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Pirates! – Sheane and Atna III Written Sunday 22nd of February 2015 at 06:00am by Erris

Editor's Note: Hello 'Verse! Due to scheduling reasons, my fiction will now be airing Sunday mornings. Check back every week for more! Ok, lets set the stage. I’m in a Cutlass this time.  I’ve named...
Editor's Note: Hello 'Verse!  Due to scheduling reasons, my fiction will now be airing Sunday mornings.  Check back every week for more!

Ok, lets set the stage.

I’m in a Cutlass this time.  I’ve named her the Orangutan, because she’s got big arms, big legs, and a big belly.  Like an Orangutan.  Go look at a Cutlass; I’ll wait.

See it?

Now look, I know, I know, everyone always says that Cutlasses are for Pirates, but I’m not one, I swear.

Let me explain.

***

‘Stop your ship now or I WILL blast you out of the sky!’ I yell into the intercom.  My target doesn’t even slow down.  Because of course they don’t.  They always choose the hard way.

‘Atnaaaaaa’ I plead.  Atna’s in the gunner’s seat, and she’s laughing at me.  Laughing!  Here we are, trying to chase down a Freelancer that’s running away from us, while we’re running from a bounty hunter, and she’s laughing at me.

Sometimes I wonder why I put up with her.

‘Please, Atna, just…can you just shoot?  Maybe hit an engine?  Maybe even just a warning shot?’

More laughter from Atna.

Wait…this…this probably isn’t the best place to start.  Lets go back further.

***

The intercom crackled to life, a sharp staccato burst that growled as it forced the speakers on.

‘This is Edhen Vero, UEE Bounty Hunter number 015160851.  By the powers vested in me, and in the name of the law, stop your ship, or I will open fire’ the male voice crackling through the commslink just made me angrier.

Vero’s credentials forced their way onto my screen, and unfortunately they looked legit.  Valid number, registered in 2936… scanners were now registering his Avenger Warlock; he must have been jamming us before.

‘Bloody hell!’ I cursed, pounding the fist on the side of the cockpit in anger.

‘Atna, we’ve got bounty hunters on us!’ I yelled up at my partner.  The Cutlass is small, there’s no need to yell, I know, but…nerves, alright?

‘I know!’ Atna laughed back, struggling to get the words out over guffaws that were wracking her body.

Wait, hang on…This probably isn’t a good place to start either.  Lets go back even further.

***

Atna looked amazing in her dress, as usual.  Tall and slim already, the heels she wore just lengthened her legs even more.  The dress came down to her mid-thigh, which meant there were miles and miles of leg that I couldn’t stop staring at.

‘Stop staring, Sheane,’ she said, giving me a playful slap.  ‘Eyes front.’  She smiled.  ‘Now, tell me how I look!’ she turned slowly, taking her time managing the four-inch heels.

‘You look great’, I said, pulling my gaze away from her legs to look her in the eyes, ‘Now, get in there.  And be careful.’ I straightened the small cap with the filmy half-veil that she was wearing, watched her turn and head towards the bar.  With that dress and those heels, and the cap, and the way the veil fell loosely over the right side of her face…

guh.  Words.  How do you describe perfection?

She made it to the bar, swayed her way past the bouncer, and disappeared inside.  I gave her a good five minutes before I moved to follow her in.  We weren’t together, not this time.  Making the mark demanded some…separation…this time.

I hated every second away from her.

Have you ever been so comfortable with someone, so used to them beside you, that you just feel…not even just alone, but…but empty, when they’re not around?

Yeah, me neither.

I squared my shoulders and walked to the entrance.  Atna was the bait this time, she got to wear the fancy dress.  I got the brown, calf-high boots, black jeans, blouse and blazer.

Atna pulled the dress off better than I would have anyway.

I nodded as the bouncer waved me in.  As I passed the club’s sound barrier, some kind of electronic dance-reggae assaulted my ears.  Someone passed me, heading out of the bar as I blinked my eyes a few times to get used to the low light and the bright flashes of neon.  Bright lights, loud noises…the headache was instant.

In case you can’t tell, bars aren’t quite my scene.

The place was mostly empty, and it didn’t take me long to find Atna.  She was at the bar, drink waving sloppily in one hand as she laughed, hanging off the shoulder of the man beside her.  Looked like she’d already made her mark.  The man was tall, with tanned skin and had an angular, chiseled sort of face.  He had short-cropped, wavy black hair, and a thin moustache, and he…

Did not at all match the description we were given for the mark.

‘Bloody…’

In a second I was at Atna’s side, one hand separating her from her drink, the other separating her from the man at her side.  She turned to look at me and laughed.

‘Sheeeane!’ she barely made out over wheezing chuckles.  ‘Sheeeane!  The…he…got me a drink!  And have you seen this man’s moustache!’  She turned back to the tall dark man at her side, hands reaching up and trying to curl his fragile attempt at facial hair, ‘It’s…it’s so…’

‘That’s it Atna, we’re going.’ I said, grabbing her by the arm and pulling her out of the bar.

I pushed her out as quickly as I could, rushing out past the bouncer and into the street outside the bar, looking frantically for anyone out of the ordinary.

‘Dammit!’ I cursed, throwing my arms up in the air, ‘We lost him!’

Atna laughed.

‘Nononono, see,’ she laughed, doubled over, ‘here’ she said, barely managing to pull a beeping PDA out of her clutch, ‘Tracker’.

I gave it a quick glance.  GPS tracker.  She must have slipped it on the mark when he got her the drink.

‘Atna…Atna I could kiss you’

She laughed at that too.

I should probably fast forward a bit here, and maybe explain a bit too.

See, Atna and I, we got a mark.  A job.  The mark was a dealer, selling a new variant of ‘Happy.  Not the most dangerous drug out there, but…well, it’s an annoying one.  And the bounty was right.

I started to piece things together through Atna’s jumbled laughter as we went after the guy.  She’d made him the second she walked into the bar.  She went to him.  She slipped a tracker on him, he slipped some ‘Happy in her drink.  Tit for tat, or something.

Where do sayings like that come from anyway?

We took our time getting to the starport.  Well, I say we took our time, but really we got there as quickly as possible, what with Atna doubled over laughing the entire way.  Drunk Atna?  She’s easy to get moving.  Just point her in the right direction, and tell her there’s food if she keeps walking.  High on ‘Happy Atna though?  Yeah.  Good luck moving her when she sees a display in a window of a cat wearing rainboots.  Terrible.  If I knew her voice could go that high, I’d have brought earplugs.  Seriously.

The mark had already taken off by the time we made it to the port, and we were in a Cutlass.  We wouldn’t catch him with speed.  But with a little persistence, and the tracker Atna got on him…

This is where we fast-forward again.

***

‘Stop your ship now or I WILL blast you out of the sky!’ I yell into the intercom.  My target doesn’t even slow down.  Because of course they don’t.  They always choose the hard way.

‘Atnaaaaaa’ I plead.  Atna’s in the gunner’s seat, and she’s laughing at me.  Laughing!  Here we are, trying to chase down a Freelancer that’s running away from us, while we’re running from a bounty hunter, and she’s laughing at me.

Sometimes I wonder why I put up with her.

‘Please, Atna, just…can you just shoot?  Maybe hit an engine?  Maybe even just a warning shot?’

More laughter from Atna.

It’s not looking good.  The bounty-hunter arrived just as we caught up to the target.  Now the target’s running away, we’re being chased, and we look like pirates ‘cause we’re in a Cutlass.

I’m never flying in one of these fat Orangutans again!

Atna’s no help; she won’t come down from the ‘Happy for at least another three hours.  I’m on my own on this one.  Fine.

Fine!

‘Edhen Vero, this is Sheane Mills,’ I started, engaging the comm link back to the Bounty Hunter on our tail, ‘I am a private investigator, currently in pursuit of a known drug dealer.  I”m going to have to reject your request that we stop for now, and instead ask you for a hand here…’

Come oooon…

Silence, then,

‘Roger that Sheane, stay here.  I’ll deal with the dealer, then I’m coming back to get you.’ the bounty hunter said, cutting the comms as he sped past the slow-moving boat I was stuck in.

His ship disappeared from the scanners seconds later, disappeared from view a minute after.  EWAR ships…bloody invisible.  THey’re great to fly in, but so incredibly annoying.

‘Well, Atna, I wonder what trouble you’ve gotten us into this time.’ I sulked.  Atna just laughed more.  She’d been laughing for hours now, and tears had come and gone a number of times already.  She looked a mess.  Dishevelled hair, ruined makeup, and that dress…

She was too cute, and I just wanted to hug her.  But no, it was her fault.  She got herself dosed, she could suffer through it.  I crossed my arms in an effort to keep from getting up and going to her.

Yes, I’m grumpy.  You try listening to someone laughing for hours straight in the confined cockpit of a space-faring ape.  It’s exhausting.

A half-hour later, blips on the scanner announced the return of the bounty hunter, and once again his EWAR suite forced its way into our comms channel, the sharp growl and burst of static giving the intrusion away.

‘Hello again Sheane,’ he said, clearly cheerful, ‘I nabbed your dealer.  Thanks for the tip.  Bounty on him should be pretty good.’

‘Hey! He was ours,’ I cut in, angrily.  Bloody upstart.

‘Sorry, girl, first come first serve.’ he laughed, clearly pleased with himself.

‘Fine, fine, keep him.  Now what the bloody hell did you come after us for anyway?’ I asked, one hand to my forehead in aggravation.

First the bar, then Atna, now this?  The day was giving me a migraine.

‘Do you have…let me see here…do you have a Ms. Atna Anida on board?’

My aggravation disappeared.  If they were coming after Atna…my hands danced over the controls as I took control of the Cutlass’ weapons from Atna.

‘What do you want from her?’ I asked, voice level, emotionless.  He’d have an advantage in a fight, unless I hit him by surprise…

‘Good, lets see here,’ I could hear the beeps of a ‘Glas being operated through the comms, ‘Yes, here we are.  It appears Ms. Anida skipped out on a 19 UEC bar tab; I’ve come to collect.’

‘Wait…what?’ Incredulity.

‘Ah, it’s fairly simple, Ms. Anida ran out on a 19 UEC bar tab, and…and I’m here to collect it.’ the bounty hunter repeated.

I sat in silence a moment before bursting into laughter.  I think I laughed harder and longer than Atna, and she was on ‘Happy.

Erris

Founder

Erris is Canadian. He does some random things for Relay, no-one really knows what, but still they're stuck with him. He’s also written one Young Adult novel that he can’t stand, which can be found here.

You can find him on Twitter too, if you want.