The space drive died between one heart beat and the next. Not even a cough or a death rattle to warn him. One moment they were on a slow but steady course to Aykut, the newly completed space station above Isis to take on much needed supplies, and the next they were simply drifting in space.
Captain Nicholas Mars stared at the control panel in disbelief. Fuck. The engineer on Bast had sworn black and blue that he had fixed the problem, but evidently not well enough to keep the Megan flying for more than a week. If they got out of this he was going to go back and smear his face over the wall of his repair hangar. True, the Megan was over thirty years old but he had kept her going with careful handling and repairs that should have kept her in the air for another five years at least. He frowned as he remembered the engineer had initially said something about needing a new space drive. He had backtracked hastily though when he realised the cost was way beyond Mars' reach and instead offered guaranteed repairs, expensive certainly but nothing like the cost of a new drive.
So here they were, drifting aimlessly in space, thousands of kays from the nearest port.
And that was possibly not the worst of the bad news, there was an old superstition that said bad luck came in threes. He cast a fulminating eye over the display screen which continued to tell him that they were getting closer to the asteroid belt they had been skirting for the last hour. Even at the slow speed they were now travelling, with no ability to manoeuvre, it would only be a matter of time before they crashed into a large rock. Not the way he had wanted to end his career.
It would be humiliating, but he could see no way out. He'd have to call for help.
He was just reaching reluctantly towards the console unit, which was still operating fortunately, when a message flashed across the screen.
"Attention. This is the Patrol ship Ebano. Are you in need of assistance? Over."
Mars hesitated for a moment before replying. What were the chances of another vessel being out here at the same time, let alone a Patrol ship? How could he be certain the vessel was really a Patrol ship? This was a largely unchartered area of space and he knew that pirates were a real and present risk for travellers. Still, what choice did he have?
"This is the Megan," he replied. "We have a mechanical problem and would be grateful for your assistance, Ebano. Over." Better not tell the other ship they were completely helpless, just in case.
The other ship appeared now on the display screen, a beautiful sleek craft made of sheer black metal that looked to be the latest model out of the workshops on Capella. Mars stared hungrily at it. Now that was a ship! It didn't look like a regular Patrol vessel, perhaps he should take precautions. He gestured silently to his second in command, there was no need to give orders, Nowak knew what he had to do.
Mars kept in contact with the pilot of the other ship, relaying instructions to the crewmen at the docking bay. He felt a slight jolt as the Ebano docked and only a few minutes later, he heard strangers' voices over the com unit.
"This way, sirs," Nowak's deep voice was easily identifiable. "I'll take you to Captain Mars in the control room. Would it be possible for our Medic, Andrews to visit your infirmary while we sort this out? We are short on a few supplies."
The tall young man from the Ebano paused for a second to glance at the medic's slight figure, hovering anxiously nearby. A young lad, surely no more than fourteen was at his side. "My apprentice, sir," Andrews advised.
"Of course," he agreed, politely. He turned to one of the two men at his shoulder, "Saito? Escort the medics please."
Saito disappeared into the other ship accompanied by Andrews and his apprentice, as Nowak led the two remaining men out of the docking bay towards the control room.
The real pirates attacked first, without warning. One moment they were all engaged in polite conversation as they walked along, the next the ship's corridors were filling with nerve gas. There was no chance to sound an alarm. The patrol man barely had time to register in baffled fury that his companions were suddenly wearing masks before he fell unconscious to the floor. Other men wearing masks appeared and swept through the ship, efficiently checking each room and disarming any men not fully overtaken by the gas. In less than half an hour, the Patrol men were all securely placed in the Megan's hold, deprived of wristcoms and weapons which had all been transferred to the Ebano.
Two of the pirates dragged the Captain forward and sprayed a quick shot of antidote under his nose. They held him upright between them, his hands bound together behind his back, to face their leader.
The pirate leader smiled, unsuccessfully attempting to hide his triumph. "Sorry about this Captain. I'll leave you somewhere safe until we are clear, then I'll let the Patrol know where to find you."
The Captain was shaking his head, trying to get his brain working again. He couldn't believe they had been duped so easily. He glared at the small, arrogant man in front of him. He had long black hair, tied with what looked like a bow for god's sake at the back, sparkling blue eyes and dimples of all things, in his cheeks. The Captain loathed him on sight.
"My men! What have you done with them?"
"They're fine. If you look around, you'll see them all on the floor behind you."
"Bastard! I'll kill you for this!"
The pirates' leader smiled even more cheekily. "You'll have to catch me first! Come on, you've got food, water, a couple of days at the most and you'll be home safe. What have you got to complain about?"
The Captain's face was red with rage. "How do I know you'll keep your word? You could just leave us out here to die!"
The smaller man cast a thoughtful eye over the men on the floor. "I'll take that one with me as a ... a liaison, a hostage-liaison," he said, gesturing to a rather attractive looking young man with blond hair, who was still fortunately unconscious. Immediately a large man waded in, hoisted him up onto one beefy shoulder and carried him out to present to his leader, rather as a dog might have retrieved a bone.
The Captain stared after him in angry confusion. "What on Earth are you doing with Janssen?"
"Taking him with us." To the Captain's astonishment, the pirate took off his own wristcom and tossed it in the nearby disposal unit. "If you don't use that unit again, the Patrol will be able to track you from the ID on that 'com. We'll drop Janssen off somewhere safe and if he's nice to me," he winked broadly, "I'll tell him the identification code."
And with that, the pirates left, taking Janssen with them and ignoring the shocked, angry pleas from the Captain. "I'll get you if it's the last thing I do!" he shouted finally, the words echoing in the suddenly empty room.
Nicholas Mars couldn't wipe the smile off his face as he sat in the control seat of the Ebano, a beautiful new ship, a beautiful new young man, maybe he'd been wrong, maybe today was his lucky day!
YOU ARE READING
Pirate (LGBT - Sci-Fi - Romantic)Science Fiction
Liam Connell stared at his captor. He looked like a pirate from a holovid, black trousers and a white full sleeved shirt, with a purple sash around his waist. Black hair brushed his shoulders and ... Connell couldn't believe it, he actually had go...