Monday, 16 November 2015
Spaceman: The Cosmic Nightingale (part 2)
Easton, known most famously as the Scourge of the Cosmos. He didn't move, almost like a statue, but his eyes followed her. She could feel them boring into her.
"What do you want?" She asked.
He saw her lips move and she saw his, but neither of them could understand what the other was saying; the glass prevented any sound from passing through. He opened his mouth wider and attempted to shout something, but his words came through merely as a muffled whisper. She shrugged, no clue what he was trying to say.
He sighed, rolled his eyes, and grabbed his FlintLock™ pistol, pointing it towards the window. He gestured for her to get out of the way. She ran backwards, ensuring to grab her hairbrush as she did, and took cover behind a chair. With a tentative glance every so often, she waited.
Captain Easton raised stepped forwards and pressed the end of the pistol straight into the window. His finger slid over the trigger and he screwed his eyes shut, as hard as they could. With a quick prayer to the gods, he pulled the trigger.
A bolt of red energy jumped from the gun and directly into the reinforced glass. It bounded around the electrons trapped within for the smallest percentage of a nanosecond, and then grew too big for it’s new container and tore the glass to smithereens. Inka felt the chair shake as it was bombarded with glass fragments. Other shards slashed through the wall paper and provided an unwelcoming mat for the cleaners who walked around bare foot as to make as little noise as possible. Once she was sure the storm of glass was over, she stood up and looked over her chair. Captain Robert Easton stood looking at her. He was even more intimidating stood on this side of the glass. There was a strange smell in the air, a mixture of alcohol and fuel, that tickled her nose and made her eyes want to water. She raised her hairbrush, placing it between them, and said, “What do you want?”
The Pirate Captain stared at her, his eyes the portals to Niflheim that had inspired fear in so many others over the centuries. “I saw you perform.” He said.
“I didn’t see you in the audience.” She said. She took a step backwards and he took one towards her, closing the distance.
“I wasn’t in the audience. I was watching through the security cameras.”
“There’s a law against that. It’s-“
“Video piracy.” He said, distaste dancing across his lips. “You’d be surprised how many people have made that joke over the years.”
“Why are you here?” She demanded. She took another step backwards. The wall with the panic button crept ever closer.
“I saw you perform. You were enchanting.”
“Do you want an autograph?” Inka asked. Only a few steps away now. If he tried anything, she could get there in a flash.
“I want you to sing for me. I need to hear your voice again.”
“You’re a pirate.” She said. “A monster.”
“A monster!” He cried. For a single second, his eyes filled with such untameable fury that Inka believed she had just said her final words. The Captain stared at her, incredulous, for a few seconds before bursting out into a frenzy of laughter. His thunderclap of a laugh rung through the room, shaking the walls. His eyes seemed to cry with hilarity. “Oh, good Thinker, that is brilliant! Me, a monster! I will have you know that I am a king of pirates! I am a hero! I am a pure romantic, leaving his life cruising through the seven systems! I am an adventurer and a hero and a legend in the making!”
Inka took another step backwards as he continued.
Downstairs, Commander Gaius Irving was reflecting how handsome he was. “Yes,” he gloated, his greasy hair shiny in the Afterparty lighting, “I am one of the richest men in the Cosmos- and not just because of my father.”
The hoard of women, all but one of whom were after his money, instantly let out an overzealous laugh, reflecting how charming and how handsome he was. “Oh, Gaius!” The woman who had been there for the longest said, running her hand down his arm. “You’re so clever.”
He let out a hearty laugh. “Anyone is clever compared to you!”
All the woman, including the one he was talking to, let out a collective laugh. They giggled and swatted their hands through the air, reflecting he was so funny.
“Why are you here tonight?” Asked the woman who wasn’t there for his money. She was a journalist from the Oywei Chronicle, a newspaper that like to take the rip out of the Federation as much as possible. Seeing he was the heir to it all, he was the ideal place to start. “Are you a big opera fan?”
“No! Of course not! Does anybody actually like opera?” He let out another hearty laugh. “It’s awfully boring. No, what I’m doing here is beyond me. My father insisted I came, and when my father tells you to do something, you do it!”
As the other woman cried, the journalist rolled her eyes. Bloody upper class, she thought. They always think they’re so much better than the rest of us! “Does your father want to perhaps educate you in the classical arts? Hence why he sent you here?”
Gaius looked towards the other women. “This one is awfully boring. We won’t be taking her back to my place!”
The women let out another laugh, like half a dozen seagulls all fighting for one crumb of bread.
Gaius grinned. “But in answer to your question, no. My father may be the Emperor of the Federation, and thus of the Cosmos, but he is in no way a classy man. Give him a room full of women and a pint of beer over an opera, any day.”
Like father, like son. The journalist reached for her bag and smiled. In the process she caught a glimpse of an abandoned beer glass. It was half empty, but that was more than enough to do what she needed. She picked it up and prepared to ‘accidentally’ spill it’s contents over him, but when she turned he was gone. The women were complaining to each other whilst they scouted the room for another potential client, but the journalist kept her eyes open for the Emperor’s son.
Little did she know, one of the plain clothed bodyguards with him had pulled him out of the room and into the corridor that led towards the bar. The bodyguard was telling him some very exciting news. “Captain Easton’s ship has been spotted mooring to the top of the Orient, Commander.”
“I think you’ve had one too many, Sergeant.” Gaius said. He and his group of soldiers had been after Easton for months but the monster always seemed to elude them. He certainly wouldn’t turn up so out of the bloom.
“No sir, I’ve got proof.” He pulled a device out of his pocket and brought up a picture of the huge ship, the Inconsistent Plot-Point, tethered to the top floor of the Orient.
“Good Tark.” Gaius whispered. He reached for his gun on his side and drew it, heading towards the stairs. “Come on, Sergeant! What are you waiting for? We’ve got a pirate to catch!”
Inka didn’t quite know what to believe. Everything she had heard about the infamous pirate before her seemed to contradict everything he was saying. Normally in such a circumstance, if ever such a circumstance could be classed as normal, she would disbelieve everything he was saying. There was, however, a manner to the lies he told that made them sound true. She found that ability of his quite worrying. She had the feeling that he would be very good at convincing people to do things.
“I have seen treasures beyond the imaginations of the average man, witnessed wonders that myself as a child would have been strangers to.” Captain Easton waved his hands through the air. “I have been enchanted time and time again, but never like I was when you performed. I need to witness that enchantment again, feel the brilliance of your voice upon my heart. I need you to sing for me.”
“I can’t just sing for you.” She said. “I need an orchestra and time for rehearsal and the stage and-“
“You do not need any of those things. None of those things were the thing that impressed me, or made my heart swoon with a thousand different emotions. What amazed me was your voice. It was the howl of the wolf, the swash of the water, the scream of the engine; it was nature itself, but put to music.”
“Well, it can hardly be that if it isn’t put to music.”
“Gentlemen!” The pirate captain commanded. “The lady asks for music.”
Aboard the ship, a group of men with ramshackle contraptions appeared. They plucked strings and pressed buttons. The ungraceful devices made the most enchanting sound, almost more so than the Royal Oyweian Orchestra in downstairs. Inka felt herself drifting off into a realm of musical paradise, as she did whenever the music began on show night. She found the words of the song they were playing, the Death March, rising from her subconscious. The first curl of Italican formed on her tongue, she opened her mouth wide to sing. The first beautiful note leapt from her, like a bird from a nest in a tree, but she was suddenly cut off by the smash at the door.
The Pirate Captain spun and pulled his sword out facing it at the door. “Who is there?” He demanded, his voice bellowing and powerful.
“Commander Gaius Irving.” Shouted the voice from the other side. “Open up, Robert Easton, or we’ll come in.”
“Gaius, my old friend,” the Captain said, “you sound out of breath.” He gestured with his sword towards the gangplank, motioning Inka to follow it across to the ship. “Is Mrs Irving making too many cakes? Oh, hang on, you employ your cooks for making cakes, not your wives. What is it you employ them for?”
Inka didn’t know why but she suddenly found herself dancing across the gangplank, trying not to look down the humongous gaps. Her eyes were eventually drawn and she felt herself freezing. The floor was at least five hundred metres away. Her legs wobbled terribly, or so it seemed to her, as she struggled one step after the other towards the ship. She felt her body under the control of her fear. She cursed and cursed, using more rude words in the brief transition from opera house to ship than she had in her entire life before hand. She looked over her shoulder, to see if the Captain was following her, and discovered he was; backwards! He ran backwards, his sword and his gun facing the theatre. He swung the sword at approaching Federation soldiers, knocking them into the humongous gaps on either side. His gun barked again and again in his hand, smashing windows and killing the soldiers. The man she recognised as the Emperor’s Son, Commander Gaius Iriving, was cowering at the back, keeping his head down to avoid the stray shots.
She reached the ship and hauled herself on board. The musicians were waiting for her, themselves more ramshackle than their instruments. They were gangly and thin, the lot of them, their hair unwashed, their skin sweaty and their facial hair rough. Some had electronic eyes, or electronic ears, robotic arms or bionic legs. They weren’t the type of cleansed and polite company that Inka was used to.
Captain Easton jumped after and called, “Set course for the ionsphere, lads. We’re getting off this planet!” He flipped a couple of rude gestures towards Gaius Irving and then led Inka across the deck and towards a staircase which led to the huge wheel which controlled the direction of the thrusters. As they ran, the gangplank was withdrew, dropping any soldiers stood on it into the huge gap between ship and opera house.
The engines howled, the deck hummed and the thrusters barked up clouds of orange fire. Smoke coughed from the pipes that stuck out of the sides of the ship like ribs from a carcass and the atmospheric simulators blinked and clunked into life. The ship arched slightly, but the artificial gravity kept the pirates stable. Speed began to pick up and then they were flying through the air.
Behind them, much slower, came the howled curses of Gaius Irving. “This is war!” He cried. “War I tell you!!”