Steampunk Star Pirates:
Super Sexy Wars of Empires
by Brilliant Building / Published by Brilliant Building
Copyright 2016 Brilliant Building
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to existing franchises is the result of mining the same historical figures and events which they have also stolen from.
Her Majesty Queen Isabella was used to the finer things in life, and there were fewer things finer in life than a starship. La Mariposa was the jewel of Queen Isabella’s Armada. Armed as heavily as the mightiest battleships, yet with accommodations as luxurious as the most opulent of the Medicean Star Cruisers, she carried admirals and dignitaries alike to be served by a crew composed of those from the upper echelons of military academies. The elite of the elite served by the best of the best.
All the better to rob her.
La Mariposa had passed unmolested through the unmarked shipping lanes that were often plagued by pirate attacks, and what pirate would dare attack a ship so heavily armed and sturdily built as La Mariposa? Indeed, she could plow straight through a dozen pirate ships and not even register their presence. There was, therefore, no reason to expect trouble once they had passed through the relative safety of Napoleonic space (so long as their tenuous treaty with their oft-time adversary/ally held), but the pirates of the pirate ship Trouble had her sights on La Mariposa, and if there was one thing for certain, Trouble was always there when you least expected it.
“Distress call, sir!” The officer could not have been fresher out of the academy and yet he was posted to the bridge of the finest ship in the fleet. The Admiral narrowed his eyes at him and thought, “No doubt he comes from a powerful and influential family. I must make certain to find out this pipsqueak’s name. His last one anyway.”
“Put the call through.” The Admiral’s voice took on such a ponderous tone that it was impossible to tell if it was a weary or wary one, and the Admiral rather enjoyed preserving this ambiguity. Ensign Pipsqueak pressed the buttons on his console with more force and enthusiasm than was necessary.
“Allo! Allo! We are La Bienvenue! We have heavy meteor damage and are adrift! Mayday!” the transmission was strong but garbled.
“I suppose we should stop and aid these citizens of the Emperor Napoleon as token of our good relations,” the Admiral spoke as if he were mulling it over, but the rest of his well-trained crew knew the Admiral never spoke idly and immediately began preparations for rescue operations.
“Sir, La Espalda and La Pierna are only two hours behind. They can perform salvage and rescue. Why delay the Queen’s journey…”
“ShhHH!” The Admiral shot Ensign Pipsqueak a reprimanding look. Not even the senior officers knew of their precious cargo: The Queen Herself! Indeed, What Would the Queen Do? Admiral Alfonso regarded the majesty of the flagship, his flagship, its expression of power and terror as the iron hand resting beneath the silk glove of benevolence. La Bienvenue, eh? Yes, we should extend our welcome in kind.
“Our newly minted allies are in distress, and we will not delay in their aid!” The Admiral’s eyes narrowed once again towards the young Ensign. Was he royalty himself? How did he know the Queen was in hibernation, protected by the Imperial Guard in the deepest of the cargo decks? Luckily his well-oiled bridge crew paid no attention, or at least pretended not to. Later, they were certain to haze Ensign Pipsqueak for his impertinence, regardless of his family background. That was how the Royal Navy maintained order from the lowest and dirtiest of scows on upward. The Admiral, for his part, however, would have to keep his eye on this one.
Rodriguez had a feeling today would be exciting. His bunkmates had long since squelched their immature lusts for adventure but Rodriguez held onto it like a smuggled pet rat, which he also had. He named it Paulo, and sometimes kept Paulo in his shirt pocket. Rodriguez’s enthusiasm and curiosity made for an excellent first technician, but his occasional lapses in protocol had always kept his career from advancing too far and too fast. In truth, however, being promoted to management would fill his bank accounts at the cost of emptying his spirits. And his spirits were high indeed as the klaxons blared from the loudspeakers.
“All hands! Prepare for Rescue and Salvage!”
“How is your French, Rodriguez?” a nameless officer whose face Rodriguez recognized (but not his name) grabbed Rodriguez from his bunk, nearly causing him to fall out.
“Oui oui, croissant, mise en place, sir!” Rodriguez barked his entire vocabulary of French.
“Excellent,” said Officer Nameless, “you will be our liaison to the ailing ship’s engineer.” Officer Nameless’s eyes narrowed at the young technician’s uniform. “Is there something moving in your pocket, Rodriguez?”
The airlock opened with a satisfying hiss of compression and decompression, and out popped a figure dressed from head to toe in black rubber. Before Rodriguez could practice his non-existent command of French, the figure offered a hand, or rather, a rubber glove, and spoke in a heavily accented but perfectly understandable voice, “Hallo, I am Jacques.”
Thank God! thought Rodriguez as he shook the strangely warm and sticky glove offered to him.
“I am First Technician Rodriguez, here to assist you. If you will lead the way, my team and I can render assistance.”
“All in good time, my friend Rodriguez. First, I would like for you to give me a tour of your magnificent ship.”
Rodriguez did not know how to respond to this. “Hmm… well perhaps you would like one of our hospitality officers to…”
“No, my friend First Technician Rodriguez. I prefer a technically oriented tour. You are familiar with the ship on a technical level?”
“Oui, oui! I mean yes, Mr. Jacques.”
“Status,” said the Admiral.
“Ship has successfully docked. One of the crew is aboard… taking a tour.”
“A tour! Rather casual of them.”
“They are French, sir.”
“Ah yes, that must explain it.”
Any tour of the ship would begin in the atrium, where all five decks were in view, displaying their magnificence in a deliberate, show-offy way.
“That deck contains the treasury. I’m afraid we can’t go in there, as you can see from the very capable-looking guards guarding it.” The very capable guards did not so much register their presence as they registered a total awareness of all potential threats around them. They did this by adopting a posture of calm malevolence.
“…And that deck above is the leisure deck. All sorts of ambassadors and celebrities stay there. We technicians not allowed on that deck, except for repairs, though I’m sure the Admiral will make dispensation for you if you’d like…”
“Ah, but my friend Rodriguez, the only leisure I need is to see more of your wonderful ship narrated so ably by you. Could I see the engine room? I take it you are familiar with that?”
“I’ve studied the specs of course, but I’ve only been inside a few times for minor repairs. Chief Engineer Domingo could explain it better…”
“Nonsense. Your expertise will serve me nicely, friend Rodriguez.”
“Well, I’m afraid the most direct route to the engine room is through these service tubes, which are not quite as luxurious as the rest of the ship.”
“Lead the way!”
Rodriguez opened the hatch to the tube, and climbed down the ladder. Jacques followed him in and closed the hatch.
IN THE TUBE
“Mr. Jacques, sir, if I might ask, what a curious, rubbery suit you have. Is this the mode among Napoleonic ships this days?”
“We wear these for their insulation.”
“Insulation? Insulation against what?”
“This.” Jacques lifted Rodriguez with one arm and suspended him in the air, and with the other pressed a button on his palm, signaling his compatriots.
A surge of electricity flowed through the tether connecting La Bienvenue and La Mariposa, instantly knocking out most of La Mariposa’s systems, as well as most of its crew. The lights faded nearly everywhere, and in the dark tube, only the bioluminescent strips remained lit, casting an eerie glow upon Jacques.
Rodriguez, still dangling, struggled to re-appraise the rubber-suited figure, who looked back with a knowing smile.
“What have you done? Who are you!”
“Why, I told you before. My name is Jacques. Jacques Noir.”
“Jacques Noir…” Rodriguez’s face contorted and squeezed itself in the process of thought until it relaxed with a spasm of recognition. “By God, you’re BlackJack! The notorious pirate!”
“At your service,” BlackJack made a slight bow while still hanging onto the ladder, and gently released Rodriguez back onto the steps. “And if you don’t mind, I’d like to continue the tour. Your friend can lead the way” Blackjack gestured to Paulo, who had poked his rat head out of Rodriguez’s pocket and squeaked his greetings at the notorious pirate.
Among those not knocked out were those on the bridge, which was naturally an insulated chamber.
“Sir! Electrical discharge from the ship! It’s disrupted our systems.”
“The Queen!” the Admiral muttered under his breath.
Ensign Pipsqueak piped up, “Sir, the Treasury is shielded like the bridge and is likely unaffected by the surge.”
“Thank you, Ensign,” the Admiral replied out the side of his mouth, still wary of drawing attention to their secret cargo.
“Admiral, we’re being boarded.”
“What! Show me!”
The officer flipped a dial on the magna scope. Operating purely on optics, the magna scopes were not affected by the electrical outage, no more than a simple telescope would be.
“A nasty bunch. Pirates if I ever saw them.”
An elephant dressed in a Savile Row suit came charging at one end of the magna scope with two tattooed ruffians perched on his shoulder. One such ruffian had a 9-iron, which he swung in a practiced and technically perfect arc to smash in the magna scope. The bridge crew flinched at these visuals.
“Well, they’re certainly not French, at least not the elephant.”
“Shall I recall security from the Treasury to intercept?”
“Negative.” The Queen was the priority, though who else among the bridge crew knew that? The Admiral did not get to where he was without being well-practiced in discretion. “They shall stand their ground where they are! Who else is still conscious?”
“The leisure deck has its own redundant systems. They would have been insulated from the surge the same as us.”
“Of course it would. God help us, the only thing standing between us and pirates are a cruise crew. Very well. Unleash the stewards!”
CHATTER FROM THE STEWARDS MESS
“Any idea what we’re up against?”
“Pirates! They expect us to handle Pirates.”
“I expect they’re no worse than a guest who has had one too many to drink.”
“Aye, well you’ve often said you’d rather handle a bloodthirsty pirate than a belligerent bellicose billionaire.”
“Well, with a pirate I would not be expected to clean up the sick.”
“I think I’m going to be sick.”
“Then why stuff yourself with empanada?”
“This may very well be my last meal.”
“Empanadas for everyone!”
Ensign Pipsqueak whispered to the Admiral, “If they get to the Queen it’s all over.”
Irritated, the Admiral grabbed Pipsqueak by the lapels and drew him even closer. “I know how pirates think, and treasure is less trouble than hostages. But very well, your point is taken. Alert the Imperial Guard…” the Admiral pulled Pipsqueak’s ears even closer to emphasize the next word, “… discreetly to transfer the Queen to the danger room.”
The Admiral released Pipsqueak, and stood up, ramrod straight. He spoke loudly so everyone could hear: “Also, have one of the chests of Incaterium lined with a timed explosive. I’m afraid our stalwart young stewards will not be equal to the task of repelling our guests, and I do not want our guests leaving without our going-away present.”
“A shrewd plan, sir!”
The able bridge crew coordinated commands with the rest of the ship via pneumatic tubes, the fwoop fwoops forming the notes of a semiotic symphony of which the Admiral was the conductor.
CHATTER FROM THE STEWARDS’ LAST STAND
“Foam batons and stun guns as weapons. What a joke.”
“Half the stun guns are fried from the power surge.”
“What weapons are they using?”
“They’re using muskets sir! Except for the one with the golf club.”
“Damn, golf clubs! Why didn’t we use those instead of these useless foam batons?!”
“If we took the golf clubs of the VIP guests, we’d be hanged for sure.”
“So, take the golf clubs of the non-VIP guests.”
“If they weren’t VIP guests, how could they afford golf clubs?”
“Hey, you savages, if one of those infernal projectiles pierces the hull, we’ll all be sucked into space! The vast, cold, emptiness of space!”
“They’re not listening to us, they’re just shooting us.”
“Lead them to the treasury!”
“I thought we were supposed to lead them away from the treasury!”
“The Treasury Guards have better training. Let them deal with this!”
THE ENGINE ROOM
The Engine Room. Normally a bustle of activity, it was unusually silent. All around Rodriguez and BlackJack were the slumped over bodies of the engine room crew.
“Are they dead?”
“No, my friend they are just stunned.” They passed the smoking corpse of Engineer Domingo who had the misfortune of making adjustments to the fuse regulator when the surge hit. “Well that one is dead, probably. A pity. Were you compadres?”
“Oh, him? Chief Engineer Domingo was a first rate engineer, no doubt, but between you and me, he was kind of an ass.”
“It is a truth that excellence often breeds contempt.” BlackJack pointed at the regulator. “Should that be sparking?”
Rodriguez found a spare cap and repaired the regulator, which was just moments from melting. BlackJack applauded, “You are indeed an excellent Engineer yourself! I hope you hold me in higher regard than you do your predecessor.”
“I’m a First Technician, actually.” Rodriguez panted, his heart racing, and wiped a cold sweat from his brow.
“Tell me, friend Rodriguez, you love this excitement. It pleases you.”
“It’s why I wanted to go into space, but no one told me space was full of mostly… space.”
“Ha ha. But space is only as dull as we make it. And we pirates make nothing dull!”
“I can see that, but isn’t it also dangerous and filled with woe?”
“I cannot lie, friend Rodriguez, a bit of peril and sorrow is the coin we must pay for adventure, but adventure pays us back in coin of its own. A pirate’s life is good! We split everything evenly. I take it your pay is not quite so generous as to split the riches that fill this wonderful ship.”
“Not generous as such.”
“But you strike me as a man not moved by material wealth. Adventure and freedom is the currency you crave. As a pirate, you would have both, and so would your little whiskered friend. What is his name?”
“Yes, you and your friend, Paulo. We do not discriminate against pets! We have an elephant! (Don’t tell the elephant he’s our pet. He hates that.) I want to tell you a secret, Friend Rodriguez. Our engineer is a bit of a fuss maker. He refused to come here, complaining about his old bones and so forth, and so I need some help with this little technical challenge here. How would you like to join our little crew?”
“You’re asking me if I will become a pirate like you?”
“There is no pirate like me, BlackJack, scourge of the five systems! But you will be a pirate like you. Will you do it?”
Paulo crawled from Rodriguez’s pocket and nestled above his ear, squeaking as if to encourage him. How could Rodriguez resist?
“And if I say no?”
“Then, friend Rodriguez, I’m afraid I, BlackJack, will have to kill you.” BlackJack pulled out his blackjack, stained a ferrous red from the blood of a thousand dead adversaries.
“Yes, I’ll do it! I’ll be a Pirate Engineer!”
“Maravilloso! But, don’t tell Nessie, he will get jealous. What was that again that you said you were?”
“Pirate First Technician! PFT, yes it even has a regal ring to it! Friend, I never got your first name.”
“Ernesto Rodriguez, PFT, Adventurer! Now help me disconnect this in such a way as I do not kill myself and everyone on this ship, yes?”
“As you predicted, Admiral, the cowards manning the leisure deck have led the invaders right into our trap.”
The Admiral rose from his chair, and made his way to the magna scope.
“Sir, with most of the Imperial Guard with the Queen, there would not be much resistance against these marauders,” Ensign Pipsqueak whispered into the Admiral’s ear. The Admiral waved him away as if he were the buzzing of flies. Even one Imperial Guard would be enough to dispatch this odd gang of thugs, except for perhaps the elephant, but only token resistance was necessary for his plan, which he eagerly wanted to witness come to fruition.
“Have you ever seen an Imperial Guard in action? It is a wonder to behold!”
THE TREASURE ROOM
“You scum shall not pass!” the lone Imperial Guard projected a fearsome stentorian and vaguely synthetic tone through her ceremonial mouthguard. Cockney Vic made the first shot, which she deflected with her dense fabric shield. The bullets caromed into the walls of the Treasury, and were immediately absorbed into the tough, leather-like skin covering all the surfaces. The Guard unleashed a nanometer blade with her left arm, cutting the musket in two. Links McGee swung his golf club to intercept the other blade from her right, saving Cockney Vic from an unnecessary appendectomy.
“My 9-iron!” Links McGee lamented the damage to his favored weapon (and sometime lover), though credit to its toughness, it was now hanging in a droopy joint, rather than cut entirely in two. Monsieur Elefant used his trunk to pick the Imperial Guard upside down by the feet, so as to avoid her deadly blades and flung her across the room. “Si vulgaire!” he said, brushing the dust off his sleeves and adjusting the pips on his collar.
The image on the magna scope revealed only wavy lines.
“They’ve thrown a smoke bomb, Admiral. We can’t see a thing.”
“Activate the pumps! Vacuum up all the air. I want to see what’s going on!”
“But sir, how can the Imperial Guard breathe?”
“I’ll wager our Imperial Guard can hold their breath longer than these filthy pirates. Do as I say.”
Two officers helped turn a wheel that activated the pneumatic pumps, yet another system on La Mariposa that required no electricity to function.
The Admiral whispered to Ensign Pipsqueak, “The Queen?”
“The Queen is safe. The pirates have not discovered the secret passage to the danger room.”
“Sir, the room has been cleared. The pirates are gone.”
“The Incaterium. Have they taken the bait?”
“All Incaterium accounted for, sir!”
“Then what in blazes did they take?”
EN ROUTE TO LA BIENVENUE
The Star Drive was relatively light, for a device that could instantaneously transport an area of four leagues and all objects contained within it to an orbit around a distant star. Still, they needed several rest breaks along the way back to the airlock.
“So how do we intend to get away?” Ernesto said between panting breaths. He rested his back against the side of corridor of ever-diminishing size.
“Friend Ernesto Rodriguez, PFT, we are carrying a Star Drive, are we not?” BlackJack perched himself upon the drive itself and took out a pouch of substance which he began chewing with great gusto. He offered some to Rodriguez, who declined.
“Yes, but a Godard frigate such as La Bienvenue can’t generate enough power to activate a Star Drive. You see, it has to do with the engine dynamos…”
“Friend Rodriguez, I am no Engineer, and as such your brilliant knowledge would be lost on me. Ah, here are our friends!”
“Oi! Who’s the scrub?” Cockney Vic pointed a thumb at Rodriguez and spat out a wad of space tobacco. BlackJack offered some of his, and Cockney Vic also declined.
“Pirate First Technician Rodriguez, I introduce you to Cockney Vic.”
“I’m from Yorkshire, actually. They just call me Cockney Vic.”
“Who made him a pirate? We didn’t vote on it,” said a voice as gnarled as the face it came out of.
“Oh, do be nice, Geezer. That’s Geezer, by the way. And the elephant obviously is Monsieur Elefant. Monsieur Elefant, un peu d’aide s’il vous plaît!”
Monsieur Elefant tipped his hat, and lifted the Star Drive with his trunk. They jogged at a merry pace towards the airlock.
“Nessie can make the drive work. What do we need him for?” said Geezer, pointing a gnarled finger at Rodriguez.
“Yeah, I’m not keen on having my share reduced,” said Cockney Vic.
“Nor mine,” said Links McGee, stroking his bent nine-iron.
“Hey, hey, we are all friends here. Do not worry, friend Rodriguez. They only tease.”
But Rodriguez did worry at this talk and fumbled with his collar, prompting Paulo to come out and squeak. At this, Monsieur let out a roar and jumped, hitting his head on the ceiling, nearly dropping the Star Drive. The other pirates erupted into laughter.
“Ha ha ha! You see, they like you, and they like Paulo, too.” BlackJack slapped Rodriguez on the back, and offered Paulo a scant pinch of his substance, who greedily took it. “But enough fraternizing, we must make haste to The Trouble.”
“You have another ship? We detected no other ship but La Bienvenue.”
“We pirates have our ways. You may yet learn some things from us, amigo!”
“Sir, message from the observation deck. La Bienvenue has untethered from La Mariposa.”
In addition to the series of pneumatic tubes, the ship had an ingenious backup communications protocol. The coil communications relay was a series of metal filaments with tubular terminals, that conducted acoustic energy without additional amplification. In other words, they were cups tied together with strings.
Our Imperial Guard are too well-trained, thought the Admiral. No matter. As long as they were off the ship with no loss of treasure, and more importantly, no loss of Queen. Very well, let them be on their way. The Admiral was not a vengeful man by nature, and had gotten to his position by recognizing the lopsided dynamics of risks and rewards inherent to asymmetric warfare. A younger, less seasoned captain might consider it a point of honor to not let such ruffians escape. However, “no harm, no foul,” as it were, was the judicious attitude to take in such a situation.
An explosion rocked the ship.
“Sir, it’s from the treasury!”
So the pirates had tripped the timer on the Incaterium explosive after all, and left it there for what purpose? The Queen had no doubt felt this even from the heavy armor of her safe room. The magna scope showed priceless treasure being sucked out into space, much as the Admiral imagined his career to also be vacuumed into the void.
Insult. That was the purpose.
The Admiral gripped his chair and rose suddenly with the vigor and ego of a much younger and bloodthirstier man. A leonine roar escaped from the depths of his bowels.
“READY MAIN GUNS!”
TO BE CONTINUED IN EPISODE 2
Queen Isabella's milk-white thighs quivered in anticipation of reading the very hot and heavy adventure you see thrust before you, a story of stars, pirates, and star pirates, performing feats of piracy not ever seen before and unlikely to be seen again. Drink from the forbidden nectar of Steampunk Star Pirates, and you will know the wars of empires, and just how sexy they are.