A Different Kind of Help


7/9/20232 min read

The relentless pounding of the pirate vessel echoed in my ears, a harsh symphony that underscored the chase. Gramps's heavy breathing formed a syncopated rhythm with my hammering heart, adding another layer to the tumult. Clutching the ship's controls, I veered the 'Nomad', our ship, into the ominous field of jagged asteroids before us, my knuckles white against the cold metal.

"We can lose them in there," I muttered to myself, putting more power into the thrusters. The ship bucked like a wild beast, rebelling against the sudden shift in power. I barely managed to hold on, my eyes scanning the rock-filled void ahead, looking for an opening, an escape route.

But the pirate ship was relentless, their vessel cutting through the asteroid field like a knife. The ominous silhouette of 'The Black Marauder' inched closer, the distance between us shortening with each passing second.

Suddenly, an array of blinding light filled my view. I swerved, narrowly avoiding a barrage of energy blasts. They were getting aggressive, taking potshots. The game had turned deadly serious.

"Damn," I muttered, teeth clenched. The energy blasts illuminated the asteroids around us, casting monstrous shadows on the hull. But before I could pull another evasive maneuver, a tremor ripped through the ship.

"They've hit us!" I gasped, gripping the controls tighter as the ship veered off course. "Gramps, hold on!" But my warning was met with silence. Gramps lay unconscious, oblivious to the chaos unfolding around him.

Then, just as quickly as it started, the chase ended. With our ship immobilized, the 'Black Marauder' moved to flank us. The ship's cold, imposing form loomed over 'Nomad', and a shiver ran down my spine.

"Bring the old man," a voice boomed from the pirate ship's comm. The voice was rough, gravelly, a stark contrast to the cold precision of their attack. It was their captain, a man notorious in these parts, known only as 'Ravager'. His real name was a mystery, a ghost tale whispered in the corners of seedy space bars.

Two towering pirates boarded the 'Nomad' and carried Gramps away. I was forcibly removed from the cockpit and bound, escorted through the bowels of the 'Black Marauder'. The cold metal of the pirate ship was a sharp contrast to the familiar comfort of the 'Nomad'.

"Welcome to my humble abode," Ravager drawled, once we were in his quarters. His gaze was cold, predatory, making me feel like I was on the wrong side of an airlock. "Make yourself at home."

"I'd rather not," I shot back, but my defiance was swallowed by the room. Ravager simply chuckled, his laughter grating in the cold sterility of the room.

Before I could argue further, a guard forced me into a chair. A worn chessboard was set before me, the pieces lined up like silent soldiers awaiting orders.

Ravager gestured to the board with a twisted grin. "If you want to keep the old man alive, you need to give me a reason. Tell me a story worth hearing."

I looked at the worn chessboard, my mind racing. A game, a story, a life on the line. It was a tough position, but I had weathered worse storms. If it was a story he wanted, it was a story he'd get.

Staring him down, I moved my pawn. "Alright, Ravager. Buckle up. This is going to be a hell of a tale."