I’ve been taking a Creative Writing course with Northstar Academy at the tail end of the summer and I really enjoy the assignments we have. One of them was to write a short story and we were given very loose rules for it, so this is what I came up with.
Because space + pirates + sci-fi spaceship dragons = epic.
Investing in Space Piracy: A How To Guide
But first, a collage.
Not that Rhye was superstitious, but it did strike her as ironic that only a couple hours after she loudly proclaimed every ship in port as “useless flying pieces of metal just waiting to be pirated and made into scrap” her own ship, Kestrel, decided to let a few screws loose. She always knew that her ship was a bit wonky, but that added to its charm and speed. Not today, however. She knew she should have said something derogatory about her ship to cancel out the karma or something. She quickly mumbles something about the leaky oil, hoping that will work.
It might not have been her words at all, she reflects, remembering the cup of coffee that was knocked out of her hand earlier by a shift in gravity. She should really get this stuff checked out.
Whatever the case, she decides after a couple minutes of musing, she has a problem on her hands. Placing a comm to any of the captains from the shipyard was out of the question, there was too much pride on both sides for anything to get done. That and she had robbed about eighty percent of them. She turns on her sonar in a last ditch attempt to see if anyone is nearby. If not, she’ll have to bail in the escape pod, and Rhye really wants to avoid that. Kestrel has been her constant companion for years and if she can repair her or retire her in style, that is what she will do.
That’s odd, she wonders, blinking at the sonar. A ship far larger than any she has ever encountered and it’s only reading one life form.
She hums in consideration, winding her finger around her thick black curls, tapping her other on her purple lips. The groaning of her engine and the sparks behind her make the decision for her. Rhye winces as she guns the engine, whispering an apology to Kestrel as they make their way over to the gigantic ship, which she has dubbed “Bogey”.
Rhye raises her eyebrows in respect as she reaches the blip on her radar, deciding that as huge as she thought this ship was, it is really simply monstrous. The shape reminds her of pictures in stories she read as a child, and she smiles as she remembers. That’s right.
“A dragon.” She whispers, feeling the thrill of the word tingling on her tongue as she eyes this blue metal monstrosity. She grins, crossing her fingers for luck before flipping on the comm switch.
As far as Mondays go, James’ day was going very well. His smuggling operation was a little before schedule, giving him some wiggle room to find a way to make some more profit on the side. He even hums as he goes about checking his accounts.
But then the intercom begins buzzing.
He answers and gets static in response. “Can’t read you, over. This is Wyvern. Repeat message.” He really hopes it’s not the cops again.
“I have an urgent matter to speak to you about. Also, what kind of call sign is Wyvern? It’s like a weird Latin word or something.” Her voice is casual, tinged with confidence and a bit of panic. James breathes out in relief; it’s not the cops.
“It’s simple and to the point.” He shrugs in response, glancing at her ship out of the window. Simple and black, emblazoned with a dark blue bird, talons outstretched. “What do you need?”
She leads with “I have a mutually beneficial proposal to my current problem.” he smirks, cutting the rest of her explanation off.
“I’m not exactly the marrying type, love.” James glances around his gigantic metal dragon, frowning as he notices her ship, The Kestrel, sputtering. “I’m assuming this problem has something to do with the fact that your engines are failing?” He drums his fingers against the sleeve of his worn leather jacket.
“Funny.” She mutters, before her voice turns cold as the floors of James’ ship and blunt as an old tomato knife. “How would you like to invest in piracy?” He toys with the idea of telling her that he’s calling the cops, but he has the feeling she already knows his operations. She won’t fall for the cop trick, as he has enough to lose by it. He hums thoughtfully, running his finger along a spotless console, wiping imaginary dust off on his jeans.
“Well, that depends…” He lets the end of his sentence trail off suggestively, looking off at her ship and smirking as she paces.
“This negotiation is going to have to be fast, Wyvern.” She mutters, dragging her feet as she stalks along her white floors, her trench coat flying out as her black hair whips in her face from the speed of her pacing.
“Alright, so let me get this straight.” He pauses a second, running his fingers languidly through his blonde-nearly-white hair, grinning as she huffs with frustration. “You want me to become partners in your piracy business and you plan on using my ship as your vessel until your own ship is repaired?”
“Seventy-thirty partners, yes. And I would only be using your ship for a short time. You would be well compensated.” That edge of panic is back as her ship tilts back and forth and her words begin to slur together. She adjusts her black shirt so that she has an excuse to look away from his ship.
“Fifty-fifty or nothing. I can’t trust that you’ll compensate me so I want half my payment now to be sure that I’ll at least get something.” James says, glancing out the window and hoping she agrees. He’d rather not watch her burn up in the atmosphere.
A long pause follows and he considers comming her again and lessening the blow of the deal. Forty-sixty or something.
“Fine.” She snarls, and he raises an eyebrow as she gets in her pod, shooting off towards his ship.
“Welcome aboard, Kestrel.” He bows and she rolls her eyes, her shoulder hitting him as she walks roughly on board.
Little does he know, he’ll never quit pirating.