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It does not take much to be free. Actually, it takes very little, as any space pirate would testify, outside of a court of law, of course. It is doing that makes us free; not having.
Captain Silvarre of the Union Prominence fleet, a registered subdivision of the Coalition, reviewed the results of their recent success. A venture into a renegade planet near Saturn. A planet that had not been known to the public, for most of its' colonized days.
"Gold," the captain requested.
"Five hundred," a rough voice answered from below the captain's deck, aboard the Cut Mink. The ship was named after an accident involving the First Lieutenant's pet, and the Captain's pet lizard.
"Five hundred?" the captain demanded, in a curious, but friendly voice.
"Oh," the voice of the First Lieutenant apologetically announced, "that number is wrong."
"Wrong?" The captain asked. "Who has left our friendly company, in recent days, Kirk?"
"Jamison, Captain," Kirk said, after approaching the captain's chair.
|Depicting the renegade pirate Jamison.|
Photography: Nuno Silva, Makeup & Hair: Cheri Chung, Model: Bradly James
"Yes, sir," Kirk answered, and quickly replaced it with, "Yes, Captain."
In the lower levels of the Cut Mink, were imprisoned the previous 'maintainers' of the now captain Silvarre's glorious business vessel. The Lieutenant approached those cells, followed by a group of young recruits, full of confidence.
"Watch your step," he warned one of the younger recruits, as the lad walked precariously near to the cages. The boy stepped away, and felt a quick tug at his coat.
"Help," the miserable creature inside the cell cried. The boy ignored it. "I can get you gold," it growled the name of the precious metal, and insisted. The Lieutenant paused mid-step, and so did the group behind him.
"You say, err, gold? Gold, my friend?" He turned towards the cell holding the creature.
"Yes," it failed to pronounce its' affirmation. But the meaning was not lost.
"You two," Kirk pointed at two of the boys. "Take our esteemed guest to the captain, for further examin... for a chat. Now!" The young recruits approached the cell, opened it with their identifying tags, imprinted on their hands, and grabbed the creature, forcefully.
As the group continued through the hall of the ship's prison, Kirk received a private transmission from the captain, which said, "Take five, keep two." Kirk knew it was solid advice.
When they reached the requested cell, Lieutenant Kirk ordered to, "bring five out, and if any of them resist, beat them as hard as you can." The lads moved into action, with the sound of bodily harm, echoing from the cell.
Five thin and tall creatures, composed mostly of tentacles, crouched before Kirk. Three of them were selected to lead the scouting mission, after the renegade Jamison. Well, renegade as much as any pirate can be.
"The other two will be brutalized every half an hour, for one minute, until we get the prize. Got it?" Kirk asked the prisoners, not expecting any misunderstandings from the aliens. The creatures drooled thick watery liquids, now supposedly cajoled into compliance, and bobbed their heads in a rather circular motion.
Using remote surveillance equipment, the captain and his primary crew were able to hear and see everything that went on, during the reconnoiter.
"Never trust someone with kids, I say," the captain warned, and murmurs of agreement surfaced from behind him, on the deck. "Those aliens should have known better, than to let their kids on board. Now, all they know is my orders and fear," he finished with a merciless laughter that regularly caused his crew to become enamored to his methods.
The vessel that Jamison had stolen, in order to transport his stolen gold, well, as stolen as any gold can ever be from pirates, did indeed have some combat capabilities. However, it was no match against the vast matrix of laser shields that a mining vessel operated; specifically, the Cut Mink.
The encouraged aliens managed to locate and attach to Jamison's boat, and as they dragged him back towards the Cut Mink, Jamison tried, in a last attempt of bravado, to fire his magnetic pulse canons at her.
"I brought you back the gold, from these thieving aliens, captain," Jamison saluted in a serious manner, as he was put inside the command deck.
"Oh, indeed, you did, my Hand," the captain fondly referred to Jamison.
Evidently, the corpses of two aliens, last seen in their duty as boat maintainers, were found on the vessel stolen by Jamison. Without pause, Jamison used them to his favor.
"Killed them with my own two hands, captain, and proud of it," he said with an accent that attached itself to no specific colony.
"Give me one reason not to send you to alien duty, Jamison," the captain nodded at Kirk, to escort the younger man down below, where no duty was ever favorable.
"I," Jamison hesitated for a brief moment and contrived, "I am the only one signed on the new artifact contract, Captain."
The captain hesitated. It was, after all, a very valuable contract. And it really was Jamison's work that got them that contract. There was a lot of competition for it, as well. A lot of messy competition, that gave them even less friends in the fleet, than they had before.
"Kirk," the captain ordered.
"Yes sir," Kirk answered, and once more his previous military service had derailed the space manners required from him on board. "I mean, yes captain," he mended.
"Assign Hand Jamison a lower rank, and remove his privileges from the boating deck."
"Right away, captain."
"And Jamison," the captain added.
"Yes, captain?" Jamison turned back, as Kirk's massive hand started moving him backwards.
"No more vacations." The captain's eye glimmered against the shine of the information screens, and a twinkling of a smile surfaced. Jamison, for just that moment, felt some real concern churning up in him. But only for a moment.
The Cut Mink and its' unrecorded space escort were last seen heading towards the moons of Jupiter. Official reports tell of an upcoming ancient alien artifact transport deal, but for some reason, only a minor clerk was signed on it, instead of the expected signatures of the Captain of the vessel and his second best. The signature read, "Dougler Jamison, Head of Accounting, in the name of the Cut Mink."