Updated: Jan 15
[This story introduces “Chief” Laèrtes Kamkàlion and the shadowy Office of Naval Intelligence, giving us an idea of their unconventional practises and manner, perhaps]
I am going to die. Smoke. Red flashing lights. Sirens. Smoke. I smell the blood and the rancid toùl of my shipmates. They are all dead and it will be my turn soon enough. They haven’t found me yet but they will; the pirates, the Ghokhai.
The RMS Bhuèlfère, a medium displacement merchant runner along the spinward corridor of the Kiskin system, delivering machine parts from Bàcharik, the best New Albion uisge, tsaì from Neo-Cathay, and pure Virlýb-Tìka belt tàbak between Ceres Minor and Jotunmur, regular as clockwork, three times in each Gaian year. Served on her for a dèksak without incident but the gods had clearly frowned quite heavily on this voyage, which looked to be her last. I didn’t know that when we loaded up on Jotunmur’s frozen gaèd else I’d have done a few things different, I’d have stayed on Jotunmur and frozen my skoùl off gladly for a start!
They had come out of nowhere. One second,we’d dropped back into normal space out of the Mirkalos Delta `Gate to a whole lot of empty black, the next these bhanda Ghorkai were on top of us like they’d been there the whole time. No warning, no aethè readings, our Pilot felt nothing. One moment we were alone, the next our engines were hit, and we were being boarded. That quick. We didn’t have time to bab nà bam, at least half of the crew were dead before I was even aware of how frightened I should be. I could hear them now, their vvàrvàr chatter over our fòno like it belonged there. They’d hacked our fòno so’s we could hear the screams of our gages as those harak butchered them and laughed. I’d learned a bit or two of their vàrvàr skat over the years, here and there. In spite of being hopelessly caught in Oizys’ net, I dared to hope I could find a way off this wreck and make it clear and complete my mission, listening to their grunting in the chance I heard something that’d get me out of here alive.
“Grezzkah mekkah kulo rekh hakjlak levels two through ninteen. Rakkha tuhk gakh melh secured and under control.” I picked the bits that I recognised out of the grunting kaos but they were not encouraging bits. Those choì controlled every part of the ship and were meeting brief though ineffective resistence here and there which meant my team were all dead. There were fifteen of the exos toùl three decks above me and they’d be surely making their way down to where I was soon enough because I’d had the stunningly brilliant idea of hiding myself among their prime objective here with the stupid idea of jipping a cargo lifter and getting down onto one of inhospitable moons of Mirkalos as a starting point. Yeah, that was going to happen, skoùl brain!
I had maybe five minutes until they were all over me and me, even with my half-charged custom uranos pistol against their reaper cannons and big swords; the little bhanda could pack a punch but I’d left my spare cells back in my bunk