Author : Jae Miles, Staff Writer

I’m covered in blood and squishy bits that slide and splat on the floor. In that, I look the same as the entire boarding bay. Even the shipsuits are reduced to ribbons, and I can’t recognise a bodypart or weapon component anywhere.

She stands there, not a mark on her and hands on hips. The look on her face is a cross between amusement and bemusement.

“Can’t say I’ve met one of your kind before.” She smiles.

“Likewise.” I don’t.

There are many forms of psionics. Telekinesis is the most common, and personal nullification the rarest. Of the telekinetics, area-effect micromanipulation is the absolute pinnacle. It is also terrifying. The people who practice it, instead of taking a chemical inhibitor, are of a very ‘special’ mindset. People call them ‘shredders’ and regard them as mythical space-terrors.

Having full-spectrum personal psionic nullification in an always-on, unconscious implementation state will save you life and keep your thoughts private. It will not save what your clothes. I am naked and quaking, ankle deep in a blood-soaked pile of shredded kit.

She pulls a gun that seems too large for her hand: “You’ve just inherited a whole space-pirate scow. Or we get to see if you can nullify a flechette spray.”

Easy answer: I turn and squelch back through the puree of my crewmates, flicking chunks of them off me. Getting back into our decontamination lock, I have to stop the cleansing showers twice to scrape pirate mulch from the drains.

Wrapped in a robe I wander onto the silent bridge to see a ‘message received’ beacon flashing. I open it and have to smile:

FREIGHT HAULING. GOOD WORK FOR ONE MAN WITH A STARSHIP. ESPECIALLY FOR AN EX-PIRATE WHO DIDN’T CARRY A WEAPON FOR ME TO SHRED.

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