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 I’d fix that one day. I unzip my “bunk” 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, “”Shhhhhhhh, be vewy vewy quiet; I’m hunting Piewits, heheheheheheh.” That always cracks me up. I swear, if I capture a pirate one day and he pleads, “But it’s duck season,” I’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 don’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 commander’s voice, “Prepare for battle men, we have Morgan Bartholomew’s ship on our long range sensors. “Morgan Bartholomew,” I said to my mates, “he’s the worst of the lot. The captain won’t break off this pursuit, even if Bartholomew flies onto the sun’s corona. We’re going to have to board her too. They won’t let themselves be captured.”

“That’s fine by me,” said the Sergeant Dobson. “I’ll buy a case of Martian beer for the person that vaporized that scum. Let’s suit up men.”

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 couldn’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 they’re in the infirmary now, and at least they’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 weren’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 Alpert’s Brasilia. Much better, I thought.

365 Tomorrows Merchandise: The 365 Tomorrows Store
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows