Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer
“Any final thoughts, Captain Macawdy?”
Macawdy smooths their layers of bright clothing, then leans forward with a smile: “I’d like to thank you for having the courage to invite me on your show, Miss Dreams. All the other networks have been scared off by the Anti-Privateer Leagues.”
Bomanife Dreams nods. This coup took months of negotiations between network, council, and police – before even contacting the privateers. When the possibility of a privateer getting live airtime was leaked, the protests only guaranteed it would happen, and with a far bigger audience.
“Everyone deserves a hearing, Captain. Your honesty may not have won you any more supporters, but has allowed us to see you’re not a mindless brute. Before we finish, I’d like to ask a more personal question, if I may?”
Macawdy nods: “Ask away.”
“How did you lose your leg?”
They sit back, uncross their legs, then stretch out the claw-footed prosthetic limb in question.
“As I mentioned, the life of a privateer comes with ups and downs. Before I took command of the Nelson, the ship I crewed on was unlucky. Out in freespace, a few bad raids and unchecked greed goes through rations quick. After a few days of drinking condensation and eating emergency wafers, the crew run a long pig raffle.”
“That’s not a term I’m familiar with?”
“When you’re about to starve, the unthinkable becomes reasonable. Spacers can use their arms to get about in freefall. Legs aren’t as essential. Punchline being that out there, every human is walking about on three good meals and a breakfast.”
“Certainly a cautionary anecdote to end our interview on. Thank you, Captain.”
After giving her closing monologue, she turns back to Macawdy.
“Can my people help you depart? The crowd outside has grown substantially. Not all are anti-privateer, either. Even with the extra police and military support, there will be clashes.”
“I’ve a private aircar coming. Seemed sensible, given the situation.”
“Yes. Actually, to make it easier, get them to land on our rooftop pad. Jeremy! Show the Captain up to the executive suite, would you?”
She smiles at the contrast between the swaggering, wide-shouldered pirate and the neat stride of her prim, grey-suited aide.
Jeremy returns after a few minutes. Bomanife occupies herself with preparation for tomorrows show.
The studio door slams open. Chief of Police Grunzam storms in, accompanied by three other officers, and two men in military uniform.
“Where is the cunning bastard?”
Bomanife raises an eyebrow.
“I presume you’re referring to Captain Macawdy, who departed by aircar a short while ago.”
The group charge back out.
“Jeremy, something’s happened. Please find out what.”
He works away for a minute or so, then looks up.
“While police and military were occupied by the rioting protesters crowding this area, privateers hit the central vault, the gemstone exchange, and the rare metals trade hall. They overwhelmed local security, stole anything not bolted down, loaded it all into cargo pinnaces, and left.”
Grunzam stomps back in.
“That aircar? In the surveillance video, you can see it’s a small pinnace done up in Aleut Hire colours.”
One of the military types comes in and whispers to Grunzam.
“It’s confirmed. The fake aircar exited atmosphere with eleven other pinnaces. All were taken aboard a large vessel, likely the Nelson, which then entered transit space. They’re effectively untraceable.”
“Your people insisted on handling the security. Your exact words were: ‘you talk to the pirate; we stop them from stealing the place’. Well, they didn’t steal anything from here. Good job.”
Grunzam glares at her.