As the Margaritaville lumbered toward the slipknot to Eden, Kanoka was summoned to the passenger deck. There he found two annoyed passengers, who shouted in chorus, “My luggage is gone!” Arturo “Leggy” Molon, a tall expediter from Clarksville, had lost a valise, while Lt-Nurse Tekatha Oxane, a blonde from Neue Helvetica, had given a pink hand bag to a cargo bot and never seen it again. “They can’t have gotten far from the ship, even if they’re outside,” he pointed out. They were less than reassured.
Rędwolf searched the public areas and found Arturo’s valise, empty, while Passion’s discreet, but thorough examination of the lockers and staterooms came up empty. Arturo blanched when he saw the stack of papers Kanoka thumped down for filing his claim, muttered dark intimations of revenge by the Newstar Corporation, but went away without compensation. Lt-Nurse Oxane, on the other hand, was not as dumb as she looked, and kept after Kanoka, brushing aside his promise of a discounted metashark safari with his cousin, until at last he paid her a ridiculous compensation. When she stepped off at Eden, she innocently asked, “Where’s your yellow cargo bot? The one that took my bag?” The answer was probably “somewhere else in the cluster, on another ship, light years away.”
We set to sea with Passion’s jury-rigged electrical fish stunner, wielded by Rocky. It proved extremely balky, but Rocky rose to the challenge and refused to quit, while Kanoka handled the gaff with an expertise honed on much bigger game. We ended up with a half-dozen big females, and we were celebrating a bit when the boat’s engine exploded.
“Give us the fish and nobody gets hurt,” said the blonde bombshell wielding a rocket launcher, standing on the bridge of a pirate ship packed with goons that drew close to intercept. The boat crew scuttled for cover and the spacers took defensive positions, while a shaken Kanoka tried a none-too-convincing impersonation of an enraged fishing official to distract them.
More distracting was Rędwolf’s flash-bang grenade, hurled from cover, which exploded on the pirate’s deck and blinded the goons. Kanoka leaped the rail to bash heads, while Rocky fried two goons and then made the blonde eat hot photons (“don’t f... with me”, he growled), guided by Rędwolf. Singed and reeling, the blonde loosed a missile at Rędwolf that left him smoking but unharmed inside his precollapsarian armor. All this time Passion was nowhere to be seen, but we did see his 23-molecule-thick knife emerge from the blonde — he had swum up behind the boat and moved in for the kill.
At that point, the pirates gave up, eventually agreeing to tow the engineless boat back. They blamed the whole thing on Tori (the blonde) and her determination to keep Eden’s fish for its natives. She would be sleeping with the Blue-lipped Meserel that night: Rędwolf considered trying to tend her wounds, but Rocky and Passion were against it. “It’s just business,” Rocky observed, as she sank beneath the waves.
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