the Mediterranean’s tower clean off during a random swing.
“It seems to have had a positive effect sir, I think we might have blinded most of its eyes sir. And on a side note it seems that between the thing cleaving off the command tower and the EM pulse from the nuke it appears that the Mediterranean just lost all shields” Reported Mr. Logan.
“Well blow the man down! We’re heading back into the fray! I want the cannons loaded with whatever the hell will pierce through the hull of that God forsaken tanker, the mines had best be loaded and prepared for distribution, and somebody get me a swig of rum, I’ll even take grog!” Shouted Sengir as he took the Salty Dog back towards the kraken and the Mediterranean. Rushing inwards the kraken had eyes on its tentacles but even they had been blinded temporarily by the brilliance of the atomic flash. As the ship soared through a morass of tentacles the ship left behind various mines out the stern to keep things off its tail. Soon the ship had been brought to stand portside to the Mediterranean with the starboardside guns brought to bear. Sengir gave the order, “Pepper the cargo hull with everything the guns have got, use the ventral and dorsal cannons while you’re at it!”
With his order the guns to the right, top and bottom of the Salty Dog began pumping numerous slugs into the hull of the Mediterranean, leaving gaping holes in which black oily navitasleum flowed out, still warm from the heating units. It was practically gushing out the holes, like a fish bleeding underwater. And like blood in the ocean, it attracted the attention of a predator. Though blinded, the kraken could still smell navitasleum, and feel the source. The gigantic creature wrapped its mouth and all its tentacles around the hull. It looked as if it were attempting to consume a nine kilometer metallic hot dog.
With the creature now having diverted its attention away from the Salty Dog and now on to its new snack, Sengir turned the ship to starboardside so that it was pointed directly at the Mediterranean. “Mr. Li, set that last torpedo on a timer for two minutes and then fire it directly into the cargo hold, Helmsman, take us away as soon as it fires.” Said Sengir.
“Timer is set, launching now” Replied Mr. Li a second later as the last torpedo left its tube. It raced towards its target just as the Salty Dog turned starboard once more and raced off into the stars. As it took off Johnson came back up to the bridge with grim news.
“Captain, the men are not satisfied at all with any of this. They don’t expect to get much out of ransoming this Captain Blackwood, and they don’t think it was worth the fact that we just wasted thousands of dollars worth of ammunition. Add in the cost of doing repairs to the hull after that thing grabbed us, possible repairs to the engine after that little overdrive stunt you pulled, the bounties that’ll be on our heads, and the fact that we just lost our bos’n. Maybe if we’d actually captured the ship things might be better, but we’re making zero gains on this and we lost a lot. They’re talking about mutiny and frankly I’m beginning to sympathize with them” Said Johnson.
Sengir pondered this for a second and simple instructed the helmsman AI to turn the ship about face but to maintain the present velocity so as to watch the show. The HUD automatically zoomed in on the tanker and the kraken that had managed to put its mouth around the front of it, sucking down navitasleum like one would suck on a popsicle. “Johnson, you’re not a bad spacer, but you need to look at the bigger picture.” Said Sengir somewhat quizzically.
“Look, I realize that you’re taking Karen’s loss just as hard as the rest of us, but I think you’re starting to lose your edge. I think it might be best if you step down as captain.” Said Johnson.
“Just watch, our solution will present itself in five… four… three… two… and one” explained Sengir, a split second before the Mediterranean and kraken suddenly vanished in an extremely large explosion that illuminated the space before them. Little bits of debris from the tanker could be seen shooting away at tremendous speeds, and chunks of kraken accelerated into the deepest reaches of space. Suddenly a little piece of kraken gunk splattered across the bridge window of the Salty Dog just before an automatic windshield wiper cleared it away. “Deep fried calamari. It just so happens that I know a guy back on New Dubh Linn who markets the stuff as ‘Kraken Bits’, all we have to do is go back and get a tugboat to haul this shit back into port.”
“We’re going to turn a profit by selling ‘Kraken Bits’?” Questioned Johnson in disbelief.
“Something like that matey. Now let’s get this ship back to normal readiness, I think it’s time we head back to port and get something to drink” Replied Sengir.
“Aye aye captain” Said Johnson in a slightly insubordinate tone.
“Captain, we’re picking up a distress signal moving away from the point of the Mediterranean’s demise. Seems to be a life raft” Announced Mr. Logan.
“So someone managed to escape… Helmsman, let’s go pick up the little dinghy. It’s not as if it would hurt to have another hostage, and one less witness” Ordered Sengir.
The Salty Dog began to change its course so as to run directly alongside the life raft and increased speed accordingly. The crew in the cabin was silent until the ship pulled up along the life raft directly above it and matched speed, creating the illusion that neither was moving. Sengir sent a message down to the cargo bay, “Depressurize, open up the ventral doors and then use the crane to reel in the dinghy, then re-pressurize once the target has been brought in.”
Captain Sengir instructed the Helmsman to set a course for the spaceport New Dubh Linn, got up from his seat and made his way out of the bridge. He strolled down the corridor, took a ladder down a deck, made his way through the cramped corridor of the main deck and walked into the cargo bay. On the floor in front of him was a spherically shaped object that was being kept in place by a crane suspended from the ceiling. Sengir withdrew a large revolver handgun, his trusted TAC M2395 12 gauge Einherjar Special, and held it in his right hand. Anything less than a well built cybernetic arm would be highly incapable of taming the recoil of such a weapon without the possibility of breaking one’s wrist. With his left hand he drew his cutlass and barked to another crewman “Get a cutting torch, we’re opening this can of worms one way or another!”
But a cutting torch proved unnecessary as air began to hiss from the life raft and the door began to lift. Sengir rushed over with his weapons in hand and pointed his gun at the opening as he walked over to it. As he approached he saw nothing inside, it appeared as if the life raft were devoid of life.
“Seems to be empty sir.” Said Johnson as he approached Sengir’s side having just followed him down from the bridge.
“Somebody must have fired the blasted thing.” Replied Sengir.
“Maybe it was a misfire caused by the battle.” Suggested Johnson.
“That’s the sort of thinking that leaks vital plans for planetoid shaped battle stations, I’m not taking any chance’s matey.” Growled Sengir. With a mere thought he activated the spectrometer behind the eye patch which covered where his left eye used to be. It showed him someone was hiding just to the left of the opening in the life raft, and that person was holding a handgun of some sort.
“Drop yer weapon and come on out of that little dinghy with your hands up! You have fifteen seconds to comply before we grenade yer arse back to your creator!” Shouted Sengir to the person in the life raft.
“Hold your fire for fuck’s sake! Is that you Cap’n?” Replied a familiar voice. It was female, and a bit rough.
“This is Captain Sengir, identify yourself immediately lassy” Called Sengir.
“Karen Thatch, the ship bos’n and resident taker of names and kicker of asses.” Shouted the voice.
“She’s dead, but that’s a nice try.” Said Sengir.
Upon hearing this the person moved out from behind cover and stepped out of the life raft with gun holstered. She was dressed in a stripped tanktop, navy blue cargo pants, wore a bandanna over her long dark hair, and had a Jolly Roger roger tattoo on her left arm. “I sure as hell don’t feel dead sir” said Karen as she approached Sengir.
“And how do we know that you’re not some imposter” Inquired Sengir, still suspicious.
She smiled and then said “My favorite food is deep dish pepperoni pizza, my favorite color is red, my last boyfriend’s head is currently disconnected from his shoulders, I love George Thorogood, my favorite drink is rum and coke, I love long assaults on the beach, I’m one hundred percent organic, my mortal enemy is Captain Farrel, I never graduated high school, we first served together during the Battle of Mars, and First Mate Johnson is my little bitch. That convince ya?”
“That last bit did” Said Sengir as he holstered his pistol and sheathed his sword.
“I’m not convinced. The real Karen would know that I am nobody’s bitch. I say we jettison her and get back to a place where I can find more sophisticated women.” Interjected Johnson.
“Fuck off.” Said Karen.
“Whatever.” Said Johnson as he walked away as if by command and left the cargo bay.
“So, what happened to the squid?” Inquired Karen.
“Blown to smithereens. And now a question for you; how exactly did you survive? I was told that you took a rather nasty drop” “Answered and questioned Sengir.
“Wouldn’t that be something, if after all the people that have tried and failed to kill me I just die by falling down like that from bad luck. It just so happens luck was on my side, the vacuum effect caused all the air to rush up the corridor, which increased my drag so much that it was like wearing a parachute the whole way down. From there I took the first life boat out of the ship and probably would’ve been picked up a hell of a lot sooner if the ship’s jammer wasn’t blocking the life boat’s distress signal.”
“Aye, that be making some sense, at least a hell of a lot more than sea turtles. Not that I’m not curious as to where you learned aerodynamics theory like that.”
“Don’t ask lassy. So where did you learn aerodynamics like that?”
“Come on now, after all these years of serving on an air force vessel I was bound to learn something useful and really smart sounding.”
“Just admit it me bonny lass, you’ve been watching the Discovery Channel again.” Pressed Sengir.
“Yes sir.” Admitted Karen reluctantly.
“Kids and science these days.” Said Sengir as he shook his head from side to side.
“Right… so now what?”
“Well now we’ll see if we can sell what’s left of that bloody kraken, and seeing as you brought us a prisoner for the brig we’ll try to ransom him off to his employer.”
“Yeah, sounds like a good plan. The sooner we get into port the better, I could use a good drink.”