Roddy and Raquel popped into the crew’s common room, where half a dozen men lounged on sofas watching a holovision.
Everyone turned and looked, then gave Roddy a small cheer. They stood and ambled over to inspect the indent. Most were surprised at her attractiveness, just as the Captain predicted.
“Gotcha a looker there, Roddy!”
“How much did that cost? Whatever it ran you, she looks worth it, man.”
All the men crowded around them, and Raquel seemed mildly amused at this sudden surge in testosterone after so many days in the Aquamarine’s hold with hundreds of women.
Roddy suddenly grew possessive. He waved off the compliments and put a protective arm around Raquel’s shoulders. He led her out the door of the common room, ignoring the cries to come back, and headed down a corridor.
He took the role of tour guide and said, “Most of the crew sleeps on this level. I’ll show you my quarters and you’ll get an idea of why I have to leave you over on the other ship for the rest of the voyage.”
He stopped about halfway down and palmed a door. It swished open and he led her into a small room with three bunks on the wall.
He said, “I share this space with the engineers, Kim and Pak. This is a privilege, bunking with only two other guys. We’re a working ship and we just don’t have the space a luxury liner like Aquamarine has. So every square inch is accounted for, and everybody shares a cabin except for the Captain. And sometimes the Quartermaster. She’s our second in charge.”
“It’s so small,” Raquel said, looking all around. “Do you have any room for personal belongings? Do you take any stuff with you when you go out in space?”
He shrugged and said, “Not really. If we want to access a book or a movie, Lootie has plenty. We can play virtual reality games just like anybody else. So we’ve got entertainment taken care of. There’s not much reason to bring anything else.”
“What about the ‘spoils of war?’ Surely you find something of interest on all the ships you pillage.”
He shrugged again, this time flushing at her implications.
He said, “Shares are divided at port. Sometimes you have to wait for things to sell, or go through the auction house. If there’s a particular item and you claim dibs, if the Captain approves it, you can have it and it’s deducted from your payout. But usually it has to stay on the captured vessel until we reach port.”
“Sort of like me?”
He nodded and said, “Very much like you.”
Her cheeks dimpled with a smile.
“It’s so exciting, being on a real pirate ship.”
“Actually, I think it’s about time to go back. I’ll go with you and make sure you’re safe with the others. Lootie, port us back over, please.”
They popped out of existence and landed in the Aquamarine’s hold near the elevator. A handful of indents milled about, but at a distance. They had a bit of privacy.
Raquel looked up into his eyes and licked her lips.
She said, “It’s just so exciting to be owned by a pirate!”
“Well, I don’t own you, remember? I just own your bond of indentured servitude. You are free to do what you want once the term of service expires. And how much longer is that?”
He glanced at her collar. She looked confused for a second.
“Oh! Right.” She made a motion and the countdown timer reappeared in the air.
It read, “5 years, 3 months, 22 days, 18 hours, 9 minutes, 47 seconds.”
He furrowed his brows and said, “That’s odd.”
“That’s what it read last time you showed me.”
She giggled and said, “No. That’s impossible! Don’t make my five year term seem any longer than it already is.”
He stared at the seconds ticking down and said, “I could have sworn . . .”
She swiped the collar to make the numbers go away and waggled her shoulders so his attention would refocus on her.
“Have I told you how excited I am to have a pirate as a master?”
“I wouldn’t say ‘master,’ necessarily. That’s not a good choice of words.”
“Oh but you are. And it’s thrilling! Do you have any weapons?”
“Yeah. Like a blaster or something? I know all you pirates carry around firearms and the like.”
He chuckled. “No. We don’t need them right now. Everything’s secure. I’ve got a knife, though.”
“Can I see it? I’m just so interested in everything dealing with pirates!”
He chuckled again but decided to humor her. He reached around his back and pulled out a small knife from its hidden sheath.
“Yup, this is all I’ve got to protect me in a hold full of vicious indents.”
Without even thinking he handed it over to her outstretched hand. She met his eyes and smiled. He smiled back.
She stabbed him quickly, with a vicious upward motion, just under the breastbone.
He gasped in surprise and clasped two hands over the wound, staggering backward.
A klaxon blared and the overhead lights flashed red.
Wa Wahhhhhh! . . . Wa Wahhhhhh!
Raquel walked straight for the elevator, palming the controls. They blinked red at her. She snorted in annoyance. She shimmered for a moment, light rippling out from her middle. Her body pixelated into a million tiny dots. One by one they drifted into the control panel, faster and faster until her entire body rushed into the light.
Roddy lay bleeding on the floor. The light turned green, and she was gone.