I thought I would try my hand at NaNoWriMo last November and I got off to a good start but just didn’t make the time to finish. I want to post what I wrote SOMEWHERE so here’s what I ended up writing. Enjoy!
Cap leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms up behind her head. They boarded this piece of shit cruiser looking for a payload and the crew had been frustratingly tight-lipped. Well, all but one. He agreed to talk, provided they made it look like he was putting up a fight. He didn’t want to lose his post or something – she stopped listening when he started crying – so they tied him up and sat him in a chair while the rest of the Princess’ crew – the ship was named Princess, stars preserve her – watched with wide eyes. The man in front of her was feebly wrestling with the bonds that held him; he tried to put up a good show at least. Her bodyguard, a giant of a man, sat beside him and was assembling his blaster methodically. She cleared her throat and both men looked up at her.
“Gentlemen, none of the parties present want to dirty this lovely cruiser with bloodstains.” The bound man growled at her, “You don’t know who you’re dealing with, you stupid …” He looked at her prosthetic leg that was crafted to look like a wooden peg – she had a reputation to maintain.
She rolled her eyes. Typical. “No use threatening me. I’m not the one sitting with my hands behind my back.” She tilted her head, “Well, not bound at least.”
The man glared at her. She sighed and swung her hands down onto the table. “I’m sure we can come to some kind of agreement. My client has need of whatever’s in your cargo hold, and you have a need to continue breathing.”
Elias looked up and snapped the last piece of his blaster together. Elias was a tall, muscular man, and he disliked unnecessary violence but he could bluff his way through it. “You sure about that, Cap? Some men don’t need to breathe to be of use.” He was harmless but he had a quiet way of speech that frightened people if he said the right things.
The man went slack in his bonds and she waved a hand dismissively, “I don’t think there’ll be any need for that, Elias. Cralius here’s gonna open the cargo bay and tell his crew to stay clear while we take what’s ours.” She stood up, crossed the space between her and Cralius and lowered her voice, “Isn’t that right?”
Sure they had a deal, but there was no harm in shaking him up a little. Cralius gulped audibly and whispered, “Yes ma’am.”
“Elias, untie this handsome fella. Cralius, would you be so kind as to tell your crew to stay the hell back unless they want some holes in their bellies? That would be lovely.”
Elias pressed a button on his hip and the bonds disappeared. Cralius peered at the crew who looked like the last thing they wanted to do was move anywhere, and said quietly, “You heard the lady.”
She clapped her hands, “Excellent. Open these doors, if you please.”
Cralius walked up to a number pad on the wall and punched in a few keys. The door opened with a soft whoosh and revealed an empty room, save for one small box.
Elias looked at her, “What the hell?”
“The client told us to take what’s here, so that’s what we’re doing.”
He shrugged and stood back while she crossed the threshold. The cargo room was empty but something felt off. As she bent to pick up the small box, she felt the hair rise on the back of her neck. The space in the cargo room felt small, like there was something more in this room.
“Elias, turn your cloaker to frequency 1.5 and give it a good blast.”
“You really think they’re hiding cargo?”
“I’d bet my leg.”
“Cap, that leg was expensive.”
“I know Elias, it’s a good leg too. Just hit the damn cloaker.”
“Yes ma’am.” He switched his cloaker to frequency 1.5 and tapped it. The device on his hip emitted a low whine, and she squinted at the empty space in the room. Slowly, as the whine grew louder, the outline of more boxes appeared. “Ha!” She turned triumphantly to the watching crew and tapped her leg on the side of a large box that appeared in front of her. “Never cheat a cheater!”
“Elias, tell Cox we’ll be over in a sec. We got our cargo.” He pressed the device on his wrist, an ancient communicator and a squeaky voice came over the line, “You guys finished in there yet, or what?” Elias smiled, “Love you too, Cox.”
“We gotta schedule to keep. Got the goods?”
Cap leaned over, “Yep. We’re done here. Let Twigs know to fire up the engines.”
“That’s now how they -”
As Elias moved each piece of cargo onto a hover-dolly, she ticked them off from a list. “The ones we need are marked with a constellation, its uhhh…” She flipped her tablet, “Orion. Leave the rest.”
She turned with a flourish to the waiting crew of the Princess and bowed low, “Pleasure doing business with you fine, space-faring folk. We’ll be out of your hair shortly.”
Elias set the last crate down on the dolly, “All done Cap. That’ll be all the crates marked with Orion.”
“Excellent, excellent.” She pulled her blaster from the holster on her hip, and walked backwards behind Elias as he guided the hover-dolly. “Thank you again for your cooperation. Don’t try to call us in, or I’ll track you down and shoot you all out of the sky.”
“Wait.” A man stepped forward from the crew.
Elias stopped, “Cap?”
“Go on.” She waved him away, tightened her grip on her blaster and laid it on her forearm. “May I ask what this delay is about, sir?”
“I recognize you.”
“Of course you do, I’m a ‘pirate’.” She winked her best, most charming wink and started to turn away.
“No, I know you.” The man jabbed a finger at her, his voice growing louder and louder until he was shouting, “You’re that woman who stole the freighter and ran off with the Armada’s finest engineer!”
“Ah,” her smile faded as her lips pressed into a thin line. “I don’t want to kill anyone so we’re both going to pretend you didn’t say that. I’ll walk off this ship and you keep living if you keep your mouth shut.”
Calius tried to calm the man down but he pushed him away and stepped forward. “I name you – ”
She shot a blast at his feet, making him jump. “Don’t. I’m warning you.”
He set his shoulders and said again, firmly, “I name you, Captain A-” His head snapped back as she fired another shot right between his eyes and he crumpled to the ground.
The crew of the Princess watched silently as she stepped forward and rifled through his clothing. She pocketed his ID card. Calius stared at her.
“I like to know who I’m dealing with,” she smiled sweetly.
Elias ran back after hearing the gunshots, his own blaster drawn in front of him, “Cap!”
“Everything’s taken care of. Just some loyalist who thought he’d blab my name in front of company.”
He holstered his blaster and said quietly, “Clean up?”
She looked at the crew of the Princess, they were huddled together and trembling. “Not necessary.”
“Anyone else think they know who I am?” She stepped forward and the crew started talking over one another that they really had no idea, they only knew she was a smuggler and to please not kill them and finally she held her hands up. “Enough. As I said earlier, I didn’t want to kill anyone but I will if it protects me and mine. If I hear a whisper of my name and it gets traced back here, I will come find you and I will be the last thing you see in this life.”
She nodded to Calius, and spat on the dead man. “Let’s go.”
As she and Elias walked up the gangway to their ship, she rubbed the back of her neck and sighed, “That wasn’t exactly the smoothest acquisition.”
“Who was the guy?”
She pulled the ID card out, “No one I know. Or knew.” She slipped the card back in her pocket, “I’m sure the Armada put out my image, I’d be insulted if they didn’t. I stole a helluva freighter.”
Elias laughed, “That you did Cap.”
“Y’know, maybe I should get a mask. And a big hat.”
“You’re a walking, talking stereotype.”
“I love it when you talk dirty.”
They crossed into their ship and she buzzed the bridge while Elias secured the new cargo, “Undock, Cox. We’re almost ready to head out.”
Cox’s voice rang out over the comm, “Finally. Do we know what we’re carrying?”
“What’s my rule?” Cox’s voice intoned along with her own, “Never open the boxes.”
“Not even a peek?” Cox pouted.
“Just pilot my ship you nosy bird.” She flipped the comm off and made her way to the bridge, trailing her hand along the solid metal walls of the ship.
It was a fine freighter, originally piloted by herself and Twigs in the Armada. Class A, with specialized engines that they’d rigged up themselves through a few black market deals. She flew beautifully, and she was faster than most freighters her size which had got them out of a few tight spots.
She stepped onto the bridge and a small girl sat in the pilot’s seat. “Cox,” Cap ruffled her hair gently, “Let’s get this cargo to the client and get paid.” She handed the girl her tablet with a set of coordinates.
Cox flipped a few more switches, punched in the coordinates and flipped the ship-wide comm, “Ladieeeeeees and gentlemen. Well, gentleman I guess since Elias is the only – .”
Cap tapped her on the head, “Alright, you’re a real comedian Cox.”
“Thanks, Cap! Ok everyone, we’re jumping in 5 so strap yourselves in!” Cox flipped the comm off and spun the chair to face her. “So how’d it go?”
“Could’ve been better, I had to remove a problem.” Cap thumbed the ID card in her pocket absentmindedly.
“Remove a problem? You mean you shot someone?! Whoa!”
“He recognized me.”
Cox tapped her chin thoughtfully, “You should get a mask.”
“That’s what I told Elias!”
“Oh yeah! What’d he say?”
Cap pouted, “He called me a stereotype.”
Cox giggled, “Well with that leg of yours, you kind of are.” The console beeped and a voice floated through the bridge, “Engines are prepped for jump.” Cox whipped her chair back, “Ready to go Cap? Jump’s set.”
Cap buckled herself into the co-pilot seat, “Ready.”
Cox flipped the ship-wide comm on again, “I hope you’re buckled in because we’re jumping in 5…” Cox pulled a lever, “4…” pushed a large, blue button “3… 2…” stomped on a foot panel, “1!”
Once they’d settled into the jump Cap stalked off to her room just off the bridge, flipping the ID card over in her hands. In the ass end of the galaxy some puffed-up loyalist had recognized her and nearly tossed her life back in the can.
She sat down heavily in her desk chair, tossed the ID card on a shelf and leaned back, settling her foot and prosthetic on the desk. It had been a long time since she lost her leg and she could have had the Armada grow a new one but she kept the prosthetic as a reminder of how dangerous the galaxy could be.
A soft knock on the door roused her from her daydream and she yawned as she said, “Door’s open.” The door slid open and a muscular woman in green overalls with dark skin and darker hair slipped through the opening.
“Hey Twigs,” Cap swung her feet off the desk and leaned forward, settling her elbows on her thighs. “How’re the engines looking?”
“Just fine, Cap.” Twigs set her hands on her hips and her brow furrowed in concern, “Elias said you two had a problem on the Princess.”
“Ah. Yeah,” Cap rubbed the back of her neck and plucked the ID card off the desk. “Here. Take a look.”
Twigs stepped forward and looked over the card, her eyes flicking over the words. “I don’t know him.”
“Neither do I. But if he knows me, then other folk might know us.”
Twigs crossed her arms, “Think the Armada’s putting out feelers?”
“I’d bet my leg.”
Twigs sighed and ran her hands through her hair, “Cap, c’mon.”
“Right, right,” Cap turned in her chair and pulled a screen down from the ceiling. “Let’s figure out what they’re saying about us.”
And that’s as far as I got. I had this huge sweeping space opera in my head but sitting down to write it in a month just became too scary! I think about these characters a lot. I hope to revisit this universe this year and actually carve out the story the way I envision it.
If you have any tips for writing (and keeping it going) I’d love to hear them!