And so, as promised here we go with the 3rd installment of the first series! Please enjoy and remember to buy the books!
Dynasties, Prams and New Orders
© 2019 Jon Corres Pirate Poet
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the express written permission of the copyright holder, except where permitted by law. This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination, or, if real, used fictitiously.
Chpt: 1 Arz – Khan’s fall and hints for future
The Savion Reaper danced between two cruisers as the Empress Dragon took fire from the support group of fighters and cruisers on the port side. The shuttle that Azfar and mister Cafar was using as part of the initial assault was floating behind the Camden’s Folly as crews worked to put out fires. Cynthia was a blur of motion and the wireless radio was overwhelmed. I had decided not to use the Bernoulli in the initial engagement and put McTavit in charge of getting her ready as we drew off the command vessel and the dreadnoughts. The Final Fire had led 2 of the dreadnoughts to the dark side of the moon on a diversion, but ran afoul of the 4th fleet who were hiding there. Captain Kuul however, was just as clever as I thought and was currently fighting from a position of stealth while keeping them at a distance.
As for us, we blasted through the first fleet before the support carriers and cruisers came from the nearby planet, at the moment I can’t recall the name, but they weren’t expecting a small fleet to come and meet their gauntlet. I spent my time between the bridge and the rifle stations on the shuttle with Scy Lors, when we were connected by a boarding tube. She’s currently in the hospital wing with mister Kildro, wounded with burns from a glancing shot that set off a pair of weapons mounted near her as we tried to dodge enemy fire.
I told that Admiral that he picked the wrong pirate captain to threaten, all the while the stealth skiff made for the command vessel to rescue the War Dragon Fire crew and maybe use the ship to fight from the inside, that was 4 hours ago and misters Sali, Forraz and Renault weren’t exactly the first people I’d form a rescue squad with. I jumped over to the firing station as Cynthia looked as if she was going to collapse. Cafea’s voice was on wireless screaming our names to see if we were alive. I forgot to mention she was with McTavit awaiting my orders to launch. I got off a pair of volleys at a closing pair of cruisers and hit the massive command ship on her aft.
“ … talk to me!!”
I pressed the button as fast as I could.
“ Now would be a good time you two! Unless you need a formal invitation, I did think you had more sense than this… I’m taking our wife to mister Kildro now while we have a moment between volleys… if you would be so kind… so I could save Arzkel and the others…”
The radio went dead as a tremendous burst of energy exploded near us finishing the floundering cruiser.
“ Mister Fizbark! Emergency power to the engines! That super gun has our attention…”
“ You bet your sweet arse captain… hold on to your breakfast!”
We lurched forward with great force, thankfully the chairs were part of the bridge and Cynthia was belted down… not me however as I slammed into the bulkhead. With stars in my eyes, I got my human wife out of the chair just in time as we were spun by the force of a secondary blast that pushed us further away from the battle and closer to the moons gravity!
I cursed and was going spare when Scy Lors popped the door open and grabbed Cynthia.
“ No worries, pator mine… blow those fiends to the punishment planes! Mister Kildro? Stay with me…”
My fellow physician stumbled in looking bruised and grim. He nodded to me and helped Scy Lors half drag and carry Cynthia out as she popped into and out of consciousness. The radio came alive on the imperial frequency.
“ This is Arz – Khan to captain Camden. Well played sir, very well played, though this cat and mouse game seems a bit beneath you, does it not? Yes, you did surprise us with your small fleet, but is it not better we settle this, you and I? Your vessel looks in bad shape, but as we both know, looks can be deceiving. I’m coming around and when we’re even keel I intend to end this once and for all by vaporising you like the pesky insect you are! What say you captain?”
“ Arz – Khan, you talk too much! You’re right, I’m much better off than I look, however it’s you that’s going to be vaporised, not me. I’ve yet to use these cannon in concert… for you however, I’ll make an exception.. prepare for what we call Verilda’s Wrath…”
I never finished my sentence as there was a great explosion from the mid section of the command ship, around the bottom. The War Dragon Fire flew out with cannon roaring, making for the Empress Dragon and Savion Reaper, she was smoking, then again so were the other vessels, but she was going down fighting.
“ Damn you Camden, DIE!”
I saw the ship pirouette and come full speed at me as I grabbed the wheel and spun to give her a full broadside.
“ Mister Fizbark, with extreme prejudice if you would… FIRE ON THOSE IMPERIAL SCUM!”
It felt as if this were my last act. I knew that there was a shuttle on board for emergencies and that both Fizbark and Kildro knew when to cut and run, but I was going to stay till the bitter end and send those Garinthians to hell…
Just as I was waiting for the counter attack, something appeared on the outside of our port side and flew past at blinding speed till it was between us and the command ship. For a moment, nothing happened as the great imperial ship came to a halt and started to pivot. However, before it could finish, the Bernoulli opened up with 5 successive volleys that looked like great green waves! The explosions that resulted tore the great vessel in half and then obliterated the remains. I fought to stay conscious as the fighting with the other two fleets came to an abrupt halt. The Bernoulli had come to the rescue and was now heading in to clean up. The remaining ships of the Garinthian fleets tried to turn and run, but met renewed volleys from the two weakened pirate ships and a wave of death from the Bernoulli.
The Savion Reaper raced off to the dark side of the moon to assist the Final Fire. I collapsed as the Bernoulli came along side and set up the boarding tube. I could feel where I had broken my ribs again, thankfully it was a clean break. My breath was ragged, but steady, as I made my way down to the lower decks. There was a great deal of damage, superficial in most cases, particularly on our aft section near the engine room. I was half way down the stairs when McTavit met me with a look as white as a sheet.
“ Damn it man, quit being noble for a moment… Cafea! I found him, I think he was heading for the hospital wing…”
“ JAMES! Where’s Cynthia, the baby is it…”
I passed out as mister Kildro stumbled up to us and had a hand on Cafea’s shoulder. When I came to, I was in our medical ward, er, hospital wing, mind isn’t working well… I was in a sick bed.
Cafea was was with Cynthia, who was looking quite well, but a little bruised. Both women looked relieved and were cuddling or hugging. I cleared my throat.
“ Would it be too much to ask for a status report … someone? Anyone…”
I started to rise, but someone grabbed my shoulder, which got me wincing, and gently pushed me back. I turned carefully to see it was captain Arzkel. Scy Lors had rushed over as well and given me a needle in my arm that made the pain go away.
“ It’s all right James, honestly! We saw you blast the command ship, I think I recall the name I read on her was Verilda’s Sword. The other fleets were trying to regroup when you charged at their flag ship. Cafea was right, you fought like demon! The other dreadnought was behind the command ship and never got a chance to get a shot off. Pretty impressive cannon, the Bernoulli has there. Bit risky holding her back, but you proved you didn’t need it and damn near single handedly sent them packing. Ackban is all right, if you’re curious, bit singed, but there you are. He lost a couple of crewmen, then again so did we all, gunners and repair crews. Mai – Soong managed to save Liam’s bacon from the fire, but only just. The Final Fire may be a lost cause…”
She let that hang in the air.
“ Captain Kuul can have the Camden’s Folly if he’d like or another vessel if we find one. Didn’t he use the sub space power generators?”
She shook her head.
“ Of course, but there was no McTavit or Fizbark to help him. I think the one he had is salvageable, so no important loss there… Now don’t go trying to get me distracted me hearty! I came over to let you know you’re on the shelf for a while. Mister Kildro thinks that a couple of weeks and a month of Sunday’s would be the order, but he believes you won’t hold to that. I know you’re tougher than a Nezore in mating season, no question, but I can assure you that the Garinthian empire won’t be sending anything at us for a while… especially knowing what the cost of tangling with you is!”
She paused as Cafea and Cynthia came over.
“ Now is the time for you to be at ease, heal up and be a house father of sorts for a bit. No arguments captain! I’m moving in as of today and all 4, er, 5 if you count that pet Liondarg of yours, of us are going to make certain you get better and no action .. unless you count husbandly and fatherly duties, yes?”
I got a semi stern look from all four females.
“ Aye captain and mother in law mine! Understood! Would it be possible then for something to eat? I presume that’s one of the orders I’m under and wouldn’t mind having a nice dinner with you four, that is if mister Kildro won’t mind us eating here? He can join us if he’d like.”
Mister Kildro blushed and laughed.
“ I believe captain, that that’s one adventure and bit of rule breaking I won’t mind at all! In fact, I’ll find the cook and personally get things started… you do keep that Scot whiskey you like in your cabin, yes?”
I nodded laughing, but then felt a poke in my ribs as Cafea got my attention.
“ You heard the matron mister Camden! Next time, I order!”
She kissed me and put her head on my chest as the other 3 decided that was a good way to pin me down so they leapt up and joined her. Needless to say I got an extra week in bed for that, not that I minded as I saw Scy Lors grinning up at me from beneath my chin. Dinner was exceptional and mister Kildro showed me that Cynthia’s baby was right as rain, though how is beyond me unless those mini robots can keep ones equilibrium in check.
When we returned and got settled in I was allowed to stroll around the base for a few minutes at a time. I went down to the dry dock the next morning as the others were busy getting Arzkel’s things into a spare room in our flat, er, the living room was converted as the conservatory wasn’t big enough. As predicted, the Final Fire was a total wreck, though her frame was still good as was most of the outer hull. There was no bay door, however, as well as the front of the ship looked like the exterior parts were melted off as was the prow and everything up to the bridge.
Mister Fizbark told me that something called the emergency atmospheric shields came on and saved most of the crew before they wound up at the mercy of space. Captain Kuul said he took most of the damage when he had to steer right in between the two dreadnoughts while leading the pursuing fleets into a cross fire with their own people. Mai – Soong recounted that he thought the Final Fire was dead and abandoned when he arrived. He managed to get some shots off, but most of the damage was done when the cruisers had exploded and or when they accidentally shot their own command ships. I believe he said it was a gambit worthy of me! Except I wouldn’t have had that much damage taken and more than likely the 2 dreadnoughts would have been scrap metal. Liam punched Mai – Soong in the arm for that remark. Then he stated, unequivocally, that at least he was of nerve enough, had a sturdy enough ship, aside from me, and equipped enough to even dream of trying such an outrageous stunt as that.
That got captain Kuul a smack on the head from lieutenant Hafcar.
“ Had a vessel in your case is the operative statement! Seems to me at least he can save his ship. Also, if you’ve not noticed by now, captain Camden tends to to walk away with his vessel less scathed than you by a long shot!”
There was an awkward pause as captain Kuul looked like he was going to say something scathing in retort, but he erupted in laughter instead as the rest of us joined him.
“ Looks like we may have to have a contest of scars there mate! Ah well, I guess thanks are in order captain Mai – Soong, so I’ll buy the rounds for the evening unless captain fearless over here has a stash of spirits he’d like to share?”
I just rolled my eyes as the laughter started again.
“ Why yes captain Kuul, as a matter of reference I do! I always keep some on me for just such emergencies as saving a friend from a fate worse than the Garinthian’s, cheers lady and gents!”
I reached inside my dressing gown and pulled two bottles of wine that I got from Cafea and snuck out of the flat that we could all take part in! Never hurts to think ahead, I always say.
When I got back to the flat I was amazed to see that Arzkel had her things at least in place, if not arranged to her tastes. I manoeuvred around the throng of ladies decorating and arranging and sat down in the kitchen just in time to see a very large Carinthia on the landing outside look up and give me a greeting. I walked over to the oversized kitten and scratched her behind the ears and let her lick my face. I never was so glad to have a companion, particularly one who didn’t nag or complain, sitting with me on a lovely afternoon.
My thoughts, as she curled up at my feet into a giant puff ball, went to the Arch Nits and their dealings underground. I day dreamt of travelling on the rail line, playing with the children of the broods. Then it hit me again. I was going to be a parent sooner than later! True, I had some preparation and training, but that didn’t lessen the jitters I was having. As usual, I got lost in my thoughts and distracted just enough for one of the women to sneak up on me. I only jumped slightly, or I should say turn around quickly as Scy Lors looked in on me.
“ So, my pator, feeling okay? I see our guardian for you is on the job.”
Carinthia stirred just enough to give a low “mrowr” before rolling half way and shutting her eyes again.
“ Indeed she is, I can actually go for around ten minutes before I have to sit. If you have a moment, perhaps…”
“ No need to ask! I’d love to join you my one.”
She kissed me warmly and sat near me while putting her arm through mine.
“ You sure you wouldn’t want to try for a larger place? You lot have been really busy and despite the room we’re supposed to have its starting to feel a little cramped to move around.”
I proposed as she looked thoughtfully as the sun set behind some clouds.
“ We could go to the third platform. It was supposed to be a visitation rest stop… I think Cynthia called it a hotel?”
“ Correct. Pretty posh too if I recall… Then there’s the botanical garden with spare room, not to mention the train itself… Also, there is the Bernoulli with a sub space room, size of a mansion to be honest. We could, with some assistance from McTavit, move it here even.”
Another voice came from behind us inquiring.
“ Move what James?”
Cafea sat next to us giving me a squeeze and Scy Lors a kiss.
“ I was mentioning the sub space apartment on the Bernoulli, the one you, myself and Cynthia stayed in a bit briefly before we arrived here…”
Cynthia and Arzkel came out looking curiously at me.
“ What was that about the place we were in before here James?”
Cafea answered before I could.
“ He was discussing moving the sub space home we had on the Bernoulli here with help from mister McTavit. Come to think about it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea… It had 2 floors, expandable into 3, 3 bathrooms, a pool, technically a 4th bath, and plenty of room so Carinthia could move in too. We could still use the flat as a kind of business area or meeting place.”
Arzkel raised her eyebrows.
“ A sub space living quarters?! I’ve got to see that! It’d be a boon to the clan I can tell you… and us.”
I gave a thoughtful scratch of my chin.
“ Okay, I’ll check with McTavit then. Until that happy moment or not I’ll just learn to move around with care near the old living room so I won’t rouse you…”
“ Rouse me? I’m a deep sleeper James as Cafea can attest. Not to mention, who says I wouldn’t want to be roused by you?”
I got a strange look from Scy Lors as the other two just shared in the joke. Me, I just hugged my Arch Nit maton and prayed that my mother – in – law wasn’t serious about applying to be a wife of mine.