A cacophony of voices made him flinch. Gabe twisted his fingers to access his heads up display, and the volume dropped to a bearable level. He never tired of the sights in the departure lounge. A violet, peacock plumed avatar with impossibly large breasts sauntered by, as a massive beeping robot head floated past. A user with more money than sense strolled down the boulevard with satoshis dripping from an elaborately designed cape that changed hue to a rhythmic pattern. Of course, he was followed by a gaggle of newbies, their standard avatars little more than vague human forms as they fought for the dropped crypto.
“Aye aye, captain!” boomed a human shaped cactus.
“Huh? Oh, yes!” That’s right. I’m Osred.
Taller than his usual five feet nine, a dark, straggly beard with brightly glowing beads hanging from it. He was clad in a futuristic interpretation of a classic pirate’s attire, all silver and black–complete with a holographic parrot floating above his right shoulder.
“Aye lad. I be Captn’ Zain of the dread fleet-”
“I know who you are Gabe.” The cactus interrupted, its voice much softer. A face appeared on the plant, one he hadn’t seen for a long time.
“Hey, I know you! Swelker!”
“The one and only.” The face dissolved into a spiky green skin.
“Are you in hiding?”
“Gotta be careful Gabe, you know that better than most. Speaking of which, why the dreaded Zain? I thought you killed him off?”
Swelker was his shipmate back in the day, an excellent navigator and tactician. As close to a friend as he ever had in VR. Yet, he was reluctant to tell him his real mission. Many users remained invisible and could easily overhear.
“I had a hankering for a little adventure.”
Lena? Verify identity.
It’s him, Gabe. Just be careful.
“How about it Swelk? Fancy one last trip out?”
“I thought you’d never ask.” The cactus smiled.
* * *
Dropping out of hyperdrive, the bridge of The Marauder’s Curse lit up with warning lights. Alarms screeched as jagged rocks bounced off her heavily shielded hull.
“Sorry Gabe, this is the best I could do.”
“Don’t fret Swelk. We’ve been through worse. Maximum shields fore and aft. They’re still with us.”
Lena, how did they follow us?
Your ship has been in storage for a few years. Plenty of time to fit a tracker. Damn, I should have checked.
The ship was a mishmash of scavenged parts salvaged from previous victims. The shape belied her agility. With Gabe at the controls, Marauder’s Curse zipped elegantly between massive asteroids.
The Alpha fleet ship was a massive dreadnought and relied on her incredible firepower to blast the rocks out of the way.
At least the weapons aren’t trained on us.
New kid. Hank? Harry. No, Henry. Didn’t matter.
“What is it, yeoman?”
“Incoming transmission from Alpha.”
“Patch them through.”
A hologram lit up and bathed the bridge in soft blue light.
“Do you with to dithcuth the termth of your thuwender?”
Gabe laughed out loud. How can you take that seriously?
“My surrender? I appear to have you at a disadvantage my young chameleon friend. I am Captain Osred ‘The Imposter’ Zai-”
“I know full well who and what you are.” His long tongue was impressive in three dimensions.
“Thuwender now or be dethTwoyed.” His eyes swiveled in opposite directions as he surveyed the bridge.
Gabe took a few seconds to decipher the threat.
“Ha, I don’t think so, lizard boy.”
“Tho be it.”
Commander Chameleon blinked out of view. Before Gabe could issue any further orders, The Marauder lurched, and turned inside out. Then she just ceased to be. No explosion, no sound, just gone.
Surrounded by darkness, he was for once thankful he’d wasted crypto on a holographic parrot. Its light at least gave him something to focus on.
“Swelker? Harry? You there?”
“Lena? Can you hear me? Come in Lena.”
Gabe flicked his fingers, twisted his wrists. His heads up display no longer functioned.
Originally posted on Steemit – where you earn to blog.
© 2017 GMuxx