Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer
The sound of a bugle woke me up. Damn, reveille. I hate that sound. I swore an oath to myself that Iâ€™d fix that one day. I unzip my â€œbunkâ€ and float out. As I began to put on my uniform, I smiled again at the poster on the far wall. It was Elmer Fudd wearing a spacesuit holding a K-138 phaser rifle. The caption read, â€œ”Shhhhhhhh, be vewy vewy quiet; I’m hunting Piewits, heheheheheheh.â€ That always cracks me up. I swear, if I capture a pirate one day and he pleads, â€œBut itâ€™s duck season,â€ Iâ€™ll probably let him go. I imagine that some of them are probably decent folk, just raiders trying to feed their families, who would flee rather that hurt someone. But I donâ€™t kid myself; there are some really bad ones too. Sadistic bastards that kill helpless passengers, including women and children. I blast those guys first, and then ask if they wish to surrender.
Halfway through morning chow, the battle stations alarm sounded, followed by the commanderâ€™s voice, â€œPrepare for battle men, we have Morgan Bartholomewâ€™s ship on our long range sensors. â€œMorgan Bartholomew,â€ I said to my mates, â€œheâ€™s the worst of the lot. The captain wonâ€™t break off this pursuit, even if Bartholomew flies onto the sunâ€™s corona. Weâ€™re going to have to board her too. They wonâ€™t let themselves be captured.â€
â€œThatâ€™s fine by me,â€ said the Sergeant Dobson. â€œIâ€™ll buy a case of Martian beer for the person that vaporized that scum. Letâ€™s suit up men.â€
We caught up to them midway between Uranus and Neptune. No place to hide out there, so they had to fight. We punched a dozen holes in her hull, but they kept fighting. Unfortunately, we couldnâ€™t just blow them up. Bartholomew generally kept prisoners alive knowing that it would force hand-to-hand combat. So, we boarded her.
Fighting on a ship exposed to the vacuum of space was eerie. No sound, except the tactical information being transmitted to our headsets. Fighting was fierce, and we lost a half dozen good men, but we killed all the pirates, including Bartholomew himself. I made a mental note to become buddies with the trooper that bagged that bastard.
In the end, we rescued fifteen prisoners, mostly women. No doubt their lives had been hell. But theyâ€™re in the infirmary now, and at least theyâ€™ll recover physically. All in all, it was a good day to be a pirate hunter. We had a big celebration in the mess hall that evening. The captain even let us break out the contraband liquor that we werenâ€™t supposed to have. After several hours of bragging and exaggerating about our heroic accomplishments, we toasted our fallen comrades another time, and headed to our quarters. Well, except for me, I had a final mission to complete before sacking out.
The following morning, the address system woke us up with Herb Alpertâ€™s Brasilia. Much better, I thought.