This story appears in the Harvey Duckman Presents Pirates issue.
I explain the story’s genesis here. Subscribers get to read the full story below and should also pick up a copy of the Harvey Duckman Presents Pirates issue. All others, here’s a taste…and do pick up the Harvey Duckman Presents Pirates issue, as well.
Don Quitamo rested his head on fine silk pillows and pulled the most excellent satin sheets over his body. Waves rocked his ship lulling him to sleep.
“Sleep well, Lord Quitamo.”
His cabin door closed quietly and latched, secured. He relaxed and allowed his mind to wander. Seldom did The Lady Eglesia’s captain get a full night’s rest.
Behind closed lids the cabin grew dim. He thought ‘She snuffed out the candles’ and soon slept.
How long he slept he wasn’t sure. The ship chronometer’s eyes glowed in the dark, moving back and forth as they ticked off the seconds of the watch, its tail swishing rhythmically as if time, too, obeyed the sea’s waves.
First Mate León, his shoulders like a lion’s and his hair a golden halo about his head, called through the horn. “Your forgiveness, Lord Quitamo. The Merchant Vessel Tyree hails us from the shoulders of Orion.”
He shrugged off sleep with his satin sheets, rising and reaching for his cutlass in one continuous motion. “I know no Merchant Vessel Tyree. What colors do they hail?
“They hail safe and well, Lord Quitamo. They say they’ve been followed through four starfields but the other ship won’t identify.”
“Call for full sail.”
His command spread like fire. The Lady Eglesia spread her wings until so much white filled the sky nebulae grew jealous.
The Lady Eglesia, the smartest ship of the fleet, emboldened her icon and stood it before him. “Where are we questing today, Lord Quitamo?”
“Show me suns I’ve never seen. Show me skies that have never known man.”
The Lady Eglesia’s ports opened. Energies spread along her sides like water spilling from a deck’s good washing. In a moment her hull hardened such that no life, no forces, weapons neither energy nor mass driven, could penetrate her.
“Now, my lord?”
Once again her wings lifted, filling with so much sunlight she rose from the oceans and gravity no longer claimed her.
“Prepare me for the bowsprit.”
He strode confidently, knowing The Lady Eglesia would protect her Good Captain, and in a moment felt her energies caress and cover him with a second flesh. Seals opened and closed as he walked until he stood with nothing but space under his feet.
The Lady Eglesia sent her energies forward, questing like dolphins in the night, leaping above the surface of the space-time continuum until they found entry, and diving they pulled her through the folds of space to the Tyree, her aft guns blazing at a ship flying no colors, dark in the night, the Tyree’s shells falling far from their mark.
The Lady Eglesia surfaced from deep space, Lord Quitamo’s Golden Sunfish on her prow.
The Tyree’s mainlight signaled: May the Tides of Space befriend thee, Lord Quitamo.
Don Quitamo gave the order and The Lady Eglesia’s lights signaled back: And you as well, Good Captain.
Quitamo called into the horn, “Bring me along side her.”
First Lieutenant Oso, The Lady Eglesia’s gunnery officer, called back. “The far ship won’t answer a hail, Good Captain, and her battledoors are open. She could be preparing to fire.”
“Lady Eglesia, rig for battle. Prepare the batteries. Strengthen your sides and hull.”
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