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The Pirateers Zylesian Cross

The Pirateers Zylesian Cross

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The Pirateers Zylesian Cross

Lunghezza:
352 pagine
5 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jul 15, 2018
ISBN:
9781370255078
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

It’s the most daring intergalactic gold heist in the Xalapagian Crescent. It’s the most vicious turf war between the feds, crime lords and the pirates. It’s the biggest adventure of sixteen year old Kap Vanderbroost’s life.
Cap’n Vanderbroost is a legendary intergalactic pirate, out to take a ship laden with gold belonging to Balthis, crime lord of the Caiman. Balthis has a secret, and he’s got to get a group of crooked feds paid off before Castor, crime lord of the Blacksnakes, finds out what it is. Castor wants to take over Balthis’ turf. The feds want their gold. They also want to take down Cap’n Vanderbroost. And Kap, sailing on his first pirating voyage with his father, is catapulted right into the middle of it.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jul 15, 2018
ISBN:
9781370255078
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Aktor Kadz is Professor of Inter-Galactic history and Culture at Vasgyeern University, Stoliz, in the Atakin Galaxy. He is an expert in several mainstream galactic languages. Aktor’s passion is studying what is known as the Zagvirth period, which recorded a millennium of unprecedented exploration. During the Zagvirth period travel, commerce and trade flourished between worlds and galaxies; simultaneously there was an explosion of literature, art and music of incredible richness and diversity.'The Pirateers' is one such example. This manuscript is attributed to Kap, the son of the legendary pirate Vanderbroost the Heartless who sailed the Xalapagian Crescent in his starship, the Sinisterre.This edition of ‘The Pirateers’ has been translated from the original text, in four parts. ‘Zylesian Cross’ is the first of this series. Readers of earlier translations may find the style and idiom used in this edition surprisingly contemporary. Aktor Kadz’s new translation was made so as to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.Aktor Kadz is the virtscripter of Doomworlds, Instaglius Burns, and The Third Moon.

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The Pirateers Zylesian Cross - Aktor Kadz

THE PIRATEERS

ZYLESIAN CROSS

Aktor Kadz

Atkor Kadz is an inter-galactic best-selling author and virtscripter of classics including ‘The Third Moon,’ ‘Instaglius Burns,’ and ‘Doomworlds.’

Copyright Aktor Kadz

Smashwords Edition

CONTENTS

Chapter 1 THE TIME BEFORE

Chapter 2 PREPARATION

Chapter 3 THE BULLION SHIP

Chapter 4 FEDS!

Chapter 5 AFTER

Chapter 6 FEDS AGAIN

Chapter 7 I MEET A CRIME LORD

Chapter 8 CAP’N KROBBE

Chapter 9 THE MERMAID

Chapter 10 THE PIRATES’ COUNCIL

Chapter 11 INFORMATION

Chapter 12 THE PLAN

Chapter 13 CAESQ

Chapter 14 THE ESCAPE

Chapter 15 THE VOYAGE HOME

CREW LIST - SINISTERRE

CREW LIST - STAREATER

CREW LIST - MERMAID

THE PIRATES

NOTES

AFTERWORD

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

"If you’re a pirate you’re hunted. I’ve lived my life being hunted across all the known galaxies by the feds. You learn to stay one move ahead of them; your mind always thinks ahead of the fed. Us pirates are an endangered species. There have been those amongst us who have done evil.

I don’t deny that. I have done enough bad things in my time.

Yet I know one thing. Pirates like myself, who stand up against the feds and the crime lords, give hope to those innocents who have been taken on fed-protected slave-ships to the far reaches of the galaxies.

You can hunt Vanderbroost the Heartless all you want. Just keep watch behind you while you’re doing it."

-- Cap’n Vanderbroost the Heartless, of the starship Sinisterre.

The Zylesian Cross is a movement that takes a fighter in a split second behind his or her opponent into position for an attack. The movements: cross-step, feint, cross-step, twist, roll down, roll up behind your opponent. This is a double-handed attack. The weapon held in the right hand (or tentacle) slits the throat. The one held in the left hand or tentacle disembowels.

- From The Galactic Gladiator’s Fight Book by Maeskroum Gnaatch.

CHAPTER 1 THE TIME BEFORE

"Kap. Kap!"

I came awake and sat up in bed. It was my father.

Get dressed and go to Doctor Saupellis. Get him up and take him to his hospital. It’s an emergency. I’ll be there soon.

Is Mimmé all right? I was already out of bed and scrambling into my clothes, my heart clenched in fear.

"She’s fine. Tell Doctor Saupellis I’m bringing in Cap’n Naymer from the Skaragos. Tell him to keep the robodocs ready. Tell him to keep it quiet. We’re coming round the back."

We left the room together at a run, my father ahead of me down the stairs that led from our wing of the Starfarer to the ground floor.

What happened to him? I asked.

My father glanced back grimly over his shoulder.

Feds.

Zawthor and my mother were downstairs; my mother’s eyes wide in shock and grief. There were four people struggling to carry something out of the taproom in a hammock made from a blanket.

I heard a high-pitched frenzied howling, caught a glimpse of a raw red mouth open in agony. No teeth. No tongue. There were melted nubs where his ears had been. His hands were hideous, twisted things, all melted globs of tissue with blackened bone poking through. The skin was burned off his face and neck. His eyes rolled back in his head. He had no eyelids. No hair. No clothes. Burns ran up and down his body.

Beside him his wife wept quietly.

"Go!" said my father urgently, shoving me to the door.

I ran to my skyrider parked outside in its port and started it up in a cold sweat.

Feds! They’d been cracking down on pirates in the Xalapagian Crescent. I shot my skyrider high above Skaed town, swooping over the starport where my father’s ship, the Sinisterre, was docked; its osgarooth figurehead howling rage and revenge at the two moons that sailed above.

I remembered Cap’n Naymer and his ship, the Skaragos. He and his family were close friends. His kids were in my school. Now the feds had got to him with what looked like a lightgun and a lightrazor. What had happened to his ship and his crew? Were they dead? Why had the feds brought him back? Was it a warning?

Down below Skaed dreamed, peaceful in the moonlight.

I thought of my father; the tall, smiling swagger of him. Cap’n Vanderbroost of the Sinisterre. My heart went cold within me.

I docked my skyrider outside Doctor Saupellis’ house, got out and tapped the holovirt console set at the side of the door. A light came on above my head.

Who is it?

"Doctor Saupellis? This is Kap Vanderbroost. My father sent me to get you to the hospital. There’s been an emergency. It’s Cap’n Naymer of the Skaragos."

I’ll be right down, he replied.

What happened? he asked when we were on our way.

I took a deep breath, concentrating on keeping the skyrider flying straight. My hands were shaking. Cap’n Naymer’s howls reverberated in my head.

Feds.

Is it bad?

I got a glimpse of him. He’s got no tongue. No teeth. No eyelids. His ears and hands all melted off. I took another deep breath and swallowed, trying to keep my rising nausea down. There are bits of burnt bone sticking through the skin in places. Mostly there is no skin. He was howling in agony.

Lightgun and lightrazor, said the doctor quietly. The hallmarks of fed torture.

I glanced across at him. My father said not to let anyone know, keep the robodocs ready. He’s bringing him in round the back.

We reached the quiet building where Doctor Saupellis had his small private hospital. I docked the rider at the port round the back.

Wait here, said Doctor Saupellis. He was out of the rider and running before I’d even got my harness off.

I waited, scanning the sky for my father’s rider. Beside me two robodocs murmured; a hover-stretcher between them. Riding lights shone above and my father’s large sleek skyrider docked swiftly beside mine.

The robos had Cap’n Naymer out of the rider and inside the hospital in less than a minute. The rest of us hurried after.

Inside the walls were cool swirls of blue and green with soft soothing lighting. The robos turned a corner far ahead. We followed the howls to a room at the far end of the corridor. Then, mercifully, Cap’n Naymer was quiet.

A robovalet showed us to a small waiting room nearby. There were soft chairs. Soon another valet came in with a tray set with steaming mugs of kralor and plates of biscuits. My mother passed a mug to Cap’n Naymer’s wife. She’d stopped weeping. My father nodded at me and jerked his head towards the door.

Outside we leaned against the corridor wall, sipping kralor.

You all right? asked my father.

I did my best to stop my hands shaking, to stop hot kralor slopping on the floor.

Yes. Father, what happened?

His face twisted in anger.

"From what his wife told me, the feds dropped Imroth off outside their house, rang the bell and left. She screamed for help and their neighbors brought him to us at the Starfarer."

What happened to his crew? His ship?

We don’t know. They're probably all dead. His wife said he’d gone on a raid somewhere around the Xalapagos. He wasn’t expected back for a couple of weeks.

So the feds got them.

My father’s face was hard, his eyes glowing red with grief and rage.

The feds got them, tortured him and dropped him off to us so we’d know.

Father -

The door to the room where the robos had taken Cap’n Naymer opened and Doctor Saupellis came out.

How is he? asked my father.

I can fix the ears. I can give him a new tongue, teeth, skin and eyelids. I can sort out the muscles and nerves and tendons. I can manage the bone damage which will take a while and get the skin to re-grow.

Whatever he needs, Kamer, said my father. I’m good for it. You know that.

Iaiathor, said Doctor Saupellis. I will do everything I can.

But - said my father.

His mind’s gone, Iaiathor, said Doctor Saupellis gently. They’ve tortured the mind out of him.

You mean –

He’ll always be a gibbering screaming wreck, always in the sort of insane agony that none of us can ever begin to imagine.

My father slammed the wall with his fist.

Imroth is my friend, he said.

And mine.

We need to see to his wife, Kamer. She’s in shock.

I’ll get the robos to put her to bed, give her something to sleep. Doctor Saupellis hesitated. Iaiathor. They’re running newsvirts on InterGal. The feds are gloating about how they took his ship and killed his crew. How they broke him. How he told them everything he knew about the pirates in the Xalapagian Crescent. I was watching the virts breaking when Kap turned up at my house.

Three weeks later what was left of Cap’n Naymer died. Doctor Saupellis had done all he could, but it wasn’t enough. A month after that I graduated from school. I was sixteen.

It’s not fair, grumbled my best friend Fijjiro. We were at Kasgaars, Skaed town’s first virtport, playing Fedkill. I had Fedkill loaded on my Stak, the wearable solpower virter that I’d bought off an enterprising merchant down at Skaed market. It had multidimensional virtholo and mind-sync plus a load of banned virtgames. The virter we were playing on at Kasgaars, however, was amazing.

To play Fedkill, you chose your virt id or created your holo avatar. Next you selected your pirate ship and chose the voyage you were going to sail. You had to run your raid and get your loot, while evading the feds and shooting down as many of their ships as possible.

Fijjiro hadn’t made it past level 31 and had managed to kill about two dozen feds. He’d taken down two fed ships. I was on level 148 and had killed around 1000 feds. I’d finished off at least a couple of dozen ships. Plus I’d won shiploads of loot.

It’s not fair, Fij said again. You’ve got an advantage, your father being who he is and everything.

I’d known Fijjiro for so long I couldn’t remember when I’d not known him.

What’s my father being a pirate got to do with it, Fij?

It’s in your blood, isn’t it?

What, pirating? Like a disease? I punched him on the arm.

Yes, like a disease, the sort that makes your woofer curl up and drop off.

Kasgaars was where everyone our age spent their free time. They’d got a huge startrack, with life-size starracers. There were rides of every description, virtvoyages you could sail on, and virtworlds you could visit. The biggest draw at Kasgaars that summer, aside from the girls and the startrack, was the ZeroG dome, and the DimenZone. The DimenZone had an array of multidimensional virtholos that made the Stak’s virts look like they’d been made up by a ten year old.

I’d met Fijjiro at Kasgaars, like I usually did. Since Kasgaars was in the new part of Skaed, at the other end of town, I’d flown there in my skyrider when I’d finished helping out at the Starfarer, the inn my parents owned. Fij was there with a noisy group of friends from school. Quiet, tall Andor, the Xalapagian, loud, funny Qast, the Caladroonian; handsome, charming Hajor the Iskendrounian and ugly Althor, with whom all the girls fell in love, nobody knew why. It’s because I’m irresistible, Althor would drawl, infuriatingly, when yet another beautiful girl sent him desperate, lovelorn holos. "I’m the sex god."

Kap! We were just about to hit the virtracers. You coming? Hajor was yelling above the music and laughter and sounds of the holos all around, that rose up in the huge domed space of Kasgaars. Virtglass walls separated the starracer arena from the voyage ports and the ZeroG arena; the wall-to-wall virtgaming consoles and the other holovirts in the DimenZone, so you could see what was going on inside the different areas. It was crowded and noisy, yet still Kasgaars seemed to hold within it more space than we’d ever seen.

I’ve got to go home soon, I yelled back to Hajor.

Just one race. Come on, Kap!

The starracer arena had a long snaking line of kids waiting their turn. Twenty hologates gave you entry to the arena’s twenty starracer circuits that radiated from a central hub. They gave us our racer suits, and turned us loose in the changing area. Race gates opened out onto the circuit beyond.

Each starracer took two people. I got in one with Fijjiro, the attendant at the gate helping us with our harnesses.

You take the controls, said Fijjiro.

If you hit an obstacle or if you crash, mind you don’t get out on the track yourselves, said the attendant. He was a Caladroonian, not very much older than us, dressed in Kasgaars’ very smart black and silver starracer suit. Pull over to the side of the track, press this button here, and a rescue crew will be there in a few minutes.

We won’t. I mean, we will, I replied.

When your race is done, make your way to the exit. If you don’t, your racer will pull you over to the side of the circuit, and you’ll have to wait until someone comes to get you. He smiled. I take it you know the rules. You can go up to a speed of 400 virtmachs. If you’re sucked into a blackhole, or get lost in a star bank and can’t get out, press your alarm button.

The transparent hood came down over our heads. I took the controls, and we were off, coasting to the track.

You all right? Fijjiro looked over at me, his golden skin glowing bluish in the light from the racer’s console. You’ve been quiet today.

My father’s off on another voyage in a few days’ time.

Fij nodded understandingly. He knew about Cap’n Naymer. Everyone knew about Cap’n Naymer; InterGal Net had seen to that.

The feds took out Cap’n Zaint and his crew over near Octacross, I told him. They killed every one of them, and destroyed his ship. Cap’n Zaint’s ship, Kalligan, had been one of the fastest, most formidably armed pirateers sailing in the Xalapagos.

Didn’t they capture Cap’n Moyar, a few months ago? Fijjiro asked.

They captured his ship and took him alive. He’d only just docked at Iskendroun. From what my father heard the feds tortured him terribly, Fij. They kept him alive and tortured him for over two weeks, before letting him go. He’s crippled. They mashed his arms and legs in a vice. They cut out his tongue with a lightrazor. They did something to his head, too, so now he can’t talk, nor think. He just sits there and gibbers, and drools.

I saw the holos of him on the newsvirts, Kap.

Fij, I saw what they did to Cap’n Naymer.

That’s not going to happen to Cap’n Vanderbroost.

No, it isn’t. But that doesn’t stop me worrying.

They were already lining up for the next race on our track. Each of Kasgaars’s twenty racetracks was separated from the others by virtglass. Each track took twelve racers. Over to the left of us was the racer with Hajor and Andor, beyond them were Qast and Althor. There were about eight other racers lined up with us, waiting for the signal to begin.

Outside it was black, the starracer dome arcing high above us, sprinkled with holovirt stars.

Inside the racer the virtcontrol console glowed, its display counting down to the start of the race. A green flare arced in front of us.

"Go!" yelled Fijjiro, as I powered the racer with a snarling roar, taking it from 0 to 100 virtmachs in a few seconds; the acceleration shooting us into a high arcing trajectory.

We’d got off to a good start, pulling ahead of the rest in the first few minutes with about five other racers. Kasgaars’ startracks had obstacles, with a different set each time, so every race was different. You got bonus points for every obstacle you overcame. Drivers with enough bonus points won free race time on the track.

I leant back in my seat. We were doing about 120 virtmachs, enough to power us to the next level, into the starracer’s racing mode.

Anything up ahead, Fij? I asked.

Nothing so far. His eyes moved constantly from the startrack’s virtdisplay on the console to the view outside the hood. Obstacles would show up first on the console’s virtdisplay, giving the starracer an extra few seconds to avoid them.

I took the racer up to 150 virtmachs.

Outside the virtstars blurred as we picked up speed. Fijjiro was checking the console display.

Two racers just behind!

I boosted the power. Up ahead of us the four leading racers soared, neck and neck, zigzagging as they jockeyed for position, each trying to overtake the other. To our right was another racer, keeping up with us, only just.

The trick about starracing was getting the fastest start on the track, and then whipping your speed up until your racer automatically took its speed controls to the next level.

Glowing blackness whirled by, virtstars blurred overhead. Up ahead of us the four leading starracers seemed to slow fractionally.

Kap! Blackhole ahead! shouted Fijjiro. He was fast, I’d not spotted it. Neither had the racer just in front of us, which suddenly was swallowed up in blackness. I boosted the racer’s speed to 200 virtmachs and whipped it in a high curve well above the horizon of the blackhole. For a moment we felt it, pulling us sharply backwards. The racer began to stall. If it stalled, we’d fall back into the blackhole. There was only one thing to do.

Hold on! I shouted, as I ramped up the speed to 300 virtmachs. For an agonizing half-second nothing happened, then the acceleration lifted the racer and flung it clear.

Whooooom! Up we soared, up and up, in a wild spinning whirl. I cut the speed back down to 200 virtmachs trying to keep the racer stable.

Starbank to the left, meteorites ahead! Fijjiro yelled, just as I got things back to normal.

There were four racers ahead of us. Two were struggling through the meteorites. There was an exploding flare of blue light, and one of them veered away to the right.

He’s hit! shouted Fijjiro. The virtholo showered burning debris from the racer. If we stayed on track, we’d get hit too and go into virtburn. Virt accidents were part of every starracer track. The trick was to avoid them. Fast. I swerved sharply to the left, pushing the starracer to 250 virtmachs, flipping it on its side.

Look out for meteorites! I yelled, as the racer whipped through the edge of the virt star bank.

"Left a bit! Steeadddyyyy! Weaveweaveweave!! yelled Fijjiro. Virtholo meteorites rained all round us, as I flipped the racer now on its left side, now on the right. Then we were clear. I drew a deep breath. No virtburn, not this time. We’d been lucky.

Racers up ahead! We’re catching up with them! yelled Fijjiro.

Up ahead I could see the three racers, close together, glowing against the black of the track.

I took the speed up another 30 virtmachs. Now we were running on a different level of speed, the rush of it shoving us back our seats. Fijjiro pumped his arms above his head as we pulled abreast of the first of the three leading starracers, a silver and black one, with Comet holoed on the side.

I glanced at the two figures seated in it. They were Hajor and Andor, so I made a rude gesture with my finger as we flashed past them, and then we were clear, and drawing up toward the two leaders.

I checked the display showing the track behind us. Behind Hajor and Andor, two racers were accelerating towards us, but we still were a few seconds ahead. I smoothly moved the speed controls up another 10 virtmachs. That would take us right beside the racer just in front of us. He saw us coming, and ramped up his speed, the light from his racer’s exhausts pulsing blue as we roared abreast. Then we were racing neck and neck, the virtstars whizzing vertiginously off on both sides of us as we banked in the steep diving turn that took us speeding down the home stretch, yelling with the sheer exhilaration of it.

Look out! yelled Fijjiro.

I saw him too late. He’d come up very, very fast, on our left, so close that the side of his red racer had glanced off ours, almost throwing us off course. Blue sparks flashed, as our racer spun wildly out of control.

The rule of the starracer track was that you got bonus points if you put another racer out of action, as long as you didn’t foul him by hitting him front-on, or as long as you didn’t cause a virtcrash on the track. Fouling someone meant you got blocked out of the race; your racer pulled automatically off the track.

The racer beside us hadn’t fouled us. I hung grimly onto the controls, fighting to get us back in the race. We’d lost a few precious seconds, which meant he’d got well ahead of us by the time we’d pulled out of the spin.

Hang on! I yelled to Fijjiro. We’re going after him!

I took the speed up to 325 virtmachs. Our racer was now going so fast I could just about keep it under control. If anyone got too near, we’d probably have a nasty virtcrash, across every lane on the track. Outside the blackness and the virtstars had blurred into one vertiginously whirling rush.

There he is! Fijjiro yelled, as we drew abreast. I veered deliberately towards him, scraping the side of his racer, whipping our racer away so fast, he’d no time to recover, or retaliate. Then we were away, as his racer, trailing sparks like a comet tail, shot up in a huge flaring, spinning arc that flung him high up in the virttrack’s dome.

Will he be all right, do you think? Fijjiro asked as we whipped over the finish line.

Nobody gets hurt virtracing, I reminded him.

We got off at the virttrack exit, breathless with exhilaration.

Not bad, Kap. We got in third.

Ahead of Hajor and Andor and the rest.

Don’t look now, said Fijjiro, but there’s Soolie.

Where? my stomach did a back flip when I caught sight of her. Soolie was with Kastor, the tall, handsome Caladroonian captain of the slamball team at school. She hung on Kastor’s arm, laughing up into his face. I looked at her, aching to touch her, and run my hands through her midnight blue hair, aching to hold her. Soolie Neevas and I’d been together much of the year before, until she’d moved on. I remembered how it felt when Soolie kissed me. I remembered the shape of her body and how it fit into mine, the fragrance of her, the way her skin felt when we lay together, up in my room, late in the evening. I thought of her with Kastor, the way she’d been with me, and longed to put my fist through Kastor’s smug, handsome, smiling face. Soolie glanced up, and stared straight at me. I looked away, my breath ragged. Even now, a glimpse of her across the huge arena of Kasgaars messed my head up completely.

Girls, said Fijjiro.

You’re lucky. I thought of Fijjiro’s girl, Emmilyne. She was small and soft and sweet; and she adored Fij.

Yes. I am.

Fijjiro was probably going to marry Emmilyne. If he didn’t, he’d find someone else very like her. He’d go into his father’s business of managing a fleet of merchantmen, move into one of the large, luxurious houses being built in the new part of town. I was probably going to be a pirate, just like my father, living a dangerous, adventurous life that spanned the galaxies, being chased and hunted by the feds. For a moment I wondered what it would be like to look forward to living my life on one world, and gave up. Fij was right. Pirating was in my blood. Somehow seeing Soolie had made my mind up about something that had been niggling at me for a while.

Listen, Fij. I’ve got to go.

Where?

Tell you later. I pushed my way through the crowd, out to the relative quiet of Kasgaar’s skyrider port, and climbed into my red skyrider.

I’m going to ask him to let me go on this voyage with him, I thought, as the rider lifted high above Skaed town. Far below the lights in the port glimmered in the deepening dusk. High in the sky the riding lights of ships glowed as they came in to dock. I need to get out of Skaed, get off the world of Kamiroun, just for a while.

I docked my skyrider in the Starfarer’s small port, and climbed out.

Kasgaars was in the new area of Skaed. That bit

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