Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

As the FNG, I was the crew’s gofer. When anyone needed a lackey, I was the guy. But hey, it was the price I was willing to pay to get into space. Today, I was helping the Chief. He needed to replace the Finnegan Pin that couples the ion reactor to the primary bulkhead, and that meant that we also had to stop the ship’s rotation. How awesome is that? Getting paid to work in zero-g. I love my job.

“Okay, Josh,” said the Chief, “go to the maintenance locker and get me a three foot spanner wrench. And make sure that it has a Heisenberg insulator on the handle.”

“Roger, that, Chief,” I replied as I launched myself toward the aft section. After an effortless flight across the 120 foot wide engine room, I snagged the top rung of the safety rail surrounding the upper deck, and pirouetted myself feet first toward the tool lockers, waving to the Chief as I disappeared through the open hatch.

I drifted over to the inventory control terminal and entered the code for the spanner wrench. While I was waiting for the retrieval cart to produce the wrench, the ship’s intruder alarm sounded. I could hear yelling in the distance, and PPKs discharging. I froze for a few minutes, not knowing what to do. I came back to my senses when I heard the Chief arguing with an unfamiliar voice. Gathering my nerve, I peaked around the hatch. There were two pirates roughing up the Chief.

Before we had set off, we had been briefed by the Rangers that pirates were in the sector, and freighters were easy prey, because they knew we would run with less than a half dozen men. I thought about working my way through the vents to get to the Bridge and radio for help, when one of the pirates left the engine room. The lone pirate had his back to me. That’s when I decide to help the Chief first. I grabbed the spanner wrench from the tray, and slowly moved onto the balcony. I launched myself toward the pirate. Like a peregrine falcon, I swooped down on him. With all my strength, I swung the wrench and split his skull with a vicious two-hander, and then tumbled out of control into the reactor fairing. With lightning speed, the Chief grabbed the PPK and rushed to help me get reoriented. “Great work, kid.”

“We need to help the Skipper” I stated.

“Too late, Josh. Those bastards pushed him, Pete, and Gabriel out the airlock. They’re only keeping me alive long enough to restore the gravity.”

“What do we do?”

“I suppose most on them are scouring the ship looking for you. Maybe they left their ship unguarded. Let’s find out.”

When we entered the pirate’s bridge, we found two of them looking out the ports toward the Endeavour. They weren’t expecting a counterattack, so they were easy pickings for the Chief. As I went for the radio, the Chief went back to the docking station. I heard him fire a shot, and then I heard the outer hatch of the pirate’s ship slam shut. When the Chief released the magnetic clamps, the decompression blast from the Endeavour pushed us clear. Looking through the port, I saw three flailing pirates blown into space with the venting atmosphere.

“I blasted their controls,” the Chief explained as he came back to the bridge. “They can’t close the hatch. In ten minutes, they’ll all be sucking vacuum. Ah, nice. Here come two more,” he said with a satisfied smile.


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