A Rake by Starlight

A Rake by Starlight - Chapter 08

Submitted by C B Wright on
WHEREIN a Really Big Thing is Explained

Inside the container sat a silvery, translucent, cylindrical object. It looked vaguely like a coffin—a feeling re-enforced by the medical insignia stamped at one end—but there were no seams where you would expect to see them for a lid. Underneath the medical insignia was a data port, and through the translucent material, Grif could see dark spindly shapes twisting their way through the entire structure. There was no way to determine what they were for.

Grif had never seen anything like it before. He had no idea what it was.

A Rake by Starlight - Chapter 07

Submitted by C B Wright on
WHEREIN Our Hero Finds a Thing

An hour and a half later the body was stowed in their medibay, encased in a stasis field to prevent deterioration, and the squib was towed into Bay Three. The entire crew was on hand to see it: Amys, Morgan and Faldyth were standing to one side, talking with Cyrus, who was busy securing the crane he’d used to drag the squib into the ship. Standing near them were Cutter and Hari, Cyrus’ gunners.

A Rake by Starlight - Chapter 06

Submitted by C B Wright on
WHEREIN Our Hero Stumbles Into the Thick of It, and Finds the Experience Regrettable

Ogo was the Invagi word for pretender, and the description was apt. It was much too small to be considered a proper moon: it was, more accurately, a fragment of an asteroid that got caught in Uru’s gravity well and wound up taking a stable orbit around it. It was classified as a moon because the unmanned probe that first mapped the system experienced a programming error in the algorithm used to differentiate between moons and “rogue debris.” Bureaucracy being what it was, however, the designation had never been corrected, and all official star and system charts listed Ogo as the eleventh moon of Uru.

Today, however, Ogo was receiving more attention than it had for most of its history. Shortly after coming into sensor range, Morgan announced he’d found something.

“There’s a radiation trail that ends at the moon.” Morgan sounded pleased by the discovery. “I can’t find any sign of the craft, though.”

A Rake by Starlight - Chapter 05

Submitted by C B Wright on
WHEREIN Motive is both Rigorously Examined and Studiously Ignored

“…so there’s enough power to copy the ship manifest and some of her logs, but not all of them. We’re making our best guess as to what you’ll find useful, but we can’t make any promises. We’ve got most of the captain’s logs that we can find, but they’re encrypted and may only be partial files. We can’t tell.” Mac sounds slightly defensive over the comm channel. “We’re going to wrap up in another ten minutes. I don’t want to be here when the debris hits.”

“Understood,” Grif said. “Get what you can in the time you have, then get out. Drinks are on me.”

The channel lapsed into silence.

“End communication,” Faldyth announced.

“That went well.” Grif leaned back in his chair and gazed out from the pilot’s nest into the magnificent view. He couldn’t see the damaged ships—they were turned away from them at the moment, with the rear screens up to block any stray debris that might be floating their way—but he had a good view of Uru, the gas giant. It was on the small side as far as gas giants went, but it was still impressive, even at this distance.

A Rake by Starlight - Chapter 04

Submitted by C B Wright on
WHEREIN A Search For Hidden Treasure Produces Uneven Results

Mac Wallen was a short, stocky man. It wasn’t a build most people associated with zero gravity work, but his heft was deceptive. Mac had been an asteroid miner before embarking on a life of crime, and he and his crew were old hands at working in zero gravity environments.

That was what convinced Captain Vindh to bring them on. It hadn’t been an easy decision, from his perspective: he didn’t know anything about them, Mac and his crew had a history, and ship mutinies were on the rise. Vindh decided to take the risk—after taking great pains to describe what had happened to the other hires who’d tried to mutiny on his boat—and after a few months Mac thought the rest of the crew was starting to warm up to them. Cyrus more than the others, Amys significantly less.