Challenge #02327-F137: That's a Lot of SamplessteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  4 months ago 

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An Exploratory Team stumbles upon a Pirate Hideout and gets ambushed. The scientists make peace with their imminent demise and the pirates begin to prematurely celebrate....Until the ships human shows up, very very angry. -- Anon Guest

They had been excited to see smoke. Specifically, controlled columns of smoke. That meant controlled fires. This, in turn, meant that there was intelligent life present. Science Team Four proceeded cautiously. They didn't want to pollute a starter civilisation with sightings of alien life.

Their Human had taught them well. Tread softly, keep low, and never look directly at your quarry, they had said. Stay downwind if you can and disguise your scent if you can't. Fortunately, livesuits didn't have much in the way of scent, but they took caution to roll in some of the more pungent local flora anyway.

A starter civilisation on an assumed uninhabited world. This was scientific gold. Anthropological fields would be celebrating all over Allied space. The opportunity to study infant civilisation was rare and any scientist would leap on it with avaricious intent. What they found, unfortunately, was not a starter civilisation. It was a hide-out camp. For pirates.

They certainly weren't marooned or shipwrecked travellers, not with that semi-orderly array of pre-fab shelters and certainly not with those stacks of crates, or the campfire kitchen where, up until a few moments ago, someone had been preparing a huge pot of stew. It was a semi-permanent base, made to pick up and move off at a moment's notice. In fact, there were fast-launch transit pods for just that purpose at convenient places all over the camp.

Trryl had just enough time to wonder where the stew's chef had gone before the distinctive whine of powering weapons forced her into stillness. Science Team Four had been sneaking up on assumed primitives. They hadn't thought of countermeasures against securicams, infra-red tripwires, or lifesign monitors in a central intelligence hub. Starter civilisations just didn't have those.

They were scientists, and therefore unarmed. At least, unarmed in the sense that what they could use for weapons wouldn't have a chance against their highly illegal handheld plasma cannons. It was far, far wiser to surrender. It was also wise to use one of Human Dae's little tricks to send a covert, streaming signal out on a non-standard band. Their scouter vessel was set to pick up such things and record them. Once it only received silence for forty-eight hours, it would send out the data in a distress call. Evidence aplenty to secure justice.

To die would be an awfully big adventure...

The pirates rounded them up into a jail they had made out of a shallow cave, then proceeded to have a loud argument about their next set of choices. Five of them didn't want to pack up and move again. Five of them just wanted to kill Science Team Four and send them off into the black so that it looked like an accident. Five of them wanted to run a hostage game. Five others wanted to make it look like Science Team Four had suffered an 'accident' on planet. They knew several places where the bodies wouldn't be found for decades. Five of them knew a few places that would swallow search teams and never spit them out.

Well. Since the votes were more in favour of Science Team Four's death rather than their survival... Trryl murmured some last messages home into her comms. They would go out with the distress call.

Those who are about to die...

A dreadful, ululating shriek echoed through the valley, causing the pirates to startle for their weapons... but it was already too late. Human Dae had sworn that nobody fell for the hidden speaker trick, any more, but this lot had. They triangulated on the sound and didn't see Human Dae until it was too late. Machete in each hand, blades lazily whipping at their livesuit joins. Each blow hit, slicing through the weak points that would not autoseal quickly or easily. Many blows drew blood.

One swing per pirate, one crucial blow each. Human Dae moved fast, slicing two at a time. Swing and backswing. Left and right. They had gone through a majority of them before they had a chance to grab their plasma cannons. Then Human Dae set off an EMP grenade. All technology within a three hundred DU circle fell dead.

This also included the livesuits of Human Dae and Science Team Four. They could still move and breathe for two hours, twice the time they needed to reboot.

Human Dae didn't even pause, letting the surviving pirates realise the big guns they had were useless and that they were facing off against an angry Human with two very sharp knives.

"What's up, scumflakker?" said Human Dae. "Cake or death?"

It was the first planetary survey to come back with prisoners, recovered stolen goods, and a hold full of a disassembled pirate base. All of which took some time to sort out.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / Penywise]

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Hi internutter,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

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How many freaking pirates were there? O_O

In population terms, the camp is more of a Hamlet than a Village. Space is big, and if you're going into piracy, you need more than one ship to turn a profit, so... lots of pirates.

I love pirates, great write up, specially I like the picture you used in the post, not a wallpaper kinda thing so its look unique

Quite an action packed multi-genre story.
I like the concept of the "livesuits". Is it similar to the Avatar concept or closer to a Matrix sort of real-virtual continuum?
I got different images as I read.
I guess all explorations of new worlds will unavoidably take us back to our "age of discoveries" with all its good, bad, and ugly aspects.
Great story, very fast-paced and inventive.