“Bill.” Lannetay sighed with relief. “Get Goofball aboard. As soon as Penn releases their docking clamps, get us out of here.”
“What about your fashion designs?” the AI asked.
“Send them over. She paid for them.” Lannetay wasn’t likely to wear any of them again. She’d used each one at least twice.
“Goofball is aboard,” Bill said. “Their power levels are increasing. Uh, now they’re falling.”
Lannetay dove toward the control cabin. “Maximum speed. Now. And find out what’s going on, if you can.”
Carnifor followed as the ship thrummed, moving once again. “Why did you want us to sit quietly?”
“I had everything under control.” Lannetay smiled as she sat. “Thankfully you’ve learned to trust me at least a little.”
Marc sat behind Lannetay, listening to the exchange. “I’m just glad to be alive.”
Bill said, “We’re at maximum rated velocity. They’re not pursuing.”
“Rantaal’s Pony never wavered.” Carnifor scowled. “At close range, a J-12 will leave a really nasty headache – after you wake up. And Cabon looked ready to shoot if we even breathed funny. I wasn’t eager to try anything they might object to.”
Bill cut in. “Uh, Goofball has some bonuses for us. He raided their cargo hold.”
L-T barked a short laugh. “Leave it to him to turn the tables on those guys.”
“What could he get into a fighter?” Lannetay asked. “Those things are nearly as form-fitting as my body suits.”
“Delicacies.” Goofball stood in the hatchway, hands behind his back. “Mushrooms, spices, caviar, and more. All proprietary, not synthesized. Small packages, so I stole as much of a variety as I could.”
Carnifor’s eyes gleamed. “What kind of mushrooms?”
“Furanto black truffles.” Goofball’s expression indicated his thoughts about mushrooms. “Some others, too. Don’t remember their names, but I recognized the Furanto label.”
Carnifor smiled. “When we get to a place I can use a stove, I’ll make you all a meal you’ll never forget.”
“Don’t bother.” Goofball waved away the offer. “I can’t stand mushrooms, and it’ll be wasted on me. But if you’d sell all that stuff on a civilized planet, it would be worth more than all those tractors we’re hauling. Then there’s the box loaded with cash.”
“Uh, cash?” Lannetay asked.
Goofball pulled the small bin from behind his back. “There’s about sixty credit chips here. No markings on how much they’re worth, but why would pirates have chips with less than a hundred credits?”
“That would be six thousand,” Carnifor said, “if they each have only a hundred.”
L-T whistled. “That’s a lot of money. Especially if it’s more.”
“First order of business,” Lannetay said, “before we even cook Carnifor’s mushrooms, is find out how much money that is. Goofball, see to it.”
“Absolutely, my liege.” Goofball bowed in sarcastic deference.
Bill said, “The pirate ship never made a move to follow us or to fire their weapons. What did you do, Goofball?”
“I . . . changed the ship’s programming, ruined their disrupters, and gave their Core a virus.” Goofball beamed. “Penn and his merry band of pirates will spread that virus when they get to their home base.”
Bill hummed an ancient tune for a moment. “I overheard you talking in the cargo bay. His aunt owns that ship?”
“Yes.” Lannetay looked at Carnifor and shrugged. “And a dozen others.”
Bill asked, “So we were attacked by the pirates of Penn’s aunt?”
Carnifor and Lannetay groaned. Goofball’s smile grew as he withdrew to the common room, whistling “Tarantara.”
If you're wondering more about these characters, their origins are detailed in Ebony Sea: Origins. If you appreciate this story, please share on social media, and consider supporting the author's ability to continue writing by purchasing the Origins story and leaving a review at the link above.
Next week: Tractors for Sale, as Ebony Sea: 1 continues.