“Way I see it you have two choices. Choice one, you fight and you die. Choice two, you give us everything you’ve got and we let you live. Sounds easy to me,” Maya announced through the intercom connecting her to engineering. She was currently aboard The Blackhawk. It, like many of her recent conquests, was a small freighter. The crew likely numbered less than ten. They were currently holed up in the engine room with their valuable cargo. While she could have had her people take what they’d left behind in the rest of the ship, she preferred what was hidden behind that door.
“Saint James will avenge us!” someone shouted into the intercom.
Maya rolled her eyes. This Saint James was nothing if not a thorn in her side since she’d first encountered his thugs a few months ago. The guy was a regular folk hero, a champion to those too lazy to take control of their lives. Her teeth ground together. “Hard way it is,” she grumbled.
She gave the nod to her boarding party. Everyone stepped back in preparation of igniting the charges around the frame. Suddenly the ship rocked violently. Maya stumbled forward, her knees slammed into the floor. “What the hells Shay,” she said with an accusing glance at one of the nearby pirates.
“I didn’t do it ma’am,” the pirate stammered. Alarms blared throughout the ship.
“Captain! Do you read?” Tavik’s voice inquired in Maya’s ear. “We’ve got another vessel on course to intercept you.”
“Negative, they have no identifying codes.”
Maya cursed aloud. “Get back to the ship.”
Her crew members all rushed ahead. Maya gave one last cutting glare at the walled in merchants then followed her fleeing crew. Another series of attacks rocked the vessel. Maya stumbled through the airlock, a string of curses bolting from her lips.
“You better have good news Tavik,” Maya told her first mate.
“They have ceased firing on the ship,” she said.
“Clever,” Maya muttered. Fire on the ship, but not enough to destroy it or cause serious damage, but enough to scare anyone still aboard, she wished she’d thought of that. It did give her an idea if, worst case scenario, she needed one.
“We’re being hailed,” Tavik explained. “Should I send them our regular response?”
Maya started to nod but stopped herself. “Put them through,” she said turning her attention to the holo-table in the center of the bridge. Maya impatiently watched the virtual representation of her ship parked alongside the freighter, her fingers drummed on the edge of the table. Then the image shifted into a humanoid form. Before her was a dark-skinned human male with a charming smile and one hand on his holster. Maya had an inkling exactly who this was.
“You must be Jim,” she remarked bitterly. “Thought you were content to hide behind your followers.”
He bowed slightly. “I see my reputation precedes me.”
“I’ve been looking for you for a while now, how nice of you to save me anymore trouble.” Her hands shifted towards the lock-on mechanism for their ship-to-ship missiles. “Would you like to come over? We can settle this like adults,” she said with a hint of seductiveness.
He laughed. “Flattering, but you’re not quite my type."
“You know they have tech we could use for that,” she added.
“My answer is still no.”
Maya shrugged indifferently, then pressed the launch sequence on her missiles. She felt a thud from within the ship, then watched the holographic imagery before her as the twin cruiser crushers approached their destination. They hit their target without doing any structural damage. James’s ship had some Grade-A shields.
"That was low Captain Gaige, I offer an olive branch, you greet me with a knife.”
Maya grinned cheekily. “Sorry, my hand slipped.”
Saint James’s face dropped all hints of politeness. “Don’t lie to me Gaige, I don’t want to fight, but I will.”
“Maya, we’re severely outclassed. We can’t take it on directly.”
Maya evaluated her options. She could run and abandon her prize, she could fight and maybe die, or she could go with option-C. It hurt to even consider, but as she watched Saint James fold his arms in front of her with a cocky expression on her face she knew she had little choice. “Very well, what do you want from us?”
“I want you to leave this vessel alone and leave Boca Alacran.”
Maya instinctually laughed without much thought. “Is that all? You want a bouquet from the Grand Councilor? Maybe a medal for outstanding stupidity?”
His face fell again. Maya didn’t wait for a response, she muted him instantly but kept his image coming in on the table. She wanted to see his reaction. “Initiate Ragnarok Protocol,” she told Tavik.
“Are you sure?” she asked. “Maybe we can work out a deal.”
Maya gave her a pressing look.
“Right, of course you are,” Tavik conceded as she walked across the room towards a console. She gave one last pleading look at Maya, but the pirate scowled at her first mate. There was a loud noise as The Jackal detached from merchant vessel.
“There, all yours, Jim,” Maya announced venomously.
Saint James looked at her incredulously. “What is you game Captain?”
Maya smiled wickedly. “To Win.”
As if on cue there was a flash of light, followed by a wave jolting The Jackal semi-roughly. Maya watched as James looked around his own bridge in search of answers, then grinned sharply as she watched his expression shift from confusion to fear. “You blew it up, you killed them.”
Maya didn’t respond. She disconnected the feed, leaving a startled nemesis aboard his fancy vessel, then went to fetch a drink. She needed to wash away the loot she just lost.